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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have landscaping license in California. 2 years ago I’ve sign a contract with the homeowner for the complete back yard remodeling. The property was a townhouse in a gated community with a small back yard, but owner wanted a small swimming pool, and spa, so my friend architect had developed the plan that homeowner approved later one, put the whole bid together for pool, spa, fountain, Bbq Island, and other masonry.
After signing the contract we started the demolition and excavation within weeks or so. And the worst part is that I didn’t pull the permit, neither did a swimming pool company that I have used for forming a contract bid. Right at the end of excavation I discover that the existing drain pipes completely backed up so I told the owner to deal with his homeowners association to correct the problem. I did realize that this problem can drug everything forever and be costly to me so I made the owner to sign a form to pull the permit under his name. Owner didn’t even know what it means to pull the permit. :rolleyes:
The time went by and the contract had expired. Owner had decided not to have a pool eventually and we end up installing the spa only. I didn’t change the terms of the old contract, neither extended this or renewed or formed the new one. I made a Pool company to pull the new permit to finish the project and it was done 14 months after signing the contract. After the completion I asked the owner for the final payment. Owner refused to pay by saying that the contract price had changed and he didn’t get a pool so I had to recalculate the total amount by subtracting the pool price. I refused and recorded a lien and filed a court petition. Owner has filed cross complaint petition saying that I have no rights for the lien because the contract and the contract cost had change and I don’t want to adjust it and don't want to explain why it didn't go down. :wallbash:Additionaly, Owner is saying the contract had expired and we didn’t have a proper timeline that allow us to enforce a lien. He also has filed the complaint and board is investigating me right now. :bangin:
My worries are about how serious is that I pulled the permit under owner’s name? The contract terms never have been renewed and I didn’t adjust the contract cost. What I may expect from the board? What kind penalties? :hang:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I must be reading something wrong... Please tell me if I understand correctly...


You signed a contract to build a pool and spa... You only built the spa (and took 14 months to do it), yet you still want to be paid for both the pool and spa?
You are not reading this incorrectly. I wanted to enforce full contract price. I had explained to the owner that I did incurred the overhead losses by time of completion, delay and interest that incurred from the amount that I haven’t received at the end of the contract term. My worry is the contract board investigation. They know that: a. I didn’t pull the permit prior demolition and excavation, b. they know that I made the owner to sign the owner/builder form for the permit submission, c. they abstained the plans that were submitted on the first place and after the first permit expired, d. they know that I didn’t even pulled a joint permit with swimming pool company. Do I have a right for enforcing a lien: if I didn’t pull permit on the first place but did it under the owner’s name after discovering the pipe problem? Didn’t change the contract cost and time of completion?
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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There are too many things wrong with this to have a constructive conversation about your situation.

Although there is no posting rules being broken here I would like to warn every one that piling on the OP for getting in this mess will not produce anything useful either.

Lets keep this from becoming a blood bath shall we?

OP, you need a Lawyer to advise you as to what your position really is. The population here may offer you some good advise but I warn you that this will not be as easy to read as you hoped.

There is a general attitude here that by keeping your paper work in order is just plain good business. You seemed to fail to do that and you will be criticized for it.

Lets keep it civil, both sides .
 

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The Remodeler
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Lets keep this from becoming a blood bath shall we?
Good idea Gus... :thumbsup:

I agree that the only thing to do is discuss it with a lawyer (and maybe an accountant).

Get all your numbers in order first. Counting on the cost of the missing pool to make up for all your other operating expenses and consultations is not the right way to go... While the homeowner may not care how much prep time you had into this at the beginning, the judge just might.


I cant help you out with the CSLB... Sounds like you cheated and got caught... Out here where I am, they let you get away with almost anything... :blink:

*Hey, I just broke 400 posts.. And it only took 4 1/2 years! :D
 

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All the other BS aside - yes, you can file a lien. You & the owner signed a contract, you did some work, now have not been paid in full in accordance with the contract. If you file the lien in accordance with state law regarding mechanics liens, you're a-okay.

Now, I doubt it'll be enforceable in court. The reality is, you're only hope with the lien is to scare them into paying by yelling legal gibberish at them like a Harvard spider monkey after a weekend of cramming with Red Bull main lined into their non-primary limb. Their lawyer will completely ignore the lien law requirements, unless you and/or your attorney screw the forms up, and make it a case about you being a contractor who breaks/ignores rules and therefore has no legitimate way of charging for your work- and rightfully so.

A good rule of thumb - if you're going to try to use contract law to get money that you may, or may not, fully deserve, you should probably mind your p's & q's as to the rest of the state laws, especially the ones that require document recording.
 

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Contractor
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I find it hard to imagine that you have incurred sufficient additional costs, due to a pipe being backed up and the delays it caused, to justify the full contract cost while deleting a swimming pool.

Either that was one cheap pool, or you're being unreasonable, (IMO).

As far as what your legal rights are, I don't know Ca. laws.

Edit:

Oh, I almost forgot, Welcome to the site.
 

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I am usually not quick to criticize but, I can't believe you have the nerve to charge the full price given you did not provide half of the service. The worst part is that you don't understand what you are doing wrong.

I am not familiar with CA requirements but, in Florida, you would be in a world of trouble. There is so much wrong here that it is pointless to start.
If you are able to work this out, I hope you get things together and obtain the proper license to do work in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There are too many things wrong with this to have a constructive conversation about your situation.

Although there is no posting rules being broken here I would like to warn every one that piling on the OP for getting in this mess will not produce anything useful either.

Lets keep this from becoming a blood bath shall we?

OP, you need a Lawyer to advise you as to what your position really is. The population here may offer you some good advise but I warn you that this will not be as easy to read as you hoped.

There is a general attitude here that by keeping your paper work in order is just plain good business. You seemed to fail to do that and you will be criticized for it.

Lets keep it civil, both sides .
I don’t mind to be criticized as well as open and brutal comments. I know I am not “clean”.
 

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You didn't manage the project well from the beginning, and you want the HO to pay for your mistakes.

:no:

You really really need an attorney. At this point, you'll be lucky if you're not made an example of. If I were the HOs attorney, I'd be salivating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You didn't manage the project well from the beginning, and you want the HO to pay for your mistakes. .

I didn't think that pipes were my fault. This is why I pulled the permit after I had discovered it during the excavation under homeowner's name so the homeowner would be responsible for the delays

You really really need an attorney.
I have an attorney... He is not saying much. Waiting until the investigation is over. Than CSLB would reliese the findings.

At this point, you'll be lucky if you're not made an example of. If I were the HOs attorney, I'd be salivating.
That's what I want to know what kind "example" CSLB can make out of me..
 

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Paranoid Whale,
I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I must tell you that normally a post such as yours in which you plan to take advantage of a customer who apparently trusted you, get called on it, and want people here to tell you "it's going to be fine", would elicit a barrage of ugly posts.

The only reason you are not getting pummelled is out of respect of a moderator who stepped in immediately in post #6 and told us to "stand down".

The contractors here for the most part are honest businessmen who work hard every day to combat the negative image we have. If your intentions are as they seem, you aren't going to get any good news here.

I can't comment on what California will do, because I don't know. I can only hope that if your intentions are what they appear to be, they suspend your license.
 

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JumboJack for president!
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i hope you run your dozer better than your business. This doesn't sound like this will end up good for you. Sorry about your luck.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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The reality is, you're only hope with the lien is to scare them into paying by yelling legal gibberish at them like a Harvard spider monkey after a weekend of cramming with Red Bull main lined into their non-primary limb.
Oh man, that right there is the quote of the month. Totally blew the actual OP right out of my mind! :laughing::thumbsup:
 

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I understand what Gus is saying, but c'mon. This guy is what gives us all a bad name.

He started work without a permit, then when he hit trouble he had the HO pull a permit. Then after screwing this project up from the start, he figures he is owed for the full cost, even though he did much less than the original scope.

I for one hope your license is taken away, and they pursue criminal charges against you. In your own words you're not "clean".
Well sir this site is for clean contractors, not crooks looking for help on how to get out of trouble.
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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I don’t mind to be criticized as well as open and brutal comments. I know I am not “clean”.
This statement is what makes this guy different than the rest of the one post wonders. He knows he screwed up and is looking to find out how bad it's going to be for him.

I understand what Gus is saying, but c'mon. This guy is what gives us all a bad name.

He started work without a permit, then when he hit trouble he had the HO pull a permit. Then after screwing this project up from the start, he figures he is owed for the full cost, even though he did much less than the original scope.

I for one hope your license is taken away, and they pursue criminal charges against you. In your own words you're not "clean".
Well sir this site is for clean contractors, not crooks looking for help on how to get out of trouble.
There is not one regular here that would argue against your point of view.
In an effort to keep things more informative and civil we might just offer facts and suggestions rather than to root for the OP's head on a stick.
After all he admits his errors openly and just wants to know how bad is it. That in itself is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the other train wreck threads in the past.

Fines - how much?
Suspension - how long?
Jail- yes or no

I will go out on a limb and say there is but one member that knows what is possible here. That guy that used to work for the Cal license board. If he pops in great. Other than that I wouldn't give weight to much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This statement is what makes this guy different than the rest of the one post wonders. He knows he screwed up and is looking to find out how bad it's going to be for him.
Thank you for the support and understanding. I am myself would follow Moto: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

There is not one regular here that would argue against your point of view.
In an effort to keep things more informative and civil we might just offer facts and suggestions rather than to root for the OP's head on a stick.
After all he admits his errors openly and just wants to know how bad is it. That in itself is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the other train wreck threads in the past.
Fines - how much?
Suspension - how long?
Jail- yes or no.
I would appreciate suggestions. Fines are building up already on the paper. Suspension - which I would like to know more about, perhaps Revocation? Probation period? Terms of probation or suspension or both? Jail? - if yes what can be done to avoid it? Do I have a "room" to bargain on it? Maybe restitution? HO did overpaid to me for the pool I didn’t install.
 
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