Canadian Contractor

Ever try taking deadbeat homeowners to court? The judicial system is a joke.

"The judicial system for this is a joke. Even if the judgement goes in your favour, try to get the money. You still can't!"

November 12, 2013
By Steve Payne

Tired of homeowners that use “imperfections” in your renovation work to refuse to pay you?

Darlene Pede obviously has, and posted this on our website on Oct. 11th. 


The judicial system for this is a joke. Even if the judgement goes in your favour, try to get the money! You still can’t.


It gets even better. Once their home is complete, they decide there are too many imperfections and attempt to sue you instead!

And we all know, if you do place one, that a lien does not go anywhere if they don’t plan on selling their home.

Contractors should be rallying the government to change the laws so that, once a court judgement is in your favour, the court immediately demands payment. The contractor has no way to get that payment.”


Posted by Darlene Pede on Oct. 11, 2013



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8 Comments » for Ever try taking deadbeat homeowners to court? The judicial system is a joke.
  1. As a last resort you can use a collection agency with a “no charge if not collected” policy. You will lose the collection agency’s commission (between 17 & 35%) but 83 to 65% is better than nothing. Once contacted by the collection agency the crook has 30 days to pay up. After 30 days the collection agency files the claim with the credit bureau. The crook will not be able to renew his mortgage or be approved for any financing until he has paid your bill.

  2. Fernando Martinez says:

    I agree 100%, this judicial system doesn’t exist for contractors. I’m tired of dealing with crooked hirers.
    When can we start or where can I sign to start rallying.

  3. Ron V. says:

    Was just at Small Claims Court this morning. Finally got the debtor charged with Contempt of Court. He could get a few days in the slammer.
    A long, drawn out process. Will take you much paperwork and at least 4 court appearances. Will cost you a lot… even if you do it yourself,

  4. John B. says:

    Are you guys kidding…

    First of all as a homeowner and business owner, having had extensive work completed by poor contractors…and having the threat of a lien being placed on my residence. I quickly realized how easy it is for contractors to place liens on property and how expensive it can be for homeowners to get rid of a lien or a bad contractor.

    First as far as renewing a mortgage, any homeowner can do so with a lien on their property, as long as they use the same Mortgage company. It’s only when a homeowner wants to change mortgage companies or sell does it become an issue.

    Contractors know when they have messed up, homeowners are not always the bad many contractors take the money and run leaving handicapped and old people stranded..oh yeah it was the homeowner who was the dishonest.

    It goes both ways. Homeowners, feel that contractors have the upper hand and from reading the comments above contractors feel they have no rights.

    If a contractor wants to place liens on properties, then that information should be made public and both parties should be allowed to show their sides. That way as a home owner it makes me think twice especially if a contractor has had to use that tool a few times. As a contractor, seeing a homeowner that didn’t pay, I would want to see the work completed by the contractor and come to my own opinion about the work and was the homeowner in the right or in the wrong. No one wins in these situations except the lawyers.

    Each party should post pictures and let the public be it contractor or homeowner decide who is being most unreasonable. Would be much cheaper than having to hire a lawyer to do up all the paperwork even for small claims court!

    If a homeowner is being dishonest, soon enough no contractor will come to help or will request money up front. If contractors are dishonest then their reputation will follow them and they will not see work come their way.

  5. We’re doing 20 to 25 projects per year and we always seem to have one go sideways every year. I’ve found it to be half the time the clients have been goofy unreasonable and half the time we’ve been weak in our performance either office or job site. If throwing money at the problem, discounted invoice, does not work we have had great success with BBB dispute resolution sessions. A simple lien works but does expire. A caveat must be filed within a certain period of time to keep the property under attachment.
    We tend to use these aggravating experiences to help us improve. Some folks need a psychology test before we consider setting foot on the property and some times we need a swift kick in the butt for our weak performances.

  6. John says:

    I once sued a deadbeat homeowner for failure to pay for the wiring of his $500,000 new home. He still owed me $2,800 and after his latest cheque bounced he closed that account. I had paid to get him handed a subpoena to court. He did not show up, so I won the court case by default. I had calculated the money owed and the compounding 2% interest / month as my invoice clearly stated. The judge had stated that the interest I was charging was too much! So I asked him then how much interest can I charge. He stated that he did not know! What, are you kidding me, HE DID NOT KNOW! So off I went, happy I won and would soon be paid for my hard work. I had read some court pamphlets about how I can collect my money from the client. i.e. sheriff ceasing property. So I thought great, I went down to the Courthouse once again to discuss with the clerk that I wanted the sherif to cease some property. It was then the clerk said that the interest had to be calculated, I had pre-paired a statement, the clerk stated that a Judge would have to calculate the interest, and I had to subpoena the client again and wait for another court date to have the interest calculated! What A joke! I NEVER DID GET PAID!

  7. Mary says:

    So what is my recourse ….
    we install a fireplace and chimney system for a client
    Fireplace is large and bigger than what firs but she insists on this unit
    We were Monsoon rained out on day 2 and 3 of a two-day job .
    Client is now refusing to pay because we did not finish today .
    They would not let us cut a hole in the roof to finish the chimney cause of rain to finish the install.
    The chimney only needs to go thru the soffit area
    Now says they’re not paying the balance of the bill because we did not live up to our contract
    Our contracts directly says that undo harassment by client we can walk off a job but now they’re saying we’re not paying you for any of the work that you did
    so what is my recourse
    Do I walk away from the job and eat the balance or
    Do I finish the work and eat the balance
    They have no intention to pay balance due
    they said we’ll get $500 of a $4,000 remaining contract price

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