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Update on the client who claims their contractor has placed a fraudulent lien on her house



So much doesn't add up in this post from an aggrieved client. But the theme of contractors filing fraudulent or vexatious liens is a common one.

This is a follow up post from a homeowner who feels their contractor’s lien claim is nothing but “legal theft.”

Here is their original post from last October, and it seems things have only deteriorated since then.

Comments welcome below.

Our contractor seems to make his living suing owners. He treated us horribly, did not build as per contract or plan, kept giving us change orders and refused to build unless we paid them. This was a fixed price contract. He kept doing work not approved by us and he kept charging us. Then he put a false $102,000 lien on our house when we were paid up to date as per the contract. Now $20,000 later we are just waiting for a quantity survey, the rough copy of which states all the mistakes and how we should be credited for them, how there should be no lien. This company has an amazingly false website, they did not honour their contract. All we have from July 07, 2017 to now (Feb 25, 2019) is a barely framed house on a foundation, a roof, exterior doors and a basement floor. HVAC and plumbing is roughed in. That’s it. We had paid the contractor almost $90,000 for all the work complete, so how do they get off putting a $102,000 lien on our house?

This company has over 30 registered court cases against them. I talked to one client briefly as she stated she lost $25,000 to them last September. But she was just happy to get rid of them and hired someone else. They have ruined our life. Our house is now full of mold as its been sitting all winter after they abandoned the build five months ago. It’s taken us this long for us to save the money to prove the contract. This is not fair, there is very little help for the consumer…

We had no invoice, no warning at all about this lien. We have no clue what the $102,000 lien is for. How fair is that? They do not talk to you. Our lawyer has four binders of horrible texts, emails and bullying from our builder. They are big and rich so they don’t care. I believe this is some kind of legal theft. Anyone thinking of hiring a contractor, please check the justice system and how many times they have registered in the courts against customers. I really wish we had. We wish the law would change. There are bad contractors that use the lien system to make money. I believe we fell into that trap.

Della Mackie

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6 Comments » for Update on the client who claims their contractor has placed a fraudulent lien on her house
  1. Gino Di Ciocco says:

    Below are some ideas and defenses (in random order):

    1) The Lien Law requires the total value of the work to have been approved by the Owner. Therefore, unless they have a mutual signed formal document(s) showing a total of $192,000 (i.e. $90 paid, plus Lien of $102 for unpaid contract balance.), the lien cannot stand.

    2) Some jurisdictions permit the Owner to formally request a detailed Statement and Itemization of the Liened amount, which would provide you a “clue [of] what the $102,000 lien is for”. I’d have your attorney make a formal request.

    3) Your attorney could try to dismiss the Lien for “willful exaggeration” by the Lienor. If proven, some jurisdictions permit fines and recovery of damages against the person who filed the Lien, in addition to the company itself.

    4) Construction costs to correct or repair for mold caused by Contractor’s negligence failure to protect the work, could be a deduction to any amounts proven to be properly owed them in the lien.

    5) In the interim, you can “bond off” the Lien through a Surety (at a very nominal cost), which can be renewed annually.

    6) This would permit you to continue construction on your home at little risk — while the lien just sits there, until the Contractor files a lawsuit to foreclose on its lien – – which would ultimately be shown to be invalid in court.

    • Della Mackie says:

      Thank you for your reply, the problem is you need cash up front to pay your lawyers to help with this,, we did lots ourselves but we need a lawyer for the rest, Not everyone has thousands of dollars in a bank to pay legal fee, we are forced now to pay for 2 places and i lost my home base buisness because I cannot sell from the place i am tempera-rally in now, so income has dropped. So i think this buisness rely’s on breaking you so they profit. Thank you for the information on the mold, That is very helpful, as well as the rest of your reply,

  2. Della Mackie says:

    This is still in the courts, we have lost our retirement money our future and will lose this house, win or loose,, even know we made 3 attempts to negotiate with the owner they would not even respond, I only met the owner maybe 3 times, ignored us through the build, we have now spent close to $70,000 in lawyer fees had the lien reduced from approx $103,000 to $60,000 for now as the $60,000 is now in a trust account so we could build and get rid of the mold, we have occupancy now but we did most ourselves and the house is ok but not our dream but it doesnt really matter at this point because it will be too muchmoney for us to keep now, if they put a gag order on us I will not be able to update the outcome, BC law really does not help the consumer in a false lien situation, it states the builder could have to pay the amount of the false lien but we were told that has never been done in BC as they will protect the builders , buyer beware, I would never build a house again knowing what I know now, also if you win your legal fees are only a portion paid, if we get a max $25,000 back we will be lucky, its been 3 years since we signed the contract and only last week we got occupancy but trim baseboards window frames and shelves railings still need installing as well as back steps from the sundeck, we had to take over and learn quick how to build a house, and Im almost 60, our doors painting etc is ok but we are not professionals and it show,s ,, I really hope and pray our justice system works because when a contractor takes advantage of this system it ruins peoples lives , futures and our dream of having a house together for retirement,, Not all liens are false and I am sure contractors need to do this for honest cases, but for us this company took advantage of this system to try to ruin us, 3 years of extreme sleepless nights and stress for what,,, because we signed a contract with the wrong company .. We now can never retire,, I would like one day to take my things out of storage and live my life again. I really hope in the future our case helps other victims of fraudulent liens, oh and I still have not received any dated invoices as to what the lien is for,

  3. Della Mackie says:

    Here is another update, the horrific time we have gone through just gets worse. from early May till June 11th we gave our lawyer another $15,000 to get ready for our trial for June 20th 2020 finally we thought we would finally get our day in court we put out over $60,000 in legal fees etc, and because its on an island we have been forced to pay for 2 places cause we work on the main island, we just got occupancy in May doing this build mostly ourselves finally, was not easy for us as we were inexperienced and just thrown into this, but after a year of waiting our trial date was very close, even with covid everything seemed to be headed for trial and an end to this horrific nightmare finally so we thought. a trial management meeting was held on June 10th 2020 and as it turned out both lawyers had miss -filed for the trial, our lawyer explained about the rules changing and we would discuss setting a new date, as stated in his email the next day , well a month goes by and he would not return calls or reply to emails, just his secretary stating he was working on another case, then a quick email after a month stating he was busy with another case then another month and a half of us trying to get a hold of him to see what was going on, and if another date was filed,, and all we got was a letter stating he was changing his practice as he had tried to change his practice for the last year and he was stepping down as our lawyer (this was 2 1/2 months after the trial was cancelled) so time wasted, his letter stated it was nothing we did he was downsizing going to do just wills estates, and icbc claims we could appeal but he was no longer wanted to work on our case and” thank you for your business, ” and that was that After the trial was cancelled he never met with us face to face he avoided us, it was so out of character I thought someone had got to him or maybe he was sick or we just did not know , I feel this case is extremely complicated and boxes and boxes of evidence , but still he took in may and June a total of $15,000 from us only to return about $2023.00 ??? we signed the contract with the builder in July 2017 it is now October 2020 and we are out so much money and let down from a lawyer who was eager and doing a good job and ready to help us so this was very out of character. now all that money gone, was like a knife went through our gut, now we have to pay another lawyer to get him educated on what is happening and he has to read the discoveries etc,, , we hired a bigger firm with more then one lawyer in the office. (lesson learned) our next court date will hopefully be in August 2021 so far but the stress is horrible , as we were suppose to retire in mid 2018 after our house was built, now our retirement savings is pretty much gone our retirement is just a memory we thought would happen, I blame these horrible builders who took it all away the bullied us into a corner and it was a hostage taking the minute we signed the first contract and gave them almost $50,000 up front, We are now forced to work and forced to pay for 2 places and because of home warrenty we cannot even sell the new house and get one place to live until another year and a half, We need the tiny 70’smobile we are still staying in when we work our monthly expenses are so high and we get to enjoy the 70’s mobile and only coming to enjoy the house on days off which is not many, This has been a horrible hostage taking by these builders, we finally built this house ourselves, not professional but hired people for things we could not do ourselves, finishing we did but not perfect but we had to get it done and had to save money. whats really devastating is we cant retire, I have missed seeing my kids and grandkids on the mainland because we have been so busy and tied up with work, building, court case and evidence and receipts, its a horrible nightmare we cant wake up from, and despite all our letter for help no one will look into this or investigate this , there is no help for the unsuspecting buyer, other then expensive lawyers, why are the laws like this, why are builders allowed to put liens on a home without proof, we were paid to date all valid invoices and even an invalid change order we paid, on a fixed price contract, when we had the lien reduced they told the judge the lien was the invoice, how is that even allowed? I believe our lawyer just gave up, our case is very complicated now we have to pay thousands for the new lawyer to get it ready for trial as we are counter suing, are there any other victims out there that have had bullies put an over inflated lien on there house with no proof and get away with it? the lien was not invoiced to us and was unknown to us and for an amount that was extremely inflated, There inflated lien has cost us hundreds of thousands now, I hope at the end of this there is justice and no other consumer ever has to ever go through what we have gone through. This is a contractor who has totally taken advantage of the lien system.

  4. Chris says:

    Have you gone to the media? This is completely outrageous and needs to be brought to the public’s attention. It’s the only way to make politicians give a damn about anyone.

  5. dharmia mika says:

    Is this still on going? I think there is a huge loop hole in lien law system and obviously contractors take advantage of it. All the burden of proof is to the home owners and this is unfair. What was the conclusion of this case? Did the contractor got charged by the trial?

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