This past month of August proved to be a month of emails regarding mechanics liens, lien releases and one in particular about a Material Supplier who could quite possibly be in cahoots with the contractor.
There were a few homeowners who gave 50% or more upfront - with no work started as yet and the contractor would work for a week or so and then suddenly become a no show or would just work a couple of hours a week and drag out the project. After multiple phone calls by the homeowners, the contractor would throw a fit and demand more money. Shocked, the homeowners would argue that the project was just getting started and already behind schedule and that he was given sufficient funds to begin as "per the contract".
(And I bet you that contract is garbage and has little detail regarding the project).
Once the homeowners argue the facts, the contractor threatens a mechanics lien unless they pay up. And frankly they're screwed, because filing fruadulent liens are a dime a dozen with the intention to extort money and if that doesn't work cloud the title on the homeowners poperty. Unscrupulous, smarmy contractors make it a way of doing business and homeowners who get involved with these guys have likely not done a sufficient background check including even the basics of checking license status.
Yet another homeowner gave the 10@ up front required (California law) and a day later found out the the electrician failed to pull the required permits as per the contract and fired him. He also didn't have a business license and the work is suspect. The homeowner filed a complaint with the Contractors Board and the BBB and of course the contractor is threatening the homeowners with a mechanics lien. Now she is looking for an attorney and wanting to know if I have a referral for her. Another homeowner has had problems with a cement pad and patio cover built by a contractor and for the last two years he has failed to respond to her requests. Shoddy construction has her looking for an attorney as well.
Be sure to read the section on Mechanics Liens and to learn more about these homeowners stories at my FAQ section of contractorsfromhell.com