Last year we had a fence installed on our property. The installers damaged our irrigation sprinkler system. The owner of the fence company (from here on will be fence owner) took responsibility, even though the contract stated they are not responsible for any damage to an irrigation system. My wife wrote on the contract - 'if insurance does not pay for repair, I will have the irrigation repaired.' Then the fence owner signed. We called an irrigation company to assess the damage (from here on will be irrigation company) we told them we are not paying and the fence owner will pay. Irrigation company contacted fence owner and they came to a conclusion that fence owner's insurance will pay. We waited several months and called to schedule the repair, and asked irrigation company if everything is ready to go. They replied that fence owner contacted insurance and will have more info in a few days. We scheduled the repair, irrigation company came out and fixed the problem, and now they did not get paid by the fence owner or his insurance.
No one can get a hold of the fence owner. So they sent us the bill saying we are responsible. Bill was over $3000.00 to our surprise. We never signed anything with irrigation company, we have all the emails stating they were working with the fence owner and the only thing we received was an informal estimate addressed to the fence owner with us as "re: my name and wife's name" I am assuming it means in regards to. The estimate was for $1500.00 - but stated this is only an estimate repairs will be billed time and material.
After researching our options, I saw Illinois had the Home Repair and remodeling act, but excludes landscaping. Which I don't know if this is considered landscaping or plumbing work. Anyway, the owner of the irrigation company sent us an email, stating that... I am writing this email in hopes that I can urge you all to come together to resolve the issue of getting "our company" paid for the services we performed in good faith. I say good faith because we performed work at "my residence" in good faith with the understanding we would be paid in a good and timely manner. Fence owner has committed to pay for the work on behalf of the customer and that "his Insurance" does not have the required information to make payment on the claim. If not resolved by a certain date I am seeking legal action against fence owner and placing a lien on "my residence".
Sorry about the length of the problem, but can they put a lien on my property, even though I did not sign anything. Do I have any rights, if fence owner does not pay, do I have to? What should I Do about this lien. DO I need to contact a lawyer?
Concerned property owner.
1 Answer from Attorneys
From a practical standpoint, a watering system seems to be plumbing, as landscaping commonly refers to planted vegetation and related items. If you had the watering system repaired you owe that bill, and if the fence owner won't "own up" on the added agreement you will probably have to sue under the fence contract. To verify whether your case against the fence owner will be successful, it would be worthwhile having an attorney review the contract.
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