Legal Question in Construction Law in California

My fiance is self employed electrician for more than 20 years and his former boss had refered him to a client to remodel his house installing recess lighting and network connecting, after some time the clint paid him half of the installment labor however, once everything was completed he called my fiance and started to bargin with his to lower the price of the work they negotiated in the beginning, so as a nice person as he is he they settled for $500.00 less. Although a week passed he know has changed his mind and will not conpensate for the job done. His reason for that is that apperantly some of the installation is not done correctly and his not happy with the work, however my fiance was more than willing to go and correct anything that he was not happy with, not to mention when my fiance was working at his place he was with them and even made some of the products that would have save money and instead he has not paid for his labor the job ended in end of March 2010 and my fiance calls him and leaves messages and he will not call him back, he also spoke to his former boss to see if that might help him to encourage unfortunatly it has not. What action can he take and if there is any suggestion at all after all this?

Asked on 6/17/10, 12:10 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

It sounds like your fiance is not a licensed electrical contractor. If so, the Business and Professions Code is very clear that not only is he not entitled to any further payment, in fact the owner has the right to all the money already paid back. If the work was not done correctly, it sounds like your fiance didn't obtain the proper permits and inspections either, which is not surprising since they won't issue permits to unlicensed contractors. Your fiance should be glad the owner is not taking him to court for all the money back. What action your fiance can do in that case is get his license.

If your fiance is a licensed contractor, he should have complied with all the preliminary steps to record a mechanics lien against the property. If he has his license he should have passed a test that would have included mechanics liens and should know what to do to record a lien.

If he is licensed and records a lien and the owner still doesn't pay, he will need to consult with an attorney about filing a lawsuit to foreclose the lien.

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Answered on 6/17/10, 7:34 am

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