What to do if a contractor has not paid us for work done?

UPDATED: Feb 26, 2011

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What to do if a contractor has not paid us for work done?

A contractor hired us to paint a new property recently. It has been more than 30 days and still no payment –  a little over $8000. What can I do? A lien?

Asked on February 26, 2011 under Business Law, New Jersey


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can, most likely, place a contractors lien on the property that you painted, but that will not get you the money any time soon.  Do you have a contract with the contractor as a sub-contractor? You should.  What you need to do is to sue the contractor for the money.  Here is the thing.  The amount that is owed you seems to be a bit higher than most small claims court allowances (but you can look and see) so you would have to sue in I believe Superior Court in New Jersey.  That can get costly because of filing fees, etc.  It may be more cost effective for you to hire an attorney on a flat rate fee to send a letter on your behalf and advise you on the best steps next taken here.  A lien is always an option.  Good luck. 

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