Q: I was in negotiation with a roofer to replace my roof. We never signed a contract as we never finalized the color of shingles, start time, price etc. He shows up at my house on Dec. 23 while I am away and rips off roof and finishes on Dec. 24th. The shingles are the wrong color, nails are sticking up, the ridge is not cut despite the installation of a ridge vent, there is no water/ice shield, and there is no dead row applied. I told them I wasn’t paying because it cannot be repaired, especially the color. I signed an estimate when he was working with my insurance company but it says it is void if there is no coverage. That was signed in Sept. He has now filed a mechanics lien. How do I fight this? How can I go after him since I didn’t pay anything, but now may incur expenses?
A: Filing a lien is one of the steps a contractor seeking payment for services may take. It must be followed by a lawsuit. Automatic dissolution of the lien occurs if suit to enforce the lien is not brought within two (2) years. If suit is brought it appears you may have a counterclaim under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act, which provides certain things roofers must do, including having a written contract for the work performed. Further, the Mechanics Lien Law requires Notice to you prior to the filing of the lien. If the contractor did not follow the correct procedures the lien can be dissolved. From the facts provided, it appears you have stronger potential claims against the roofing contractor than the claim against you for payment. The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act provides the court with discretion to award consumers with three times their damages and attorney fees. If the Mechanic’s Lien has any of the above procedural flaws, an attorney may be able to file a motion to remove it.