Options for a subcontractor when a contractor refuses payment

People hire general contractors to perform construction on their property. For example, if a business owner wants an office space updated, she or he may contact a contractor. When contractors oversee construction projects, they may outsource specialized work to subcontractors. 

If you are a subcontractor and the contractor you performed work for refuses or reduces the fees owed to you, you may take legal action. Knowing how to prepare in these types of situations is imperative to receive your proper payment. 

Creating a suitable contract 

The contractor needs to create a detailed contract for you both. This agreement needs to include a listing of your project duties, expected payment and the completion date. A written agreement ensures that there is proof of work expectations and an agreed-upon fee, which is vital if the contractor attempts to not pay you and you need to pursue legal action. 

Keeping documentation 

Keep records of all work that transpired during your time working for the contractor. Providing evidence of the work you contributed to the project may be useful in the case of a lawsuit. If a contractor attempts to claim that you did not perform the work, did it poorly or ran over the expected completion date, thorough documentation may be essential. 

Moving forward with a mechanic’s lien 

As a subcontractor, you may need to consider filing a mechanic’s lien to make sure that you receive the payment you deserve. This involves filing a claim and serving both the contractor and the property owner with a notice of intent. In Colorado, there are mechanic liens forms specifically for subcontractors to file. It is also necessary to file the claim in the county in which the property resides. 

Handling a situation in which a contractor is unwilling to pay you is often quite difficult, but understanding how to protect yourself in these events is important.