The charges total $2200 for "change orders" that are baseless. This additional invoice came as a surprise after i paid the agreed-upon invoice. I have documentation, and I believe my case is strong, but I worry that fighting it will cost more than just paying up. If I do decide to dispute it, what is my next step? And if I have to hire an attorney, would my attorney fees be able to be paid by contractor if I win?
Oklahoma law requires the contractor to send the owner of an owner-occupied dwelling a Notice to Owner of certain lien rights in order to clam a lien. Specifically, notice must be given to the owner PRIOR to a contractor's first performance of labor or the provision of materials. No Oklahoma mechanics lien shall be enforceable unless the notice is provided to the owner. Notice must be written and substantially comply as per Oklahoma statute.
The Contractor also must file with the Clerk a Mechanic's Lien Statement of Claim within four (4) months after the date upon which material or equipment used on said land was last furnished or labor last performed under contract.
I assume that the Contractor is still within the four month period, AND that you were given the preliminary notice of the contractor' right to file and intent to file a lien in the event of non-payment.
While the amount is small, do not be intimidated by the Contractor's threats. If the contractor failed to provide the necessary preliminary notice to you, the lien will be ineffective and if required, you could take action to have it removed.
Regardless of the validity of the claim for which the author gives no opinion from these facts, you can assume that whomever is the prevailing party will likely be awarded attorneys fees by the Court if suit is necessary.
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