Wat to do if I did some work for a property owner who is refusing to pay me?

UPDATED: Jan 11, 2013

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Wat to do if I did some work for a property owner who is refusing to pay me?

I keep getting excuse after excuse. The property needed painting sp that the new tenants can move in by the first of this month. I was hired a week before and I worked almost 12 hour days to meet the deadline. Since then the new tenants have mo ed in and have not gotten payed for my work. It was a verbal agreement between the property owner and myself. Ive since handed her an invoice she agreed to payment but has not fallowef throughwith it. Can I get my money through the courts or am I taking a loss for this? What can I do?

Asked on January 11, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, California


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could file a suit in small claims for the amount of the invoice.  When you file, you will have to pay a filing fee-- which you can also ask for as reimbursement in the suit.  California has some very good self-help programs for small claims suits.  Here is a link to their site which will help you start the process: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

Usually getting the judgment is the easy part.  Collecting a judgment tends to be the challenge.  Before you file, you may want to try to reason with her that paying you now is cheaper than paying extra court costs later.  You may also want to hire an attorney for the limited purpose of sending a demand letter for payment.  Some will do it for less than the costs of a filing fee.  You have options-- just pick the one that works for your comfort level.

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