If I preformed a service for a customerand installed materialsbut thecustomer does not pay bill, can remove those materials from the building?

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If I preformed a service for a customerand installed materialsbut thecustomer does not pay bill, can remove those materials from the building?

Customer owns a building which we remodeled so he could lease it to his customer. We were asked to do the wiring to his customer’s specifications, which we did. Therewas no quote, just time and materials. Now he thinks the bill was too high and does not want to pay.

Asked on January 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, that is not how you recover what is due you--if you do this, you will be likely be guilty of some combination of trespassing, breaking and entering, theft, and/or vandalism.

If you did work for someone and they won't pay, you sue them. You can sue even on an oral agreement--e.g. just a spoken agreement for time and materials. It's possible that if you are charging for an unreasonable amount of hours or an unreasonable rate, a court might not give you everything you want--they may compensate you based on what is considered "reasonable" in your area for that work--but if you did the work, you should get something. For smaller amounts, you could represent yourself in small claims court; for larger amounts, hire an attorney to seek payment.


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