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DFW Area Landscaper
06-26-2004, 09:34 AM
A guy called from my yellow pages ad this spring. He wants to sign up for my weekly mowing service and he also wants a bunch of shrubs removed from around his pool. He explains that he just bought the house and it's a "fixer-upper".

I quote him a price on the mowing, he signs the contract and pays the last month in advance.

We remove the shrubs and charge our hourly rate. He didn't pay the bill when it was due and we suspended service with the guy owing about $650.

The county's websight shows that he is not the owner of the property.

In my opinion, he commited fraud when he told me that he owned the property. I've got a lot better chance of getting paid on a judgement from a property owner than I do from a renter. Had he told me he was a renter, I probably would have been asking for more money up front.

Did this guy commit fraud? Anyone think the police or District Attorney would help me?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Mark McC
06-26-2004, 10:01 AM
If its your word against his that he claimed to be the owner of the property, you might not have much luck on the fraud part. If you have a work order for the shrub work, you probably have all you need to obtain a judgement, for what that's worth.

DFW Area Landscaper
06-26-2004, 11:44 AM
I guess I'll write the owner of the property and explain that I intend to pursue my legal rights, up to and including a mechanic's lien. Could that be considered extortion if I really don't have the right to a mechanic's lien? I think I'm entitled to one, but not positive. The real issue is, I simply don't know how to write one or file one.

I'll file charges in small claims court on Monday. If I can get the judgement before he loses his job or gets fired or quits, I know where he works. It's a local Ford dealership. I can garnish his wages.

Plus, this year's contract stipulates that I charge $75 for each certified mailing and $450 should the matter go to small claims court and not be turned over to an outside collection agency or attorney. I've also billed him for a $29.00 late fee. If I ever collect, I should be able to collect $554 for my troubles, on top of what he owes me.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Mr_Marc
06-26-2004, 12:56 PM
I know when I bought my house (I had it built) the county tax records were not updated for 60 days after the closing.

Is it possible that this might be the case in your situition.

DFW Area Landscaper
06-26-2004, 01:54 PM
++++I know when I bought my house (I had it built) the county tax records were not updated for 60 days after the closing.

Is it possible that this might be the case in your situition.++++

Yes, I think its possilble. Hope that's what's going on...just a delay in updating the records with the county. I'm much better off with a judgement against a real estate owner than I am a non-real estate owner.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Turf Medic
06-26-2004, 02:04 PM
Originally posted by DFW Area Landscaper
++++I know when I bought my house (I had it built) the county tax records were not updated for 60 days after the closing.

Is it possible that this might be the case in your situition.++++

Yes, I think its possilble. Hope that's what's going on...just a delay in updating the records with the county. I'm much better off with a judgement against a real estate owner than I am a non-real estate owner.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

I would double check with the county records to see if they are behind on updating records. If you came after me like that on one of my rentals, I would probably have my attorney go after you for performing un-authorized work on my property. After all those shrubs were worth big dollars and you destroyed them without my permission :D.


A few years ago I was selling water conditioners, one of the sales people sold a conditioner and installed it without checking to make sure the people actually owned the property. Before it was all done he ended up eating the cost of the equipment and the landlord got of free. This was a settlement they arrived at to keep from paying damages to the landlord for altering the property. After that there was a seperate part of the contract that the person living in the house signed stating he/she was actually the owner, that way if anything like that happened again we could go after the renter.

I would tread lightly until you can determine the ownership of the property.

GrassBustersLawn
06-26-2004, 02:09 PM
DFW

I got caught in the EXACT SAME SITUATION last year. We did a mulch job & some mowing. Customer became delinquent on paying and I discontinued services & took him to small claims court. Got a default judgement against him because he was a no-show. I WAS TOLD by the court clerk that they sent the paperwork downtown to file a lien on the property. Later this year when a FOR SALE sign went up, I checked with the recorder & she showed no lien. FOR SALE sign disappeared & house is still vacant. Apparently (per recorder) the Sheriff has a Tax Lien on the house too. Don't suppose I'll ever see a nickel of the $677 owed.


Mike