Has anyone had a customer refuse to pay, and have you threatened to remove or pick up the cabinets, and actually had to take the cabinets back? If so, did you run into any problems? Do you need to notify the police, or get a court order, or should I hire a repo company? Unfortunately, it looks like this is what it is going to come to, and I am not sure what to do.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor S:
Careful - not sure about your state, but once cabinets have been fastened to the walls, they become part of the house. We had a GC that defaulted on several subs (he did about 20 houses a year) in more than one house. We were able to get the cultured marble vanity tops, but that was it. Filed a lien, but we were last in line. Good luck, and seek legal advice.
Laws vary by state and some of these things are a grey area. A client that is not willing to pay you will most likely not pursue legal action against you for removing things that they have not paid for.
If you can get the customer to let you remove these things, that would be fine. Otherwise, you might be charged with theft. Be very careful. A lien may be your best option. Talk to a construction attorney. There are many liens and each have different effects and requirements.
Need some encouragement to talk to an attorney? In Texas, if a residential project is over $5,000, you must have a construction account for that project. If it is over $20K, you must be registered with the state as a builder even if you are the subcontractor. Otherwise the customer can refuse payment and sue you for Deceptive Trade Practices and you wind up paying them. I don't know where you are, but I would be surprised if there were not backward laws that could hurt you in a situation like this. Good luck, and unfortunately, welcome to the club. I have a similar situation, and 3 years later, it might be coming to trial at the beginning of next year.
Texas Property Code Section 162
Talk to your banker. He should be able to set up a Construction Account for the person. You need to be able to track the money going in and the money going out. It is not a 2 party check system. This is your accounting.
A person must be registered with the State of Texas as a builder if:
Sec. 401.003. DEFINITION OF BUILDER.
(a) In this title, "builder" means any business entity or individual who, for a fixed
price, commission, fee, wage, or other compensation, constructs or supervises or manages the construction of:
(1) a new home;
(2) a material improvement to a home, other than an improvement solely to replace or repair a roof of an existing home; or
(3) an improvement to the interior of an existing home when the cost of the work exceeds $20,000.
The state of Texas is the one who issues licenses. I don't think there is much to it. One of my attorneys said that you must pass the mirror test - you have to be able to fog a mirror placed under your nose. But nevertheless, it is one of those requirements.