I was working on a house for rent but the house was condemned and I couldn't move in. How do I...
get my wages owed to me for my labor?
Unless you have a written agreement stating that your work on the house would be performed in exchange for rent, you have practically no legal redress available.
Did you and the house owner agree that your work would be at an hourly rate of "X" dollars per hour, to be converted to the amount of the monthly rent, and that your work would substitute for cash?
Did anyone witness the verbal arrangements between yourself and the house owner with regard to your working on the house in exchange for rent?
Did the owner ever state to you that if you did not or could not move in, he/she would pay you the cash equivalent of what you would possibly be owed for the work performed?
Either way...even if you have a written document guaranteeing that you would be paid an hourly rate for the work you did...you would still have to hire a lawyer and take the house owner to court. If you won your case, the judge might also award you attorney's fees as part of the settlement, but it's highly likely that HALF the cost of an attorney would be less than what you would be owed for the work you did. Most attorneys won't touch a case like that.
Do you have a signed contract showing the details of your agreement? Do you have any proof that you were working on this house? Do you have receipts where you purchased materials to work on this house?
You agreed to work for rent not hourly wages, so this could complicate things for you. Did you have an agreement for what you would be paid if you did not live in the house?
Many lawyers will give you a free consultation. However, I do not see a lawer taking this case becaus e you must have unmistakable proof.
GET A COPY OF THE VIOLATIONS THAT RESTRICT YOU FROM MOVING INTO THE HOUSE. IF YOU CAN finish the work to remove the violations, make sure you have a legal agreement with the owner as pointed out by other hubbers. Set a value of how much your work is worth. get in writing the terms and lenght that you can stay in the house. Who will pay taxes and utilities?
If the house has potential value increases get a option to buy at whatever the house is worth or negoiate a low price. Negotiate if any rent you pay will be credited to the sale of the house.
If all fails, a lawyer may consider if there is a chance to make big bucks.
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