Pool Company Doesn't Pay Subcontractor; Family Faces Lien on Home

“We're out $50,000, and our pool is not finished,” Yvette Turner said.

As if Yvette Turner of Rowlett didn't have enough to worry about, her backyard pool problems have taken another turn for the worse.

We brought you her story earlier this month. They paid a local contractor, Poolscapes NTX, more than $54,000 to design their backyard, but the project was never finished. A refund, they said, would not be possible.

Now, Yvette has a lien on her home from a subcontractor who worked under Poolscapes. Yvette says the subcontractor is owed $7,000 and wasn't paid by the contractor.

Earlier this month, the owner of Poolscapes NTX told us his company was "out of business, closed forever," and had gone bankrupt, leaving the Turners with a mess in their backyard.

Turner said the workers stopped showing up last month and that the owner, Chris Michaels, admitted to using her money on other customers' projects.

“How do we get it completed?” she said. “Now we have subcontractors coming after us for the payments that [Poolscapes NTX] didn't make to them.”

We couldn't find any documents that prove the owner, Chris Michaels, filed for bankruptcy under Poolscapes NTX. But he has filed in the past under another business name.

We also asked Michaels about the lien on the Turners’ home. We haven't gotten a response.

“How will this ever end?” Turner said. “Will be able to pay our home off?”

Attorney Nancy Carnahan has taken on a number of liens cases and says the Turners’ situation isn't uncommon.

“With pool contractors, you have a guy doing the plumbing, another guy pouring the ganite in the swimming pool, another guy doing the decking,” Carnahan said.

“And all those are folks that need to be paid, and if they're not paid by the general contractor, unfortunately for the homeowner that may come back to bite you and you're forced to pay a second time....so they're looking for someone...an easier way to collect their money,” she said.

Carnahan says homeowners should check with a reputable attorney to see if the lien is even valid. If specific rules and deadlines aren't followed the lien may be deemed null and void.

“There’s some good contractors out there, but there’s a whole lot of bad ones too, so your best defense is a good offense,” Carnahan said.

Here are Samantha Chatman’s solutions:

  • When you're looking for a contractor, you may want to choose one that's been in business under the same name for many years. That's usually a good sign
  • You can also check court records to see if they have any pending lawsuits, which could be a red flag
  • The process of looking up a company's legal history may take some time and effort, but it's worth it
  • Finally, be sure to look up the company's reviews online
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