How to defend against a breach of contract claim?

UPDATED: Nov 17, 2011

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How to defend against a breach of contract claim?

I signed a contract with a roofer and I subsequently found out he wasn’t licensed. He showed up to do my roof but I did not let him. He did not get a license until a month after I signed the contract. Can he now sue me for breach of contract?

Asked on November 17, 2011 under Business Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If in your state, a roofer may not legally do this work without being licensed, then the contract was void for illegality: a contract to do  an illegal thing is not enforceable, and so if it would have been illegal for him to do the work, the contract was void.

On the other hand, if he could have legally done the work--i.e. if whatever the consequences for not having a license, they did not include an absolute bar on him doing the work--it may be that the contract was not voidable, since there was no illegality. In that case, though, while you might have to go through with the contract--or pay damages for your improper termination thereof--you may be entitled to an appropriate offset or damages, such as for any fee or penalty you'd have to pay, or additional costs you'd have to incur, in regards to an unlicensed roofer.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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