How to defend against a breach of contract claim?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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