Contract Validity Question

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Latest post Mon, Aug 15 2016 10:12 AM by ca19lawyer2. 2 replies.
  • Sun, Aug 14 2016 5:11 PM

    Contract Validity Question

    Hi there,

    I had a question on the validity of a contract and wanted some guidance and opinions from the forum here. Here's the situation:

    My wife and I own a rental property that we rent out to my wife's family. The property had some roof and siding damage from a tornado so we wanted to look into filing an insurance claim to repair/replace the damaged areas. My wife's father has some contacts in the general construction industry so we left it to him to find some potential contractors to take a look at the damage before we filed a claim. We then heard from our insurance that a claim had been initiated with one of the contractors and they were looking to schedule an appointment with the adjuster. After talking to my wife's father he detailed the damage that the contractor had seen so we decided to proceed with the claim. The adjuster came out this morning and approved the claim with no issues, however, we found out at that point that my wife's father had already signed a contract with the contractor guaranteeing them the work on the property. My wife's father signed as the homeowner, which he is not - only my wife and I own the property.

    We obviously want to get a few bids from different contractors who we can independently verify the quality of their work and do not want to be stuck with one contractor. My thought is that since neither of the homeowners signed the contract that it is not valid, but wanted to see if there was any technicality we were missing before reaching out to the contractor. Also, would there be any potential isuses for my wife's father who did sign the contract? ie, would they be able to go after him personally?

    Appreciate any thoughts on this - thanks for your time.

  • Sun, Aug 14 2016 7:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Contract Validity Question

    astonvillasox84:
    My wife's father signed as the homeowner

    Are you in possession of that contract? Are you sure he signed with the word "homeowner" right next to his name or was identified by the word "homeowner" at the top of the contract?

    You need to make sure of your position because so far it seems that you and your wife authorized him to take care of this for you and any contractor he hired would have seen him as having "apparent authority" to act as your agent.

    If, on the other hand, he actually LIED to the contractor and said "I own the home" then you have the option of repudiating the contract and throwing your father-in-law under the bus. I doubt if that would go over well with your wife.

    And, yes, the contractor could certainly sue your father-in-law if you didn't allow him to do the work.

    You've got a big mess there and no leverage. I think you'd better let the contractor do the work as long as the insurance is paying for it.

    In the future when you have a loss to your property, call your insurance first, have an adjuster come out and write up the repair estimate, then YOU call contractors and give them copies of the estimate and see who will do the work for that price.

    Nothing good ever comes of letting your relatives mess around in your business.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Mon, Aug 15 2016 10:12 AM In reply to

    Re: Contract Validity Question

    astonvillasox84:
    My wife's father has some contacts in the general construction industry so we left it to him to find some potential contractors to take a look at the damage before we filed a claim.

    That doesn't really make sense.  Notifying the insurer of the claim should be the first thing you do.

     

    astonvillasox84:
    We obviously want to get a few bids from different contractors who we can independently verify the quality of their work and do not want to be stuck with one contractor.

    Has the insurance adjuster asked that you do this or agreed to it?  I'm wondering why you're not letting the insurance company arrange for the work.

     

    astonvillasox84:
    My thought is that since neither of the homeowners signed the contract that it is not valid, but wanted to see if there was any technicality we were missing before reaching out to the contractor.

    There's no technicality at all.  That your father-in-law signed a contract that erroneously identified him as "homeowner" is of no relevance at all.  He signed it, and he'll potentially be liable for damages if he breaches it (hence, the answer to your last two questions is yes).  That said, the contractor certainly won't be able to enforce the contract by forcing you or your insurer to let him do the work.

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