firstname.lastname@example.org wrote the following:
In many jurisdictions, a permit is required for any building or fence to
be installed on the property.
There are setbacks and size limits on each building or fence.
According to the the OP, the contractor was well aware of the need for,
and requirements of a permit, and never checked if the OP had acquired
No, that's not what was said. The "boilerplate" contract stated any
required permits were the responsibility of the property owner. That
contract would be used for a fence, pool, addition, window
replacement, roof replacement, etc. Doesn't meen a permit was
required, or the contractor knew a permit was required.
Even when permits are NOT required, minimum setbacks, fence heights,
etc are still mandated by bylaws which must be adhered to. These same
bylaws determine if a permit is required by the size and construction
of the shed, etc., being proposed.
It is the OWNERS responsibility to know about easements existant on
the property and to avoid impinging on them.
Precisely. There's a difference between asking a contractor to do something
clearly illegal, like bypassing an electric meter and something that might
not even require a permit, like erecting a shed. The builder is not a title
company and has specifically excluded his liability for pulling any required
permits. While the builder might indeed move the shed for free or for a
small fee in response to a complaint to the licensing board, I can't see the
owner prevailing in court for the reasons you've mentioned. I don't even
really see any licensing board compelling the contractor to move the shed
because of the contract the homeowner signed. The contractor merely has to
complete the job in a workmanlike fashion that conforms to common industry
practice to cover his butt.
On Jul 1, 9:29 pm, email@example.com wrote:
A permit is required here in rural NJ, hardly a big city. It's also
exactly what he means by easement. He says they placed it only 4 ft
from a fence and that an "easement" requires 10 ft. Sounds to me more
like the municipality requires it be setback min 10ft from the
line, which is not unusual. I agree that if it is truly an easement
unique to that property then the contractor would not know about it.
That's true. Had the contract been silent with no mention of permit
responsibility the homeowner might have had a leg to stand on, but the fact
that he's aware that permits were his responsibility is a big mountain to
climb. A judge is likely to say "Why didn't you ask the contractor what
that meant before signing it?" I think it's actually lucky that the OP ran
into this issue on such a small matter. He'll be a LOT more careful in the
future when he signs a contract and that's a good thing.
Yep. But there are two contracts going on here. The first party says "I'll
perform so-and-so and I'll give you a piece of paper to memorialize it."
Subsequently when the 1st party proffers a piece of paper at variance with
his original promise, the first contract is voided. Now we have a new
contract which, as you said, is governed by the four corners. If the 2nd
party is still under the impression that it's the first promise simply put
down in writing - and he can prove it - there is no contract.
There are dozens of other ambiguities that can void a contract. For example,
unless the initial contract says "Buyer is responsible for the stuff on
pages two through 12" anything past the first page may be thrown out. If the
contract is at variance with the law or social norms, such as "six one-hour
sex activities in lieu of a down-payment," the contract is voidable. If the
contract is written in a language that one party does not know, and that
party relies on the word of the other party, the contract can be voided.
Common these days is litigation involving cell phones. Does the statement:
"Sign up for a 3-year contract and get a phone absolutely free" include the
$30 sales tax on the phone? (It does). "One year contract" in bold letters
on the front - "automatically renewed for two more years" on the back in
fine print gets thrown out.
Again, where the bargaining power of the two parties is grossly unequal, the
courts are usually quite sympathetic to the underdog.
As I said previously the big unknown here is exactly what the contract
regarding permits and that is key. For example I have seen
give out quotes where it says it's the responsibility of the
to PAY for permits. Meaning the way they work it the contractor gets
the permits, but the homeowner pays for them. And certainly plenty of
contracts have been written with poor wording that can be ambiguos.
Without knowing what the contract in question says, no one here can
know for sure what exactly it does or does not say.
And in line with what you say, if the contract has any ambiguity, the
judicial resolution favors the party that did not write it and is not
the professional in the field.
Dude, where did you learn such crazy things? A written contract causes any
preceding oral agreement to die an instant death unless its terms are
incorporated in writing. Courts could not function if litigants were
allowed to claim all sorts of oral addenda or previous oral contracts.
Carmen is correct in saying that the writing supercedes all that and only
written modifications either made to that contract or clearly added to it
and agreed by both sides are enforceable in court. The "four corners" rule.
Oral representations are almost universally totally meaningless in real
estate cases. Only writings are considered.
Gack!!!!!! The beat-down of years of American jurisprudence goes on. Why
do you think contracts are page numbered "page 1 of 10?" To prevent
fraudulent additions or modifications. That's why lawyers advise clients to
initial or even sign every page, and especially if there are modifications
that benefit them.
Typically the illegal sections are labeled unenforceable, but if properly
worded, all other provisions stand. That's severability. If the entire
contract is contrary to public policy, it can be voided.
A contract may be voided if performance becomes impossible as in roofing a
building that just burned down. But if the job is more difficult that
foreseen (our vent hole case) that's tough luck and does not void the
Funny how all the Hispanic homebuyers aren't able to use HeyBub's law to
escape their responsibilities.
There are definite legal situations where a contract can be voided. One is
if you've entered into a contract with a minor. It it usually their option
to either perform or void the contract.
Lack of mental capacity can void a contract if it can be shown the signer
lacked the faculties to understand what he was signing.
If there are mistakes in the contract made by both parties, the contract can
be voided, but usually not if only one side errs.
Fraud can void a contract. If you're LifeLock and tell customers their data
is stored on a secure, encrypted server and that's not true, that's fraud
and they can get their money back and sue for any consequential damages
arising from the misrepresentation.
Nonsense. Partly because no phone contract that I know of allows signers to
go to court in the first place. They are restricted to binding arbitration.
Your "free phone" example doesn't exist, AFAIK, because phone companies put
the buyer on notice that they are responsible for paying all applicable
sales taxes. Those contracts also typically state that any change to the
service for any reason resets the contract expiration date. It's a rotten,
stinking way to do business, but it's far more legal than the voter
disenfranchisements you so often claim are legal.
I think you're confused about something: the difference between an
unenforceable clause and an entirely voided contract. The only time in
recent history I can recall a law saying "if any part of this law is
challenged successfully, the entire law becomes void" is the NYS gay
marriage law. It was including to prevent gay rights activists from
chipping away at the law by challenging various portions they don't like.
It also appears in wills - anyone challenging this will is automatically
disinherited. Both provisions serve to protect the integrity of the law or
will at stake.
Most contracts have a severability clause, meaning even if one clause is
deemed invalid, the rest still stands.
<<If any provision of this Contract is held unenforceable, then such
provision will be modified to reflect the parties' intention. All remaining
provisions of this Contract shall remain in full force and effect.>>
Contract voiding only occurs within very specific circumstances that I
outlined above, plus a few more.
Again, see the mortgage crisis to determine how little courts feel about the
little guy. See the recent SCOTUS rulings that have favored Big Busines
needs over those of workers and customers.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.