Example Example

In Asdourian v Araj (1985) 38 C3d 276, the court held that an oral home improvement contract for over $500, in violation of (former) B&PC §7159, is not necessarily void and unenforceable when denial of enforcement would impose an unduly harsh penalty on the contractor and leave the property owner unjustly enriched. The court allowed the plaintiff-contractor to recover on such a contract partly because the defendant was a real estate investor, not an unsophisticated homeowner or tenant. See also Davenport & Co. Inc. v Spieker (1988) 197 CA3d 566 (contractor allowed to recover for work performed under homeowner’s oral changes to written contract; homeowner was general partner in real estate investment and development firm); Hinerfeld-Ward, Inc. v Lipian (2010) 188 CA4th 86, 94–95 (homeowners were well-educated and had experience with contracts, the project was a complex high-end remodel on which the design continued to evolve over years of planning and construction, and an architect was acting as homeowners’ representative).

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