Non-Licensed Doesn’t Always Mean Not Liable

What happens when an unlicensed defendant promises to pay for a septic system incident to the sale of a piece of real estate?

In a recent Court of Appeals case out of Orange County, the plaintiff purchased fifteen acres of land upon which the defendant-seller promised to install a septic system. The deal required the defendant to pay any amount for the septic system in excess of $10,000.00. The septic system ended up costing upwards of $30,000.00. In North Carolina, only a certified contractor can install a septic system; therefore defendant argued that it would be impossible for him to fulfill the contract, and he should be relieved from any obligation. The trial court and Court of Appeals disagreed stating that the contract didn’t require him to personally install the system and he could have hired a certified contractor to complete the work.

Moral of the story: licensing, or lack thereof, doesn’t always shield you from liability on contractual promises. Also a reminder: unlicensed general contractors in North Carolina cannot recover on contracts in excess of $30,000.00.

To learn more about this topic or any other construction legal issue, please contact Lindsey Powell and the attorneys of Anderson Jones, PLLC at (919) 277-2541 or by email!