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RGMacEsq
RGMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 16052
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Back in september I signed a contract with a roofing company.

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Back in september I signed a contract with a roofing company. The contract basically says that I must use them to do my work and if I don't I pay 25% of the total estimate. The contract does not have an expiration date. (a date that the work must be completed by) As part of the contract they hire workers to fix any damage that the insurance adjuster included in the estimate. Its been 60 days, and they've completely ignored me.

I want out of this contract. My question is this: Is there a time frame that a contract, written without an expiration date, naturally expires ?? Additionally, there are two owners listed on the property. The owners have no legal bond such as marriage. Only one owner signed the contract. Can this be a loophole that I can use to get out of the contract ?

RGMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

RGMacEsq :

Just to be clear, there has been damage to the roof and the insurance adjuster has approved the claim, already filed the report, etc...? And it has still been 60 days from that point?

Customer:

That is correct.

RGMacEsq :

And how many times (estimate) have you attempted to contact them with no success?

RGMacEsq :

Are you still there? Did you see my follow up question about how many times you contacted them?

Customer:

They are doing more than just the roof. We have a skylight that was damaged. The person I was working with contacted me 3 times and said he would send someone to estimate the skylight. He never did. Then about 2 weeks ago he contacted me again to meet and go over what work needed to be done. We couldnt find a time early in the week that would work. He said he would call me back friday, I didnt hear from them till yesterday. they came out to measure the roof. My problem is this... Part of the damage includes house painting and deck refinishing. Its getting too cold at night to paint the house. I wanted all the work completed at once. I didn't want to have to wait till next spring to have this done. Now if I go with them I'm probably stuck waiting till spring for all the work to be complete.

RGMacEsq :

I see...

RGMacEsq :

Did they ever give you an estimate of how long it was going to take, if it was going to be done by now, etc...? And would there be another company that could finish it up before next spring?

Customer:

They could have completed the painting in October, when the weather was good. But they did nothing until yesterday.

RGMacEsq :

I understand. Did they give you an estimate at the beginning of how long it was going to take?

Customer:

no, they said they had alot of people in from of us (roofing wise). But they hire out all of the other work.

Customer:

*in front of us

RGMacEsq :

And what about my other question, if there is another company out there that can finish it up before next spring?

Customer:

Probably not the paint

Customer:

Im going to have to wait now because of the cold.

RGMacEsq :

Thank you. First of all, I will address the other owners on the house: while they're not going to be liable to any contract that you sign and that they don't sign, that doesn't mean that the contract itself is unenforceable. That is, there's no requirement that every owner sign. Rather, each individual owns an "undivided" portion of the property, meaning that he/she can make improvements to the property without the consent of the others. That means that any contractual liability would stay with you, and while they could certainly contract with another company without any penalties, the contract with you would still be valid, and this first roofing company could still go after you assuming the contract was not breached by them because of non-action.

RGMacEsq :

Now as to the part of the situation where there is no definite time period in the contract... Where no exact time for performance is fixed by the contract terms, Colorado law provides that the performance shall be made within “a reasonable time.” Shull v. Sexton, 154 Colo. 311 (Colo. 1964). This is known as an "implied contractual term". Now what constitutes a reasonable amount of time is a case-by-case determination based upon the particular circumstances of the contract at issue. A court will often look at the expectations of the parties at the time the contract was entered into and also the time necessary to complete contractual duties. And often that depends on what the nature of the damage is (a whole roof is more involved than a patch job), industry demand (roofers are in high demand after major storms, for instance, and the time period is longer as a result), etc... There is no set time period at which the contract becomes void or voidable on your part. The "reasonable time period" is going to be what controls.

RGMacEsq :

So it's possible that 1 month could be seen as unreasonable, or that 6 months could be seen as reasonable. It all depends on the facts surrounding the situation, and I wish I could make it more definite than that, but unfortunately there is no set period of time. What is considered is whether they could have gotten it done in an earlier time period, as well as any representations made to you, etc...

RGMacEsq :

That is, if they represented that it would be done before the weather got bad, or at least implied that, etc... then that would certainly be something that would be considered.

RGMacEsq :

Also statements about the scope of the project would be considered. Finally, the attempts to contact and any unreasonable lack of communication would be considered.

RGMacEsq :

Now the main problem is that this is a contractual defense. It would be used if they were to sue you for breaching the contract by going with some other company. That would be true in that you went to some other company after saying that you would not, and so the only "out" that you could have is that they breached first by not completing their obligations within a reasonable period of time.

RGMacEsq :

And ultimately that would be up to the court to determine whether that happened or not. ANd therein lies the risk: you don't know what the court is going to say. You can have a good idea (particularly if they had the ability and the means to accomplish this and did not before bad weather).

Customer:

They didn't give me a timeframe yesterday. So I still don't know when they will start. The rep I talked to again said he would call me back and hasn't to date.

RGMacEsq :

As such, I would suggest that you contact them, in writing, certified letter, return receipt requested, requesting "assurance" that they are going to be able to complete their obligations this year. State that you know that they had a reasonable time period to complete the contract and that you feel that they have breached by nonaction. Find out what they would say.

Customer:

thats seems reasonable

RGMacEsq :

Understood. And that's why you're going to want to get something in writing sent to them putting them on notice that you're thinking that this could be a breach by nonaction.

RGMacEsq :

If they still do not respond, or they say that they're not going to be able to get it done this year, you can use that as further evidence that they have breached first by not acting in a reasonable time frame.

RGMacEsq :

Again, this is a defense, IF they take you to court for breach of contract. It would be best to avoid that, as relying on a defense is not a good primary strategy, but rather a "plan B".

RGMacEsq :

It's a good thing to know and a good way to inform the other side that you're considering legal action should it come to that, but if you can get them to act and get assurances that they will act, that would be preferable. I

Customer:

I see.

RGMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Customer:

Thank you. That was very helpful.

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