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Richard
Richard, Attorney
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State of Virginia. Verbally agreed that person A would live

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State of Virginia. Verbally agreed that person A would live in person B's home while Person B was overseas for 9 months to a year. In lieu of rent, person A would ensure that a number of home improvements were completed, some of which personally performed by Person A which would save Person B labor costs. Person A did not complete all improvements by the time Person B returned, despite giving email assurances that everything would be completed. Months after Person B returned, Person A has not completed, and Person B has had to pay out of pocket for uncompleted services, as well as unexpected costs (ie to have construction materiel removed). Can Person B sue Person A for breach of contract?
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Yes, Person B does have a valid breach of contract suit. The lack of a written contract can be overcome by the concepts of promissory estoppel, detrimental reliance, and unjust enrichment. This situation arises when Person B relied upon the verbal agreement, Person B performed based on such reliance, and because Person A defaulted, such reliance is now to Person B's detriment. Where there is i) partial performance by Person B based upon the mutual promises, ii) Person B relied upon such promises to perform, iii) Person A's failure to perform would be to Person B's detriment, and iv) result in Person A being unjustly enriched, Person B can overcome the legal requirement that the agreement be in writing. This situation satisfies all the foregoing elements.



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