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Unlicensed contractor can’t sue homeowner for breach of contract

What if an unlicensed contractor does work  and then the  homeowner decides not to pay the entire bill?  How do the courts treat such a situation?  If you’re in Hawaii, the courts won’t help you.  Hawaii state law provides that:

§ 444-22 Civil action. The failure of any person to comply with any provision of this chapter shall prevent such person from recovering for work done, or materials or supplies furnished, or both on a contract or on the basis of the reasonable value thereof, in a civil action, if such person failed to obtain a license under this chapter prior to contracting for such work.

In Jones v. Phillipson, 92 Hawai”i 117, 987 P.2d 1015(1999) the court decided that while the unlicensed contractor could not sue a homeowner, the homeowner could sue the contractor for breach of contract.  Consequently, it’s foolhardy to risk being unlicensed because in addition to getting charged by the local jurisdiction, the contractor may not be able to seek court help in enforcing a contract.

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  1. Jerry
    June 6th, 2011 at 08:41 | #1

    Yet, another great reason to move to Hawaii.

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