Legal Question in Construction Law in California

is the verbal conversation considered a contract if there are no witnesses?

Asked on 3/01/19, 8:03 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

Whether there are witnesses is irrelevant to whether a legal contract was formed. The question is whether the people reached an agreement that they intended to follow at the time and which involved one person agreeing to do something (such as construction) in return for the other person doing something (such as pay for it).

With that said, however, whether any particular conversation was sufficiently specific to form a contract depends on all the details and circumstances. Also, there are specific rules for construction contracts that a conversation may allow the customer to enforce even if they are not followed, but a licensed contractor can’t enforce because there are specific laws about construction contracts that don’t apply to more general contracts.

“Mow my lawn and I’ll give you $20.”


That is a contract.

“I’ll give you $50,000 to build an addition to my house.”


Not a contract because it’s not specific enough and it’s not In writing.

Lastly, unless the total cost of work and materials is $500 or less, no “construction contractor” can enter into a contract unless they hold the proper contractor’s license from the Contractors State License Board.

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Answered on 3/01/19, 8:43 pm

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