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Can You Take a Builder to Court Without a Contract?

Taking a builder to court without a contract is not out of the question. You just need to organize your facts and ensure that any proof you can provide will stand up in court. This happens more often than you might think. Unfortunately, many people believe that they have no legal recourse without a written contract and give up their rights without even attempting to resolve the situation.

Is a written contract mandatory?

A contract can be concluded in many different ways. It doesn’t have to be written and signed by both parties. Various other options exist:

  • Commtscaunicating via e-mail or even text messages
  • Signing a work order
  • Or even a verbal agreement

As long as there is some agreement that involves exchanging money for services and/or goods, there is a contract in place, whether it’s explicitly defined in writing or not. That’s why some people choose to forego the option of signing a contract for simple orders, as they see it as an unnecessary hurdle.

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Difficulties when trying to sue without a contract

While having a written contract is not mandatory, it can definitely make things easier when it comes to legal action. If you want to sue a builder but don’t have a contract in place, the burden of proof is on you. This means that you’ll have to demonstrate to the court that the builder has violated an agreement they had with you.

You will need to provide as much information as possible to convince the court that you’re in the right. Any kind of documentation related to the project can be useful here. For example:

armchair in a living room and staircase behind a glass wall
  • Messages exchanged between you and the builder
  • Conversations observed by third parties
  • Work orders
  • Sample sheets
  • Estimates

The more documentation you can provide, the stronger your case will be. Likewise, if the builder wants to challenge anything that you state, they will have to provide their own documentation indicating the contrary.

Learn the steps and implications involved in breaking a contract with a builder before making a decision!

Always consult a lawyer in a situation like this. While you can take a builder to court without a contract, it’s a challenging process that you have to navigate very carefully. You only get one chance to make things right, and if you don’t demonstrate your case in a convincing enough manner, you might not get taken seriously by the court.


Clara Annesley

Clara Annesley is an interior design and construction content writer. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Architectural Design Technology from the University of West London. Clara specialises in residential construction for topics like health & safety, architectural design and writing cost guides for renovation and remodelling projects.