UNLICENSED RESIDENTIAL HOMEBUILDERS - JIM KING D/B/A KING HOME SERVICES V. RIEDL
In Jim King d/b/a King Home Services v. Riedl, [Ms. 2081172, Aug. 6, 2010],__So. 3d__(Ala. Civ. App. 2010), the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals considered two issues of first impression with respect to unlicensed residential home builders. Unlicensed home builders are statutorily barred from enforcing contracts for residential home building that they entered into at a time when they were not licensed. Ala. Code ¤ 34-14A-14. Under Ala. Code ¤ 34-14A-2(10) and Ala. Code ¤ 34-14A-5, whether a residential home builder must have license depends on whether the "cost of the undertaking" exceeds $10,000. King, the residential home builder, argued that the homeowners made periodic payments and thus the contracted amount never exceeded $10,000. The Court rejected this argument, holding that "allowing King to avoid licensure requirements by classifying a series of periodic payments as pertaining to separate contracts would render the residential home builder licensing statute meaningless." Second, the Court held that because King could not bring an action to enforce the contract with the Riedls, he could not use any other theories of recovery to circumvent ¤ 34-14A-14, such as unjust enrichment, restitution, or intentional and/or negligent misrepresentation.