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Dealing with a breach of contract in Florida

No one is an island, and it takes teamwork and cooperation to get the greatest projects done. With the continuing construction boom in Florida involving skyscrapers in Miami and thousands of new housing units across the northern part of the state, good understanding between owners, contractors and workers has never been more important.

Contracts bind efforts together for the duration of a project, or simply define the terms of an arrangement between parties. It is formed when two or more parties have an offer and acceptance between them, often known as a meeting of the minds or mutual assent. A legally binding contract can be oral or written, but many types must be written to be enforceable in Florida.

The breaking or "breach" of a contract can result in one party's being sued by the other to enforce the contract. If you want to enforce a written contract, you usually are required by law to file the lawsuit within five years of the date of the breach. The limitation on oral contracts is four years.

There is no automatic right to cancel a legally binding contract once there has been a valid offer and acceptance. The right to cancel a contract, technically called the "right of rescission," is required to come with some types of contracts, including several types used to create construction projects.

If you have any questions about whether you have a right of rescission in your contract, contact a consumer agency, such as the Attorney General's Office or the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. An attorney may also help you navigate the consequences of breaching a contract or enforcing a contract once it has been breached.

Source: The Florida Bar, "Legal and Binding Contracts," accessed Nov. 20, 2017

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