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A party who receives a benefit he has not expressly or impliedly agreed to and is under no obligation to pay for that benefit. Principles of equity prohibit the unjust enrichment of a party who accepts the unrequested benefits another provides despite having the opportunity to decline those benefits.
The buyers, Forrest and Nancy Moore, instituted an action against the sellers, Ben Olsson, Lee Ferree, and Debra Ferree, to recover for monies spent in renovating the sellers' home in anticipation of purchase. Prior to any contract for the sale of the property being executed, the property was destroyed by fire. The sellers refused to compensate the buyers for the improvements. The trial court awarded monies to the buyers. The sellers sought review of the decision.
Should the sellers compensate the buyers for the improvements made by the latter, notwithstanding the inexistence of a contract between the parties?
On appeal, the Court affirmed, finding that although there was no contract, the buyers' improvements increased the value of the sellers' property to their benefit. Further, because the sellers had consented to the buyers' increasing the value of their property, it was necessary for them to bear the cost of the benefits.