Area of Law: Consumer Law
Answer # 814
Home repair contractorsRegion: Ontario Answer # 814
Because home repairs can become expensive, it is important to fully inform yourself of the risks and protect yourself from disreputable practices.
To begin, you should contact at least three contractors for estimates on the cost of the repair. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau, your local Chamber of Commerce, or your local municipal building inspectors for information on the reliability of various home repair contractors. For each contractor, you should also ask as to the types of warranties and guaranties they offer.
If you hire someone to perform any home repairs, you should ensure that your agreement is in writing and clear to both you and the contractor. Make sure that your written agreement states a total cost for the repairs, the start date, and the date on which the repairs will be completed. Your contract should also list the specific details about the kinds of repairs you are paying for, and whether the price includes any extra costs for related services, such as electricians and plumbers.
Once a cost is established, you should try to negotiate a down payment of no more than 10% of the total cost. Make sure you monitor the progress of the repairs as time goes by. This will allow you to correct any problems as they arise. Following the completion of the work, you are entitled under the Construction Lien Act to hold back 10% of the total cost for 45 days from the date of completion. This 10% can be used to pay any unpaid subcontractors or material suppliers if they did not receive their share from the contractor.
If a contractor breaks either an oral or a written contract to perform home repairs, you may be able to sue for compensation. If the cost of the repairs is $35,000 or less, you can begin your lawsuit in Small Claims Court. However, if the work was done in accordance with the terms of your contract, the contractor can sue you for the money owed or register a lien against your property. A lien on your property can affect your ability to sell it. For more information about construction liens, visit the Construction Law section of Legal Line.
More information about your rights as a consumer can be found from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Consumer Protection Ontario.
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