Renovating or rebuilding your home? Protect yourself by getting it in writing

Did you know?

Paying for a job "under-the-table" without a written contract puts you at risk. You may think you’re getting a deal by paying cash and avoiding taxes, but it can leave you with no warranty, no recourse for poor workmanship, and the added risk of liability if an injury takes place on your property.

The contractor who’s working for you "under-the-table" isn’t reporting their income, which contributes to the underground economy. Under-the-table deals take money away from essential services likes schools, roads, and hospitals that you and your family rely on. It can also hurt economic growth in communities like yours.

Before you decide to hire a contractor to do construction, renovation, or repair work on your home, you should know how to protect yourself:

  • Do your research. It’s important to know who you’re doing business with, so make sure to do a background check, compare quotes, and find out if they are reputable.
  • Ask questions. A good contractor will be willing to answer any and all of your questions and concerns, and should be able to provide references from past clients. It’s also important to remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If they’re promising you everything you’re looking for at a price way below their competitors, it might be because they’re sacrificing quality or safety at your expense.
  • Ask for proof. Before you hire someone for a job, verify that they have Workers’ Compensation and private liability insurance that will cover any injuries or damage that could occur in your home. If they are not insured and cause damage, you’ll be paying for the repairs out of your own pocket.
  • Get it in writing. Without a contract, you have no recourse for poor or incomplete work. Make sure to get a written and signed contract before any work starts in addition to keeping updated records throughout the process. This should include a contract with a GST/HST number, a detailed warranty, a receipt for all funds paid, and their contact information.

For more information on how to find a contractor you can trust and why you should get it in writing, go to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association website. To learn how you can raise awareness about the impact of the underground economy, go to the CRA partnership webpage.

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