It seems every general contractor that I have come across over the years has been naughty, some more than others. Now I am not saying that every single tradesman that works the Toronto beat is scum, but unfortunately the naughty ones are in the majority. After all Mike Holmes has earned millions because of all the heists that his rivals have been able to pull off at the expense of many home owners.
It seems everyone today that is a handyman calls himself a general contractor, now because I know how to screw in a light bulb does not qualify me as an expert with electrical issues that may arise.
Many self proclaimed contractors have a full time job and work on weekends to earn a little more, I have no issue with that but if you’re going to take on a job then you better know what the heck your doing!
Home owners who are in a frantic mode to overhaul their homes should research construction law and how it can affect you according to the law. It's not only that you hire a tradesman and during the project you realize that he is not competent enough, you also need to wary of what happens when you decide not to pay him for his mistakes. Tradesman are very well protected by law and rightfully so as there are horror stories from the opposite side as well, home owners that choose not to pay when the work was done according to code. It's not proper if a home owner decides not to pay a reputable trades person especially when they are indeed reputable and have completed the project according to plan.
The biggest fear that many clients face is when the project is not being done according to plan and they choose to take action by withholding funds. Legally a client can only hold back 10% at the end of the project for a maximum of 30 days.
The lousy part of all of this is if when a client chooses to fire or not pay a contractor when payment is either demanded or due as per the written agreement, that's when as a home owner you will feel violated. The law allows the contractor to register a lean on the subject property without prejudice or warning.
Imagine you’re a home owner and have spent thousands with a contractor for work that has not been completed or has not been done to code and then you decide to take action and hire another contractor to finish the work, only to find out that there are massive lean amounts registered on the home when you decide to sell it! Surprise!
I had a client who hired a general contractor to oversee a project; my client said he had done his due diligence prior to hiring this guy. Everything seemed fine; trades were showing up and working, midway through the project my client received a call from the roofing company asking him if he liked the roof? My client responded that yes he indeed liked the craftsmanship and appreciated the work, the roofer than asked why he not paid him than? You can imagine the surprise look on my clients face has he was up to date with payment to the general contractor. To make an a long story short my client found four different leans registered against the property from all different trades people who worked throughout the project. The general contractor was pocketing all the funds that were due to the trades.
My advice when dealing with contractors and trades people when paying them is to simply disburse the funds through an affidavit with your solicitor. This way will ensure payment is being made to the applicable persons and will save you from lots of stress. After all, the Reno itself is stressful enough.
I also believe that Toronto real estate agents should be more in formed in order to advise clients more effectively.