We Buy Houses

We Buy Houses

Over the last few years, Ontario’s renovation market has been in the billions. If you count the underground cash-only market, it was $25 billion in 2015 alone. In the current market conditions, renovations are expected to glow. Not only do renovations make the home worth more, it is also a positive investment most of the time. When a person chooses to upgrade their home, they are able to stay in their home and make it more functional, at least until the market settles. Whatever your reasons are for wanting to make renovations, and despite the protections that are in place from the Consumer Protection Act, there are three things that you need to know to make sure your entire experience is stress-free. They are known as the three R’s.

According to Tracy MacCharles, the Minister of Government and Consumer Services, if you are going to be making upgrades or repairs to your home, cash deals seem tempting. This is because contractors will often offer you lower cash estimates if you are paying in cash. If you are going to pay cash, you still need to have a written contract. This will ensure that you are getting what you paid for. It also helps you benefit from the protections provided under the Consumer Protection Act of 2002.

First R: Research: Look For Referrals, References, and Track Record

Even if you are having trouble finding a contractor on your deadline, you should extend the deadline so that you can research at least three candidates. You should start by asking for references and follow up by checking them. When you choose the candidate that is the best, ask them which team members will be working on your project. You want to know all about everyone who is working in your home, not just the contractor. A great reference when checking on contractors is to check the Ontario government Consume Beware List.

Second R: Get Three Quotes in Writing

According to Charles Souza, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, when you ask for a contract or a receipt, not only are you protecting yourself and your investment, you are also supporting vital government services. A reputable company who meets all of the legal requirements support workplace safety and health laws. They also adhere to tax compliance and they deserve support. It protects workers, makes consumer rights stronger, ensures fair competition, and promotes economic growth.

You should never settle for just two quotes. Start by making sure the companies that you are getting quotes from are not affiliated with one another. Also, accept quotes from companies that you have researched thoroughly, bringing you back to the first R.

Third R: Require Contracts In Writing

Avoiding a cash deal is not the government’s way of keeping you from saving money. There are some contractors who participate in the “underground economy”, however, the renovations rarely go as you are promised. If you don’t have a written contract, you will not be protected legally or through the consumer protections. According to the law, any contract in Ontario that is over $50 is subject to the Consumer Protection Act of 2002. This act provides a variety of a solid range of protections. The act also offers a cooling off period, where within 10 days, you can cancel without any penalties. If it is a cash, no contract deal, you will be waiving any protection. Also, without a contract, you will have problems even if you take your issues to the Ontario courts.

The contract should include established amounts, the dates of delivery, any penalties for late delivery, and any other conditions that you and your contractor negotiate.

Create a Complete Checklist

Below is some information that you might find helpful.

All terms of the agreement: A legal contract must show all of the terms of the agreement. This includes fees and charges and what each is for. Make sure that you understand each of the charges and that they are valid. If the contract contains a cooling-off period, the contract must mention the details. It should also contain details of how they will deal with the cancellation should you change your mind within that time.

Estimates in the contract: The contract should contain a written estimate. Unless you have already agreed on a new price and you signed a new contract, by law, the final price cannot be more than 10 percent above the estimate. The contract should include the 10 percent rule. If you are charged more than 10 percent more than the estimate, you can demand that the price is adjusted. If the contractor refuses, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

Your right to seek help: There are some contractors who add clauses that say that you must use a private arbitration process to resolve complaints rather than going to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. You should know that you are not bound by this clause, even if you accepted the agreement. You always have the right to seek help from the Ontario Government or by taking legal action.

Credit terms must be presented: The contract should show all of the finance charges and the annual interest rate for any financing agreement. It also must show how the additional charges would be calculated if you don’t make the payments. The contractor should give you written notice of the changes that they plan to make in your contact, including renewing or extending it. Finally, they are required to give you the option to not accept the changes in the contact. According to the CPA, a written notice should include:

  1. Any changes that will be made to the contract.
  2. The date that the changes, extension, or renewal would become effective.
  3. The way that the consumer responds to the notice (email, mail, fax, etc.)
  4. What would happen if you fail to respond to the notice?

If the contractor does not follow each of these rules, any changes to the contract would be invalid. This means that you wouldn’t need to pay for any fees or changes. In cases such as these, you should write to the business to ask for a refund or correction. If the contractor refuses to correct the mistake, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

Canceling a contract: When you cancel a contract, all arrangements that you made for the purchase are canceled as well. Under the Consumer Protection Act, you can cancel a contract and have your money returned if one of the following situations applies to you.

  1. The contract has a cooling-off period: When you sign a contract for your home, you have a cooling-off period. This gives you the opportunity to cancel a contract within 10 days of receiving a copy of the agreement. Water heater contractors must offer a 20-day cooling-off period. You would need to send the cancellation letter by registered mail so that there is a record of the day that you sent it. In most cases, the company has 15 days to return your money. If it is a payday loan, they have two days.
  2. Unfair business practices: If the business represented their goods or services in a deceptive, false, or misleading way, you can withdraw from the contract by writing to the company within one year and still get a refund. The business cannot bill you for goods and services that you never requested or what was agreed upon in the contract. If they do, you don’t need to pay. If you already paid, you can get the money back.
  3. Deliveries are not made on time: The company that you hire has to deliver products and start all services within a reasonable time period. The contract should state when you can expect your goods and services. If the company doesn’t comply, you can cancel the contract at any time. If there is no date, the company has 30 days to deliver. If you accept the delivery after 30 days, you lose the right to cancel.

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