Whether you’re a homeowner getting renovations done or a contractor who does renos, it’s important to know what must be included in these types of contracts. Hear our top three tips for consumers and businesses when it comes to signing and writing renovation contracts.
Home renovation contracts
Consumers and contractors often enter into what is called a future performance contract – where the consumer does not pay in full upfront or doesn’t get the goods or services immediately. With this transaction, very specific information must be in the contract.
Why does it matter?
Contracts that are written properly offer protection to everyone involved because the expectations are clear from the start. With these contracts, the details really matter.
3 things that a business must include in their reno contract:
- The start and end date of the contract
- A detailed description of the goods or services to be supplied under the contract
- A detailed statement of the terms of payment
Read the full list of requirements
3 tips for consumers before signing a reno contract:
- Understand what services you are getting
- Always read the fine print
- Ask about any cancellation policies
Find out more about this type of contract.
One last tip
Clear communication is key. With any big project it’s very important to maintain open and consistent communication. If timelines or costs change on either side, make sure you get things in writing and be up front. Both the home owner and the contractor should try their best to communicate and keep each other in the loop so there are no surprises and expectations are clear.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
26 thoughts on “Doing a reno? Don’t forget these contract details”
I don’t have any signed home renovations contract. That’s why now we are in big problem because he doesn’t come to complete renovation.but I paid him by cheques. Is there any way I can take any legal action against him. Please reply
Hi Jagseer, thank you for posting your question here. Sounds like the renovation has already started and if so your next step may be to take him to court. You can use CRT (Civil Resolution Tribunal) which is an online platform to resolve small claims up to $5000. Here is the link to the website.
If you would like to talk to a lawyer to find out what options you may have, The Canadian Bar Association has a Lawyer Referral Service where you can have a consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes for a fee of $25 plus taxes. Here’s a link to that information. I hope this information helps and you will be able to resolve the issue quickly.
Hello, we discussed the option of having our kitchen renovation contractor remove and install floors. On the contract he put an allowance for flooring that is to be made on the second payment ( coming very soon). We have since decided to hire someone else change our floors. The contractor insists that we pay the amount stipulated before including the allowance for a service we no longer require
Hi Fred, Thanks for contacting us. This is a tricky issue and unfortunately, our law does not touch on issues with your specific situation. Having said that, you may be able to cancel your contract if the document does not follow what’s set out in the law. We have more information about this on this page of our website. You may also want to seek some legal advice – the Canadian Bar Association has a program where you have the opportunity to consult with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes for a fee of $25 plus taxes. Here’s the link to that information. I hope you will be able to resolve the issue quickly!
Hello , we had kitchen cabinets purchased and installed a year an half ago , and some parts of the lower cabinets ( drawers and doors ) have some small moister damage , starts bubble , we contact the manufacturer and they said that this is our fault due to poor maintenance , this cabinets cost 50K ( quote) life time warranty . We talked with another manufacturer and they advice to go and sue them cause this thing should not occur in this time . Where should we send letters or should we call some gov.agencies ? we don’t know where to start , first time happened .thank you
Hi Artur, thank you for contacting Consumer Protection BC. You would go to a different court depending on the claim amount so you may want to take a look at the invoice/receipt and determine that first. BC provincial court has a page that explains different kinds of small claims cases – here is the link to the page. Access Pro Bono has a Lawyer Referral Service and you may be able to get a lawyer who will provide up to a half-hour of free legal consultation. Here’s the link to their website. I hope you will be able to resolve this issue.
Hello. We recently purchased a new home and the builder has substituted all granite countertops, vinyl flooring and tile flooring with cheaper products. There is a clause in the contract that says they can sub with similar product or better quality but that is not the case here. We were never even told they were going to substitute, let alone with an inferior product. As example, the vinyl flooring is half the thickness of the ordered product and roughly $2.50/ sq ft cheaper and we have over 2000 sq ft of floor.Neighbours have recently moved in and got all their choices from the standards deck installed. We were the first homeowners in neighbourhood with a new developer and seems they subbed everything. Do we have recourse? We are looking at about $20,000 or more in value. The original product was available at the time from local business. We also have had issues with poor installation of items. Have already had our deck redone.
Thank you for your response..
Hi Julie, thank you for explaining your situation. This may be a contract issue and we would like to get more details from you. Would you be able to submit an online complaint form? It’s on our website here. Thank you, Julie!
Hello. I hired a local window company to install 5 new windows. Upon inspection during installation they found dry rot below 2 of them. The boss arrived and in the discussion I asked him what they charged to do the rot repair and he said “$95 an hour”. I later learned after the work was done the fee was $95 an hour per installer. That is $190 an hour because they sent 2 installers. There was no contract for the rot repair only a verbal agreement to go forward with the repair based on what I was advised. Had I known it was a per installer price I would never have gone for it. I have paid them only the $95 rate per hour and I was wondering what protection I have? Can they put a lien on my house? Thank you.
Hi Ted, sounds like the repair work was already completed and you had a verbal agreement. In this case, you may want to talk to a lawyer and take the case to Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) which is all online-based. You can use CRT’s Solution Explorer and see what options you may have. It has free legal information and tools. I hope you will be able to resolve the issue quickly!
We started a large project several years ago and there was contract signed. One contractor did a terrible job and there were major deficiencies we had to get fixed by someone else and we still don’t have occupancy. We held back funds. Now the company gave us a huge interest bill, tens of thousands of dollars, going back years, which they never showed on statements over the years. They never provided the statutory declarations as per the contract. Do we have any options?
Hi Heather, thank you for contacting us. Since the contractor has worked on your project and it’s not in the pre-work stage, you may need to consult the lawyer and possibly take the matter to the court. People’s Law School has some useful information on this topic, and here is the link. I hope you will be able to solve the issue quickly!
Hi, we hired a contractor to do some plumbing work. They are about 80% complete and are now walking away from the job because we are insisting they wear a mask while in the house. Initially, we agreed to 40% deposit, balance upon completion. They then demanded payment in full before they complete the job and now they are threatening to place a lien on the property if we don’t pay for work to date. I have asked for a work to date quote and said we will adjust our final payment based on what it will cost to hire someone else to complete the job since they have walked away. What are our options?
Hi Dan, thank you for contacting us. Since the work is already underway, we are not able to provide much support. What we may recommend to you is to look into Civil Resolution Tribunal. It’s online-based and if your claim is under $5,000 you can utilize their system to resolve the issue. Here’s their website. I hope you will be able to work out the issue!
I had contractor doing some renovation and he blew one of the breaker by plugging saw and compressor in one receptacle. Now the Contractor saying they are not responsible to get it fixed as homeowner is responsible to provide adequate power. What are your thoughts?
Hi Nik, thank you for contacting us. For this kind of issue, you may need to deal with it directly with the contractor. If you are not able to resolve with them directly, then the next step would be to take it to a small claims court. You can check out the online-based Civil Resolution Tribunal and how their process works. The claim needs to be less than $5,000. Here is the link. Best of luck to you!
Hello, We hired a couple to do renovations in our house. It started out well but over time their workmanship and attention to detail started to deteriorate. It also became evident that they were not following the plans because they were installing the kitchen cabinets improperly, and even customized the wrong cabinets, leaving them useless since the doors would not fit on them. My wife and I decided to end our working relationship with them, and we did so in a civil and polite manner. They are now accusing us of aggressively confronting them and demanding we pay them more money (under $5000). We refuse to until we know how much the repairs to the work they have done will cost. They are threatening us with legal action and a builder’s lien. We never signed a contract or verbally agreed to a contract. We only accepted their estimate. On their estimate it does state, “This is an estimate and not a contract”. We are wondering what advice you may be able to offer us. Thank you.
Hi Tony, thanks for leaving us a comment here. With renovation issues, we are not able to provide much support as consumer protection laws in BC do not speak to this kind of work or contract. The first step we would suggest is to talk to your contractors directly and attempt to reach a reasonable solution. I’m not sure what kind of legal action your contractors are thinking of, but if you are not able to resolve the issue with them directly, the next step would be to take the issue to court. You can check out the online-based Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) here.
I hired a contracting company to do renovations on a house we are moving into. At first there was a long list of 10 tasks that amounted to $80,000. However, the workers neglected to do certain jobs by the time we moved in. Consequently, I asked for a refund for the tasks that were not done. However, the company is only reduce the price by about 20% even though they only did about 40% of the work listed in the scope. I asked them for a price breakdown multiple times so that I can pay for only the tasks that were done, but they still refuse to do so. What can I do about their bill that I think is now too high? I have paid roughly half of the $80,000 already and they now want me to pay another $22,000. Thanks for your advice!
Hi Terence, thank you for reaching out to us here. With disputes over renovations, you will need to take the company to court. If the amount you are claiming is less than $5,000 then you can utilize CRT (Civil Resolution Tribunal) which is an online resolution platform. For claims above that, you will need to go to Small Claims Court. You can find more information about this on the BC Provincial Court website here.
We did renovations in our kitchen and hired a contractor. The contractor promised to finish it in 2 weeks. As the work progresses we paid $4000 so far . The contractor left without finishing the job and the workmanship i would say poor standard ( I did not document all the deficiencies in photos) . I msged them and waited a month up to 3 months to finish and do all the deficiencies . After 6 months the contractor starting to call us to pay the remaining balance of $7000. We didn’t have a written contract. Any advice what to do next.
Hi Nel, thank you for reaching out to us. As the work had partially been done, it is a quality of work issue – you may want to look into solving the situation utilizing an online-based dispute resolution platform called the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). The CRT can deal with claims up to $5,000 so depending on the claim amount, you may have to take your contractor to small claims court. The CRT website provides a lot of useful information about the process and also has a Solution Explorer to see how your issue can be best resolved. I hope their website can be helpful to you.
What rights do homeowners have if an estimate is done for renovations, then builder states approximately will cost 2 to 3 hundred more. Verbally agreed then after work is done he bills an extra 2 thousand and wont warranty his work if not fully paid
Hi again, I replied to your original post but I will paste my response here as well so you don’t miss it:
Hello and thank you for contacting us here. Once the actual work starts, it becomes a quality of service issue and BC’s consumer protection laws do not apply. Warranties are unfortunately unregulated in BC so there are no organizations that can assist you with this issue. The only thing we can suggest would be to contact a lawyer and see if there are any other protections (we are not aware of all the rules outside of our jurisdiction). Access Pro Bono has a Lawyer Referral Service and you may be able to access a lawyer for free, for up to 30 minutes. Here is their website information. Sorry, we can’t be more helpful.
Hello, this website has been helpful for me with respect to a situation that I am in with a fireplace installation business.
We were recently sent a bill with an extra fee that we were not told about nor consented to – when I queried the extra cost (and referenced info from this website re: future performance contract info) the business suggested that I give ‘an amount that I feel is suitable for the materials/work done’
Not sure how to proceed – any advice?
Hi Melanie, thanks for your question and I’m glad you found the info helpful. If the work has been completed or partially completed and there’s a contractual dispute about pricing, you would likely have to have the issue resolved in court if you can’t work it out with the business. My advice would be to work with the business to reach a solution that works for both of you. Best of luck!