Contractor Hold Back

We’re done, finished, but I thought this is important enough to reiterate with several more tags so when people search, they will read this.

NEVER PAY THE CONTRACTOR IN FULL BEFORE THE WORK IS DONE. The horror stories are endless (yes, one of our AH’s customer did just that!). In Canada, you legally have the right to hold back 10%. The contractor may try to finesse it differently, but 10% is the deal. Substantial finish is the wording, but you really need to be satisfied. So if your contractor has been lying and perhaps not finishing as quickly as he had indicated, your hold back is your ONLY leverage.

Before you pay out, wait 45 days after the last work has been done on your place and contact your lawyer to ensure there are no liens against your house. A lien can be put on by anyone the contractor owes money to on your behalf (yes, this is true even though you have paid the contractor). Excerpt from the Toronto Home Builders Association Renovation Guide: “The Construction Lien Act allows you to withhold 10 per cent of the cost for 45 days following substantial completion of the project. This protects you if the renovator fails to pay all the subcontractors and suppliers, and is not related to ensuring that the job is done right.” Ironically our contractor is also a member of both associations!

Here is another guide: Ontario Home Builders Association

Here is another link that may be helpful: Reno Blog Spot

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4 Responses to Contractor Hold Back

  1. sylvie dirk says:

    Hi, I had some work done on my house ($5000). My contractor
    put his invoice in my mailbox on Nov 22 with no payment due date.
    The actual work was finished two weeks later. I intended to pay the
    contractor 30 days after end of work, though we had never discussed
    payment timelines. On Dec 22, the contractor e-mailed me telling me
    that though he had forgotten to write on the invoice that payment
    was due in two weeks (from invoice), my payment was two weeks
    overdue. I explained that I would pay 30 days from the last day of
    work. In his last e-mail, the contractor states that the due date
    of the payment was Dec 22 and that payment in full must be recieved
    by him by January 3rd or he will charge interest on the full amount
    from Nov 22. See excerp below in bold… PAST DUE PAYMENT $XXXX DUE
    DATE WAS DEC.22, 2010. I MUST RECEIVE FULL PAYMENT BEFORE JAN. 3RD.
    2011. AFTER THIS DATE I WILL BE CHARGING INTEREST FOR EVERYDAY LATE
    STARTING FROM NOV. 22ND. 2010 SD

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