Province Offers Home Renovation Tips
Helping Ontarians Make Informed Choices When Hiring a Contractor
Victoria Day weekend marks the start of summer and the start of home renovation season. Make sure you protect your hard-earned money by asking the right questions before you renovate or repair your home.
Follow these tips from Consumer Protection Ontario to help make informed choices before hiring a contractor:
- Do your homework - Visit Ontario.ca/ConsumerProtection to learn about your rights and responsibilities before you get started on your project. Find qualified contractors by asking for recommendations from friends and neighbours.
- Ask for a written estimate - Have three contractors view the job and give written estimates. Never accept an estimate over the phone and remember that legally a contractor cannot charge you more than 10 per cent above the estimate.
- Choose wisely - Check references and consumer sources like the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services' Consumer Beware List before selecting your contractor. Keep in mind that the lowest estimate may not be the best.
- Get a written contract - Once you select a contractor, make sure they include the estimate as part of your written contract. Consumer Protection Ontario has a checklist of what should be included in your contract.
- Changed your mind? - You may be entitled to a cooling-off period. Under Ontario's Consumer Protection Act, you can cancel a contract within 10 days if you signed the contract in your home and the price is more than $50.
- See the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services award-winning advertisement on home renovation called “Disco.”
- Statistics Canada reported home renovation spending reached $5.2 billion in Ontario in the third quarter of 2014.
- Home renovations and repair services are traditionally one of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ top consumer inquiries and complaints.
- Consumer Protection Ontario offers information on consumer rights and public safety, and lets you know who to go to if you have a complaint or dispute with a business.
“A home renovation that goes wrong is extremely stressful, and our government wants to ensure Ontarians know their rights and how to hire a reliable contractor so they can avoid these difficult situations. That’s why Consumer Protection Ontario has launched a consumer awareness campaign on how consumers can safeguard their investment by asking the right questions before starting a home renovation project.”