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Feburary 09...Engaging a contractor for your renovation? Be sure to have a contract.

With the limited-time Home Renovation Tax Credit of up to $1,350, many Canadian homeowners will certainly take advantage and get some renovations completed.  A detailed written contract between you and the contractor you hire is essential to any renovation or home repair project, no matter its size. Even the smallest job should be put in writing.

Why? To begin with, a written contract constitutes a binding legal agreement between you and your contractor. It spells out the responsibilities and rights of both parties and ensures there is a clear record of the agreement between you and the contractor. A proper contract also reduces your risk. It helps safeguard you from financial loss or personal liability in case of accidents or injuries during the project. Finally, a contract establishes the foundation for a good working relationship between you and your contractor. A detailed and clearly written contract reduces confusion and misunderstandings, and helps you both see the work the same way.

Should you feel awkward about asking for a contract? Absolutely not! Professional contractors run a business and know that a written contract is an indispensable part of good business practices. It protects them as well as their customers. But what if a contractor suggests that you go ahead without a contract, or won’t put anything on paper? Don’t do it! The risks are simply too high.

A sample renovation contract prepared by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) can be found at  It presents some of the terms and conditions that could be used in a written contract for home renovations and repairs.   If you are beginning to plan your renovation project, it's worthwhile taking a look at this sample contract before engaging a contractor. 

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