Homeowners Responsibilities

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Posted by: from Edmonton
9/6/2012 at 4:19:32 PM

I am a Professional Interior Designer who has been confronted with several home owners who have decided to refrain from making their final payment. Throughout the entire renovation process I have noticed signs that there were going to be issues in the end but I do not have a habit of walking away from projects until completion. Now, I find that I am in the position of wondering how and why people feel the need to do this!

We have television shows demonstrating bad contractors ... why do we not have shows on there warning homeowners that they, too, have certain responsibitilies ... LIKE PAYING FOR YOUR RENOVATION!!


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Date/Time9/11/2012 at 12:36:53 PM

Well, i suppose experience is your greatest payout from all of this.

Do you remember the sort of questions, conversation you had with them before the job was taken?

Identifying the red flags for a dishonest client is quite important. Turning down work will not cost you any money at all, where as saying yes to everything will eventually land you a client who does not pay in the end.

As a designer, there are affiliations and such that you can join that will allow you to use contract templates.

With a correctly constructed contract and the appropriate signatures, the power is in your hands. In Canada a lien cost is quite low. and with a lien against the property, the client cannot sell the place, or use it for financing. There are also arbitration groups which you can turn to. and it is not fast, but it is not bad if you have all your paperwork up to snuff as well.

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Omer in Oakville
Date/Time9/11/2012 at 3:26:06 PM


There are lot of jerks in the market. You just have to have the lien right option. No contract in the world can force a dishonest person to pay as the lawyers live on these kind of back and forth contracts and no on makes or saves money, except lawyers.

If you do not get your money before the last day worked, simply put a lien in 40 days (Ontario) and see them pay or come to table. Written docs are key .

Do not loose heart, they are only 15-20% of these, so ask around before taking on contracts. Best of us get sucked into these kind of situaitons all the time.

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Date/Time9/11/2012 at 7:45:11 PM

And to top it all off, the wife (client) works at a Lawyers office. She told me that she was going to let her Lawyer friend review the quote contract and the contract services agreement to find out if there are any discrepancies (after she signed it and the project was almost done) ... then she drew up a letter (without any lawyer signature and very generic) ... seems that she and her husband is trying to get out of final payment!

Just have had enough ... I have never spent so much time on a project (after the fact) working on documents that should not have gone this far! Do they think that our time and money doesn`t mean anything ... that the world revolves around them!!! Stupid!

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Date/Time9/11/2012 at 8:00:39 PM

Thank you to all who have posted here with your supportive comments. It is truly appreciated! I guess I understand now why this industry is difficult to survive at times! Am enormous amount of money is going out and not enough coming in to support our families. I guess homeowners who don't want to pay for the products and services offered by reputable contractors who take their job seriously ... think we don't have bills and family responsibilities as does the rest of the working class.

Hmmm, I believe more awareness on homeowner responsibility needs to addressed!

Thanks again everyone, I will keep you updated! Again, if you have any further comments ... they are welcomed!


Cindy and Dan

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Syed Painting & Handyman Services in Brampton
Date/Time9/15/2012 at 10:20:30 PM

Sign A Contract! Sign A Contract! Sign A Contract!

I Am A Small Scale Handyman And A Painter But I Do Not Start My Work Untill Homeowner Sign The Contract. Pay Some Money To A Lawyer And Spend Some Time To Make You Contract. They Can Not Run Away No Matter What.

I Am Sorry, But If You Are A Professional Interior Designer Then You Should Be Aware Of The Importance Of Written Agreement Between The Parties. If They Dont Pay After Signing The Contract Just Send Them Legal Notice. You Dont Have To Pay A Lawyer For This. Fill The Online Forms And Send A Copy To Them By Registered Mail.

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Date/Time9/15/2012 at 11:25:01 PM

Just to confirm, I am a Professional which also means that I am fully aware of the importance of having a "tight" contract. In fact, I have a Quote Contract along with a Contract Services Agreement as well as Contracts in place for any and all additional products and / or services.

We also have placed a builders lien on the client property.

When I posted the original message ... it was to get any advise that I may not have already found. It is not to imply that I am Unprofessional or unknowing in any way.

I appreciate the additional comments and advise.


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Date/Time9/16/2012 at 8:39:00 PM

Cindy...always have a detailed contract in place before even taking a job...we have one approved by alberta consumer affairs and have avoided these issues for years! off artists will not sign such a contract and if they do default on a contract I can easily sue them for far more money than they originally contracted for...we have actually never had to even get to this stage.

You need to make yourself as legally perfect as you can and you will not have these issues, verbally agreements seem to mean nothing in todays business world.

Good luck!

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Date/Time9/17/2012 at 1:02:54 PM


Great points and I think it would make a great tv show for the small percentage of us who are in the industry. Everyone else would hate it because it is about them.

Why is it when it comes to Construction do people feel that they can negotiate, or not pay? When you buy a TV, grocerys, cell phone, legal fees, your dentist, GAS... you just pay what the price is and people are willing to pay top dollar. Sure, everyone wants a deal, but there is a strong stigma around the construction industry where people think there is flexibility in the amount of money we need to feed our kids and pay our bills, let alone the costs of running a buisness.

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Date/Time12/10/2012 at 1:05:23 AM

Hi Cindy

I can sympathize with you as I have been there before and not only once. Its seems to be happening more now. I am sure it will happen again. I have done all the right things as a contractor to cover my arss, but somehow they get away with it. There is just as much homeowner rip-offs going on as Contractor ones.

Unless the amount is huge, it is not economically feasible to collect it. You end up losing many nights of sleep and aggrevation. I have found that when this happens its usually because the owners have gone overbudget and now looking for you to provide a discount for there over spending. Its not right but it happens. You may be frustrated but this is how business is now. I remember when a contract was made in person, not texts,no phone or email, just face to face conversation and a handshake. That was the contract. It was good until about 15 years ago but now in our world of electronics and sophistication that has all gone the way side.

I hope you resolve your issue, and if not, don't worry about it too much as it will not go away. If you keep thinking about it you will get yourself sick. Just remember that if you have done nothing wrong, you will eventually feel better and that person will have to deal with the fact that they have not paid you.

What comes around goes around. Don't worry about it too much.

Have a great Christmas and spend good quality time with your family. That's what really counts.


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Michael from Only Bathrooms in Vaughan
Date/Time7/21/2013 at 12:37:03 AM

Hey Cindy,

We stopped end loading our payment schedule. We let the customer know up front and it works well for us. This cannot help your current situation but moving forward it will.

Liens need renewed and can be bypassed if the amount owing is put in trust - not worth the aggravation generally from what I've heard.

Good luck,


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