Buying a new property (house, multi-family building or condo) gives you long-term peace of mind. But how can you be sure you’re dealing with a contractor you can trust, so that your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare? Get informed, stay vigilant and take these five essential steps.
To construct a new building, the contractor must hold a valid general contractor’s licence issued by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ).
Ask your contractor for their licence number. Then check to see if it’s valid and listed in the RBQ’s repertory of licence holders:
The Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings covers all new houses and many new condominiums. If you buy a covered building from an accredited contractor, you’re automatically protected. The aim of the plan is to ensure that your contractor meets certain legal and contractual obligations. It includes protection of your partial payment (up to $50,000) and a warranty against construction defects. It’s transferable, so if you decide to sell, it will cover the next owner for the remaining coverage period.
You need to check whether the contractor is accredited with Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR). This non-profit organization is the authorized manager of the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings. It inspects new homes covered by the plan and, if necessary, requires the contractor to repair any defects.
Check the Accredited Business Directory to make sure
The Accredited Business Directory will also tell you about the contractor’s performance on past project inspections (number of points of non-compliance, number of claims, arbitration decisions, etc.).
The Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings covers new single-family homes and various types of new multi-family buildings, including certain types of condos.
Visit the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings website to
If the building is not covered by the Guarantee Plan, ask your contractor if they belong to a private plan.
The Registre des entreprises du Québec (REQ)can provide useful information, including
Note that if the contractor operates a sole proprietorship under their personal name, they might not have a REQ file.
Using the Get Information About a Merchant tool on the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC) website, you can check whether your contractor has received formal notices from consumers or whether the OPC has taken any action against the contractor as part of its monitoring activities (notice of offence, criminal prosecution, etc.).
Don’t be shy to ask the contractor you’ve selected for customer references. If the contractor has built properties in the same neighbourhood, you might want to take a stroll around to see the quality of the exterior finish. And if you encounter any residents, why not ask them a few questions?
Do you want to purchase a new property directly from a contractor (preliminary contract [Fr]) or have a contractor build on land you own (contract for services [Fr])? All verbal agreements between you and your contractor should be recorded in writing.
In addition, if your property is covered by the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings, make sure your contractor also goes through the guarantee contract [Fr]with you. On the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings website, you’ll find all the clauses this contract must include in order to protect you under the Guarantee Plan. The guarantee contract provisions must in no way limit the protection offered by the Guarantee Plan.
It’s important that you read every clause and go through the whole contract with your contractor before signing. Make sure the contractor’s name on the contract matches the name of the company holding the RBQ licence. Consult the .
If in doubt, contact the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC) for advice about contracts.
If necessary, you can also consult a legal advisor.
Criminal record checks and other information: