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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 100485
Experience:  Lawyer
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We had a contract in place to replace siding on a 7 unit

Customer Question

We had a contract in place to replace siding on a 7 unit condo building. First day of demo a bylaw officer was called and gave a fine and advised that additional safety hoarding as well as a development permit would be required. Additional time and cost would need to be added to the contract. The condo board decided to terminate the contract and hire a different contractor to complete the work even though my company was more than willing to do so and provided the estimate for the additional drawing and permit costs. Can they terminate and request all of their deposit back even after time and materials has accrued?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Are they saying that this happened because of a fault of yours so that they are saying you made an error and they are blaming you so they want to work with someone else?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Their termination letter advised that "due to a breach of safety regulations", as the bylaw officer that attended site advised that they should have additional hoarding for safety at the site while removing the existing siding. The subcontractor was willing to comply. The job did not continue immediately as the bylaw officer also advised that a development permit would be required. When we went to the municipality to inquire about the permit requirements (our first inquiry prior to starting the job said it wouldn't be required) we were told we would need drawings and permits to the tune of 8500. The condo board has since voted to terminate our contract because of this.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Did you offer to pay the fine?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There wasn't a fine just a stop work order indicating the safety requirements and the need for the permit. We offered to proceed with the building permit application on their behalf with them covering the cost but we would not charge for our time.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

In your first post you said the by-law officer was called and gave a fine. Did you mean to say he said it was all fine but recommended some further safety steps and you agreed to take them?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Shoot sorry that was incorrect it was a stop work order but we did not receive a fine
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

The reason why this matters is that you had a binding contract. There was an offer and an acceptance of that offer in terms of what was to be done and the cost etc.

But it seems they have lost confidence in you and would likely take the position that either you mis-represented your expertise or that you breached the contract by not providing what they were paying for.

In other words, my concern is that because you were told you were not doing the work safely by the by-law officer and because you didn't get the permit ( and I know you did ask and were given the wrong information) it may very well be that a court would say that they had ever right to consider the contract to be at an end.

So I am not confident that you would win in court if you sued them.

Do you see what I mean?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do yes, and that was also my concern. We are fine to terminate the contract and return deposit. Do we have any rights to withhold a portion of the deposit for materials purchased and/or time spent up until now?
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Yes. They should at least pay for any materials you bought as they are ahead by having them. I suggest you just try to come to some agreement with them. They will be happy to get back most of the deposit without having to sue I am sure.

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