Claims: when and under what circumstances?
You can submit a claim in case of failure by the entrepreneur to comply with his legal and contractual obligations. The applicable procedure and deadlines may vary depending on the breach giving rise to the claim.
You can make a claim for the following situations:
- Reimbursement of relocation, moving, and storage costs
- Refund of deposits
- Completion of works
- Repair of defects or poor workmanship
Before filing a claim, you can contact your contractor to discuss and try to negotiate a suitable solution with him.
Note that the process can last over 90 days, from the sending of your notice to the decision of the administrator of the Guarantee Plan.
When the entrepreneur does not intervene following your request, and after having sent him a denunciation notice form, you can launch a claim procedure.
Remember that in all cases, you must first question yourself as to when you noticed the breach of the contractor's obligations: BEFORE or AFTER acceptance of the building.
When the contractor has failed to fulfill his obligations BEFORE acceptance of the building, the guarantee covers the deposit, the completion of the work, and the reimbursement of the costs of relocation, moving or storing the goods.
- Complete the claim form (only available in French);
- Send all the documents requested in the claim form; and
- Pay a fee of $114.98 (taxes included) to open the file.
This fee will be reimbursed to you if an agreement is reached between you and the contractor or if the administrator's decision is favorable to you in whole or in part.
Once the claim procedure has started
- Within 15 days of receiving the documents and the filing fee, the administrator takes control of the file. He will ask the contractor to intervene and inform him of the measures he intends to take to remedy the situation you have reported to him.
- If the contractor does not remedy the defect or simply does not intervene within 15 days of the administrator's request for intervention, the administrator will carry out an on-site inspection within 15 days of the expiry of the period agreed in his request for intervention.
- Within 30 days of the inspection, the administrator produces a detailed written report which indicates that the case has been settled or that there has been no settlement. You and the contractor will receive a copy of this report by registered mail. If the file is not settled in the meantime and the administrator renders a decision favorable to your complaint, he will order the contractor to reimburse you for the cost of necessary and urgent repairs and to complete or correct the work within a reasonable time, which he takes care to indicate. When necessary and applicable, the administrator may also order the contractor to reimburse the costs of moving, relocation, and storage.
- What if the contractor still does not collaborate? The contractor may have gone bankrupt, may not have the funds necessary to reimburse you for the costs of urgent and necessary repairs, or may simply refuse to complete or correct the work. In the absence of a recourse on your part in mediation or arbitration in relation to the decision of the administrator of the Guarantee Plan, he will reimburse your costs and take charge of the work, according to a schedule which he will establish together with you.
Reimbursement of a reasonable, actual cost for relocation, moving or storage before acceptance
You cannot move into your condo as planned because all the work is not finished on the agreed date? To obtain reimbursement for moving, relocation or storage costs incurred because of this failure, you must:
- Make a written request for reimbursement, preferably by registered mail, to your contractor within 6 months at the latest of receiving your condo.
- Attach all supporting documents
- Send a copy of the request by registered mail to the Guarantee Plan administrator (GCR)
- Within 15 days of receiving your request, the contractor must follow up on your complaint. If your complaint is not answered within this period, you must notify the Guarantee Plan administrator (GCR) in writing.
- Within 30 days of receiving your request, the Guarantee Plan Administrator (GCR) must render a decision on your claim.
The request for reimbursement must be made in writing to the contractor and the administrator within 6 months of acceptance of the building. Do not wait any longer to make a claim.
A decision in due form
The administrative decision is a means offered by the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings to have your rights recognized and respected or to defend your interests. Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR) is the only competent body to make this administrative decision.
Whether it is in your favor or not, an administrative decision must be fair and include the following information:
- An indication that it is a decision of the administrator, often in the title
- The name of the entrepreneur
- Your name as beneficiary
- The address of the building concerned
- The date of each inspection carried out after your complaint
- The date of the administrator's decision
- The possible remedies and the deadlines provided for by the Regulation on the Guarantee Plan for new residential buildings
- The contact details of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Solidarity which maintains a list of recognized mediators
- The contact details of the arbitration bodies authorized by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec
What to do if you disagree with the report of the administrator of the Guarantee Plan? If you think the decision is fundamentally wrong because it fails to consider important evidence, you can always appeal it.
The appeal process will direct you to arbitration (like a judge, but faster and less procedural) or you can decide in concert with the Guarantee Plan administrator to go to mediation (similar to negotiation, but with a neutral part which facilitates discussion).
Note that the entrepreneur may also disagree, in which case he will contact you if he wishes to go to mediation or file a request for arbitration.
You and the contractor only have 30 days from the day you receive the administrator's report to dispute it - act quickly!