Frequently Asked Questions

COVID - 19

This section brings together some of the most frequently asked questions about the impact of COVID-19 on our services and on buyers-beneifciaries. It will be regularly updated as the situation evolves.

Last update: June 15, 2020

My new condo was supposed to be delivered on September 1st. I had already given my notice to my current owner. What is my recourse if the delivery is not made on time?

Given the exceptional times we are going through, EVERYONE will have to be flexible so as to best manage the inevitable delays. Garantie construction résidentielle, the administrator of the Guarantee Plan, has already considered the current pandemic as a case of force majeure. In this sense, the current situation will be taken into account in the event of a complaint.

However, please note that the concept of force majeure will be qualified by the arbitrator who will take into account the provisions of the Regulations as well as the clauses of the contract signed by the parties.

Choosing your contractor

CHOOSING YOUR CONTRACTOR : How do I know if my contractor holds a 1.1.1 ou 1.1.2 license from the RBQ? SOS003

Contracts

CONTRACTS : I signed a preliminary contract with my contractor. I have just found a house that suits my needs even better. Can I cancel this contract? SOS004

Once signed, the preliminary contract is final and irrevocable: you are obliged to buy and the entrepreneur is obliged to sell. However, if the preliminary contract that you signed provides for a withdrawal clause, you can terminate the contract within 10 days after signing without providing any justification. All you have to do is write a notice of termination and send it to your contractor.

CONTRACTS: What is the difference between a job contract and a preliminary contract? SOS005

It all depends on who owns the land:

  • If the contractor is the owner of the land and building, you must sign a preliminary contract.
  • If you are the owner of the land on which the building is or will be built, you must sign a job contract.
CONTRACTS: What is a guarantee contract? SOS006

The guarantee contract is the contract concluded with your contractor for the sale or construction of the building. It is also proof that you are covered by the Residential Guarantee Plan for new buildings. If your contractor fails to provide the contract, you are still covered by this plan.

CONTRACTS: When should I sign the guarantee contract? SOS007

The guarantee contract should be signed at the same time as the preliminary contract or the job contract.

Buildings covered by the Plan

BUILDINGS COVERED : Which buildings are covered by the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings? SOS008
  • Single family homes
  • Single-family buildings in divided co-ownership comprising 4 or less overlapping private portions
  • Multi-family buildings with 2 to 5 dwellings not held in divided co-ownership (intergenerational, duplex, triplex, etc.).
BUILDINGS COVERED: I want to buy a model home. Will it be covered by the guarantee plan? SOS009

Prefabricated homes are covered by the guarantee plan if the project is turnkey, i.e. if the project includes the complete installation of the house by the manufacturer or general contractor from whom you buy it. To benefit from coverage, your turnkey sales contract must be concluded with a general contractor license holder. If the sales contract is concluded with the manufacturer of your manufactured house and you are dealing with a general contractor for installation, then only the installation part is covered by the guarantee plan.

BUILDINGS COVERED: We decided to build our house ourselves on purchased land. Will it be covered by the guarantee plan? SOS010

For your house to be covered by the guarantee plan, it must be built by a general contractor holding license sub-category 1.1.1 or 1.1.2 from the RBQ and accredited by GCR.

If you hire a general contractor to build parts of the house only, the guarantee plan may apply under certain conditions:

CONTRACTOR WITH RBQ LICENSE

DOES NOT have specialized subcategories to perform the work

HAS specialized subcategories (1.1.1 or 1.1.2) to carry out the work

Your house is covered only on the work carried out by the contractor

The contractor must carry out 2 or more major construction elements (framing and foundation, for example) so that the work carried out by the contractor is covered by the guarantee plan.

Inspection

INSPECTION: When should the inspection take place? SOS011

According to the Regulation regarding the Guarantee plan for new residential buildings, the inspection must take place before the acceptance of your house or the private portion of your condo. Signing the inspection form confirms acceptance of your accommodation.

INSPECTION: Can you describe an inspection? SOS012

We strongly recommend that you have a building professional accompany you for your inspection.

  • Before the inspection, you choose an inspector or a building professional authorized to accompany you.
  • On the day of the inspection, you go around your home with the contractor and the inspector. Using the RBQ checklist (provided by your contractor), you can verify that all the work has been completed.
  • You meticulously write down all the elements to be completed or corrected (i.e. poorly adjusted door, scratch on a counter...all the details count!)
  • You set a deadline with the contractor for the corrective work or the completion of work, and you enter it at the end of the list. This period should not exceed 6 months.
  • You sign the document. This signature also marks the acceptance of your new home.

Note that, if at the time of the inspection, you notice significant discrepancies with the plans or specifications in the preliminary contract, you are not required to accept your new home since the work is not finished.

INSPECTION: Why should I be accompanied during the inspection of my house or my condo? SOS013

Although you can do your pre-acceptance inspection alone with the contractor, we strongly recommend that you be accompanied by a building professional member of a professional order to:

  • Exchange as equals with the contractor, himself a building professional
  • Immediately ask the contractor to make corrections to avoid any complaints later (and therefore save time and money)
  • Gain peace of mind
INSPECTION: I just bought a condo in a tower of less than 4 stories. Am I in charge of the whole inspection? SOS014

For residences in divided co-ownership, two pre-acceptance inspections must take place:

  • Inspection of your condo (private portion): you are exclusively responsible for this inspection.
  • Inspection of common areas: your syndicate of co-owners must mandate a building professional to carry out this inspection.
INSPECTION: I did not have my house inspected by a professional inspector. Am I still covered by the guarantee plan? SOS015

Absolutely! Inspection accompanied by a professional is highly recommended but not compulsory by law.

INSPECTION: I did not have my new condo inspected by an inspector. What are the possible consequences in terms of guarantee? SOS016

The inspection can be accomplished alone or accompanied. However, once the pre-acceptance list is signed, you only have 3 days to ask your contractor to make corrections for apparent defects or to complete work if and only if you have not moved in. Once these 3 days have passed, you will no longer be able to do so.

If you did the inspection alone, you may have missed some apparent poor workmanship or the need to complete some work. If the period of 3 days has passed or if you have already moved into your new accommodation, you are no longer covered for these parts of the guarantee. However, you remain covered for existing but not apparent poor workmanship and defects, for latent defects and faulty design.

INSPECTION: Why do you insist so much on the pre-acceptance inspection? SOS017

The acceptance marks the beginning of certain guarantees with very strict deadlines. These guarantees vary according to the type of defect found: apparent or not faulty, latent defect, or other problems. The pre-acceptance inspection is therefore THE crucial moment to ensure that you are well protected afterwards.

INSPECTION: Which building professionals can assist me during my pre-acceptance inspection? SOS018

Any building professional, technologist, architect, assessor, engineer can accompany you during the inspection. You will find a list of those specializing in inspection on the Inspection Préachat website.

When it comes to an inspection by a syndicate of co-owners of the common portions of a building in divided co-ownership, the syndicate must use the services of a professional member of one of the following three orders:

and who has a background in engineering or construction.

INSPECTION: Where can I find the acceptance checklist? SOS019

The pre-acceptance inspection is carried out from a list provided and approved by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (https://www.garantie.gouv.qc.ca/prevoir-linspection/listes-dinspection-rbq.html ).

During the inspection, the contractor must provide you with the checklist.

INSPECTION: What to do if the inspection reveals defects? SOS020

It all depends on the type of defect you notice. In general, there are 4 types of defects:

Type of defect

Impact on acceptance

Incomplete work which constitutes a deviation from an important element of the plan or estimate

It is recommended not to accept the building since the contractor has not completed the work

Serious defects

Depends on severity of defects

  • Poor workmanship or minor defects
  • The work to be completed which conforms to the plan or specification but is not completed

It is recommended to accept with reservations and the contractor will correct it within a reasonable delay.

  • In any case, make note of all the elements to be completed or corrected in the list drawn up for the inspection. Taking photos or videos is recommended
  • Agree on a reasonable delay (maximum 6 months) for the completion of the corrective work.
  • Send a copy of your annotated list to your contractor and to the administrator of the guarantee plan (Garantie de construction résidentielle).

Once this process has been undertaken, the contractor will be obliged to complete the work or make the necessary corrections. Otherwise, refer to the Claims section.

INSPECTION: My contractor and I do not agree on the list of work to be completed or corrected. What do I do? SOS021

If you disagree with your contractor about the list of work to be completed or corrected, you must mention it in the inspection form. You can add items to the list of work to be corrected or completed within 3 days of receipt, provided you have not moved into the house or your condo yet. Remember to send a copy of your annotated list to your contractor and to the guarantee plan administrator.

Je viens de noter une nouvelle malfaçon dans ma maison mais nous avons déjà emménagé. Que puis-je faire?

Si vous avez déjà emménagé, vous n’êtes plus couvert pour les malfaçons apparentes et le parachèvement de travaux. Par contre, vous êtes toujours couverts pour les malfaçons existantes mais non apparentes au moment de l’inspection pré-réception.

The Guarantee

GUARANTEE: When does the guarantee take effect? SOS022

For faulty design, construction or earthwork, the guarantee starts from the end date of the work. For the rest, the warranty takes effect when you sign the Formulaire d’inspection pré réception.

Claims

 CLAIMS: I am not satisfied with the quality of my contractor's corrective work. What can I do? SOS023

If you find that the quality of the correction is lacking, start by mentioning it directly to your contractor in order to negotiate an agreement with him. If this negotiation is not possible:

  • Report in writing any shortcomings to the contractor.
  • Send a copy to the administrator of the guarantee plan.
CLAIMS: What is the difference between sending a notice and making a claim? SOS024

A notice is a simple notification in writing of a defect to the contractor with a copy to the administrator. If, following your notice, the contractor does not intervene, you can make a claim with GCR by following the procedures described in the section "How to make a claim?" below.

CLAIMS: How do I send a notice? SOS025

To send a notice, you only have to :

  • Fill the Formulaire de dénonciation (Complaint form).
  • Send the completed form to the contractor by registered mail or by email.
  • Send a certified copy of the form to GCR.
CLAIMS: How do I make a claim? SOS026

If the contractor does not intervene to correct or complete the work after receiving the notice of termination and if the communication with your contractor is unfit for a negotiation, you can submit a complaint. To do this, you just need to:

  • Send the completed claim form to GCR, along with the required documents. This form is sent to you by GCR within 15 days of receiving a copy of your Formulaire de dénonciation.
  • Send a deposit of $ 114.98 (including taxes) for the opening of the file. These costs 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.
CLAIMS: How long should I wait to make a claim? SOS027

You should wait a minimum of 15 days after your denunciation before making a claim.

CLAIMS : What happens after I file a claim with GCR? SOS028
  • Within 15 days of the opening of your file, GCR requests the contractor to intervene.
  • Within 15 days of the intervention deadline, if the defect is not corrected, GCR will carry out an on-site inspection.
  • Within 30 days of the inspection, GCR produces a detailed report noting that the case has been settled or that there has been no settlement. In the absence of payment, GCR orders the contractor to reimburse the buyer-beneficiary for the cost of necessary and urgent repairs and to complete or correct the work within a reasonable delay.
  • If the contractor does not reimburse the costs and refuses to complete or correct the work, and in the absence of a recourse to mediation or arbitration, the administrator reimburses the costs and takes charge of the work.

Recourses

RECOURSE: According to a GCR decision, my contractor had to finalize the work on our house before the end of the summer. He did not do it. What is my recourse? SOS029

Contact the GCR conciliator who made the decision. He will contact the contractor so that the work can be completed as soon as possible.

RECOURSE: I am not satisfied with GCR's decision. What are my options? SOS030

If you are not satisfied with GCR's decision, you can file a request for mediation or arbitration within 30 days of receiving the decision. To find out about the arbitration appeal and the steps to follow, please refer to the Recourse section.

RECOURSE: When and how to request arbitration? SOS030

The request for arbitration must be made by registered mail within 30 days of receipt of the GCR decision or of receipt of the opinion of the mediator noting the total or partial failure of mediation:

  • Send your request for arbitration to one of the 4 arbitration bodies authorized by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec, who will appoint an arbitrator.
  • Send a copy of your request for arbitration to GCR and the contractor, even if the arbitration body has the obligation to inform them.

Once your request is received, the arbitration center will send you documents to inform you about the arbitration process.

RECOURSE: How to choose between mediation and arbitration? SOS031

According to the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings, the buyer-beneficiary and the contractor can choose to go to mediation first before filing a request for arbitration or to go directly to arbitration without going through mediation

Mediation

Arbitration

  • Voluntary
  • Fast and affordable
  • No need to demonstrate the existence of the defect during the period covered
  • You can represent yourself
  • Good success rate
  • Confidential: no party may use the knowledge or documents revealed in mediation as evidence for an arbitration.
  • Sharing costs equally (whether there is an agreement or not)
  • Lower costs compared to arbitration

If mediation fails, arbitration is still possible.

  • Need to prove the fault of the contractor
  • Requires excellent preparation. Having a lawyer is not mandatory but increases your chances of success.
  • Confidential
  • Cost sharing based on the decision rendered and the role of each
  • Final decision with no possible appeal

Relocation

RELOCATION: I will not be able to move into my condo as planned on July 1st, so I will have to relocate. How to get my contractor to reimburse these costs? SOS032

Above all, note that you are covered for onlyone of the two moves (either the move from your current home to the temporary accommodation of the move from the temporary accommodation to your new condo). The more expensive move will be covered.

To get your refund, you will need to:

  • Make a written request for reimbursement, preferably by registered mail, to your contractor at the latest within 6 months of receiving your condo.
  • Attach all supporting documents
  • Send a copy of the request to the administrator
  • Within 15 days of receipt of your request, the contractor must follow up on your request. If he does not respond to your request within this period, you must notify the administrator in writing.
  • Within 30 days of receiving your request, the administrator must render a decision.
RELOCATION: I had to relocate while my contractor was finishing due to noise and dust (I have two young children). He now refuses to reimburse me. What is my recourse? SOS033

Unfortunately, the Regulation on the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings clearly states that rehousing should only take place if the dwelling is no longer habitable (for example, no water or electricity). Noise and dust may not be sufficient to justify relocation at the expense of the contractor.