BY: PATRICK SNELLING
Thinking of a renovation project? There is a lot to think about. One thing to consider is what type of agreement you require with the contractors.
For various reasons some people decide to have a “handshake agreement” as a basis to deal with a contractor. Others have lawyers prepare comprehensive written contracts. There is no one size fits all approach. But here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Handshake agreements are legally binding just as written contracts are. Once an agreement is in place each party has entitlements and obligations.
- If called upon to do so a Court will determine what the parties to an agreement intended, through written documents, conduct or, if necessary, what is reasonable in the circumstances.
- Written agreements can be amended.
Keep in mind what is important to you. For instance, if you need the work completed by a certain date you should have that stipulated in writing. The agreement should also stipulate the consequences for not completing the project on time.
Written agreements provide certainty for both parties. They allow you to predict matters such as cost, the scope of what will be done and the manner in which the work is completed. As a general rule the more complicated the project, the more detail is required in the agreement.
A properly organized written agreement is a good way to protect your interests and ensure you get what you bargained for.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This publication is the 22nd installment of our firm’s Legal Matters series, which answers a reader’s question every week. If you have a general legal question that you would like to have addressed please send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.