Calgary contractor closes down claiming casualty of economic decline
Published Wednesday, January 20, 2016 4:56PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:45PM MST
Another Calgary home renovation contractor has suddenly closed its doors leaving many home owners with unfinished jobs and little recourse.
Kim Knox hired Calgary General Contractors to turn her bathroom into a new en suite and laundry room and paid $67,000 but CGC suddenly shut down just before Christmas.
Knox says she's paid new contractors $6500 to finish the job and that CGC's unpaid sub-contractors have registered $13,000 in liens against her.
“At the beginning they were quite menacing, showing up at our home asking for money, demanding that we pay them,” said Knox.
Joshua Fernando says he paid CGC $69,000 to build an addition and says unpaid trades are threatening to come after him for about $18,000.
“We're pretty much just walking in the dark here. It's not like I have a contracting background, it's not like I have a law background,” he said.
Fernando says it will probably cost him another $10,000 to finish the job.
An Okotoks woman, who doesn't want to be named, also came forward with a complaint against the company and says she paid CGC a total of $160,000 to renovate her kitchen and en suite.
She says CGC cashed her $33,000 cheque just three days before it shut down.
CGC's lawyer didn't explain where the client's money went and sent an email statement to CTV News Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty saying…
“CGC fought to keep afloat however it has become another casualty of the downturn in the economy.... CGC regrets that it has had to close its doors and has made efforts to mitigate the effect its closure has had on both the owners with unfinished projects and unpaid subcontractors.”
Calgary lawyer Jeff Kahane says the unfortunate fact is that most homeowners abandoned by insolvent general contractors have little recourse.
“Your only real recourse is going to be to sue them. Whether or not the company that you contracted with has any assets to collect against is really going to be the deciding factor if it's even worth suing them,” said Kahane.
CGC appears to have related companies still operating in other cities and it has logos and staff in common, but its Ottawa office denied any connection.
“I know that we have nothing to do with them but I’ll pass your message along,” said a receptionist who took the call from CTV Calgary.
Kahane says when it comes to contractors' liens, homeowners don't have to do anything right away because contractors must file lawsuits to try to collect on those liens within six months or face automatic dismissal.
Lea says if you hire a renovator, it's a good idea to pay as you go, withholding 10 percent of each payment, as required by law. This creates a fund which unpaid sub-contractors can collect against in cases like this.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)