Sudbury·Audio

Sudbury Home Builders group warns cash reno deals could cost more than you think

If you're thinking about building a new deck, or perhaps putting a small addition onto the house this year, steer clear of under-the-table deals — or your home renovations could cost you a lot more than you bargained for.
The true cost of your under the table home reno job may be a lot more that you bargained for according to the Sudbury and District Home Builders Association. (Gregory Bull/The Associated Press)

If you're thinking about building a new deck, or perhaps putting a small addition onto the house this year, steer clear of under-the-table deals — or your home renovations could cost you a lot more than you bargained for. 

That's the advice of Laura Higgs with the Sudbury and District Home Builders Association. 

"I hear every week from members of the public who call in with nightmare stories about how can they get a job that's gone wrong back on the right track again," she said. 

Higgs says numbers from Statistics Canada show that because of the underground economy, billions of dollars in work is going un-taxed across the country every year. 

"What we think though, in Sudbury, is that the underground economy is about $55 million," she continued. "The majority of those jobs are in the renovation industry, and they are small jobs less than $5,000." 

Laura Higgs is with the Sudbury and District Home Builders Association, which is is hosting the Sudbury Home Show this weekend. (Roger Corriveau/CBC)

Aside from the lost revenue to all three tiers of government, the money you save on cash jobs might put you at considerable risk, Higgs said.

"You'll probably save on the HST, but you're only saving the HST on the labour, because the products have to purchased from somewhere — and then of course you might be avoiding permit fees at your municipalities," she said.

"But here are the risks: no contracts, no warranties, no legal recourse. You're liable for damages, for your neighbours' property, your property, and injury to these workers, you might have problems on re-sale, and it makes [the] renovation process ... stressful." 

Listen to the complete conversation with Laura Higgs here

The Sudbury and District Home Builders Association is presenting its annual Home Show in Sudbury. It's executive director Laura Higgs joined us in studio to talk about the show and the underground economy when it comes to home renos. 6:32

 

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