In an enterprise contract, the contractor agrees to perform physical or intellectual work for a client.
This work is considered to be complete when it has been carried out in accordance with the contract and is ready to be used for its intended purpose.
When the contractor tells the client that the work is finished, the client has two choices:
- If the work was done according to the contract, the client can accept the result without condition. If the client does this, he must pay the contractor the full price of the work.
- If the work has obvious and apparent defects, the client can accept the work, on condition that the contractor makes the necessary changes to adjust the work.
In this case, the client must pay the contractor the price of the work, but can subtract an amount off the price to cover the repair costs related to the problems identified. He can keep the subtracted amount until the contractor has repaired the problems.
However, the client cannot subtract an amount off the total price and keep it if
- the contractor has clearly agreed to make the necessary repairs , or
- the contractor has provided sufficient guarantees to cover the repair costs, or
- the client prevents the contractor from making the necessary repairs.
In certain situations, a client might discover a defect that was hidden when he accepted the work, even though he accepted the work with or without some conditions. In this case, the client can ask the contractor to repair the hidden defect or compensate him for any loss he suffered because of it.
Finally, the contract might say that the work will be performed in several steps. In this case, the contractor can ask the client, after each step, to pay for the work performed. The client must accept the work after each of the steps, with or without conditions.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.