Looking for a newly-built home is both a stressful and an exciting endeavour — but it shouldn’t be a dangerous one. Last spring, an Ontario man was jailed for repeatedly building and selling homes that were poorly built, unsafe, and not enrolled in the province’s new home warranty program. Called illegal building, it’s not uncommon.
Fortunately, this new home warranty program helps protect unsuspecting consumers from illegal builders. Yet all too often homeowners are unaware of their warranty rights and responsibilities.
For the past 40 years, it has been mandatory for all new home builders in Ontario to register with Tarion to make sure builders are qualified and have the financial means to get the job done. The program provides a warranty on new homes for up to seven years and employs a team of experienced investigators to track down, charge, and prosecute illegal builders. Last year alone these efforts led to 105 convictions and fines of more than $330,000. Two builders were also sent to jail.
So how can you protect yourself? Follow these tips:
1. Research your builder. Before purchasing a home, it’s essential to check the Ontario Builder Directory. All licensed builders are searchable, and the directory provides a 10 year history of their work. Beware if your builder is not listed, as unlisted builders may not have passed the technical test based on Ontario building code regulations, or may not have provided the financial securities necessary to build homes.
2. Make sure your new home is under warranty. Your builder must provide you with a homeowner information package before or on the date of your pre-delivery inspection, and must repair any items that fall under the warranty by certain deadlines.
3. Know where to go for help. If you have any questions about your new home or a potential new home purchase, warranty representatives are an essential resource to help navigate the entire process. Find a warranty representative, as well as more resources, tips, and information online at tarion.com.