Amazing amenities, security, and convenience — all are great reasons for choosing a condo. But what many people don’t know is that just as condos have risen in popularity and price, so have the warranty protections for buyers. In fact, condo buyers are amongst the best protected home buyers in the province. Here are five things you should know about your rights and protections as a new condo buyer.
1. Builders must be qualified. Before a new residential condominium can break ground, the developer is subject to strict registration requirements from Tarion, the administrator of Ontario’s new home warranty program. In addition to ensuring financial and technical competence, staff meet with builders before registration is granted to ensure they have an experienced team in place, including architects, engineers, and lawyers with previous condo building experience.
2. Deposits are kept in trust and delays are compensated. Once the builder is registered, the sales centre goes up and buyers can put down deposits. If the project fails to go through, deposits are protected by trust requirements under the Condominium Act. As an additional measure of protection, Tarion covers deposits for up to $20,000 per unit. Buyers are also entitled to compensation if delivery of their unit is delayed beyond what is specified in the purchase agreement or if the date has not been properly extended.
3. You can change your mind. There is a 10-day cooling off period once you sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. This provides buyers with an opportunity to cancel the contract and receive a deposit refund.
4. The construction process is inspected. During construction, two kinds of inspections occur. City building inspectors make sure condominiums are up to code at various stages, and builders are required to engage an independent professional such as an architect or engineer to provide ongoing reporting at certain stages of construction. This process outlines what needs to be inspected, who can conduct the inspections, and how often reports must be completed.
5. New condos come with a warranty. Once you take possession, there’s a warranty on your unit and a separate warranty for common elements. Together, these warranties provide coverage for a wide range of issues, including unauthorized substitutions, issues with water penetration, violations of the Ontario Building Code, major structural defects, and defects to the electrical, heating, and plumbing systems.