How to research the warranty status on a home under 7 years-old
Thursday Jan 26th, 2017
Buying a newly built home that is under warranty doesn't necessarily mean you have purchased directly from a builder. To fully understand your rights, here's some background.
Almost all new homes built in Ontario come with a warranty that is provided by the builder, and backed by Tarion. The warranties last for the first seven years of a new home, and cover defects in workmanship, violations of the Ontario Building Code, and major structural damage.
This warranty stays with the home regardless of how many owners have been involved. But when a home has been previously owned there are important things you should know about its history that may have an effect on its warranty. The key is to make an effort to understand a home's history before signing the purchase agreement.
Here are a few tips to follow if you are purchasing a recently constructed home that is less than seven years old:
When buying a resale home, find out whether there are or have been any issues since it was built. One way to obtain this information is to request a Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS). This form is filled out by the seller and contains information such as known defects and any pending claims under Tarion.
Buyer beware! Not only is this form voluntary, it may also tell only part of the story. The onus is really on the purchaser to investigate the state of the home he or she is buying. Therefore, the SPIS should not replace your own home inspection.
Look into previous issues
If you are thinking of buying a resale condominium, you'll want to know whether major work needs to be done to the building, the amount in the building's reserve fund, and whether it is sufficient to cover this work. You can find this out by having your lawyer review the Status Certificate, and ensuring your agreement of purchase and sale is conditional upon this review.
Once you sign a purchase agreement, you can contact Tarion directly to inquire whether there are any past or pending claims on the house or condominium. Previous claims may reduce the amount of warranty coverage on a home.
Research past renovations and repairs
A home's warranty covers defects in work and materials provided by the builder only.
If a contractor was hired to add on to the home or make renovations, the builder will not be responsible for any of those renovations. Any work done by a contractor that negatively impacts a home's major systems and causes defects to the builder's work will not be covered under the warranty.
Finally, if you purchase a resale home that is less than seven years old, get to know the warranty coverage. All the information you'll need to understand it better is available at Tarion.com.