By Howard Bogach, CEO, Tarion Warranty Corporation

Published in the Toronto Sun on Friday, June 9, 2017

​When you buy and move into a newly built home, you understandably have certain expectations. You expect your new home to need fewer repairs, certainly in the first year. You also expect the home to be well constructed and be up to date with the current building code.

Like many people who buy a new home, you don’t expect that an emergency could actually cause it to become uninhabitable – after all, it is brand new. Although rare, this can and occasionally does happen to new homeowners. Thankfully, the Ontario new home warranty program offers protections for emergencies, just in case.

An emergency is a situation that occurs during the warranty period and involves a warranted defect that if not immediately taken care of would result in substantial damage to the home, pose a risk to the health and safety of the homeowners, or make the home uninhabitable. Some examples include a complete loss of heat in the winter months, a ​gas leak, a complete loss of electricity, a complete loss of water supply or a complete stoppage of sewage disposal.

If there is a lot of water penetrating your home and it is affecting the interior walls or ceiling, or creating a large pool of standing water, this may be an emergency warranty situation as well.  Other examples include a plumbing leak that requires your home’s entire water supply to be shut off, or a major collapse of any part of the home’s exterior or interior structure.

However, if the situation is due to something that is beyond your builder’s control, such as a failure of a municipal or utility service, it is not covered under the warranty.

Tarion has a statutory process for handling warranty claims. It is designed to give builders enough time to repair warranted defects and to give homeowners enough time to make sure they are satisfied with the builder’s repair.

But in emergency situations, repairs should be done as soon as possible. So Tarion has a separate process to deal with them.

All new home builders should have an emergency protocol in place as well, and should explain the process to their homeowners.

Your builder is permitted up to 24 hours to resolve an emergency by making your home safe and secure and preventing any further damage from occurring.  If your builder does not resolve the emergency, call Tarion.

If you cannot reach your builder or Tarion, you or your contractor may do the repair work necessary to correct the emergency only and then make a claim to be reimbursed for the repair costs. Keep records of the emergency situation and the repair work done, such as receipts and photographs taken before and after the repair.

Once the initial emergency is resolved, your builder has 30 days to complete a full repair of the defect that caused the emergency situation. If your builder does not do so, contact Tarion and we will work with you directly to resolve the matter.

Although you may not expect to experience an emergency in your new home, you should always be prepared to handle one if it happens. Thankfully, Tarion is here, just in case. Contact us at tarion.com if you have any questions about your new home warranty.

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