The Open Door Blog
Whether you own a new home or condo, are considering buying one, or just love to dream about it, the Open Door blog is here to share stories that can help you protect what is likely the biggest investment of your life.
The Open Door blog is published by Tarion, a non-profit corporation that administers Ontario’s New Home Warranty Plan and registers all new home builders in Ontario. Click here to learn more about us.
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Putting the conciliation fee into perspective
As a new home owner, you’ve done everything right. You signed up for Tarion’s online portal, MyHome, when you got the keys to your new home, you submitted your warranty form on time, and you tried to work with your builder to get the unfinished work and repairs completed. Despite your best efforts, however, some things still aren’t done at the end of your builder’s repair period. When you received that e-mail reminder from Tarion letting you know that you could request Tarion’s intervention, you went straight to your MyHome account to schedule your conciliation inspection. That’s when you got the surprise. Conciliation fee? Hold on a second, you think to yourself: isn’t the warranty already paid for? Why do I now have to pay for Tarion’s assistance?
Our call centre agents will tell you that this is one of the most common questions they get, and it’s one of those questions that doesn’t have a quick and easy answer.
Our call centre agents will tell you that this is one of the most common questions they get, and it’s one of those questions that doesn’t have a quick and easy answer. That’s why we’ve put together these four facts to try to clarify the conciliation fee and why we ask for it:
- It’s more like a deposit than a fee. If Tarion finds that at least one of the items we inspect is covered by the warranty, we refund the conciliation fee to you. That’s right – just one item. In other words, you’re not being charged for using your warranty. Our records show that in the vast majority of cases, homeowners get their money back after the conciliation. We also refund the fee if you cancel your inspection with at least 24 hours’ advance notice. So, if you and your builder happen to work things out and you no longer need our help, we’ll return the money to you.
- Your builder faces much higher consequences. While you as a homeowner get a refund if Tarion finds that at least one item is warranted, your builder will be charged $1,000 for failing to resolve the warranted item with you during their repair period (unless certain exceptions apply, such as being denied access to your home). On top of that, they’re still responsible for either completing the repairs or covering the costs for someone else to do it. Last, but certainly not least, the chargeable conciliation will appear on their Ontario Builder Directory profile for anyone to see. Definitely not good for business!
- Tarion does not have unlimited resources. At any given time, there are close to 400,000 homes under warranty. Now, imagine if all of these homeowners suddenly asked for a Tarion inspection because it was free. Since we have about 40 Warranty Services Representatives who conduct inspections, this works out to about 10,000 inspections per rep! Think of how long you’d have to wait for us to come to your home!
- It helps Tarion focus on legitimate warranty disputes. Conciliation inspections are not always necessary. If homeowners want to know if an issue is covered before requesting a conciliation they can consult our Construction Performance Guidelines or contact us to ask. Hairline crack in your basement concrete floor? If it’s less than 4mm in width, the warranty doesn’t cover it. Water entering your month-old home through a crack in your foundation? That’s covered, and it needs to be looked at and repaired. A lot of homeowner complaints are like the first example. If Tarion’s resources were all tied up in conducting inspections on items that aren’t covered, we wouldn’t have enough time to get to valid warranty claims like the second example.
Viewed from these angles, you can see how having a conciliation fee actually works in your best interest. At the end of the day, you just want the warranty coverage you’re entitled to. We know that, and it’s why we’d rather focus our time and efforts on resolving claims that are covered under the warranty.
The goal of this blog is to provide you with general information about the warranty process by sharing real experiences from new homeowners. The blog should not be relied upon as legal advice. For privacy reasons, we will not address or resolve current cases in a public forum, so any comments or questions that are posted on this site that describe individual cases cannot be discussed. If you have a question about your warranty or Tarion generally, we would be pleased to discuss your issue, in the context of your particular circumstances and in confidence. We exercise reasonable care to avoid offensive, illegal or defamatory content from being posted, as well as comments that are intended solely for self-promotion or considered to be spam.