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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If you’re new to the new home warranty process, don’t worry - you’re not alone. The best place to start is to learn about your warranty timelines and processes. For this episode of Tarion Talks, we focused on the basics to help answer the most common questions we hear from new home owners.
When does the warranty begin?
It may seem difficult to grasp when your warranty starts since there are deadlines that fall on different dates. The key is to check your Certificate of Completion and Possession or CCP. For freehold homes, your warranty starts on the date of possession indicated on the CCP. If you’ve purchased a new condo, the warranty kickstarts on the occupancy date, which can also be found in the certificate.
How long does the warranty coverage last?
There are three different warranties that cover specific aspects of your new home:
1. One-Year Warranty – This is a general warranty that applies for one year, beginning on the home’s possession or occupancy date and ending on the first anniversary of the possession or occupancy date. It covers:
- Defects in work and materials;
- Unauthorized substitution of materials; and
- Ontario Building Code violations.
2. Two-Year Warranty – This warranty applies for two years, beginning on the home’s possession or occupancy date and ending on the second anniversary of the possession or occupancy date. It is more limited than the one-year warranty and covers:
- Ontario Building Code violations affecting health and safety;
- Water penetration through the basement, foundation or building envelope;
- Defects in electrical, plumbing and heating distribution systems; and
- Defects in exterior cladding resulting in detachment, displacement or deterioration.
3. Seven-Year Warranty – This warranty applies for seven years, beginning on the home’s possession or occupancy date and ending on the seventh anniversary of the possession or occupancy date. It covers major structural defects that materially and adversely affect:
- The structural integrity of your home; or
- The use of a significant portion of your home, such as excessive radon levels.
Where can you find out what items are covered?
To find out whether an item in your home is covered under the new home warranty, check out the Construction Performance Guidelines – a reference guide that Tarion uses to evaluate some of the most commonly reported warranty items.
If you’re more of a visual learner, you can head to Home Explorer, an illustrated online version of the Construction Performance Guidelines.
Submitting warranty claims
Once you’ve done your research and found out that the items you noticed are likely covered, the next thing you will need to do is submit a warranty claim to your builder and Tarion.
But keep in mind, when it comes to reporting an issue, your builder should always be your first point of contact. It is the builder’s warranty and their responsibility to resolve issues in the homes they build. Requesting help from Tarion is appropriate if you have already submitted your warranty claim to your builder, but the issue is not getting resolved.
When you’re filling out a warranty form, be specific about the nature and location of any problem. You should also consider including photos, videos or other documentation. If you’re unsure whether an item is covered by your warranty, you can refer to the Construction Performance Guidelines and the Homeowner Information Package you received from your builder.
As a new homeowner, you can manage your new home warranty entirely online using MyHome. There you’ll find all the warranty dates you need to stay on top of and the forms you’ll need to complete and submit to Tarion if your builder is not resolving your issues.
This means that if you’re searching Tarion.com to download warranty forms, you won’t find them there! The forms can be obtained through the MyHome portal – but the good news is, any owner of a new home in Ontario can sign up quickly for an account at myhome.tarion.com within MyHome. Or by contacting us. Here are some of the forms you’ll find:
- 30-Day Form: You can submit a 30-Day Form during the first 30 days of possession or occupancy. Use this form to list any unresolved warranty items you and your builder identified during your pre-delivery inspection, and any new items that have surfaced since taking possession or occupancy of your home. You can submit only one 30-Day Form, so be sure to include all the warranty items you want to report. And remember, your PDI form is not a warranty form.
- Year-End Form: You can submit a Year-End Form during the last 30 days of the first year of possession or occupancy. Use this form to list all outstanding warranty items to date. The Year-End Form is your final opportunity to report items covered by the one-year warranty to Tarion. If you do not submit a Year-End Form before the deadline, you may risk not having certain items covered by the warranty. Keep in mind, only one Year-End Form will be accepted.
- Second-Year Form: You can submit a Second-Year Form at any time during the second year of possession or occupancy. Use this form to list items that are covered under the two-year warranty. Remember that you can submit as many Second-Year Forms as necessary during this period.
- Major Structural Defect Form: You can submit a Major Structural Defect Form any time after the second year of possession but no later than seven years from the date of possession or occupancy. Use this form to report any items that are covered under the seven-year major structural defect warranty. More than one Major Structural Defect Form may be submitted.
Unpredictable situations can happen and may lead to emergencies that need immediate attention and may cause damage to your home or risk your safety. And if you have an emergency you feel is a health and safety hazard for you and your family, you can contact us for help regardless of where you are in your warranty coverage.
If you live in a condo, your Unit Warranty covers items within the boundaries of your unit – from walls and floors to cupboards and counter-tops. Defects outside of your condominium unit fall outside your unit warranty so you need to point them out to your condominium corporation board or your property manager.
That’s because there is a separate warranty for the shared areas, which are also known as the common elements. It covers shared-use spaces such as recreational facilities, parking garages, and party lounges.
Common elements have their own warranty claim process which is managed by your condominium corporation. So you wouldn’t mention these on the same form you are submitting regarding items in your own unit.
If you’re unsure of what the boundaries of your unit are, you can locate that information in the disclosure attached to your purchase agreement.
Since the new home warranty is provided by your builder, they are the party responsible for addressing claim items. That’s why we allow your builder some time, after you submit a warranty form to Tarion, to address your warranty requests:
- 120-day builder repair period – After you submit a 30-Day, Year-End or Second-Year Forms, your builder has an initial repair period of up to 120 days to repair or resolve items on your form that are covered by the warranty.
- Scheduling repairs – During the builder’s repair period, inspections and work will need to be scheduled and it’s a good idea to work with your builder on what date and time works best for both of you.
- Tarion’s role is to backstop the warranty – If your builder does not resolve items on your form to your satisfaction, you can contact Tarion for assistance, as setout below.
What happens if my builder is completely unreachable?
In rare cases, this can happen. The builder may no longer be in business or in some cases, your builder might disagree with your request and decide not to do anything about it.
In these types of scenarios, Tarion is able to help through the unwilling/unable process. Ultimately, if Tarion determines that a builder is unwilling or unable to provide warranty service, we can intervene and settle warranty claims directly with the homeowner.
Are there situations in which the normal warranty timelines don’t apply?
There are some exceptions to the standard 120-day repair period during which builders may repair claimed items.
These exceptions might be applied to exterior items, air conditioning issues during the summertime, and emergencies – just to provide a few examples. You can learn more about what exceptions there are to the regular process by referring to the Homeowner Information Package.
What is a conciliation?
If your builder has not resolved your items after the 120-day builder repair period, you can contact Tarion to ask for a conciliation.
You may have remembered us discussing this in Tarion Talks: Episode 9, but essentially a conciliation is a process where Tarion acts as an independent and impartial decision-maker and assesses the items on your warranty form that are in dispute to determine whether the items on the form are covered under the warranty and, if they are, to assess the following:
- Whether Tarion agrees with the way a repair was done or offered to be done by the builder;
- Whether Tarion agrees that a settlement offer by the builder is reasonable; or,
- What, if any, compensation or repair the owner is entitled to receive from the builder or Tarion.
In most cases, a Tarion Warranty Services Representative is sent to your home, and your builder’s representative will also be invited to attend. You and the builder will be able to provide information and documents you want Tarion to consider when making warranty assessments.
Warranty exceptions and holiday closures
The holiday season is right around the corner and, of course, those holidays can be stressful enough as it is – between holiday shopping, family commitments, and more! If the submission period for a warranty form ends on a weekend or holiday, it’s extended to the end of the next business day that is not a holiday. So you can rest assured that you won’t miss a deadline and can enjoy your Christmas or New Year’s without worry.
The best thing to do if you’re ever unsure about form submission or other warranty dates is to refer to your MyHome account. The dates indicated there consider any holiday closures.
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.