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COVID-19 Pandemic Response: Information for Homeowners

Tarion is committed to keeping you informed as we continue to work through this evolving situation created by COVID-19. The information below is intended to help answer your questions. As more information becomes available, we will continue to update this page. 

If you have further questions about the information provided or your situation, please contact our Customer Service team at 1-877-982-7466 or email covid19@tarion.com.

General Advisories

Advisories for Home Buyers

Additional Resources

FAQ for Homeowners regarding COVID-19

  1. How will the reinstating of timelines affect warranty form submission deadlines?
  2. Since homeowners have until September 11 to submit forms, does this mean that warranty periods will also be extended?
  3. How will the Emergency Order affect my warranty periods?
  4. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Tarion consulted on possible interim measures that would affect warranty timelines. Will these measures be implemented?
  5. When will be my builder be required to do repairs on my home?
  6. How does the re-starting of builder repair periods apply to a repair agreement that was entered into with my builder before the Emergency Order suspended timelines?
  7. What happens if I require an emergency repair before repair periods are reinstated?
  8. How will the reinstatement of repair periods affect timelines regarding seasonal items?
  9. How will this affect timelines regarding special seasonal items?
  10. What if I’m not comfortable allowing my builder or their tradespeople into my home to do repairs?
  11. What should I do if I have an emergency or health and safety issue in my new home?
  12. If I hire an outside contractor to make repairs because I don’t want to wait until repair periods resume, will I be compensated by either my builder or Tarion?
  13. Can I ask my builder to do exterior work on my home during the remobilization period? What about completing grading or sodding?
  14. When can I request a conciliation? When will previously postponed conciliations be scheduled?
  15. When will conciliation inspections, claim inspections and common element meetings resume and how will they be handled?
  16. Why has the conciliation fee for homeowners been waived until the end of the year?
  17. Will my closing be delayed?
  18. Am I entitled to claim delayed closing or delayed occupancy compensation because of the outbreak?
  19. What if my home was already delayed prior to the outbreak being declared?
  20. I have a payment due to my builder, but I was laid off due to the COVID-19 outbreak (e.g., my company was not considered essential). Can I defer my payment?
  21. My builder has advised me that even though my home is almost finished, I won’t be able to take possession when I was supposed to because they can’t get an occupancy permit. I’ve already sold my current home and don’t want to wait – what can I do?
  22. I’m ready to take possession but I’m afraid to do the pre-delivery inspection because of COVID-19. My builder says that they can do it without me. Are they allowed to do that? Will it affect my warranty coverage?
  23. My builder says my closing will be going ahead in two weeks. But because of my health and the risk associated with COVID-19, I don’t want to move in. Do I have to close or can I tell my builder to move back the closing?

Warranty Forms/Timelines

How will the reinstating of timelines affect warranty form submission deadlines?

Homeowners and condominium corporations with warranty claim submissions (30-day, Year-End, Second-Year, Major Structural Defect, delayed closing, financial loss and deposit claims) that were due between March 16 and September 11 have until September 11 to submit their forms. All forms due after September 11 should be submitted on time according to their due date. This includes the filing of any Performance Audits by condominium corporations.

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Since homeowners have until September 11 to submit forms, does this mean that warranty periods will also be extended?

The warranty coverage time periods (one year, two year, three to seven year, delayed closing, financial loss and deposit claims) remain in place but to ensure claim rights are not jeopardized, the claim submission periods are effectively extended in response to the provincial Emergency Order which remains in place until September 11.

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How will the Emergency Order affect my warranty periods?

The warranty coverage time periods (one year, two year, three to seven year, delayed closing, financial loss and deposit claims) remain in place but to ensure claim rights are not jeopardized the claim submission periods are effectively extended for the duration of the emergency period which is due to expire on September 11.

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Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Tarion consulted on possible interim measures that would affect warranty timelines. Will these measures be implemented?

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the Government of Ontario’s Emergency Orders which suspended statutory deadlines, the timing of implementation will be reassessed.

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Repairs

When will be my builder be required to do repairs on my home?

Builders will have 45 days beginning July 13 to remobilize trades, supplies and staff and organize scheduling before repair periods are reinstated on August 27. This remobilization period applies to repairs on freehold homes, condo units and common elements claims.

Repair periods for forms that were submitted between March 16th and August 26th will commence on August 27, 2020.

Repair periods for forms that were submitted before March 16th will resume at the point at which they were suspended. For example, if a repair period was suspended at day 21 of a builder repair period, the balance of the repair period will resume on August 27th, at day 22.

Prior to the reinstatement of repair periods on August 27, it is Tarion’s expectation that builders will continue to respond to warranty issues related to emergencies and health and safety – including water penetration, radon, mould, structural issues. For non-emergency repairs during the remobilization period we would encourage builders and homeowners to work together to proceed with repairs where they can be done safely while adhering to provincial Government of Ontario health and safety and physical distancing guidelines. We have provided guidance for repairs here. It is Tarion’s position that both parties need to agree to the conditions under which the repairs would be carried out. If homeowners do not allow a builder to do repairs during this time it will not be considered denied access.

If homeowners or builders have any questions about their specific circumstance, they should contact Tarion’s customer service team at 1-877-982-7466 or email covid19@tarion.com.

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How does the re-starting of builder repair periods apply to a repair agreement that was entered into with my builder before the Emergency Order suspended timelines?

Builders will have 45 days beginning July 13 to remobilize trades, supplies and staff and organize scheduling before repair periods are reinstated on August 27. The remobilization period also applies to repair agreements currently in place between homeowners or condo corporations and builders. Repair timelines set out in repair agreements will resume on August 27 at the point they were at as of March 16th.

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What happens if I require an emergency repair before repair periods are reinstated?

Prior to the reinstatement of repair periods on August 27, Tarion expects builders to continue to respond to emergencies. If you have an emergency, you should first contact your builder. If you cannot reach your builder or your builder does not address the situation within 24 hours, you can contact Tarion. Our emergency process is outlined on our website here and you can contact our Customer Service team at covid19@tarion.com or call 1-877-982-7466.

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How will the reinstatement of repair periods affect timelines regarding seasonal items?

Seasonal warranty items involve service requests regarding the exterior of the home which are weather dependent (e.g. exterior painting, caulking, mortar work). Repair periods for seasonal items will resume on August 27, 2020 and will be extended to November 15, 2020. If builders require further extensions to complete seasonal work, they can request it under the Extraordinary Situation provisions of Builder Bulletin 42. If seasonal items are not completed by November 16, homeowners can request a conciliation between April 15 and May 17 the following year when seasonal weather period resumes.

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How will this affect timelines regarding special seasonal items?

The builder has 270 days of “seasonable weather” from the date of possession to complete any warrantable special seasonal items reported on a 30-Day or Year-End Form (unless a longer period within the time limits permitted under applicable municipal agreements was negotiated between the builder and the homeowner).Special seasonable items would include items such as grading, sod, installation of driveways, patios or decks. ”Seasonable weather” is the period between May 1 and November 15 (inclusive) of any given calendar year. There are 199 days of seasonable weather in one calendar year.

Repair periods for warranty forms with special seasonal items submitted prior to March 16, 2020 will resume on August 27, 2020 at the point at which they were paused on November 15, 2019 (the last day of the seasonal weather period). For example, if a repair period for special seasonal work was at day 150 on November 15, 2019, it will resume on August 27, 2020 at day 151. For forms filed during the emergency period (March 16 up to August 26), the special seasonal repair period will commence on August 27, 2020. If builders require further extensions to complete special seasonal work, they can request it under the Extraordinary Situation provisions of Builder Bulletin 42. If special seasonal items are not completed by November 16, homeowners can request a conciliation between April 15 and May 17 the following year when seasonal weather period resumes.

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What if I’m not comfortable allowing my builder or their tradespeople into my home to do repairs?

It is important that builders and homeowners have clear lines of communication around health concerns and what health and safety precautions will be followed and how they will be followed when doing repairs. Tarion has provided health and safety guidance for repairs here. If, however, a homeowner is not comfortable allowing access to their home for repairs prior to repair periods being reinstated on August 27, it will not be considered denied access. We would encourage homeowners and builders in this situation to contact Tarion for assistance in resolving this issue.

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What should I do if I have an emergency or health and safety issue in my new home?

Homeowners can still contact their builder and Tarion regarding any concerns with health and safety issues or other emergency concerns.

For homeowners: Homeowners are advised to follow the emergency processes outlined on Tarion.com here.

For condominium corporations: Condominium corporations are advised to follow the emergency processes outlined in the Condominium Corporation Information Package and Builder Bulletin 49.

For vendors/builders: Builders are advised to follow the emergency processes outlined in Builder Bulletin 42 and Builder Bulletin 49.

If homeowners or builders have any questions about their specific circumstance, they should contact Tarion’s customer service team at 1-877-982-7466 or email covid19@tarion.com.

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If I hire an outside contractor to make repairs because I don’t want to wait until repair periods resume, will I be compensated by either my builder or Tarion?

No. Repair periods are being reinstated effective August 27. Prior to this date, there is no requirement for builders to complete repairs. Homeowners would only be compensated for out-of-pocket repair costs in the event that they encountered an emergency or health and safety situation their builder was not able to attend to.

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Can I ask my builder to do exterior work on my home during the remobilization period? What about completing grading or sodding?

Until repair periods resume on August 27, there is no requirement for builders to complete repair work. During the 45-day remobilization period prior to August 27, we encourage builders and homeowners to work together to proceed with repairs or other work where they can be done safely (i.e. on outside elements) while adhering to provincial health and safety and physical distancing guidelines. It is Tarion’s position that both parties need to agree to the conditions under which the work would be carried out. We have provided guidance for repairs here. It is Tarion’s position that both parties need to agree to the conditions under which the repairs would be carried out. If homeowners do not allow a builder to do repairs during this time it will not be considered denied access.

Until repair periods are reinstated, Tarion has no authority to compel a builder to conduct repairs including exterior work, other than in cases where the work relates to health and safety or an emergency issue.

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Conciliations and Inspections

When can I request a conciliation? When will previously postponed conciliations be scheduled?

Homeowners and condo corporations who were eligible to request a conciliation between March 16 and September 11 have until September 11 to submit this request. We will be working to reschedule previously postponed conciliations and inspections at the earliest possible date.

All conciliation fees will continue to be waived until the end of the year.

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When will conciliation inspections, claim inspections and common element meetings resume and how will they be handled?

Tarion is planning a gradual return to in-person inspections, conciliations and common element meetings beginning July 13 under new health safety protocols. We have posted these health and safety protocols on our website (link) and will provide information in advance to all parties who will be participating in an in-person inspection or meeting about what to expect.

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Why has the conciliation fee for homeowners been waived until the end of the year?

We have waived the conciliation fees for the remainder of the year due to the extended length of the emergency period and in recognition of the financial impact it has had on some homeowners.

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Closings and Pre-Delivery Inspections

Will my closing be delayed?

If a new home is in the midst of construction at this time, it is very possible that the outbreak will cause delays in the delivery of the home. Under the unavoidable delay provisions of the Addendum (which forms part of the purchase agreement), the builder will be entitled to unilaterally extend critical dates. However, the builder must follow the rules set out in the Addendum to do so. To learn more about COVID-19 and delayed closings, click here.

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Am I entitled to claim delayed closing or delayed occupancy compensation because of the outbreak?

No. The COVID-19 outbreak qualifies as an unavoidable delay under the provisions of the Addendum. If however, your builder does not follow the rules regarding providing appropriate notice, they may not be able to extend the critical dates and you may be eligible for compensation.

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What if my home was already delayed prior to the outbreak being declared?

If your home was delayed prior to the outbreak, your builder should still have followed the provisions of the Addendum with regard to providing proper notice. For questions about your specific home, please contact Customer Service at covid19@tarion.com.

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I have a payment due to my builder, but I was laid off due to the COVID-19 outbreak (e.g., my company was not considered essential). Can I defer my payment?

Due to business closures and associated layoffs, we know that some purchasers may face difficulties in obtaining mortgage financing or in coming up with the funds necessary to meet deposit schedules or other payments that may be due according to the purchase agreement. Tarion doesn’t have the authority to compel builders to provide deferrals of payments. We are asking builders to consider the impacts of the outbreak on their purchasers to see if there’s a fair and reasonable agreement that can be reached to address any financial difficulties that a purchaser might be facing in completing their closing (e.g. extended payment terms, delayed closing). We would also suggest that you ask your lawyer to review your purchase agreement.

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My builder has advised me that even though my home is almost finished, I won’t be able to take possession when I was supposed to because they can’t get an occupancy permit. I’ve already sold my current home and don’t want to wait – what can I do?

We understand that some new home buyers may be eager to close as they may have already sold their previous home and want to move in as soon as possible. In some jurisdictions there may be delays in completing onsite municipal inspections due to health concerns, which could affect the timing of an occupancy permit. As an occupancy permit is legally required before a purchaser can take possession, this may delay the closing. We encourage purchasers to talk to their builders to find out the type of delay they are facing and what impact it may have on the closing.

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I’m ready to take possession but I’m afraid to do the pre-delivery inspection because of COVID-19. My builder says that they can do it without me. Are they allowed to do that? Will it affect my warranty coverage?

Given the current public health situation, we do not consider it absolutely necessary that the PDI occur prior to a closing in the presence of both the builder and the homeowner. However, it is reasonable that in-person PDIs can happen if participants adhere to provincial health and safety and physical distancing guidelines. It is Tarion’s position that both parties need to agree to the conditions under which the PDI would be carried out.

In order to assist homeowners and builders who wish to conduct an in-person PDI, Tarion has put together guidelines available here. Please note that this guidance provides basic information only and is not intended to take the place of public health advice, nor does it constitute legal advice. We recommend that builders and homeowners consult with their legal advisors for any questions regarding risk or liability, and that they monitor current health advice issued by the Government of Ontario.

In the event that one or both parties do not consent to an in-person PDI, we recommend that builders and homeowners each conduct their own separate reviews of the home. It is our expectation that builders give homeowners an opportunity to conduct their own “delivery” inspection as soon as reasonably possible after taking possession. The homeowner should document as best they can (including photos and or video) any missing/incomplete items or damages which they discover and believe were caused prior to when they took possession. While the emergency orders are in place, Tarion has no authority to compel a builder to conduct a PDI with the homeowner present nor to insist that a homeowner participate in a PDI in the presence of a builder.

The records of the homeowner and builder can serve as evidence of the state of the home close to occupancy and may be helpful in the event a dispute arises later as to whether an item of damage was caused by the homeowner or builder.

The PDI form is not a Tarion claim form, so if an item is not noted on the PDI form this does not necessarily impact your warranty coverage. If you note an item on your 30-day form which is not on the PDI form, the item you note will still form part of your warranty claim. The fact that it was not listed on the PDI form will be relevant if is an item of damage such as a chip in a countertop that may have occurred after possession. In this case, it will be helpful for you to show that you noted the damage as close to taking delivery of the home as possible as noted above, in the event that the claim is not remedied by your builder and the matter comes to Tarion for resolution.

We urge all parties to approach the occupancy of the home and handling of the PDI in a reasonable way in light of the current health situation in the Government of Ontario.

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My builder says my closing will be going ahead in two weeks. But because of my health and the risk associated with COVID-19, I don’t want to move in. Do I have to close or can I tell my builder to move back the closing?

Closings are governed by the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and are a contractual matter between you and you’re your builder. We would encourage you to discuss your concerns with your builder as they may be willing to delay the closing or find other ways to reassure you that the completed home is safe.

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