Tarion is helping homeowners by providing access to a more timely, cost-effective and independent way to dispute Tarion’s warranty assessments through an independent mediation process, which has been shown to be an easier and simpler process than a formal hearing process at the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT).
This mediation process empowers homeowners with concerns about a claim to use independent, third-party mediation to help resolve their warranty claim disputes with Tarion. By using this mediation process, homeowners can avoid costly and time-consuming legal proceedings and instead provide the homeowner with a quicker, low cost, less formal atmosphere with a more co-operative problem-solving style.
Tarion will publicly post key statistics related to this new mediation process on this webpage.
When warranty disputes arise between homeowners and builders, Tarion has tools to resolve them before they escalate. One of them is what we call Early Intervention.
Tarion usually offers an Early Intervention early in the claims process if communication between the builder and the homeowner has broken down, or if there is a concern that one of the two parties are not acting in good faith (e.g. the homeowner or builder feels threatened or intimidated, or there’s a denial of access, etc.).
This process is separate from our formal mediation process and you can find out more here.
Independent Mediation with Tarion
If a homeowner disputes a warranty assessment by Tarion relating to defects in their home or unit, they can request independent mediation as an option to help to resolve their warranty claim dispute. Mediations with a homeowner are only available for issues with warranty assessments and are not used for issues related to deposit protection, financial loss, or delayed occupancy/delayed closing claims.
The objective of mediation is to find ways to resolve warranty disputes without having to go through a formal hearing process at the Licence Appeal Tribunal or court. This type of mediation is now covered by a provincial regulation, which is in effect on July 1, 2021. More information can be found here.
This type of mediation is between the homeowner and Tarion only. It does not involve the builder unless both Tarion and the homeowner agree that the builder may be invited to participate. The builder is not required to attend.
Mediation is conducted by an independent, external mediator. The homeowner and Tarion need to jointly appoint a qualified person to act as a mediator to the warranty claim dispute. Everyone involved in the mediation process is required to comply with confidentiality obligations that are established in the mediation regulation.
Additionally, as of July 1, 2021, Tarion will be starting to offer independent meditation for condominium corporations for concerns related to common element warranty claims. More details on the mediation process relating to common element claims will be provided after July 1, 2021.
How does an owner initiate mediation with Tarion?
Generally, a homeowner can submit a request for mediation to Tarion if:
- The homeowner has requested a conciliation inspection for a disputed item(s) between a homeowner and a vendor/builder.
- Tarion has provided the homeowner an assessment from the conciliation which rejects at least one part of the claim.
- Tarion has not yet issued a decision letter for the claim.
There may be other considerations or instances where Tarion feels mediation might offer a possible resolution to a homeowner’s concerns.
How much does mediation with Tarion cost?
Before mediation starts, the homeowner and Tarion need to determine the costs of mediation for which they are each responsible. The costs of mediation are the fees and expenses of the mediator and the cost of facilities to host the mediation, if there is any.
Tarion is responsible for paying at least half of the costs of mediation, or the rate posted below, whichever is greater. The homeowner is responsible for the rest. The homeowner and Tarion can also share the costs differently, as long as they both agree.
Tarion is willing to cover the costs of mediation at the standard rate below. As a result, Tarion does not anticipate any costs for the homeowner.
Currently, Tarion is willing to pay the following amount toward the cost of mediation:
- $1,500 for each half-day of mediation
- $3,000 for each full-day of mediation
Generally, if a homeowner chooses a mediator who charges more than the standard rate noted above, then the homeowner will be responsible for the rest.
How do I choose a mediator?
Tarion can send a homeowner a list of qualified mediators who have experience in Tarion matters.
Homeowners can select a mediator from this list or put forward someone else who has the required experience, training, or education in mediation. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario is a useful resource to help you find a qualified mediator. You can visit their website here.
For a mediation to commence, both the homeowner and Tarion must agree on the chosen mediator.
When does the mediation happen and how can I prepare?
When you have decided on a mediator, Tarion will schedule the mediation at a mutually agreeable date and time. Every effort will be made to schedule the mediation at the earliest opportunity.
Before the mediation date, the mediator will send you a mediation agreement. The mediation agreement will outline the process and any information and/or documentation the mediator would like you to provide. Note that this mediation agreement is different from a settlement agreement reached at mediation.
Other things you may consider in advance include:
- Whether there is any additional information and/or documentation that you would like to provide Tarion;
- Whether you believe something was overlooked or not considered in Tarion’s assessment; and,
- Whether there is any information you have which will help Tarion understand the resolution you are seeking.
What happens at the mediation?
In consultation with the homeowner, the mediation will be scheduled for a half day or full day, depending on the number and complexity of the issues involved. A mediation may be held in-person, or by teleconference, videoconference, email or other electronic means.
Mediation is an informal, private, and confidential meeting that involves you, a Tarion representative, and the mediator. This process is meant to provide an alternative to a formal, legal proceeding. The goal of mediation is for the homeowner and Tarion to negotiate and resolve the warranty claim dispute.
What if mediation with Tarion doesn't resolve my issue(s)?
If mediation is unsuccessful and no agreement is reached, you still have the right to resume your claim with Tarion, including requesting a decision letter with the right to appeal to the Licence Appeal Tribunal or court.
Is my mediation charged back to my builder?
Independent mediation with Tarion is generally conducted without builders present and the cost of the mediation (namely, the fees and expenses of the mediator and the cost of facilities to host the mediation, if there is any) will not be charged back to the builder. If the homeowner and Tarion agree, a builder may be invited to attend the mediation. However, the builder is not required to attend.
If Tarion reverses its warranty assessment (i.e. not warranted to warranted) based on new information, or Tarion conducts a further investigation that could result in a change to a warranty finding, then the builder may be asked to resolve the issue.
Tarion will publicly post key statistics related to this new mediation process on this webpage starting in fall 2021.