Tarion is committed to keeping you informed as we continue to work through this evolving situation. The information below is intended to help answer your questions. As more information becomes available, we will continue to update this page.
June 11, 2021 Update
The Government of Ontario has lifted the stay-at-home order and has implemented Step 1 of its reopening plan effective June 11, 2021. To learn more about the Step 1 guidelines, click here.
For details regarding Tarion’s response, please refer to our COVID-19 advisory 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 email@example.com.
- Advisory on Virtual and In-person Inspections - June 12, 2021
- Advisory for Homeowners & Builders - Pre-Delivery Inspections & Delayed Closings - April 16, 2021
- Advisory for Homeowners & Builders - Updated Health & Safety Measures - October 30, 2020
- Guidance for Repairs during COVID-19 - October 30, 2020
- Guidance for Pre-delivery Inspections during COVID-19 - October 30, 2020
- Advisory for Homeowners & Builders: Building Material Shortages - August 17, 2020
Resources for Builders
- Information Sheet for Builders: COVID-19 – Possible Effects on Construction Schedules for New Homes - April 16, 2021
- Q&A on Unavoidable Delay & Critical Dates - April 16, 2021
- COVID-19 Pandemic Worksheet: Low Rise Construction Delay Rationale for Each Home - Nov 1, 2020
- COVID-19 Pandemic Worksheet: High Rise Construction Delay Rationale for Each Home - Nov 1 2020
- Advisory on Reinstatement of Builder Arbitration Processes - Sept 10, 2020
Important Note: The following questions and answers are intended for general guidance and do not constitute legal or other professional advice. The reader is advised to seek legal advice from their own legal counsel to address their particular circumstances.
- How does the lifting of the stay-at-home order and the implementation of Step 1 of the reopening plan impact construction, repairs and inspections?
- What if our employees/trades will not and/or are unable to enter an occupied home due to concerns for their safety?
- When am I obligated to complete repairs?
- What if a homeowner refuses to allow my reps or tradespeople into their home due to concerns about COVID-19?
- How should I handle emergencies?
- Is Tarion doing in-person inspections?
- Why is Tarion using virtual inspections?
- How does a virtual inspection work?
- How can I be sure that the virtual inspection software accurately shows the issue in the home?
- What if I feel the virtual inspection software doesn't accurately depict an issue?
- What is the builder's role during the virtual inspection?
- Will these virtual inspections be chargeable?
- How do I raise an issue with the inspection?
- Now that the province-wide stay-at-home order is lifted, will it trigger the remobilization phase and Second Notice for the Unavoidable Delay provisions of the addendum?
- What happens if I don’t want to do a Pre-Delivery Inspection due to health concerns?
- What should builders do if a purchaser insists they can't close due to COVID-19? Does the builder have to return the deposit in this case? Especially when they have chosen all of the material of this new build.
- Can a purchaser refuse occupancy as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak?
- Can a purchaser not close on an interim closing during the orders due to COVID-19 outbreak reasons?
- Will I be able to get a municipal occupancy inspection for my completed home/condo?
- Are there formal standards set in place for how "sanitized" a home is upon delivery?
- Can we still mail in cheques to pay enrolment fees?
- If a builder has bonding money and has a reduced number of units that will move forward this year, how can we request a portion of this security to be returned?
- How would a builder go about requesting changing their bonding/security arrangement?
How does the lifting of the stay-at-home order and the implementation of Step 1 of the reopening plan impact construction, repairs and inspections?
Repair periods that were extended until after the stay-at-home order was lifted will now proceed. If builders require additional time for any repairs, they may enter into a repair agreement with the homeowner to further extend the builder repair timelines, and submit the signed agreement to Tarion. If an agreement cannot be reached, builders may make a request under the extraordinary circumstances provisions of Registrar Bulletins 01 and 02.
Tarion will be resuming in-person inspections for indoor items effective June 14. Tarion’s Warranty Service Representatives may still conduct some conciliations and inspections virtually in order to limit interactions.
What if our employees/trades will not and/or are unable to enter an occupied home due to concerns for their safety?
If builders wish to proceed with repairs, but are having difficulty completing repairs due to issues related to COVID-19, including homeowners who are not comfortable allowing outside workers in, homeowners who are not abiding by health and safety measures, or trades/employees who have safety concerns about entering a home, builders should negotiate a repair agreement with the homeowner.
If builders want to proceed with repairs and are unable to come to a written agreement with a homeowner, then they can contact Tarion and request an extension under the extraordinary circumstances provisions of Registrar Bulletins 01 and 02 . The request should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 days before the expiry of the applicable repair period. The following information should be provided with the request for extension:
- The enrolment number(s) for the home(s) affected;
- The warranty form(s) affected;
- A complete explanation of the builder’s circumstances (i.e. why additional time is required to complete the repairs);
- The length of additional time being requested.
Tarion will review the information provided and will contact the builder if additional information is required. Tarion will then confirm whether additional time will be granted and, if so, the length of the additional time. For more information on the process for requesting extensions, refer to our Guidance on Repairs during COVID19 advisory.
Tarion extended non-emergency builder repair periods until after the stay-at-home order was lifted to allow for homeowners and builders to assess whether the repairs contemplated could be postponed. Now that the order has been lifted, builder repair periods will proceed. Tarion expects that all repairs will proceed and that those relating to emergency and health and safety issues will be addressed as soon as possible.
If builders require additional time to complete work, they may enter into a repair agreement with the homeowner to further extend the builder repair timelines, and submit the signed agreement to Tarion. If they cannot reach an agreement with a homeowner, they can make a request under the extraordinary circumstances provisions of Registrar Bulletins 01 and 02.If builders have any questions about their specific circumstance, they should contact Tarion’s customer service team at 1-877-982-7466 or email email@example.com.
What if a homeowner refuses to allow my reps or tradespeople into their home due to concerns about COVID-19?
If a homeowner is not comfortable granting access to their home because of health and safety concerns, Tarion encourages them to enter into a written agreement with their builder to identify how and when the repairs can be completed, including extending the timelines for the builder to conduct repairs. If such an agreement is reached, Tarion should be advised. If a homeowner and builder cannot agree to a reasonable extension, they can contact Tarion at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Builders are advised to continue to follow the emergency processes outlined in Registrar Bulletin 01 (formerly Builder Bulletin 42) and Registrar Bulletin 02 (formerly 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 email@example.com.
With the lifting of the stay-at-home order, Tarion is resuming in-person inspections for indoor items. To continue to protect the health of homeowners, builder representatives, and Tarion employees however, Tarion may still use virtual tools to conduct some conciliations and inspections. All claim inspections (to confirm that warranted repairs have been completed) will be conducted virtually or via submitted documentation (e.g. photos, reports, etc.), except in exceptional circumstances.
Prior to a conciliation or inspection, a builder will receive a list of the items that will be included as part of the conciliation/inspection and confirmation from the Warranty Services Representative on how the inspection will proceed (i.e. virtually, in-person or a combination). The builder will be asked to participate in the virtual inspection. The homeowner and builder will be contacted separately by a Tarion representative prior to the inspection to discuss the items that will be reviewed during the inspection.
A Warranty Assessment Report will be issued to both the homeowner and the builder after the inspection, outlining the warranty assessment for the items that were viewed during the inspection. The assessment will indicate whether the item was viewed virtually or in-person. The builder will then have the post-conciliation repair period (30 days) to address any warranted items. At this time, Tarion is assessing chargeability at the claim inspection (if one takes place) based on whether the builder repaired the warranted defects prior to a claim inspection being conducted by Tarion. Please refer to our COVID-19 Temporary Supplement to Registrar Bulletin 04 (formerly Builder Bulletin 20) for more information.
Tarion has been using virtual inspection technology on a case-by-case basis since 2019 as a way to make inspections more convenient and accessible for homeowners. In response to COVID-19, virtual inspections offer a contactless way for homeowners to obtain assessments on their issues while physical distancing directives are still in place.
A homeowner downloads a free app on their mobile phone, then calls Tarion and uses the app to provide a live video feed that is viewable by the Tarion representative. Tarion will then send a link to the builder representative to join the live video feed on their own device. Being able to see what the homeowner is seeing, the Tarion representative can ask questions, provide directions and take measurements using this virtual inspection technology. The builder representative and the homeowner will also be able to provide their input on the issues being reviewed at the inspection.
Tarion may record the inspection or take photographs during the inspection and the recordings and photographs will be available to the homeowner and the builder.
In cases where there are concerns about the ability to assess some issues on the warranty form, the virtual inspection can be done from outside the home. This will allow the Tarion representative to assess the majority of the items remotely but with the proximity to allow them to enter the home to take a quick measurement or look at something in person, if necessary.
By using a live video feed, a Tarion representative is able to see what a homeowner sees in real time. In addition, the software makes it possible to take virtual measurements, which the homeowner can verify with their own measurements at the same time if they wish.
Both homeowners and builders are entitled to view the recording, photographs and the measurements (if any are taken) from the virtual inspection. If after reviewing the footage a homeowner or the builder does not feel that it accurately depicts the issue, they can let the Tarion representative know and Tarion will consider next steps, which may include a reinspection that may take place in-person.
The builder can participate in the virtual inspection along the same lines as an in-person inspection. They can provide their input on the issues being reviewed, can ask questions of the homeowner and the Tarion representative, and can ask that the homeowner provide a different angle of the item being reviewed. As with in-person inspections, Tarion expects that the parties at a conciliation will act professionally and respectfully towards one another.
In cases where there are concerns about the ability to assess some issues on the warranty form, the virtual inspection can be done from outside the home. This will allow the Tarion representative to assess the majority of the items remotely but with the proximity to allow them if it can be dome safely to enter the home to take a quick measurement or look at something in person, if necessary. This approach will decrease the amount of time in the home and not require another date to be scheduled.
The Tarion representative will advise the builder in advance whether the conciliation will be conducted virtually from outside the home, and the builder can choose whether to attend the conciliation (virtually) from outside the home or from another location. If the builder is not present at the home and entry into the home is required, the Tarion representative will contact the builder and review the issues with them prior to issuing the warranty assessment.
The chargeability assessment will not occur at the time of a virtual inspection. The assessment of chargeability will occur if or when a claim inspection occurs. If the items are resolved prior to the claim inspection, in these circumstances, chargeability will not apply. In addition, the exceptions to chargeability listed in Builder Bulletin 20 may apply during the period between the virtual inspection and the claim inspection (i.e. during the repair period). Please refer to the COVID-19 Temporary Supplement to Registrar Bulletin 04 (formerly Builder Bulletin 20) for more information.
If after reviewing the recording, photographs and/or measurements from the virtual inspection a homeowner or builder does not agree with the results of the inspection or the assessment, they can advise the Tarion representative and Tarion will then consider next steps, which may include scheduling an in-person reinspection.
Unavoidable Delays / Closings / PDIs
Now that the province-wide stay-at-home order is lifted, will it trigger the remobilization phase and Second Notice for the Unavoidable Delay provisions of the addendum?
No. The determinations for each stage of the process for extending Critical Dates due to Unavoidable Delay must be done on a case-by-case basis by the vendor. Please see the Q&A on COVID-19: Unavoidable Delay & Critical Dates.
The timing of remobilization and the Second Notice for Unavoidable Delays should not be governed by whether the ‘outbreak” itself continues or whether the Government of Ontario’s emergency declaration and stay-at-home order is still in place. The COVID-19 outbreak is an Unavoidable Delay event and it is the impacts of the outbreak on the delivery of the home (including the remobilization period) which determine when the Second Notice should be sent. For example, if the vendor has made the assessment of the impacts and believes the impediments to closing are removed, it is permissible to send out the Second Notice so long as the order itself does not prevent or impact the delivery of the home.
Do not send out the Second Notice until you are ready. You must take this exercise seriously and act prudently but reasonably in assessing the extra time needed.
In a circumstance where a Second Notice has already been sent, but there are new and unanticipated impacts from the pandemic or a subsequent surge or wave of the pandemic, then it may be possible for vendors to re-engage the Unavoidable Delay provisions of the Addendum so long as the vendor meets certain requirements. For a discussion of this question and likely requirements please refer to this Q&A on Unavoidable Delays and Critical Dates.
If the Vendor is not able to provide the detailed information regarding the impacts , or cannot satisfy the possible requirements, then Tarion is likely to consider any purported subsequent First Notice as invalid and delay compensation may be a consequence.
In all circumstances, vendors should properly monitor the length of the impacts of the outbreak, take the time to figure out the anticipated additional delay (Remobilization Period) and then send the Second Notice once you have a reasonable level of comfort that the extra time you have added on to the construction schedule will be sufficient. Re-engaging the unavoidable delay process more than once for a single home may be difficult and you should consult a lawyer.
For further information on the COVID-19 outbreak and unavoidable delays, please see the Q&A on COVID-19: Unavoidable Delay & Critical Dates.
Given the state of emergency, 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 Tarion's position that:
- in-person PDIs can happen if participants adhere to provincial health and safety and physical distancing guidelines,
- both parties agree to the conditions under which the PDI would be carried out,
- if 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.
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 province.
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. Builders should complete their own review of the home or unit prior to possession or occupancy, and document the condition of the home. The homeowner should 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.
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 its warranty coverage. If a homeowner notes an item on their 30-day form which is not on the PDI, the item noted will still form part of their warranty claim. The fact that it was not listed on the PDI 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 the homeowner to show that they noted the damage as close to taking possession or occupancy of the home as possible as noted above, in the event that the claim is not remedied by the 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 province.
What should builders do if a purchaser insists they can't close due to COVID-19? Does the builder have to return the deposit in this case? Especially when they have chosen all of the material of this new build.
The terms of closing are set out in each Agreement of Purchase and Sale and are contractual matters between the home buyer and builder. We realize this is an unprecedented situation. It is in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings, and Tarion is 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, and would also suggest that you speak to your lawyer to review your agreement.
These are truly unprecedented times and we encourage you to be fair and reasonable when buyers have concerns surrounding COVID-19 . If the issue is with the safety of the home itself, builders may want to consider what options may help their buyers feel safe. We encourage you to keep the lines of communication open and find a reasonable solution that gets to the heart of your buyers’ concerns. We know it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings as quickly and safely as possible.
The terms of closing are set out in each Agreement of Purchase and Sale and are contractual matters between the homeowner and builder. We know it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings, so 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. Builders and homeowners should consult legal advice.
Each municipality has set its own service level and safety protocols, so builders need to contact the applicable municipal building department in advance in order to be prepared.
Builders should also take care to familiarize themselves with the health and safety measures each municipality has put in place for the preparation of inspections, as well as during the inspection itself. Failure to follow these heightened protocols could result in unexpected delays if inspections need to be rebooked.
No. These are truly unprecedented times and we encourage you to be fair and reasonable when buyers have concerns surrounding the outbreak. If the issue is with the safety of the home itself, builders may want to consider what options may help their buyers feel safe. We encourage you to keep the lines of communication open and find a reasonable solution that gets to the heart of your buyers’ concerns. We know it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to complete these closings as quickly and safely as possible.
Enrolment Fees / Securities
For enrolment payments, builders should use the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) feature available in Tarion’s builder portal, BuilderLink. We encourage builders who are not registered on BuilderLink, to set up an account. If you are already a BuilderLink user but do not have EFT permissions and would like to use this method to avoid any delays, please complete the Appointment of Administrator Form. Once you have been granted permissions, you will need to create your EFT Agreement in order for BuilderLink to know where funds are being withdrawn from and agree to have your banking information validated. Once done, there is a 5-7 business day (bank dependent) processing period before you can use this method of payment. Should you have any questions, kindly email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If it is not possible to use electronic funds transfer, builders may send cheques via mail, but should be aware they may encounter processing delays.
If a builder has bonding money and has a reduced number of units that will move forward this year, how can we request a portion of this security to be returned?
Questions about security arrangements, should be sent to the Underwriting analyst on file or emailed to Underwriting@tarion.com.
Questions about security arrangements, should be sent to the Underwriting analyst on file or emailed to Underwriting@tarion.com.