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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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How your home warranty protects you in emergencies
October 13, 2022
flooded bedroom full of toys floating in the water

The last thing you expect after you move into a new-build home or condominium is to experience an emergency, such as a complete loss of heat or a major plumbing leak. After all, everything in the home is brand new - including its major systems and materials – and the home was inspected at key stages during its construction.

Still, emergencies do happen from time to time. Fortunately, your new home warranty administered by Tarion provides coverage against emergencies that can be traced back to your builder’s work and materials. 

What is an emergency situation? 

Under Ontario’s new home warranty, an emergency is a situation that occurs during the warranty period and involves a warranted defect that, if not attended to immediately, would cause substantial damage to your house, condominium unit or condominium common elements.  

An emergency may also be something that poses a risk to your health and safety or causes your home to be uninhabitable.   
Typical examples of emergencies that could be covered under warranty include:

  • complete loss of heat between September 15 and May 15;
  • a gas leak;
  • complete loss of electricity;
  • complete loss of water;
  • complete stoppage of sewage disposal;
  • a plumbing leak that requires the entire water supply to be shut off;
  • a major collapse of any part of the home’s exterior or interior structure;
  • water penetration through the interior walls or ceiling;
  • a pool of standing water inside the home; and/or
  • presence of unacceptable levels of hazardous substances inside the home, such as radon or mould. 

Note that an emergency situation that is not within the builder’s control, such as municipal or utility service failures, are not covered under the builder’s warranty. 

What should you do in case of an emergency? 

You are responsible for managing the warranty process for your home, so the first thing you should do if you have an emergency is contact your builder. Once you have done that, your builder has up to 24 hours to resolve the emergency situation by making your home safe and preventing any further damage from occurring.   

What happens if you can’t reach your builder or they don’t resolve the emergency within the 24-hour timeframe? That’s when you can call Tarion for direction on how to get the emergency situation resolved. 

Tarion’s role in this situation is twofold. First, we ensure homeowners receive the warranty protection to which they are entitled. Second, we hold builders accountable when they fail to meet their obligations.  
If you can’t reach your builder or Tarion, you or a contractor you hire can do the necessary repair work to address the immediate emergency and then make a claim to be reimbursed for the costs. You must keep records of the emergency and repair work completed, so make sure you retain any receipts and take photographs before and after the repairs.  
Once the immediate emergency has been addressed, your builder has 30 days to complete a full repair of the defect. If they don’t, you can contact Tarion to enlist our help in resolving the matter.

No one wants or expects emergencies to spoil their new home experience. But if they happen, you can have confidence that there are measures in place to ensure you can soon get back to fully enjoying your new home.   

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.