Consumer Protection: Ready For Occupancy
Your PDI is an opportunity to note anything that’s missing, damaged or not working in your new home
If you chose to buy a preconstruction home instead of a resale home, it’s probably because you were looking forward to everything being brand new and finished just the way you want it.
Unfortunately, come moving day, some new homeowners find that their home may not be entirely complete. Regardless of whether it’s missing fixtures, finishes or perhaps even flooring, it’s an unexpected surprise.
Homeowners who find themselves in these situations are understandably frustrated and disappointed – and they want to know who is responsible. Often, they turn to Tarion for answers.
Tarion administers the Ontario new home warranty program, which sets out the minimum warranty standards and repair timelines that builders are expected to adhere to. Homeowners have a number of protections under the program, including delayed closing compensation, deposit protection and construction warranties that last for up to seven years.
Ontario Building Code (OBC) standards are set by the province and enforced by municipal building departments. Municipal building officials issue building permits and conduct scheduled inspections at various points during construction, primarily focusing on major components of the home – for example, the plumbing and electrical systems – and the safety features.
For a home to be deemed ready for occupancy, it must meet the minimum standards for occupancy as dictated by the OBC and it requires that a home be substantially complete and ready to use for its intended purpose. It also lays out the minimum systems and safety-related features that must be completed before occupancy can take place. If a home meets those standards, the municipality must grant an occupancy permit.
So, “ready for occupancy” and “finished” do not necessarily mean the same thing. We understand that this can be frustrating for homeowners and are exploring opportunities to work with the industry through Ontario Building Partnerships to increase public education around the current occupancy standards. This was, in fact, one of the issues covered in our recent webinar with representatives of the Ontario Building Officials Association and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association.
Your Pre-Delivery Inspection — or PDI — is an opportunity to note anything that’s missing, damaged or not working in your new home. This list serves as a record of the state of your home and a to-do list for your builder. You can also contact your municipal building department if you believe there may be violation of the Ontario Building Code. You should make sure to report any remaining issues to Tarion on your 30-day or year-end warranty form.
So, if your home is unfinished when you take possession, there is help available to get your issues addressed. To learn more about the warranty coverage and how Tarion can help, visit Tarion.com.
Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corporation. His column appears 10 times a year in HOMES Magazine. For more information about how Tarion helps new homebuyers, visit Tarion.com or find them on Facebook at Facebook.com/TarionWarrantyCorp