A curvy condo conundrum: Tarion mediates replacement of window in new condo building

With modern advances in engineering and technology, architects are increasingly able to push both the design and aesthetic envelopes. For the passerby, these new condominium designs can bring new interest to the urban landscape. For the homeowner, these modern buildings can offer unique, even coveted, views that go far beyond the windows through which they peer.

As intriguing as these buildings can be, they can present tremendous challenges to the builder or vendor and their suppliers. Unfortunately, they can also affect homeowners after they’ve taken possession.

For Eddie (not his real name) the warranty problem in his new condo was crystal clear, and that’s because the view wasn’t.

Somewhere between the factory and Eddie’s condo, the window was damaged.

Waves facade design - Balconies like waves flow elegantly.

Last spring, Eddie took possession of his new condominium unit on the 46th floor of a newly built curvy tower. Situated along the arc of the building, Eddie’s unit required a window that was specially manufactured in a factory overseas. Somewhere between the factory and Eddie’s condo, the window was damaged.

Instead of installing a knowingly defective window, the builder who Eddie purchased the home from chose to cover the window opening with a temporary wooden panel until a new replacement window was ready to be installed.  Just as this was happening, ties with the overseas glass manufacturer were severed.

So, as the builder searched for a new window manufacturer and supplier, Eddie was left waiting for a view. That wait lasted almost a year.  During that time, Eddie looked at his ‘temporary’ wooden panel instead of his much-anticipated window.  To make the wait more frustrating, he also lived with water trickling into his home after each rainfall, and unusually cold or warm air flow depending on the season.

Eddie diligently and regularly followed up with the builder, who told him to talk to the property manager. When he did, the property manager sent him back to the builder. This was because the window did not technically belong to Eddie.  The window was part of the common elements of the condominium building, which means that the condominium corporation was responsible for ensuring any defects with the windows (and all common elements) were addressed.

I was thrown from one party to another,” shared Eddie. “I’m quite annoyed with the developer’s lack of an actual plan to fix my window. I’m on the 46th floor with a wooden window.”

Fully frustrated with the situation and unsure what to do next, Eddie finally turned to Tarion for help.  A Tarion representative looked into Eddie’s situation and contacted the Property Manager.  It was determined that Eddie was not the only unit owner in this situation.  Tarion continued to work with the Property Manager and builder on a manageable timeline for replacement of the window, and all other damaged windows at this condominium building.  Tarion was able to facilitate better communication between Eddie, the Property Management company and the builder. All damaged or leaking windows were replaced and all unit owners we kept updated by their Property Management company on timelines for repair and the replacement schedule for all concerned.

Once the window was finally delivered and installed without incident, Eddie was able to soak in the view he had been looking forward to for over a year. To his Tarion representative Eddie said, “I can’t thank you enough for your help!”

Do you have a story?

Did you experience an issue with your condo in a newly built building that Tarion helped resolve? If so, share it with us so other homeowners have the information they need to protect their rights.

Lessons Learned:

  1. It is important that condominium unit owners understand what their rights and responsibilities under the warranty are.  This includes understanding the difference between their individual unit and the building’s common elements. To that end, the Disclosure document provided by the builder at the time the condominium is purchased, and the Declaration and Description document provided at the time the condominium is registered, should both be reviewed by all unit owners.
  2. Eddie was right to try to work with the builder and property manager initially.  After all, the new home warranty is the builder’s responsibility and, since this was a common element issue, the property manager should have assisted Eddie.  However, when the builder and property manager seemed unable to help Eddie, he was equally right to seek out Tarion’s advice and assistance.  That’s our job.  We backstop the builder’s warranty and step in to resolve warranty claims or issues.
  3. Once a condominium board has been formed, the Board will advance all of the common element claims to Tarion.  All unit owners should advise their Property Manager and Board of all issues they are experiencing with the common elements so that the Board can advance those claims with Tarion within the statutory timelines.  If you are a new homeowner, become familiar with your rights and responsibilities under the new home warranty by visiting Tarion.com.