A home construction site, with the sun shining through wooden beams

Friends may come and go… but builders should stay

Tarion rebuilds a broken relationship between a homeowner and her builder

Imagine that a friend of yours builds houses. Imagine that your friend wants to build you a new house. And imagine that this friend lives just down the street from you. Sounds perfect doesn’t it? The ideal homeowner-builder relationship; friendly, close and accessible. What could possibly go wrong? Sadly, a lot…

The best laid plans

Steve and Carol (not their real names) were friends. When Carol wanted a new house built, she naturally wanted Steve, who was a builder, to be the one to do it. Steve built the house and Carol moved in. There were a few things here and there that needed to be finished, but no worries because Steve lived just down the street. What could be more convenient?  Carol left Steve a key so that he could let himself in during the day and work at his convenience.

A pin in a monthly calendar, marking the date this project is supposed to have been finished! It's late!

The days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, and very little was getting done. Carol was disappointed.

The cooling off period

The days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, and very little was getting done. Carol was disappointed. Worse yet, her relationship with Steve started getting a little frosty. She called Tarion for help. A Tarion representative took a look at the incomplete work and determined that it was covered by the new home warranty. As the builder, Steve was given one final chance to resolve the situation and complete the outstanding items. He did not. As a result, Tarion stepped in to settle the items directly with Carol.

Chapter Two

During the intervening time, Carol noticed a few more items that needed attention so she submitted a new warranty form. Meanwhile, Steve was still letting himself into Carol’s house to work on the outstanding items from the first claim and the new one. This was nothing short of confusing to Carol. Who was fixing and completing items from the first claim? Tarion or Steve? And who was responsible for the items on the new claim? Exasperated, Carol took away Steve’s key and refused to give him any further access to her home. This was a problem, because now Steve had no chance to fix or complete any of the items.

She said, he said, we said…

Carol then called Tarion for clarification. We explained that Tarion’s purpose is to backstop the builder’s warranty. In this case, the warranty was Steve’s responsibility. When Steve demonstrated that he would not or could not complete the work from the first claim, Tarion stepped in to assume that responsibility. However, the new items on the new claim were still Steve’s responsibility. Two different claims. Two different parts of the warranty. Most important, Carol had to work with Steve to get the new items resolved and if she continued denying access to Steve, she could jeopardize her warranty coverage. Of course, that was a lot easier said than done. Carol told us that relations between her and Steve had deteriorated to the point that they were no longer communicating with each other. The Tarion manager she spoke to took note of the situation, and began thinking of a solution.

Making the best of a bad situation

A Tarion representative met with Carol and Steve and reiterated their roles and responsibilities under the warranty. If they no longer communicated, then Tarion offered to be the channel through which future repairs could be coordinated. Both Carol and Steve agreed and committed to make the best of a difficult situation.

Sadly, Carol’s new home helped pull apart her friendship with Steve. Fortunately, we were able to help Carol and Steve find a way to work together to get the outstanding warranty work completed.

Lessons learned:

  • Whether your builder is family, friend or stranger, be sure that the lines of communication are open, frank and clear. Be sure to record or document key decisions to avoid misunderstandings.
  • It is important you allow your builder reasonable access to your home in order to do repairs. (Typically during regular business hours; Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). If you deny your builder access to your home, you could negatively affect your warranty coverage.
  • If you feel there is a valid reason for preventing your builder from doing repairs, contact Tarion for guidance. We can help you and your builder come up with a solution.
  • Take time to review the Homeowner Information Package so that you know what happens at every stage in the warranty process.

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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.