When your moving date keeps moving

Buying a new home or condo requires a lot of patience. At first there’s that rush of excitement as you pick out your floor plan and finishes and sign your purchase agreement – but then, you wait. And wait. And wait.

As the months pass, you might wonder how long is too long to wait for your moving day? And who decides?

A builder may sell homes or condos in a new development long before they break ground. Construction can take anywhere from a year to a few years from the time you signed on the dotted line.

It’s important to know that your moving date will depend upon many different factors – some that may be within the builder’s control and some that may not.

It’s important to know that your moving date will depend upon many different factors – some that may be within the builder’s control (e.g. construction scheduling) and some that may not (e.g. strikes, natural disasters, fires). Depending upon the circumstances, if your home is not completed on time, you may be eligible for compensation.

To determine when you may be able to move in, you should consult the Addendum on your Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS). Depending upon whether you are buying a home or a condo, the information will be a bit different and so is the amount of flexibility the builder has to change the dates.

Condos:

  • The Occupancy Date is characterized as either “Firm” or “Tentative”. This is the builder’s first and best estimate for when your condo will be ready for occupancy. The builder is allowed to extend a tentative occupancy date multiple times with 90 days’ written notice. Once the builder finishes the roof on the building, however, they must send a notice within 30 days – either setting a firm occupancy date or a final tentative date (which can then only be extended once by up to 120 days with 90 days’ notice). Once a firm occupancy date is established, the builder must pay delayed closing compensation for any further unilateral extensions (except for “unavoidable delays”).
  • The Outside Occupancy Date is the builder’s estimate for completion in the event there are unexpected delays. This is a date the builder cannot move unilaterally and because it is a firm commitment, it is also usually set years in the future.

Freehold homes:

  • The Statement of Critical Dates (part of the addendum to the APS) will set a Closing Date that is either “Firm” or “Tentative”.   The First Tentative closing date can be extended up to 120 days to a Second Tentative Closing Date with 90 days’ written notice. The Second Tentative Closing Date can then be extended again up to 120 days to a Firm Closing Date with 90 days’ written notice.
  • The Outside Closing Date is calculated as 365 days from either the Second Tentative or the Firm Closing Date, whichever is earlier.

Upon completion, the builder must obtain an occupancy permit for the home before you will be allowed to move in. It’s important to note that it is up to a municipality’s building inspectors to determine when a new home or condo development is suitable for occupancy, not Tarion.

So where does that leave you if your occupancy or closing date has come and gone and you are still not living in your new home?

The good news is that you may be eligible for delayed closing compensation if your builder has failed to complete your home according to the agreed upon date and/or has not properly notified you of an extension in your occupancy or closing date. The compensation is $150 per day for living expenses (no receipts required), plus other costs caused by the delay (receipts required), up to a maximum of $7,500. The builder is responsible for providing delayed closing compensation, but if they are unwilling or unable to do so, Tarion will step in.

Before you sign your purchase agreement, you should have a real estate lawyer review the agreement for provisions like delayed closing compensation. If you have already bought a home or condo and are concerned about your closing date, you can visit Tarion.com to learn more about delayed closing compensation or contact Tarion via phone 1-877-9-TARION or email customerservice@tarion.com.