What you need to know about condo warranties – before you move in!

Your condo warranties are your safeguard against shoddy workmanship, missing features, delays and much more, but it’s essential that you understand your own obligations when you enter into an agreement with a builder. We’ve just posted a recording of the live webinar for condominium owners we held on September 20, 2017 about this subject.We also wanted to take this chance to go over some of the main points raised by hosts Alyson Wiley and Sandro Nevicato here.

This post touches on pretty much everything you need to know about Ontario condo warranties, so you can approach one of the biggest purchases of your life with a lot of knowledge in your back pocket.

What we do

You may not know it, but Tarion Warranty Corporation regulates and licenses builders, stands behind builders’ statutory warranties and provides extra peace of mind by offering protection for deposits and delays in the event that builders don’t fulfill their obligations.

We understand that buying a condo is a big investment and there’s a lot to learn. That’s why we provide resources to walk you through the steps toward ownership and help you understand your rights and responsibilities under your new home warranties.

Understanding what your warranties cover, and what they don’t

Your warranties kick in when your condo unit is ready for occupancy.

Condo owners are protected over a seven-year period by a series of overlapping warranties, as explained in this table from our Homeowner Information Package:

No Closing 1 Year After Occupancy 2 Years  After Occupancy 7 Years After Occupancy
Deposit protection x
Delays in occupancy x x
Defects in work and materials x
Unauthorized substitution of materials x
Ontario Building Code violations x
Ontario Building Code health and safety violations x x
Water penetration through the building envelope, basement or foundation x x
Defects in electrical, plumbing or heating systems x x
Defects in exterior cladding x x
Major structural defects x x x

Young female sitting at cafe table with digital tablet

If you have a warranty issue in your own unit, it’s your personal responsibility to involve Tarion by filing a claim.

Your Unit Warranty covers items within the boundaries of your unit, from walls and floors to cupboards and counter-tops. There is also a Common Elements Warranty, which begins at condo registration and covers items and systems that are shared with everyone in the condo project, such as elevators, parking garages and even some exterior parts of your unit, like the windows. If you have a warranty issue in your own unit, it’s your personal responsibility to involve Tarion by filing a claim. If the problem is outside your unit, you should report it to your property manager or condominium board, as the responsibility for making a warranty claim for common elements lies with the condominium corporation.

There are some defects and damage that are excluded from the statutory warranty coverage, such as normal shrinkage of materials and normal wear and tear.

Damage that was not caused by the builder is also not covered. So an important step before you get the keys to your unit is your Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI). As your builder guides you through your inspection of your new home, make note of anything that appears to be damaged, missing or otherwise on the fritz. The key is to establish that the problem existed before you moved in, which can be very helpful if you end up having to make a warranty claim about a scratched floor, say, or chipped countertop. Print off our PDI Checklist before you go to help you through the process!

When can you make a warranty claim?

In a perfect world, your builder will have corrected all of the issues noted during your PDI by the time you move in. If not, or if you only become aware of a problem after taking occupancy of your condo, you can file a warranty claim with Tarion.

To make a claim under the one-year warranty, you can file a claim with Tarion within the first or last 30 days of your first year of occupancy. A claim under the two-year warranty can be filed any time during your second year in the condo. A claim under the seven-year warranty can be made at any time.

What happens after you make a warranty claim?

Your builder should resolve all claim items that are covered under the warranties within 120 days after you file your claim. If items do not get resolved to your satisfaction, you can request a conciliation inspection by Tarion to take the process to the next level.

Your questions answered in our webinar

The first 20 minutes of our webinar go into much more detail about topics covered in this post, while the remaining forty are devoted to answering common questions from condo owners like you! If you want to skip directly to the Q&A portion, use this link!