The Necessity of New Home Inspection
By Elli Davis, September 10, 2011
Checklist by Alan Cleaver
When you buy a newly built home in Toronto, it is by default subject to Tarion’s ‘new home insurance.’ New home insurance is implicit, universal, and designed primarily to protect new-home buyers’ investments.
For new home owners to remain covered, however, they must obey a precise inspection schedule. Should home owners neglect an inspection or miss a deadline, they will most likely be expelled from this government-sponsored program and will lose the extra coverage and support which it provides.
The most important duty of a new home owner is to carry out a pre-delivery inspection (PDI) within the first 30 days of possession of the new property. Within this period, it is important to identify and describe all faults and shortcomings of the apartment or house, write them down onto a universal PDI form, and send a copy of the form to both the builder and Tarion.
During this stage, it may be wise for the buyer to hire a professional home inspector to facilitate the inspection process and bring peace of mind to the buyers/owners. It is also important to put in writing systems and areas of the house that are inaccessible to the owners or that just cannot be tested in a practical manner. Denoting these items may help in the future if one of them breaks down and the owner is forced to file a claim.
If the 30-day deadline for the PDI is observed, Tarion protection continues, along with all of its benefits.
Claiming Construction Deficiencies
Should a problem develop later on, the home owner must file a claim to the builder (again, sending a copy to Tarion) as soon as possible, so that the builder may proceed to remove the deficiency. There is a 120-day repair period in force for the builder to fix any issues for the owner. Sometimes, this period may be extended if there are objective reasons for the builder to require extra time to perform a satisfactory repair. This may happen if the solution is extensive, involves scarce or unavailable materials or expertise, or if the weather is unfavourable.
Sometimes, the builder does not resolve issues to the owner’s satisfaction. The builder may either correct only parts of the problem or deny the owner’s claim altogether. If this happens, the owner may ask Tarion for an independent appraisal of the issue. Owners must contact Tarion about their dissatisfaction within 30 days of the end of the builder’s repair period (the 120 days mentioned above).
This procedure is referred to as the conciliation inspection, and the owner has to pay a $250 deposit to Tarion before the inspection. This deposit is returned to the owner if the conciliation inspection proves that there indeed is a lasting defect in the building or its systems. In other words, if the conciliation inspection is deemed warranted, it will not cost you anything.
When you ask for a conciliation inspection, you will get to know your Field Claims Representative, who will guide you through any follow-up steps and try to help you and your builder arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.
Items to Inspect
Manuscripts and Checklists by Liz West
Among the main items to check and inspect during a PDI are:
- air conditioning, heating, air distribution systems
- water, sewage (or a septic system), drains, and all related plumbing
- electrical systems, wiring, power distribution, data cables and networks, radio and coaxial cables
- quality of craftsmanship with tiles, ceramic fixtures (bathtubs, toilets, and sinks), caulking and insulation, and mould prevention
- safety and sturdiness of cabinets, shelves, doors, windows, kitchen appliances, stairs, and floors
- the quality of the entire construction, specifics depending on the type of house and the materials used
- the roof and its ability to protect the house from rain, withstand wind, and ventilate the house appropriately
- any exterior appliances that were “bundled” with the house or condo, including a garage, the sod/grass, a fence, or benches
- and more
For a comprehensive checklist of the most important areas upon which to focus, check out Tarion’s official Pre-Delivery inspection checklist.
Don’t forget that you have to submit an inspection report before the end of boty your first and second years of possession. You should perform an inspection and submit your report within the last thirty days of the year but before your anniversary. Both of these steps will make it much easier for you to submit any claims if something goes later going forward.