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Private company assists gov't in protecting new home buyers

BY KEITH LACEY Buying a new home is the most important investment the average person makes, and the private corporation mandated to keep track of builders is promising to be more accountable than ever to Ontario consumers.

BY KEITH LACEY

Buying a new home is the most important investment the average person makes, and the private corporation mandated to keep track of builders is promising to be more accountable than ever to Ontario consumers.

Robert Mitchell, director of government relations, and Gregory Gee, president and CEO of Tarion Warranty Corp., formerly the Ontario New Home Warranty Program, were in Greater Sudbury recently to talk about changes within their organization.

"We changed our name three years ago and with that came a mandate to modernize the organization and become more people-friendly."

Tarion operates independent of government intervention, but are "very much accountable" to the Ministry of Housing, said Mitchell.

Basically, Tarion has two functions. The first is to license home builders, and this includes builders of single-detached homes, townhouses and condominiums.

"We make sure all builders have all of the proper qualifications, financially and technically," he said.

Secondly, Tarion adminsters the warranty which every new home buyer receives.

The roles and responsibilities of the homeowner, the builder and Tarion are clearly defined in a Homeowner Information Package: A Guide to Your New Home Warranty available through most builders and home building associations.

The 24-page brochure includes information on pre-delivery inspections, the statutory warranty offered to every buyer and what's involved in various warranties guaranteed by the province, he said.

A one-year warranty is offered to ensure all construction is done in a workmanlike fashion and free from defects in material, is fit for habitation, constructed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code and free of any major structural defects.

A two-year warranty is offered in case of water penetration through the basement or foundation walls; defects in materials, including windows, doors and caulking; defects in electrical, plumbing and heating delivery and distribution systems; and violations of the Ontario Building Code.

A seven-year warranty is offered on all new homes, guaranteeing any defect in work or materials that results in the failure of a land-bearing part of the home's structure is repaired in full. It also protects any defect in work or materials adversely affecting the use of the building as a home.

Tarion operates its own call centre which receives in excess of 1,000 calls a day and its website receives 20,000 hits per month. For more information, phone 1-877-982-7466 or visit www.tarion.com/HOME .