Oakville Homes

December 12, 2012

Are Ontario builders afraid of B.C. home warranty program? Are they Mr. Gilgan?

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Buying a home is more complicated than people realize.  And, I’m not talking about the issues of deciding on the upgrades or what colour of paint and brick.  On one hand, you should have a lawyer that will review all the documentation and ensure you are not signing something that will cost you more money in the end.  The offer you are given to sign by the builder is slanted towards the builder and is not written in stone.  A seasoned real estate lawyer will walk you through it and make the appropriate changes so you have no surprises down the road with add-ons, supplemental charges and increased development charges.  You may not get your home for a couple of years (some in Kanata never got their Mattamy homes) and things change.  Non ethical builders will try to make you pay for any additional costs and if your purchase agreement wasn’t reviewed – you will pay.

A house inspector is a wise investment – cheaper than that splash board in the kitchen.  They can help you through the warranty period and give advice on what to report, when and just how to proceed.

Mention has been made about home warranty programs and in Ontario, you are stuck with Tarion – a builder/developer dominated program with less than golden reviews.  A comment by Jim (1st comment below) notes that in British Colombia, the warranty program is run by the insurance industry and is liable to that industry’s rules.  In Ontario – no control at all.  Even the ombudsman has no authority.  He notes that Manitoba and Alberta will be implementing a similar program to B.C.  Why are homeowners in Ontario not protected?

Do we need protection?  In my case I can show why and at the end of the blog you will read a rather long letter that shows why we do need protection. I had similar issues with my MattamyWith the noted problems in the 2nd noted comment, it does beg the question on just what did the homeowner do?  Although Tarion has a bad rep, it does have guidelines which must be followed.  If they didn’t follow the reporting guidelines, they are in trouble.  A comment by Tim noted that builders may try to stall you and all the photos in the world won’t help.

FOLLOW THE TIMELINES

Don’t let a builder talk you out of putting in your reports on time.  Afraid to lose their goodwill?  What if they don’t follow through.  So much for the goodwill.  A good builder will have issues fixed prior to the deadlines.  If they don’t, PROTECT YOURSELF.  Complaining afterwords with no documentation and photos is like putting on a condom after you caught the STD.  Just doesn’t work that way, except in both cases you do get f*cked.

If you go to the last comment on the blog, you will see a possible Mattamy stall.  Leaking shower stall.  In my case, they did fix the leak, after it leaked through the ceiling.  In the comment, it seems they have just passed it by.  And, no Tarion record so Mattamy or any other builder can just say – GOODBYE.

P.S. After I wrote this blog, I watched an episode of Mike Holmes.  Short story – young couple bought a new home to reduce maintenance issues.  Within two years, there was snow in the attic and leaks and they found improperly installed light fixtures and the room over the garage had the cold effect so common in our homes but easily fixed.  The builder left them out to hang.  Not my problem – remove the snow yourself.  So, you can see – these things happen.  Maybe just not to you but it does happen to people and builders leave people out to dry.  Some, like Mattamy, even put children’s lives at risk and don’t really care.  Protect yourself – your house just may not be perfect.

Comments:

Jim:

British Columbia has a far better system where Warranty Providers operate in a competive marketplace. They must be either an \Insurance company or backed by an insurance company who in turn is regulated by the Insurance commision and FICOM. Alberta and Manitoba are in the near process of implementing similar legislation to that of BC.

Why is it Tarion enjoys a monopoly?? Coverages for homes in BC and soon in Alberta are far superior to that of Tarion. 1 year for all labour and materials (15 months common property) 2 years building code violations, heating and ac sytems, plumbing and electrical, 5 years water penetration and 10 years for structural defects. Here we are in Ontario stuck with a company who enjoys a government sanctioned monopoly, seems to be above any insurance regulatory board, offers less coverage and who cares less about the consumer. Why not let true insurance companies in?? This only seems to make sense to me. I wonder what CEO at Tarion makes in this joke of a nonprofit setup. 
Jim

Why we need protection:

VALERY home builders of Hamilton operating in north Oakville are even worse. The town house I bought my mother was nearly falling apart after only 2-3 years.

Here’s a quick run down…

– Found lots of trash including drywall remnants, construction waste, drywall dust, cigarette packs, coffee cups and McDonald bags in many of the vents and much of the ductwork. They basically just used the ductwork as their dustpan and garbage can during construction. 
– Ductwork was improperly run resulting in barely any air pressure from some vents especially upstairs while others felt like a blow dryer. Ductwork had to be re-run properly after only a year at my expense.
– Found loose studs not even nailed in properly in the walls or even screwed to drywall. Repaired out of warranty at my expense.
– Could see drywall tapelines, improperly sanded tapelines in a number of walls
– 2 bedrooms had absolutely no insulation installed in exterior walls while others did, therefore those rooms were always very cold in winter.
– You could feel cold outside air in winter blowing in through the AC outlets on exterior facing walls
– Floorboards were not glued to the joists during construction resulting in a loud irritating squeaking sound whenever someone walked on the floors after only a few months
– Staircase became soft and squeaky after only a couple years due to them being improperly installed and to add insult to injury they were crooked
– You could hear wind howling through the attic, attic access hatch was not insulated by the builder allowing cold air to leak into house
– Basement floor was very unevenly poured. 1-4 inch difference in ceiling to floor height in many places. We had to re-pour concrete in certain sections just to get it level enough for framing and flooring. I have never seen such an un-level basement floor before in my life. 
– Concrete work was a joke. Front porch as well as all the neighbours front porches cracked deeply after the first or second year leaving very noticeable cracks running through the concrete that all needed to be filled at our expense. They also put a thin layer of concrete over the actual porch structure (dont ask me why) that started to chip away after little to no time. You would actually have to sweep the bits of chipped concrete up fairly regularly and after a while it just looked like hell.
– Builder installed the wrong light fixture in the kitchen during construction and when they came back to install the one we had ordered they left numerous large holes in the ceiling. They said they would come back that week and fix it and never did. Ever.   
– No sound insulation in interior walls or in the walls separating the units. Just drywall is all the separated the rooms and other units. You could hear a pin drop in other rooms and even the neighbours having conversations and watching TV word for word.
– You could feel the floor bouncing whenever the neighbours walked in their units from day one
– Builder privately recommended ‘a guy’ to install the fences. Fences were so poorly installed that they were loose, sagging and leaning after only 2 years and had to be completely replaced at our expense. 

When I brought up these issues with the builder they made excuses, stalled, delayed and missed appointments to come and look until the 1 year warranty ran out and then they said ‘Too bad, out of warranty’ even though I was trying to get them in to look at a few of the things for over 6 months!

And lastly…..The neighbours a few doors down and their children got very sick. Doctors could not find out what was wrong for over a year until a specialist recommended they do a mold test of their home as a last resort. When they did an exploratory hole to do the test in the basement drywall they found badly charred wall studs and tons of mold. It turned out that there was a fire in the basement during construction and the builder just drywalled over the burned, wet studs which caused mold to flourish and the family to become sick.

If you want to pay your hard earned money for a new home that is improperly slapped together using the cheapest materials by a bunch of low grade piece workers (look up piece work, its construction based on speed not quality as they get paid per house finished) then a VALERY Home would be perfect for you.

I sure learned my lesson with buying a new home from VALERY, hopefully you don’t make the same mistake.

Mattamy Stall???

This is a long history of events but in a nutshell this is what has happened

– Bought home around 5 years back (Mattamy)
– Had some mild water damage around shower door
– Mattamy reps said water coming out under shower door and said minor issue. I unfortunately ignored it.
– 2 year warranty got over, however Mattamy reps kept coming for other issues and kept saying this water issue was minor .. just some drywall repair
– Problem grew very very slowly and its near 5 years now and had little mold outside.
– Mattamy said I did not do maintaince caulking, however Mattamy manager said if its an issue from them to fix due to poor house construction they would
– Removing drywall (as directed by Mattamy reps) from various areas showed a lot of mold and problem is not minor. It is possible water may be seeping through the tiles, but why is it coming out of the rubber protective sheet? Also its not drops of water but quite a bit of water (but contained within the drywall wood bars. Hence strongly suspect hole in rubber sheet.
– Mattamy still says they will do nothing about it.

To me this is an issue since house construction, but only it had surfaced as an apprarently minor problem. Now to repair it may requiring removing all the tiles and fixing the rubber sheet. Should I just dig deep into my wallet and fix it or should I keep escalating? The Mattamy manager at Milton does not seem inclined to help further. Who can I escalate this too.

Vid 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DokVFQieM-0
Vid 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW64BgRZZbg

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