Tarion new home protections may be extended to condo conversions

Regulator of new home and condo industry studying feasibility of protecting buyers of older buildings

The regulator of Ontario’s new homes industry is studying the feasibility of extending warranty protections to condominium conversions.

The creation of new condos in old buildings — be they former churches, hotels, industrial or other structures with previous lives that didn’t include hearths and home — has become a source of complaints to Tarion Warranty Corp.

That private corporation, created by the provincial government in 1976 to protect consumers against shoddy new house and condominium construction, is just beginning to study the complex issues involved, said Karen Mortfield, vice president of stakeholder relations.

Tarion officials should have a better sense later this year whether it’s feasible to ask builders to extend warranty coverage to conversions, which account for just one to three per cent of the overall condo market, “but have unique challenges,” said Mortfield.

“There are deficiencies in conversions that just aren’t found in other new construction,” she said. “There can be problems marrying two eras of construction, fitting new plumbing with old plumbing systems.

“Any time you have new construction meeting old construction there are challenges. This is all something that has to be factored into the research process. How much of an increased risk is there and how might that risk be addressed in the warranty process and is this something we could possibly do?”

The Tarion warranty program, through which most new home and condo builders are licensed and required to provide purchasers with Tarion-backed warranty coverage for deficiencies in workmanship, but right now it strictly applies to new construction.

Some 381,000 homes across the province fall under the program.

There are no warranty protections against deficiencies in older buildings with new lives as residential condo units.

Source: Toronto Star

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