How to deal with an emergency in your new home

If you own a newly built home, you probably don’t expect it to get you into an emergency, but it can and does happen. Fortunately, the warranty that is on every new-build home in Ontario provides coverage against emergencies that can be traced back to your builder’s work and materials.

Knowing how you’re covered and what to do when a major problem strikes will save you a lot of stress and help you quickly get your home back to normal.

Emergencies covered by your warranty
Under the new-home warranty, an emergency is a situation that occurs during the warranty period and involves a warranted defect that, if not attended to immediately, would cause substantial damage to your house, condo unit or condo common elements. It may also be something that can pose a risk to your health and safety or make your home uninhabitable.

Examples of emergency situations include:

  • A complete loss of heat between September 15 and May 15
  • A gas leak
  • A complete loss of electricity
  • A complete loss of water
  • Complete stoppage of sewage disposal
  • A plumbing leak that requires the entire water supply to be shut off
  • Major collapse of any part of the home’s exterior or interior structure
  • Water penetration through the interior walls or ceiling
  • A pool of standing water inside the home
  • Presence of unacceptable levels of hazardous substances inside the home, such as radon or mould

These types of emergencies do not include situations caused by failures of municipal or utility services, or other situations that are not within your builder’s control.

What to do in an emergency
If you have an emergency that’s covered by the warranty, contact your builder, who then has up to 24 hours to resolve the issue by making your home safe and preventing any further damage.

If you can’t reach your builder or they don’t resolve the emergency within this time, you can call the consumer protection organization Tarion. Their role is to ensure homeowners receive the warranty protection they’re entitled to, and to hold builders accountable when they fail to meet their obligations. The organization can step in to resolve your claim when your builder can’t or won’t.

And what to do if you can’t reach either? In this case, you can get a professional to do the repair work necessary to correct only the emergency (but not the defect that caused it). Keep records of the emergency and repair work completed, such as receipts and photographs taken before and after the repair so that your builder can reimburse you for the cost. Once the initial emergency is resolved, your builder has 30 days to complete a full repair of the defect.

Learn more about the new home warranty at tarion.com

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