For many years the home builders association has been holding seminars for homebuyers at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel.
As a co-founder of the Coalition of Leaky Condo Owners, I along with some of my concerned colleagues attended these seminars between 1999 and the early 2000’s to warn homebuyers that everything isn’t necessarily as it appears or as it is being represented.
Our tactic was to sit as close as we could to the microphone so we would have the opportunity to ask awkward questions of the panel of industry experts. Obviously questions about leaky condos, but also about the unacceptable levels of warranty claims, about how a system of minimum standards causes so many building code violations, about owners not getting what they thought they paid for, etc.
Today home buying is still risky business and British Columbians are being lulled into a false sense of security with a home warranty insurance program full of exclusions, limitations, and other “weasel-worded” disclaimers and representations.
Unfortunately for homebuyers, after 10 years the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) has still not committed to undertake to develop or adopt a meaningful measure of housing quality towards fulfilling their legislated protection role, or public expectations. This is unacceptable.
Available information and resources are scarce, reporting is imbalanced, and homebuyers are left with the daunting task and responsibility to conduct their own proper due diligence.
Try searching the CMHC website for “due diligence” or “buyer beware” and you’ll probably find nothing to help Canadians. Provincially on the HPO website there is no searching capability.
Navigating can be disastrous for homebuyers as too many continue to find out.
Until the HPO acts on the Homeowner Protection Act, British Columbians need much more information reported on the seriousness of construction defects and the fact that the 2-5-10 home warranty program in BC is far from being a cure-all.
In an industry where “buyer beware” is more prevalent today than ever before, buyers need to take extra care protecting themselves. In many instances the lack of proper due diligence by the buyer prevents the discovery of defects.
The serious situation of non-disclosure, similar to that alleged by the Sheraton Guildford Hotel in this report, plays out daily in real estate transactions. Sellers need to be educated about proper disclosure, and the consequences and penalties of non-disclosure need to send a strong message.