What Homeowner Protection?

Information savvy consumers have long expected a builder to provide specific maintenance and warranty details in a format that is easy to use and access. Besides, the warranty coverage itself will be dependent upon the homeowner being compliant and doing proper maintenance, which usually requires being able to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, and regardless of whether the warranty comes from a third party insurer or the manufacturer.

New homeowners receive only 10% of the information required for proper care, maintenance, and warranty coverage for the components in their new home, according to CONASYS Inc., a provider of information management services to the Canadian construction industry.

The release based on research from CONASYS Inc is available here []

A recent JD Power and Associates survey in Ontario concluded, “New home owner’s satisfaction is low compared to other industries“.  The questions asked by JDP were very comprehensive and objective, and their sampling always surpasses requirements to be deemed statistically significant.

In BC, the record of the Homeowner Protection Office is pathetic; just look at the most recent survey here [].  To make matters worse, the questions asked on behalf of the HPO are useless providing meaningless information and conclusions.

How could this be happening today when way back in 1976 BC home builders realized that they were faced with consumer issues on a scale that required the concentrated effort of a large number of dedicated merchant builders (industry types) to create a consumer protection plan, the New Home Warranty program (NHW)?

That industry-run, NHW went belly-up over 10 years ago. NHW falsely claimed, “New Home Warranty sets stringent, but workable criteria to measure technical competence and financial stability of applicant builders…”

Then in 2002’ish the provincial government once again put the fox is in charge of the hen house, handing over the governance of the HPO to an appointed board of directors consisting of these same industry types, the result being of course, no improvement.

Such incompetence in other private sector industries would be dealt with severely and swiftly; not at the HPO though.

Given the continuing home building problems in BC (see 2008 HPO survey results) and the failure of government and the industry, is it now time to expand the role for the Ombudsman in BC?

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