How’s that new home doing for you? Warm enough? Cool enough? Feel good about the purchase? If ONE of the answers to the four questions was a “no” or negative comment you are not alone. This is something happening that should be a concern for all new home purchasers.
There is a battle happening in Queen’s Park and while opening shots have been fired, the Ontario government is not replying. The offices of the Honourable Margarett Best, Minister of Consumer Services have said little to nothing about how to help home owners with HVAC issues. For home owners in the Ottawa area there seems to be very little issue, the large part of complaints are coming from the GTA. Ellen Roseman of the Toronto Star has been covering this for some time and reading her previous columns will provide the needed background. Last month CTV W5 aired a piece on the concern that homeowners have with their HVAC systems and lack of action from the Ministry of Consumer Services, Tarion Home Warranty Corporation and new home builders.
The biggest silence comes from the Ministry of Consumer Services; the most noise about this is coming from the opposition desks. The Ontario PC’s have taken up this cause with Ted Chudleigh, the MPP for Halton, where many of these cases are found, fighting for his constituents. The riding is the home of massive growth and new home and communities are springing up where fields once lay. The problem being faced is when only one person swinging then it is not much of a fight. A letter has been personally delivered to Minster Best from Mr. Chudleigh in the House in February and there has not been a reply from the Minister’s office since, the silence is deafening.
There is too much finger pointing taking place on the government and Tarion’s side with each finding another direction to point the blame to. “ It could be the builder” or “no it’s the inspector” or “no it’s not covered because the defect didn’t show up in the two years since installation” or “sorry you have to deal with the municipality on this one” and “no you are not the original owner – too bad!” The end result is homeowners are feeling the cold shoulder not from the lack of heat in their homes, but from the people that should be looking after them.
Out of all this a great small organization has sprung up, www.canadiansforproperlybuilthomes.com, (and on Twitter @CPBH01) since 2004 they have worked to resolve homeowner issues with Tarion and the Ministry of Consumer Services and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Just after Queens Park started sitting again (for the 1st time since the October election) in late February 2012, CPBH held a news conference in front of Queen’s park.
What is the next step you can take? Read Ellen Roseman http://www.ellenroseman.com/?p=1210. Watch CTV W5 http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/WFive/20120302/w5-cold-comfort-hi-velocity-hvac-systems-investigation-120303/. Once you have done that, read the CPBH News Release http://canadiansforproperlybuilthomes.com/html/whatsnew/2012/feb/Feb26_12-HVACInvestigation.pdf asking for action THEN you can make some noise!
Contact the Minister Best’s office and ask why Tarion is representing builders more than home warranty purchasers. Write Premier McGuinty and ask why he is not doing something to get his Minister moving. Email Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Kathleen Wynne and ask why cities are not training inspectors better on HVAC units. Write your own MPP and ask them to get the government working to resolve these issues NOW!
The biggest investment any one person makes in their lifetime is the purchase of a home. A new home should come with the new smell, new hopes and new dreams. Help keep the unnecessary nightmares of home ownership away.
I can be found Twitter @robertdekker and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. Please follow me and send your thoughts on this and other postings.