When you purchase a new home, you’re entitled to a Tarion New Home Warranty and as part of that, before you take final delivery and are handed the keys, you, along with your builder, will complete a Pre-Delivery Inspection (or PDI).
Subject to your builder’s delivery schedule, this should be organized a minimum of two weeks prior to closing. It is an important part of your possession as the builder will highlight key elements and point out features and operational components. The PDI inspection also helps you protect your warranty rights.
What is your warranty?
In addition to deposit protection and delayed closing compensation, purchasers of new homes are entitled to the following:
One-year warranty: To ensure the home is built to the Ontario Building Code, is free of material defects and unauthorized substitutions and is fit to be lived in. Applies for the first year from the date of possession.
Two-year warranty: For the first two years, it protects against things like water penetration through basement or foundation walls or from defects in windows, doors and caulking, as well as electrical, plumbing and heating defects, exterior cladding defects, and code violations that affect health and safety.
Seven-year warranty: Covers major structural defects for the first seven years.
More on what’s in your warranty here.
The PDI involves a formal walk-through of your home before closing. At this stage, the home may not be 100 per cent completed due to seasonal items or minor deficiencies that your builder is already addressing.
That said, during your inspection, you should note and document any defects, missing items, or items not operating properly. Tarion provides a PDI form to help you complete your list. Your builder will use this list to address the noted warrantable deficiencies and complete them — ideally — before closing.
Note that some items may not be finalized and work could continue after you take possession. Keep your PDI form for your records.
After taking possession, items that your builder has not yet resolved and — this is important — any new items you have identified during your first month of living in the home should be recorded on your Tarion 30-day warranty form. This is where you will identify outstanding items from your PDI list as well as new items you note as deficient.
Now, be careful: if you report gouges in your hardwood on your 30-day form that weren’t reported on the PDI, it may be hard to prove that those gouges occurred before you moved in. Once you complete this form, you must submit it to Tarion.
According to Tarion, the most common defects reported on the 30-day forms relate to finishing details such as scratches on cabinetry or hardwood, stains on carpets, cracked millwork, or questionable paint finishing. These are all items that should be identified and documented during the PDI.
Some tips to help you with your PDI:
- Look at the walls and the paint throughout your home. Make sure the right colours have been applied and there are no visible seams. Examine baseboard and woodwork around the doors to see if there are gaps or cracks that need to be filled with caulking.
- Try all the light switches. Are they working? Check outlets with a small lamp or nightlight.
- Test for squeaky floors as you walk through your home.
- Open and close windows to be sure latches work, screens are in place and windows open or slide freely.
- Make sure all doors are hung properly, painted and that locks work properly.
- Check bathtubs and sinks to make sure there are no scratches or chips.
- Take your time, take a good look at everything and don’t let yourself be rushed. Ask questions. Get explanations. This is the time when your builder should be explaining how things work, where you’ll find water shut-offs and how to operate your home’s mechanical and HVAC systems.
Tarion suggests that builders spend about one hour per 1,000 square feet of space on the PDI. Furthermore, with today’s technology, it’s okay to take photos of missing or damaged items. These will help with any future warranty claims. Your builder may also be taking photos or may have taken some already for their records.
Your home is a valuable asset and will require ongoing maintenance and care. Make sure you follow the Tarion procedures starting with your PDI right through your warranty reporting period. Your builder should be there to assist and should address all legitimate warrantable items.
Your PDI is your opportunity to document the state of your home before you move in. You also need to be mindful of the warranty report dates as once you take possession, your one-year, two-year and seven-year warranties periods kick in immediately.
If you really want to understand the home warranty process, the builder’s responsibilities, as well as your own responsibilities, visit Tarion’s website. Or you can contact Tarion at 1.877.9TARION or email firstname.lastname@example.org.