Once upon a simpler un-bureaucratic time there were folks that loved to build. They would build everything from chairs, to cabinets, and with everything that men do, led to something bigger - houses. All that was built was done from scratch. No plans, just ideas and good old experience as their guide. As the years past the homes that all these Jacks built withstood the tests of the elements and time. A little adjustment here and there in techniques and materials made the homes warmer, drier, and some say better for the average Joe.
One night after a major storm a whole bunch of Joes who bought all the Jacks homes woke up to sopping wet floors! Jack was gone, leaving Joe holding the bag and crying the blues! Along came Super Dave (Barrett) with a plan to solve everyone's woes. The Home Owner Warranty arrived to save the day!
This is a simple outline of events that led to today's Home Owner Protection Office (HPO) and the New Home Owner Warranty. Even with municipal building inspectors, our building industry has somehow created a system of constructing "Leaky Condos". Homes that either leaked from the outside in, or trapped the moisture from the inside out, causing mold, and other water related issues. The builders were no longer in business, and the building inspectors were certainly not going to accept liability, so the B.C. Government appointed an Inquiry with Dave Barrett presiding. Through his findings he formulated a system to help prevent the subsequent owner of homes from being out of pocket for shoddy construction.
In July 1998, The Home Owner Protection Act was proclaimed. It established a Builder Registry for building companies. These registered Builders have to buy Home Owner Insurance Warranties for the homes they build. These policies offer 2/5/10 year protection for the home. Should the builder not be able to fix a problem, the insurers will generally cover it. There is a 2 year coverage on defects in materials and workmanship, 5 years on the building envelope, and 10 years on structural items.
Up until November 19, 2007, Jack could still build a house under the "Owner Builder Declaration". This notified buyers that the home was not built by a registered builder, and that it was not covered by a New Home Warranty. After Nov. 19 of last year, EVERY NEW home requires the builder to register, even the Owner Builder. They must get authority from the HPO. Failure to register and follow the rules can lead to a $25,000 penalty. The Owner Builder is ultimately responsible for any defects for 10 years from the first occupancy date. Also, the Owner Builder must live in the home for at least 12 months prior to selling, and must give the Buyer a Declaration. In areas such as Area H where there are no building permits or inspection required, Owner Builder Registration is still required.
The owner Builder may purchase the third party warranty from the registered insurers at the HPO. With these insurance policies there appears to be a mandatory inspection regiment to follow.
Thus, the little house that Jack built may be a bit more secure. Thanks Super Dave.
(for more information on the Home Owner Protection Office, and Home Owner Warranties please refer to the HPO website www.hpo.bc.ca )