Homeowner Protection Never Existed...

By
Real Estate Sales Representative with for real estate results in the Tri-Cities.

This is a reminder that there is little if any protection for homeowners in BC.  For more than 25 years before the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) was even in existence the builders were running roughshod, and things really haven’t changed.

Building a house is not as simple as it used to be, but the loose standards from past decades prevail, and easily pre-date the birth of many first time home buyers in BC today.

It is regrettable and shameful that the leaders of the building industry still represent and tout work practices and standards from the dark ages that carry with it the need for additional layers and costs to the process for consumers, and while failing to deliver good quality construction.

The old building industry model that is still in use today is severely broken and doesn’t come anywhere near to meeting consumer expectations.

Or is that exit?

No education or training is required to be a licensed builder in BC, and a window or door installed out-of-square or out-of-plumb is not considered a defect because it is not a building code violation.  Yes, uneven ceilings and floors are okay, believe it or not!

Senior governments have been downloading the responsibility of consumer protection for more than 25 years to the point that what little is left is now in the hands of the industry and its partners, e.g. warranty insurance companies, HPO, industry organizations, etc.

What's also lacking with this downloading is that there was no expectation of accountability.

The CBC have recently reported that the HPO is ignoring consumers complaints and allowing builders to continue; “business as usual” (confirming once again that the HPO is nothing more than a marketing tool for the building industry): Builder relicensed despite unfinished homes.

The serious lack of accountability and professional ethics spills over between all organizations involved in home building, but to a person, they all blame someone else, and even the consumer.

“Buyer beware” remains a challenge because if any reputable builders, or buildings, do exist they are impossible to distinguish, and the HPO registry is obviously a big waste of taxpayers money based on what the CBC reports.

The HPO only ever stood for Homeowner Protection in name.  The recent announcement that as of April 2, 2010 the HPO will no longer exist was unnecessary because it never did.

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Tags:
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Rainmaker
1,037,108
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

John - new homes have a certain attraction to them for some buyers but they do come with a additionalset of concerns especially if you are buying an unfinished unit. Caveat Emptor

Mar 21, 2010 03:01 AM #1
Rainmaker
179,718
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

Kathy: I'm sure you know of what you speak when it comes to new homeowner issues (and caveat emptor) in Ontario. I've been following with some interest the plight of homeowners dealing with Tarion (ditto here; same types of problems) in Ontario. It seems that the pressure only gets turned up after major TV network exposés, or a powerful Holmes episode.  It's reassuring that your Ombudsman has been involved and there is a glimmer of hope that some things might possibly improve, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.  Thanks.

Mar 21, 2010 04:45 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,555,191
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

John,

It would be nice to see some added strength in the enforcement. The difficulty with very low standards, means that they are easy to achieve and provide a false sense of security.

Brian

Mar 21, 2010 08:10 AM #3
Rainmaker
179,718
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

Brian: "...easy to achieve", huh; you'd think!

J.D. Power uses a comprehensive questionnaire for surveying new home buyers in Toronto, and the satisfaction levels reported are very low. The first time JDP surveyed here in Vancouver the results were so bad that they wouldn't even publish them.

Due to the serious lack of accountability, the enforcement you suggest, and substantial monetary hold-backs, need to be an integral part of the entire industry.

The messages used in the marketing material for new homes continue to provide a false sense of security. Too bad homes weren't built to the same quality levels that the marketing materials were produced to.

Mar 21, 2010 08:59 AM #4
Rainer
478,183
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Sometimes our governments have to clean house by getting rid of the rules and regulations that either did not good or never were enforced anyway.

Apr 03, 2010 10:26 PM #5
Rainmaker
179,718
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

I sure hope you are right Russel. Allowing the industry to self-regulate didn't work no matter what was tried. The industry needs to be harnessed, closely monitored and severely dealt with, no matter what the cost. What they build today is done based on the use of quality standards from the past; it's akin to going to a car dealership and buying a new auto today built to quality standards from the sixties.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Russel.

Apr 04, 2010 04:19 AM #6
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Rainmaker
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John Grasty

Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.
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