Home Warranty Benefits
Home warranties can prevent you from investing extra money in repairs. With the help of a home warranty, you can take comfort in knowing defective materials and labor will be covered for a period of time. While most people don’t purchase a home expecting to experience problems, the reality is that plans do not always turn out perfectly.
Home Buyer Protection Act
As of 2014 every new home built in Alberta will be protected under warranty. Alberta’s New Home Buyer Protection Act supports even higher quality standards ensuring your new home stands the test of time. Homes covered under the New Home Buyer Protection Act include:
- Single family homes
- Multi-family homes
- Manufactured homes
- Recreational properties
The Government of Alberta introduced Bill 6, the New Home Buyer Protection Amendment Act, on March 18, 2014. This bill brings forward slight revisions to the New Home Buyer Protection Act, assisting in the safeguarding of the single largest purchase most people make – a home.
The amendments are the outcome of thorough stakeholder discussions while preparing the regulations in 2014 and represent minor revisions to the legislation. The following is a summary of the legislative amendments:
- Expanded rules for multi-family rental building exemptions. Under current legislation, warranty coverage isn’t required for rental buildings, provided they aren’t divided and sold as individual units. This amendment will create a “Rental Use Designation” and require a caveat to be registered on the land title, designating the building for rental use.
- Slight definition change from buying period to protection period to better reflect the 10-year warranty time frame that a home is protected under the legislation
- Clarifies that administrative penalties apply on a per unit basis
- Requires that administrative penalties must be paid in order to appeal
- Ability of the Registrar of the New Home Buyer Protection Office to clarify what buildings qualify as a new home; this amendment adopts from the regulation rules
- Clarifies the start date for warranty coverage; this amendment adopts rules from the regulation and will allow actual occupancy as the start date for warranty coverage for all new homes
- Clarifies the start date for warranty coverage on condominium common property
- Changes to the appeal process to increase efficiencies
Home warranty coverage
At the least, your new home warranty warranty will cover one year for labor and materials, two years for delivery and distribution systems, five years for building envelope protection and ten years for key structural components. If you have any concerns or questions regarding your home warranty, talk to your builder or the warranty provider.
Depending upon your personal coverage, you may find different building components are protected.
It’s as simple as 1, 2, 5 and 10
- One year: Takes care of issues with the manner in which your home was built or materials such as flooring or trim
- Two years: Covers defects in labor and materials related to heating, plumbing and electrical systems
- Five years: Covers the building envelope (the exterior shell of the home, including the roof and walls) two additional years of coverage will also be available
- Ten years: This covers major structural components of your home, including its frame and foundation
Home warranty providers
Below are six warranty providers that may partner with your builder for coverage:
- Aviva Insurance Company of Canada
- Blanket Home Warranty Ltd.
- Progressive Home Warranty Solutions Inc.
- The Alberta New Home Warranty Program
- Travelers Insurance Company of Canada
- WBI Home Warranty Ltd.
Speak with your builder about their warranty provider of choice and click the links above for more information about each.
Homeowners take heed, know your role
The first part of your role is to research. Familiarize yourself with your builder’s background including years in business and references. Also get to know your warranty provider, chief warranty dates and steps to take should you ever have to make a claim. After your home is built, you’re in charge of basic maintenance and upkeep, like cleaning gutters and changing furnace filters. You’re also responsible for preserving appropriate grading with any new landscaping work.
Builder and home warranty provider roles
Builders are in charge of partnering with a warranty provider, becoming an authorized user of the online home registry and entering new construction projects into the system. They are then your chief point of contact during the construction of your home. They’re additionally responsible for making sure building permits are in place and that the house is constructed to the standards set out in the Alberta Building Code. Warranty providers are accountable for producing policies and managing claims.
Government’s role in home warranties
Alberta’s New Home Buyer Protection Act authorizes and regulates new home warranties in the province. The Government of Alberta ensures this legislation is followed while tracking warranties on new homes. Alberta Municipal Affairs also provides tools to municipalities to ensure warranty protection is in place before new building permits are given. Lastly, the government enforces penalties against builders, warranty providers and others not complying with the Act – up to $100k for first offenses and up to $500k for further ones.
Owner builders and home warranties
If you are the owner-builder constructing your own home to live in, there are two options. You can get home warranty coverage for your home or you can apply for owner-builder authorization. This sanction will allow you to build your home without a warranty. If you decide to sell your house within 10 years, you will need to attain the residual warranty coverage for your buyer.
Follow the steps and you’ll feel better
Because Alberta is filled with quality builders, most folks will never need to make a home warranty claim. If you do experience an issue that may lead to a claim, here is what steps you should take:
- Familiarize yourself with the warranty dates to ensure coverage is active for the problem you’re experiencing.
- Attempt to contact your builder directly to discuss the problem and try to resolve it. Please note that speaking to your builder does not mean you have made a claim under your warranty policy.
- Should you still need to file a claim, contact your warranty provider. Each provider’s process is different – they will steer you through their specific requisites and procedures.
The home warranty public registry
Alberta’s new home warranty program includes a user-friendly online public registry. As of February 2014, builders are required to input warranty information for every new home they built after February 1, 2014. If your home is under the new warranty program, you will be able to access warranty information by simply entering your address. This will help you track important dates and find contact information for your warranty provider. Folks looking for a new home warranty will also be able to access the registry to find out if the home has a warranty and how much coverage remains. It will also prove useful for realtors, lenders and municipalities. Alberta’s home warranty benefits owners by offering quality services backed by solid reputations. Therefore, upon deciding on which builder to choose, you should be familiar with the home warranty as well as the specific items that are included as part of your coverage.