I recently bought my first home: a brand new condominium unit.  In this post, and in more to follow, I intend on blogging about this experience and about the first year in the life of a condominium corporation.

After months of anticipation leading up to the date of occupancy, I recently got to set foot, for the first time, in my unit to conduct my pre-delivery inspection (“PDI”). PDIs are governed by the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, which is administered and managed by Tarion. Each builder must conduct a PDI with the purchaser of a new home, whether it be a house or a condominium unit.

A PDI is usually conducted a few days or weeks before you take possession. The purpose of such an inspection is to identify and record any construction deficiencies, incomplete or missing items, errors with choice of finishes and upgrades as well as items that are not functioning properly. The objective, of course, is to allow the builder to fix these deficiencies before you move in. It is very important to report, at this early stage, all cosmetic issues such as scratches on paint, wood floors or finishes or any missing items as it will be harder for any purchaser to argue, after possession, that these deficiencies pre-date occupancy and are the builder’s responsibility.

Failing to report an issue during a PDI is not fatal as it is not a claim under the New Home Warranty Program. Indeed, after a purchaser takes possession, Tarion’s warranty kicks-in and a purchaser can still make a warranty claim for new issues as well as for unresolved issues flagged during the PDI. However, as noted before, it will be more difficult for a purchaser to prove that he or she did not cause the chips in the hardwood floor when moving the furniture in the unit if these were not reported during the PDI.

Common elements are not covered by the PDI of a unit. It will be the responsibility of the board of directors of the condominium corporation to report and deal with these deficiencies. That being said, owners should not hesitate to advise the board of directors of the corporation when they observe issues affecting common elements. Likewise, boards should consult the owners before submitting the corporation’s PDI for common elements or warranty claims to ensure that all known deficiencies have been captured by their inspections.

It is very important to note that all warranty claims must be made in a timely manner and that the purchaser must strictly adhere to Tarion’s deadlines. Failing to report an item in a timely manner may deprive an owner of coverage under Tarion’s warranty.