….From The New Yorker Magazine, “bureaucracy cartoons”; by C.Barsotti
SIX dirty little words the Ontario Liberals won’t say…
The recently announced OLP platform for the Ontario 2014 June election touts “condo reform”. While it vows to reform (“modernize”) condo reserve fund rules, licensing of condo managers, and to “improve the condo experience“, this has been two years in the pipeline without concrete action, according to many observers. This is some good news, if it is eventually implemented.
BUT, why can’t anyone in an oversight or regulatory authority just say these 6 words to builders: “STOP building defects into new homes!” Period. Full stop. And if you don’t stop, we’ll ensure you face consequences in order to protect future home buyers.
Consumer protection language on defects is absent from the current Liberal proposal. In any other profession, the medical profession for example, shoddy doctors get their licenses revoked by the medical licensing authority for malpractice. Builders don’t often get their licenses revoked by Tarion for building defects, and there is no transparent record of many of these defects on Tarion’s “Ontario Builder Directory”.
For years consumers have complained to Tarion that its “Ontario Builder Directory” is not a complete or accurate disclosure of the building defects they know about, have inspected or warranted. In mid-2013 they themselves agreed with this in a Toronto Star investigative report. If defects are discovered after warranty deadlines, or do not fit narrow warranty definitons, they should still be recorded on Tarion’s builder track records. They are not.
Why are the words “CONSUMER PROTECTION” rarely mentioned by regulatory authorities in new home building? Why is there seemingly so little effort to PREVENT DEFECTS FROM BEING BUILT INTO NEW HOMES IN THE FIRST PLACE? Consumer advocate Peter Silverman outlines this problem in a video interview in April 2104 posted on this Blog.
Why is the Liberal government not talking about clamping down on illegal building practices like – short-cutting in workmanship and materials, the use of unqualified sub-trades, the lack of supervision of trades on building sites, builders squeezing sub-trades to maximize their own profits, the lack of meaningful inspections by either Tarion or municipal inspectors during the building process? This is how defects happen. Why isn’t anyone talking about preventing this?
Why is the current Liberal platform “protecting condo owners”, doing nothing to address building defects which can end up bankrupting new condo buyers?
It appears the Wynne government thinks condo owners need “protecting”, but buyers of new freehoold homes can just bl…y well fend for themselves.
All the above didn’t make much sense, the Liberals again announcing a plan to “protect condo owners“, without making any mention of how they’ll get builders to stop building condos with defects. Until I read the Ontario Home Builders Association (OHBA)’s analysis of curent election platforms, and their message to their membership about how hard they work to influence political parties to favour their interests. (The OHBA also appoint 8 out of 13 members of Tarion’s board). Now its clear. Seems the old adage is true: throw enough money at a problem, and you’re likely to get solutions in your favour.