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Province protecting new-home buyers

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Buying a new home?

The Selinger government is bringing in a new set of rules that will cost you a bit more but go a long way in protecting you in case you move into a money pit.

The NDP introduced the new-home warranty act on Thursday with the goal of it being in place in several months. Many new-home buyers get a warranty from their builder already, but the new law will make it mandatory for everyone.

"It will cover major things that could go wrong," said Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau. "These could be thousands of dollars. It's protecting people in the future from these huge costs that could happen."

Rondeau said that all new-home builders would be required to secure a warranty on new houses and condominium properties issued by a third-party warranty provider such as an insurance company.

"This will bring more awareness to the public," Rondeau said, adding the clout of an insurance company will add more weight when a new-home owner tries to get a problem fixed like a leaky roof or electrical issues.

"If you're covered by a third-party warranty, then what happens if your builder can't rectify it, you're assured your house is liveable," Rondeau said.

Mike Moore, president of the Manitoba Home Builders Association, said the legislation puts all builders on equal footing, as builders who don't offer warranties can't undercut those who do on home prices.

He said last year there were 7,500 home starts in the province, with 85 per cent of them built by MHBA members who offer a warranty on their work. He said that means about 15 per cent of homes built in the province do not have a warranty.

"That 15 per cent who weren't providing warranty coverage could under-price their homes accordingly and the consumer wouldn't know any differently," said Moore.

He said only B.C. and Ontario have similar legislation. Under Manitoba's legislation, a violation of the act could result in a maximum fine of $300,000 and/or a three-year prison term.

Gloria Desorcy of the Manitoba branch of the Consumers Association of Canada welcomed the program. She said it will protect new-home buyers, give them more information in researching the purchase of a new home and give them the right for redress should they encounter a problem.

Required coverage under

home-warranty program

The minimum required coverage under the province's proposed new-home warranty program:

12 months for material, labour and design.

15 months for common area of condominiums and common areas of other buildings with two or more dwelling units under one ownership.

two years for:

-- violations of the Manitoba Building Code that constitute a threat to health or safety or are likely to cause material damage to the home.

-- defects that make the home unliveable.

defects in the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

defects in the building envelope, including water penetration.

defects in the exterior cladding, caulking, windows and doors that may lead to detachment. Seven years for structural components.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 23, 2012 B2

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