If you have ever purchased a new condominium or are about to embark on this journey, it is mandatory to conduct a 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.
The PDI is typically conducted a short time in advance of you taking occupancy. More than likely, it will be the first time you have entered your new home. 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.
Have all of your purchase documents with you, and take your time.
The objective 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. It will be harder for any purchaser to argue about these problems after possession. It is important to show that deficiencies pre-date occupancy and are the builder’s responsibility.
With so much happening, take your time. Don’t allow the process to get away from you. Ensure to have everything recorded, no matter how small it may seem. A good tip is to bring your camera or take pictures with your phone, which are date & time stamped.
Failing to report an issue during a PDI is not fatal, as it is not a claim under the New Home Warranty Program. 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.
The importance of diligently documenting everything during this PDI protects you against claims that you caused the chips in the hardwood floor when moving the furniture in the unit, for example.
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.
The condominium’s Property Management company, working with the Corporation’s Board, should always 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, otherwise known as the Performance Audit. A common practice, initiated by the Engineering firm selected by the Board of Directors, is to send out Questionnaires that each owner should complete, summarizing deficiencies noticed.
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 (http://www.tarion.com/New-Home-Builders/Pre-Delivery-Inspection/Pages/default.aspx).