Buying a newly constructed home can be very exciting. You get the flexibility of choosing your location, finishes, and enjoy that feeling of being the first to live in the property. In some cases, the excitement can dwindle when the new home you expected to be ready a few months ago is nowhere near finished. Navigating New Home Delays can be confusing and frustrating as a new home delay can easily impact individuals and families who ultimately want certainty and a place to call home.
One of the most frustrating obstacles that many Canadian home buyers face is the delay in the completion of their new homes. Whether due to unforeseen circumstances, supply chain disruptions, or construction issues, new home delays can be a source of stress and uncertainty. In this guide, we'll explore the common reasons behind new home delays in Canada and offer practical advice on how homebuyers can navigate and cope with these challenges.
Understanding New Home Delays
Building a new home involves many steps, resources, and yes, some luck when it comes to suitable weather. Here are the top causes of new home delays:
Supply Chain Disruptions
Canada, like many other countries, has experienced supply chain disruptions, impacting the availability of construction materials. Delays in the delivery of materials can cause a domino effect, slowing down the entire construction process.
Canadian weather, especially in certain regions, can be unpredictable and harsh. Extreme temperatures, heavy snowfall, or rainy seasons can impede construction progress, leading to delays.
The construction industry in Canada has, at times, faced labor shortages. A lack of skilled workers can contribute to delays in completing projects, as builders strive to maintain quality while working with limited resources.
Regulatory Approvals and Permits
Sometimes, despite best intentions, obtaining necessary approvals and permits from local authorities gets delayed. It is a critical step in the construction process. Without permits, a property cannot be constructed and there can be dozens of different permits for your developer to navigate through. Delays in bureaucratic processes can extend the timeline for completing a new home.
Unforeseen Site Conditions
Once construction is underway, unforeseen challenges may arise. These could include encountering unexpected geological conditions, like unstable soil, which may require additional time and resources to address.
My new home has been delayed. How do I navigate this?
Open Communication with the Builder
Establishing open communication with your builder is paramount. Discuss the construction timeline, inquire about potential challenges, and seek regular updates on the progress of your home. A transparent relationship with the builder can help manage expectations and provide insights into any hurdles they may be facing.
Review the Contract Thoroughly
Before signing any home purchase contracts, carefully review the terms related to the construction timeline. Builders typically include clauses addressing potential delays and the actions they will take to remedy the situation. Understanding these provisions will empower you to make informed decisions if delays occur. In some provinces, various consumer protection acts and home warranty programs are designed to protect the homebuyer from extended delays.
Get Legal Advice
Your Real Estate Lawyer can be instrumental in helping you analyze your contract and advocate for your rights should there be unreasonable delays. Your Real Estate Lawyer can act as the conduit between you and your builder and leverage their expertise to ensure you are protected.
Explore Legal Protections
Familiarize yourself with the legal protections available to homebuyers in your province Below are the programs available in most Canadian provinces. These programs would be your first stop in exploring what protections and remedies exist for you as the homebuyer.
The level of protection for homebuyers from construction delays can vary across Canadian provinces. It's important to note that the information provided here is a general overview, and specific details may change over time. Always consult with legal professionals or relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, here are some programs and regulations in place in certain Canadian provinces:
Tarion Warranty Corporation: Tarion is a private corporation responsible for administering the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. It provides warranty coverage for new homes and is designed to protect homebuyers against delays, defects, and other issues. The warranty includes coverage for delays in closing.
Homeowner Protection Office (HPO):The HPO oversees the BC New Home Warranty Insurance program. This program provides mandatory third-party home warranty insurance for new homes built by licensed residential builders. It includes coverage for defects in materials and labour and provides deposit protection.
New Home Buyer Protection Act: Alberta has legislation in place to protect new homebuyers. The Act requires builders to provide warranty coverage for new homes, including delays in possession. The warranty is provided by the builder or through third-party warranty providers.
Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ): The RBQ oversees the home warranty program in Quebec. Builders are required to provide a guarantee covering construction defects and delays. The guarantee period varies based on the type of construction.
New Home Warranty Program: Manitoba's New Home Warranty Program provides coverage for new homes, including delays in possession. The warranty is required for all new homes built by registered builders and is administered by the Manitoba Home Builders' Association.
New Home Warranty Program: Saskatchewan has a New Home Warranty Program that provides coverage for delays in possession. Builders are required to provide warranty coverage for new homes, and the program is administered by the New Home Warranty Program of Saskatchewan Inc.
Nova Scotia Builders' Registration Act: This legislation requires builders to be registered and provides a framework for mandatory warranties on new homes. Warranties include coverage for delays in possession.
New Home Warranty Program: In New Brunswick, new homes must have warranty coverage provided by builders. The New Home Warranty Program covers defects and delays in possession.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Residential Construction Warranty Program: This program provides coverage for new homes in Newfoundland and Labrador. It includes protection against defects and delays in possession.
It's essential for homebuyers to thoroughly research the specific regulations and warranty programs in their province, as they can vary in terms of coverage, duration, and the entities responsible for enforcement. Additionally, regulations and programs may evolve, so it's advisable to consult with legal professionals or relevant authorities for the most current information.
Have a Contingency Plan
Recognize that delays may occur despite careful planning. Develop a contingency plan that includes temporary living arrangements, storage solutions for your belongings, and financial provisions for unexpected expenses. Being prepared for potential disruptions can alleviate stress during the construction process.
The Bottom Line
Dealing with new home delays in Canada requires a combination of proactive measures, patience, and flexibility. By understanding the common causes of delays, maintaining open communication with builders, and being prepared for potential disruptions, homebuyers can navigate the challenges of the construction process more effectively. Additionally, staying informed about legal protections and industry trends empowers homebuyers to make informed decisions and advocate for their rights when necessary. While delays can be frustrating, approaching the situation with resilience and a well-thought-out plan will ultimately lead to a smoother transition into your dream home.