Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Hey Dalton! Want a Fight You Can Win?

Dear Dalton McGuinty,

Kudos to you for taking on some tough battles lately. Change is never easy, and there is no such thing as a change that doesn't negatively affect somebody. Greater good and all that.

I'm reserving judgment on the Sex Education reforms, I'm waiting to see what you come back with. If they are seriously watered down, then I will have a problem with that.

Anyway, to the main point of this letter.

There is a battle you can win, that will endear you to many average Ontarians. Take on the Ontario home builders and the Ontario New Home Warranty program. There are some serious issues with both.

I don't know the last time you purchased a new home, but I can summarize the problem with the program with one statement. All new homes in Ontario come with a 1 year warranty.

Does that not seem ridiculous? I can buy a $10,000 car with an expected life-span of 10 years and get a 3 year warranty, but if I purchase a $250,000 home that should last 100 years, I only get a one year warranty!!!

Also, the minimum codes in many of our building standards need to be reviewed and strengthened. Just review some back episodes of Holmes on Homes for some ideas on this front....

Builders will complain that these changes will cause the cost of new homes to go up. That is true. But the counterpoint they miss or ignore is that the home owners have to pay higher costs much later to fix these problems due to the warranty program expiring, or the codes not being strong enough. I myself have had to invest 10s of thousands in my 10 year old home fixing the builder's screw-ups. If they had done it right the first time, that cost would have been much less. And from what I have observed, what I have had to spend after the fact is low compared to many other home owners that are out of pocket 100s of thousands fixing their new homes.

That ain't right. Time to make home builders accountable and have them take responsibility for their shoddy work.

Bonus is, it's a guaranteed vote getter. Think about it.



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