How to Make Your Home Accessible

(NC) If you or a family member have a disability, you want your home to be a comfortable place that’s easy to get around and use every day. Fortunately, more builders are offering accessibility features in new builds in response to customer demands.

Features like a roll-in shower, bathroom grab bars or lowered countertops are all things you can ask your builder to include. But this presents a new question for buyers— are these elements also covered under their new home warranty?

When a builder includes accessibility features and installs these without your help, they are likely to be covered under your one-year warranty for issues related to “workmanship and materials” and/or substitutions warranties.

With a condominium, you might not only have accessibility features in your unit but also as part of the shared common elements. Good examples are automatic doors or ramps for entering the building. Since 2015, the Ontario Building Code has required all new multi-unit residential buildings to include accessible and barrier-free features in many of these areas.

If an issue does arise with one of your common elements’ accessibility features, you’re likely protected by the Code as well as your new home warranty. The problem may be warranted for up to one year (if it is related to work and materials or substitutions) or two (if it comprises a violation of the Ontario Building Code affecting health and safety).

Keep in mind that the warranty covering common elements is separate from the one covering your own home. Your condominium corporation is responsible for managing the common elements warranty and reporting any defects, so if you spot any problems start by contacting them.

If you encounter an issue with, for example, your new home’s roll-in shower that was installed by the builder, many builders will go out of their way to help you get this resolved. Start by contacting their representative and see what they can do.

If the builder does not fix the problem, you can contact Tarion. They can help you confirm whether that item may be covered and, if necessary, walk you through the process of making your claim.


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