When you purchase a pre-construction condominium, you expect your home will look just like the sales brochure promised. Unfortunately, some owners end up moving into buildings that are still under construction and into units that are missing their carefully chosen finishes or lacking features needed to make them comfortable.
Owners who find themselves in these situations are understandably frustrated and disappointed – and they want to know how this can happen.
It’s important to understand that when it comes to determining when a condo is ready for occupancy, that responsibility lies with the municipality.
Municipal building departments are responsible for enforcing the Ontario Building Code and certifying that condo units meet the legal standards for occupancy. Although municipalities enforce these standards, they are set by the provincial government.
Municipal building officials also conduct inspections at various points during construction, primarily focusing on major components of the unit – for example, the plumbing or the heating and air conditioning systems – and the safety features.
The OBC sets the minimum standards for occupancy. If a unit meets those standards, the municipality must grant occupancy. The OBC requires that a home be substantially complete and ready to use for its intended purpose. It also lays out the minimum systems and safety-related features that must be completed before occupancy can take place.
The reality is that a unit that is deemed ready for occupancy isn’t necessarily completely finished. In some cases, finishing in your unit may occur after you move in.
If you have questions about the state of your unit, you should first contact your builder. You can also contact your municipal building department if you believe there may be OBC violations. Be sure to make a record of any incomplete work during your pre-delivery inspection. Once you move in, report any unresolved issues to Tarion on the appropriate warranty form.