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Realty 61

Ontario’s Tarion home warranty program to be reviewed

Complaints about Ontario’s home warranty program would be investigated by the provincial ombudsman under a proposed private member’s bill being introduced shortly. “We need consumer protection for people who buy a new home or who buy a new condo,” said Cheri DiNovo, the New Democrat MPP for the Toronto riding of Parkdale-High Park, who is proposing the new legislation. “I’m not seeing that.” Tarion Warranty Corp. is supposed to protect homeowners against defects in work and materials for up to two years and against major structural defects for up to seven years, covering up to $300,000. It is governed by the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, which it has been assigned to administer. However, some homeowners, like Aline and Claude Martel, have complained that Tarion refused to cover problems with their new homes. The Martels said their new house in Ottawa’s Kanata North district turned into a nightmare of defects that the builder wouldn’t fix and Tarion wouldn’t recognize. “There was 19 fractures in my foundation,” Claude

Martel recalled. “The soil was unstable, the house was cracking….[But] nothing was ever serious enough for consideration.” DiNovo thinks the problem is that Tarion operates independently of government. It is a private corporation financed by builder registration, renewal and home enrolment fees.

Her bill aims to change that, putting Tarion under the scrutiny of Ontario’s ombudsman, an arm’s-length officer of the provincial government whose job is to investigate public complaints about government services.

Claude Martel said he hopes it will prevent others

from going through the pain suffered by him and his wife.

“It was hell having to fight the city and having to fight the builder and having to fight supposedly the warranty protection group, which was not there for us.”

Legislation concerning the Ontario New Home

Warranties act was previously amended in 2005 to deal with previous service issues. Visit Tarion at

Century 21 Canada launches mobile web platform

Century 21 Canada has launched a mobile web platform for users of popular hand-held devices and smart phones, including Blackberry, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Google Android phones. Additional devices will be added as development continues, the company says.

The mobile website offers mobile-device-optimized

property search, real estate agent/office search and agent pages; proximity search, enabling users to find homes and offices near their current locations; functionality for consumers to view and save favourites; the ability to add properties and notes on the go; full integration with the website and more.

iPhones users currently account for the majority of visits to from mobile devices, with iPods and Blackberry users coming in second and third, respectively. “Most of the approximately 900,000 monthly visits to still come from home computers,” says Century 21 Canada president Don Lawby. “But mobile search optimization is the future of online real estate marketing, in my opinion.” Alex Blyakhman, president and chief product officer of, which developed the platform, says, “Many smart phones today have search functionality equivalent to home computers. Their technology lets potential home buyers tour neighbourhoods, view properties, download pictures or videos and then share their favourites with friends anywhere in the world. As a marketer, your website had better provide a positive and problem-free experience for these users or they’ll go somewhere else.”

All CENTURY 21 real estate professionals in Canada can now market listings and property features using the mobile website. The site is currently available in English, with French and Chinese platforms due for release in the summer of 2010. Visit Century 21 at

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