If you're looking for a new home but don’t want to worry about renovations or immediate repairs, you might want to consider purchasing a brand new home - complete with a comprehensive warranty from the Alberta New Home Warranty Program (ANHWP).
The ANHWP provides warranty coverage mandated under the New Home Buyer Protection Act (NHBPA) for homebuyers when purchasing new construction homes. Under the act, every builder must include warranty on every home they build. This warranty is then registered in a public registry for homeowners to track online.
At its core, the ANHBPA requires home builders to buy specific warranties covering different components of the home. Typically, these cover the first, second, fifth and tenth years of homeownership.
The Alberta New Home Warranty Program
Since 1974, the ANWHP has been providing home warranties for residential homes and is currently Alberta’s largest home warranty provider. As a non-profit program, the ANHWP works with over 700 homebuilders and remodelling companies. It ensures they comply with applicable regulations and provide quality service to homeowners.
Each homebuilder registered with the ANHWP must maintain current certifications and meet exacting standards. They must take part in the program to ensure your home is free from defects right from the start. Should you have any problems with your home, the ANHWP has an easy claim process to get covered problems fixed fast.
New home builders are often responsible for certain repairs during the first year of home occupancy. For instance, NuVista Homes provides homeowners with three warranty service appointments. These occur at the two-month, five-month and twelve-month marks of occupancy.
The ANHWP also provides warranties during the first, second, fifth and tenth years of home ownership. The warranty coverage generally runs from the date the new home is occupied, or the date of the transfer of title effective in the public records. The day the warranty starts is called the warranty commencement date.
Home warranties are assurances that your home will be free from abnormal defects. This means that you, as the homeowner, are protected from a variety of issues that could arise over a set period of time. Your warranty provider will repair or replace the defect that occurs within the allotted timeframe.
A defect is any design, construction or material used in a new home that:
- Contravenes the building code
- Requires repair or replacement due to the negligence of the home builder
- Constitutes an unreasonable health or safety risk
- Has resulted in material damage to the new home.
The warranties covering defects last for varying amounts of time, from one, two, five and ten-year plans. These cover specifically:
One-year - Labour & Materials
During the first year, your home is covered against any defects in the materials used in the house, or how the house was constructed. This covers things like flooring, fixtures and baseboards.
Two-Year - Distribution Systems
This will cover any defects with materials or labour related to your home's distribution systems - that is, anything related to the home's heating, plumbing and electrical systems.
Five-Year - Building Envelope
For the first five years of the home’s life, your builder must provide coverage against any defects in the homes ‘building envelope.’ The building envelope is the system of components that separate the controlled interior air from the exterior. This includes wall framing, roofing, windows and insulation (think of it as your house's shell).
A defect in the building envelope results from its failure to perform its intended function, such as a roof that leaks. As well as this five-year warranty, the ANHWP also offers homeowners the opportunity to buy a two-year extension at a low cost.
Ten-Year - Structural Integrity
The key structural components of a new home are covered for ten years from the date of the warranty commencement. This warranty covers defects in material and labour. These could result in the failure of a load-bearing part of a home or cause structural damage. This also impacts an owners’ ability to safely use the home.
These are generally the most expensive types of home repairs that have the most impact on a home's safety.
The Extent of the Coverage
Your home type will determine the maximum amount of funds a home warranty provider will issue in the event of a covered defect. The maximum allowed claim for a single-family home is the purchase price of the home up to $265,000.
The maximum allowed claim for a multi-family residential unit under a condominium plan is the purchase price of the unit up to $130,000. If your home becomes uninhabitable because of the defect or repairs, you're entitled to a per diem allowance for living expenses. This is $150 per day, capped at a total claim of $15,000.
For more information about the coverage and protections provided by the 1-2-5-10 year warranty, see the Construction Performance Guide for New Home Warranty in Alberta.
Quality and Protection Guaranteed
The government demands that home warranties extend beyond cosmetic and material components. Choosing a builder that is a member of the ANHWP will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your home for years to come.
*Originally posted Aug 11, 2016, updated Oct 4, 2018.
Photo credits: house model, flooring, window install