Is Your House Under Warranty?

Is Your House Under 10 Years Old?

BC Housing Warranty Requirements

Every house in British Columbia less than 10 years old must have a home warranty on it. The warranty is sometimes referred to as the 2-5-10 year warranty. That is, it is to be free of defects as follows:

  • 2 years on labour, material and systems
  • 5 years on the building envelope
  • 10 years on the structural elements

This is the cost of doing business in British Columbia. The cost of the warranty insurance is included in the purchase price of the house and is a ‘flow through’ cost, meaning that it is passed on to the buyer . 

Residential Contractor Warranty Obligations

When the licensed residential contractor starts construction, they have to purchase the warranty coverage. It is the law. The warranty typically goes into effect once the Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the District or Municipality. This certificate is issued when all the permits and inspections throughout the construction phase have been completed.

Owner-Builder Warranty Obligations

In case of the owner being also the builder, designated as the owner-builder, there are special provisions that must be complied with in this case. These are the requirements:

  • The owner-builder must occupy and live in the residence for at least 1 year before it can be sold.
  • The owner-builder must notify BC Housing of their occupancy date.
  • Within the first 10 years of occupancy, the owner-builder must give the buyer a BC Housing Owner Builder Disclosure Notice. This notice must be provided before any purchase and sales agreement.
  • Within the first 10 years of occupancy, the owner-builder is liable for house defects the same as those that are covered under warranty by a licensed contractor. 
  • If there are defects, it is the buyer’s responsibility to contact the owner-builder to correct the issues. 
10 Years or Newer Homes Have Warranty! 
The most important take-away lesson from this post is that if the house is less than 10 years old, the buyer does have a warranty. Regardless of who built the house, a licensed contractor or an owner-builder, the provisions of British Columbia’s 2-5-10 year warranty program will apply. 

Who To Contact

With a contractor, the buyer will be dealing with the insurance company for their claims. With a owner-builder, the buyer will be dealing directly with the individual who built the house, to resolve any claims.    


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