Brampton: A dispute between a group of new home owners and the developer has had a somewhat satisfactory outcome at the Brampton City Council where it was taken for resolution. The dispute concerned a number of new homes built in a new subdivision in North West Brampton. One resident, Jotvinder Sodhi, noticing irregularities in certain aspects of construction and mismatch between what they were shown, and what they got, decided to pursue the matter with the builder and the city and the regulatory body TARION.
At a recent council meeting, Brampton City officials have ordered the builder to make changes to the homes as according to the original plans submitted to the City by the builder. Among some of the changes ordered are:
Front Porch design (drawings not followed by builder). City enforced builder to replace front layout of all affected houses.
Reverse grading (unsafe). City ordered to re-inspect whole neighborhood and provide side railing as per bylaws, which were not followed by builder.
Backyard access via Patio door (unsafe). City enforced builder to provide backyard access to all affected residents.
Sodhi is now the President of a newly constituted body called Home Owners Welfare Association (HOWA). “As we started fighting for justice, we realized that this is not a case unique to us, but quite widespread in the GTA. So we decided to form this group. Objective of HOWA is to create awareness of fundamental rights of residents. To Ensure Governing bodies such as Municipalities, Tarion and Ministry of Consumer Affairs and our Elected Representatives (MPs, MPPs & Councillors) are performing their duties diligently,” says Sodhi.
Gurpreet Marwah, Executive General Secretary of HOWA, adds, “The association was formed when issues were noticed by one home owner and contacted the builder/city for fixing them. That was the start of struggle to get justice. Later on, many homeowners who had problems in their houses, joined the association. We now have memberships ranging from Caledon to Brampton West area.”
The group is also campaigning to effect changes in the functioning of Ontario’s watchdog for builders, TARION, that they feel needs to be totally independent. Among their demand is: “The Tarion mandate (protecting Ontario’s new home buyers) is self contradicting as this organization is run by builder majority. Our association demands to dissolve Tarion and instead, form a Government-Public Partnership.”
When asked if the city’s action to address their complaint is satisfactory, Marwah said, “Whatever recommendations city has proposed, affected homeowners are okay with that. The recommendations have been forwarded to the builder by the City’s Planning Department for necessary action to be done as per the approved architectural control. We are waiting for reply on that part. Recommendations with Tarion will be taken up separately. Home Owner Association has been created to create awareness among the new home buyers and protection of their rights. Our association shall be working across the GTA for this purpose.”
Though they are half-satisfied with the outcome, they are a bit disappointed with their elected officials, “We all are honest tax payers who have saved every penny to buy our dream homes. The elected reps were informed of all issues diligently since Jan 2014, but they did not speak up at all for reasons best known to them,” points out Marwah.
You can reach HOWA at firstname.lastname@example.org