When buying a new home, warranty may not be on the fore front of decisions, but the Alberta government introduced new warranty standards for new home buyers on Feb. 1.

Builders will now have to provide mandatory home warranty coverage for all new homes built in Alberta under the New Home Buyer Protection Act.

“Starting in February, we’re rolling out the strongest consumer protection in Canada for new home buyers,” said Ken Hughes, minister of municipal affairs. “This legislation will help protect the single largest purchase that most people make – a home.”

Heather Kaszuba, communications for municipal affairs, explained that the Alberta government wants to provide improved consumer protection for Albertans, and the goal is to raise the quality of construction so homebuyers never have to use their warranty.

“Although about 80 per cent of new homes in Alberta already have warranty coverage, the new warranty standards provide far more extensive coverage,” said Kaszuba. “The current industry standard warranty provides one year warranty coverage on most defects and five year structural coverage.”

The New Home Buyer Protection Act ensures homes have minimum warranty coverage of: one year on labour and materials, two years on delivery and distribution systems, five years on building envelope protection and 10 years on key structural components.

“It is expected that new home warranty will add about $2,500 to the cost of an average home – less than one per cent of the cost of an average house, and less than the cost of many of the upgrades often made to a home during construction,” said Kaszuba.

The builder will be providing the warranty coverage, but homeowners also have the option of purchasing additional warranty coverage.

“The government will enforce penalties against builders, warranty providers and others not complying with the act – up to $100,000 for first offences and up to $500,000 for subsequent offences,” said Kaszuba.

The other portion the government of Alberta is responsible for is tracking warranties on new homes. An online public registry is available for Albertans to track dates of their warranties by typing in the address of their home. People looking to purchase a home will be able to find out if there is warranty on the home they are looking at and how much warranty is left. To access the public registry visit homewarranty.alberta.ca