Strata Alert: Top Ten 2-5-10 Home Warranty Mistakes

John G. Mendes
P:  604-685-1255



Top Ten 2-5-10 Home Warranty Mistakes


All condominiums have “2-5-10” warranty insurance that covers defects for 15 months, 24 months, 5 years and 10 years. The following is a “top 10” list of how warranty claims can go wrong, based on 20+ years of advising strata corporations and homeowners:



#10.    Being slow off the mark. Home warranties have 15 and 24 month deadlines for reporting some defects. At this early stage, some problems (a wet ceiling, window condensation, etc.) may seem too small to justify a warranty claim. Sometimes, however, these are early warning signs of a significant problem that should be reported to the warranty provider and builder immediately.

#9.     Failing to retain a qualified consultant to prepare a warranty report. A consultant can uncover problems that may not be apparent to most owners. A warranty report is one of the best investments that a strata corporation can make.

#8.     Retaining the developer’s consultant to prepare warranty reports. Some owners believe that the best person to inspect their condominium is the developer’s engineer, who has inside knowledge about its construction. The engineer may, however, feel conflicted about pointing out problems in areas of the building that were their responsibility.  A fresh set of eyes avoids this problem.

#7.     Retaining a consultant too late.  Warranty reporting is a specialized field, and the consultants who understand it are busy. Reports can take months to prepare and sometimes advise that it is not possible to determine if a defect exists without further investigation. To avoid running out of time, strata corporations should line up a qualified consultant at least six months before warranty deadlines.

#6.     Repairing defects too early. Unless a problem requires immediate action (i.e., a burst pipe), owners should give warranty providers a reasonable opportunity to investigate, evaluate and repair defects. Owners who repair before giving their warranty provider this opportunity run the risk of having their claim denied.

#5.     Keeping owners in the dark. Strata councils sometimes neglect to report to owners during the claims process. This can lead to suspicion and anger when owners discover that a claim has been denied and costly repairs are required. To avoid conflict, let owners know what’s going on through council minutes and at general meetings.

#4.     Letting the builder drive the process. Warranty providers often leave it to the builder to respond to claims. Builders, in turn, often delegate this work to their trades.  This means that warranty repairs are often left to contractors interested in minimizing problems in their work who are busy on other projects. Make sure the warranty provider remains front and center throughout the claims process.

#3.     Putting up with unreasonable delay. The authority governing warranty providers issued a 2016 Advisory Letter stating that if a builder cannot complete repairs within a reasonable time, generally 30 days after a request from the warranty provider, another contractor should be hired to complete the work. Despite this directive, significant delays continue to occur. Strata councils should set reasonable time frames for warranty providers to investigate defects, evaluate coverage and complete repairs.

#2.     Neglecting legal deadlines. Many owners are unaware of the deadlines for enforcing their legal remedies. These include a two-year deadline for suing warranty providers, builders and other responsible parties. The date on which this deadline expires is often uncertain. The safe course of action is therefore to seek early legal advice on the strata’s options.

And the number one mistake owners make is …

#1.     Taking no for an answer.  Many owners give up once a claim is denied. Surely warranty providers, who handle claims daily, have a good understanding of what’s covered by their warranties?

Not necessarily. On June 16, 2022, the BC Financial Services Authority reported on an earlier examination which found that the claims handling practices of some warranty providers might reasonably be expected to harm owners’ interests through a lack of timely and complete responses to claims. While the Authority noted that warranty providers had made some improvements, concerns about claims handling remained. Legal advice can help owners address these concerns.

Contact John Mendes at for a free copy of our Guide to 2-5-20 Warranties.


THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE:  This article provides general information and should not be relied upon without independent legal advice with respect to the specific facts of your case.