Winnipeg couple ordered to pay more than $100,000 in repairs to get their home up to code
Karen Rocznik, CTV Winnipeg
Published Monday, February 23, 2015 4:57PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 24, 2015 10:47AM CST
It was supposed to be a move-in ready dream home for newlyweds Tim and Brittany Gietz.
But it turned out to be anything but that.
It all started last spring when their pipes froze.
But after calling a plumber to fix them, they found out that frozen pipes were the least of their worries.
“All the electrical throughout the entire house wasn’t done properly - not just the pipes in the basement,” said Brittany Gietz.
A City of Winnipeg inspector also discovered repairs by the previous owner to the basement floor, staircase and outside veranda were not up to code.
"The more we got things looked at - nothing was up to code,” said Brittany Gietz.
The city ordered the repairs within 14 days. Luckily, the couple’s title insurance kicked in, covering the bill of more than $100,000.
Sadiq Husain, a director from First Canadian Title, said cases such as the Gietz are not that common. But if a homeowner discovers that there are infractions within or outside the home after buying it, title insurance will likely cover the work.
"If a municipality forces a remedy or fix, then there's coverage. If there is an encroachment issue you are unaware of, then there's coverage and the final one if there's fraud or forgery then there's coverage as well," said Husain.
Most policies cost between $200 and $250, depending on the cost of your home. According to FCT, about 60 to 70 per cent of homes in Manitoba are covered with title insurance.
Still, land surveyor Peter Isaac says in the past, people would pay for a building location certificate, identifying any additions made to the house or whether the property was encroaching on a neighbour's lot.
But, with title insurance, he said those requests have dried up.
“It’s due diligence, I think,” said Isaac. “Before you spend money on the largest purchase of your life, you’d want to know what you’re buying, I would think. You wouldn’t want to insure against it, you’d want to know.”
But according to lawyer James Fielder, a land survey and zoning memorandum only goes so far.
"The zoning memorandum says yes, this house complies with front yard and back yards and side yards, but it doesn't tell you anything about the structure of the house itself."
Fielder said it’s also difficult for prospective buyers to pull permits on a home they don’t own.
After three months of repairs and headaches, Tim and Brittany Gietz have their dream home.
They wish there was a system where they could have discovered the problems before buying, even if it meant walking away from the deal.
“I would have paid more money to find out there were problems with the house, so to (not) have to have gone through this again," said Tim Gietz.
The Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors in Manitoba said that while home inspectors can discover defects within the home, inspectors are not experts in bylaw or building code violations outlined by a specific municipality.
Note: Sadiq Husain is a director at First Canada Title, not First Canada Trust, as was shown in the newscast story