House inspection well overdue

It’s been a string of sleepless nights for a young family in Courtland, Ontario — near Delhi. That’s because the county of Norfolk finally got around to have a look at the home, built nearly three decades ago — a bureaucratic delay that could potentially leave Paul and Andrea Crowder homeless in the next 90 days.

Paul Crowder thought he was on a firm foundation when he bought this family home. But then, the roof caved in: “When they come, they’ll open up some of my walls, — look at my electrical, look at my plumbing.”

Norfolk County is going to probe every nook and cranny of Paul’s house, and his outdoor shed as well — because neither, have ever been given a final inspection — due to a huge building inspection back-log involving thousands of homes.

Paul Crowder: “The house is 27-years old.”

Paul bought it three years ago from the original owner — who was also the builder — Both his lawyer and his real estate agent cleared the home for purchase: “That’s why it came as such a shock. You think when you buy a house all these things are searched and looked at properly.”

Apparently not. And after engineers come to look at the house on Friday, Paul has 90 days to comply with all work orders issued for the property.

Paul: “Hopefully the engineer’s gonna look at my home and say hopefully, it’s stood this long, and I believe it will stand for another 50 -60 years.”

But Paul admits that in this case — the skies the limit. They could tell him to rebuild the floating staircase, which has no lintel post, to support it. They could order him to replace the main support beam for the house.

Paul: “There’s big gaps here, and they even cut around in places to go around the cement there.”

They could even tell him to tear the whole thing down, and start again.

One of the reasons Paul and Andrea agreed to do this story was to warn other people whom may have the same issues, and not even know it. They say; ‘ how do you know where to begin?’ ‘ What questions do you ask? ‘ Well, that’s where Dave van der Woerd comes in.

David Van der Woerd is with Ross & McBride: “You’re buying a new home you’re getting a warranty with it through the Tarion program — but a used home? It’s buyer beware.”

Van Der Woerd recommends paying the extra cost, for a certified home inspection, and title insurance if you’re buying a re-sale home. Although there is some legal protection, against devious vendors: “Basically, if they’re hiding things or they’re misrepresenting the state of the property, they’re in trouble.”

But at this point, all that Paul and Andrea can do, is cross their fingers, and hope for the best:

Paul Crowder: “I believe in the end that everything is going to work out in the end but I’m just concerned about the path we’re going to have to go through, to get there.”

Now if there is a silver lining to any of this — it’s that Paul and Andrea’s real estate agent talked them into buying title insurance, at the time of purchase. The few extra dollars they spent then — will likely save them several thousand dollars now. As the insurance company will pick up the tab for the necessary repairs — and go after those responsible — in court.


Commenting Guidelines

  • Comments are open for 2 days only after publication of article
  • All comments subject to approval
    • Comments must be constructive and a minimum of 5 words
    • Please do not submit multiple identical comments
    • Personal attacks will not be posted
    • We reserve the right to edit submissions for spelling, grammar, and language
  • CH-CHing! points will be awarded upon submission, however comments will not appear live until they have been approved
  • During the approval process, we reserve the right to withdraw CH-CHing! points awarded to you for comments that do not meet the above guidelines


Tom says:

I did not know title insurance covered this kind of thing.

Cait says:

Not necessarily true. I have both a home inspection – two of them, and title insurance, I did my due diliegence and I’m still hung to deal with it on my own. My repair costs exceed the value of my house. //Www.kathydwyer.com. I have a blog I’m building to document what I’m dealing with. This isn’t as original as you might believe.

CHCH Fan says:

WOW!! Who would ever think that a house could be lived in for decades and not have passed a building inspection. Glad the couple at least have a recourse to save them the costs. Hope it works out for them!

Ray says:

Were property taxes paid for the past 27 years on a property that had not been inspected and given an occupancy permit? More is wrong here than meets the eye!

barbis9 says:

I paid for a house inspection and still significant problems were missed. I was told the house never had an water damage – yet after I moved in I noticed mould underneath carpeting from a long standing foundation leak (according to neighbours). I was told the roof was new when in fact they put new wood on top of old wood and the roof became mouldy and warped and need to be replaced 5 years later. Also be very suspicious of the whole house has been repainted. I have written to the Ontario government that we need to have registered professional home inspectors who really are properly trained – as that could have spared me significant money that I have had to spend to fix problems that were purposely hidden by the homeowners. I am afraid to move now as I don’t know what problems another house may have.

Julie says:

How stupid can the county be! Are they getting paid for work not done over the years. If my work piled up like that I would get fired! I could understand a slight delay but 3 decades to do a house inspection that would have taken the county next to no time to do, crazy. Are these people getting paid a pay check. to put off their work until another day. I bet they are not getting minimum wage either.

ampmgee says:

How did this even happen.. 27 years later wow

Rob says:

I think the original owner should be held responsible since he was the builder and should have declared this situation at the time of selling the home

Elizabeth says:

This should not be this couples problem. The original owner is responsible for this mess, didn’t be build the house too?
Something wrong here.

whome says:

the real estate companies should have to get a certified home inspection. The real estate companies should then have to make good on any items that are not up to standard. They get enough commission money to be liable for the homes they sell.
Some agents try and sell houses and lie about what is with and in the home. like 100 amp electrical and on and on.

Alrek says:

What is unclear from the story is if there was ever a building permit and staged inspections performed. If the builder called for the various required inspections and the town performed them, then those stages were found to comply and pass. If the whole house was built and did not have any stage inspections, then the township was remiss and should have issued a stop work order early on. The last inspection to close the permit happens when everything is finished and can take some time. If no “occupancy permit” was issued, (second last inspection) then the builder and town were remiss in their duties.

There are lots of houses in many communities across Ontario that have never had the final inspection performed and these items often turn up years and decades later. The municipalities have to step up and say, hey, its been a year (or two) and you still have not closed the permit instead of “forgetting” about these properties.

E-Rock says:

It’s interesting how the town never performed a final inspection on the house yet the never failed to collect property taxes for 27 years. If this house is deemed to be unfit and doesn’t pass a final inspection, wouldn’t the current owner be able to sue the town for all the property taxes that have been pain plus interest? It seems fair to me….maybe then these overpaid incompetent people would get it right!

Tarlaymoon says:

Rule of thumb when making such an investment one should always have the hous inspected by a licensed inspector.

Pianogramma says:

I wish them luck with the Inspection and hope everything will be OK. Good job they took out insurance. They may need it.

Pianogramma says:

I believe the builder should be held accountable for his mess.

Karen says:

27 years later, oh my, insurance these days!