Strength­en­ing con­sumer pro­tec­tion prop­erly

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Mike Moore

THE prov­ince re­cently an­nounced it is in­tro­duc­ing changes that will ben­e­fit con­sumers. Gord Mack­in­tosh, min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for con­sumer and cor­po­rate af­fairs, said the govern­ment is com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing con­sumer pro­tec­tion in 42 dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

Pro­posed changes in­clude a va­ri­ety of items of in­ter­est to cur­rent and po­ten­tial home buy­ers and those want­ing to up­grade their ex­ist­ing home. For ex­am­ple, leg­is­la­tion will be in­tro­duced to pro­tect against real es­tate fraud oc­cur­ring when prop­er­ties are sold with­out proper au­tho­riza­tion. The govern­ment will also pro­vide as­sur­ances for home buy­ers re­gard­ing the con­di­tion of their in­tended home pur­chase. This may come in the form of in­spec­tions, al­though Man­i­toba does not cur­rently li­cense home in­spec­tors, so this may be dif­fi­cult to qual­ify. The pro­vi­sion of a state­ment of cur­rent prop­erty con­di­tion may be the first step in this dis­cus­sion.

The Man­i­toba Home Builders’ As- so­ci­a­tion and the prov­ince have been en­gag­ing in dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing new home war­ranties. The MHBA has long been in favour of manda­tory war­ranties for new homes. The MHBA will not even ac­cept mem­bers who have not of­fered third party war­ranties for at least two years.

The la­bo­ri­ous part of these dis­cus­sions has been the de­ter­mi­na­tion of what should and shouldn’t be part of the manda­tory new home war­ranty. Af­ter all, for ev­ery item in­cluded the cost to the con­sumer in­creases and nei­ther the prov­ince nor the MHBA want to make hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity more dif­fi­cult.

It will be im­por­tant to find the right bal­ance of nec­es­sary pro­tec­tion for the con­sumer with­out bur­den­ing them with un­nec­es­sary ex­penses for cov­er­age they don’t re­quire.

The pro­posed new leg­is­la­tion also aims to en­sure that con­sumers are dealt with fairly in home ren­o­va­tions. The ini­tial in­tent is to de­velop leg­is­la­tion re­gard­ing con­tracts, es­ti­mates and fi­nal costs. Again, the MHBA is fully sup­port­ive of leg­is­la­tion that will force all per­sons do­ing ren­o­va­tions for con­sumers to ad­here to the high stan­dards set by the RenoMark ren­o­va­tor mem­bers of the MHBA.

The prov­ince and the con­sumer af­fairs branch have pro­posed some very am­bi­tious goals for the fu­ture. How­ever, by work­ing closely with in­dus­try to en­sure a win/win sce­nario for busi­ness and con­sumers, the odds of suc­cess are greatly en­hanced.

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