Homeowner Protection Act – Rules for Builders

by Del Elgersma

In response to the leaky condo crisis, the B.C. government passed a new law called the Homeowner Protection Act. The Homeowner Protection Act creates the Homeowner Protection Office, and requires compulsory licensing for builders and mandatory warranty coverage on new homes. (In addition, recent regulations under the Act introduced licensing and warranty requirements for building envelope repairs – click here for more information.)

Builder Licensing

All residential builders (including developers and general contractors) must be licensed by the Homeowner Protection Office. Licenses are for one year only and must be renewed annually. The Homeowner Protection Office has the authority to monitor builders and cancel their licenses.

New Home Warranties

To obtain a building permit, builders must provide proof of third-party warranty coverage for the home. The warranty provider must be licensed with the government. Warranties must provide the following minimum coverage:

  • 2 years for materials and labour
  • 5 years for building envelope (including water penetration)
  • 10 years for structural defects

Owner-Built Homes

The Act sets out special rules for owner-built homes. An owner-builder is a person who builds a single, detached home for their own personal use, not more than once in any 18 month period. An owner-builder does not have to be licensed or provide a third-party warranty on their home. Instead, they must file an Owner-Builder Declaration and Disclosure Notice with their building permit application. If an owner-builder sells a home within 10 years of completion, they must give the buyer a copy of the Owner Builder Declaration and Disclosure Notice. The Disclosure Notice alerts buyers to the fact that the home is not protected by a third-party warranty.

If you have any questions about the requirements under the Homeowner Protection Act, please contact us, or visit the Homeowner Protection Office.


I just wanted to extend my thanks for your absolutely first class service. When we were purchasing our home, as you know, we had many obstacles to overcome and actually thought in the last two days that our deal might not go through. It was a very stressful time in our lives and I want you to know that we’ll always appreciate your calm, caring, professional manner and how you made us feel at ease and that it would all work out because we had you representing us.

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Over the past year Lianne Macdonald has provided excellent legal advice to my real estate clients. I am always impressed with the quality of her services, as well as the care shown by Lianne and her staff. Lianne is always available if I have any questions or concerns. Her sound advice and legal counsel has greatly helped me in difficult and unusual situations. Lianne Macdonald is a proactive lawyer, an honest and caring person and a trusted friend. Without hesitation, I would recommend Lianne’s services to others, and will continue to use her service where they pertain.


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Dear Mr. Elgersma, I want to thank you and your team for all your help during my recent sale in Victoria. My lawyer here in Ontario was very impressed by your fee and said it was a very good deal in his experience. Thank you very much.


I recently had the experience of selling my condo. As I am not in the habit of frequently buying and selling my home I find the whole process a bit unnerving. To add to my unfamiliarity with home transactions, I was due to be out of the country on the completion date of my sale. Needless to say this was somewhat worrisome to me.

I hired Del to handle the legal transaction of my sale. What a great decision this turned out to be. Del and I got together a week prior to my trip and completed the necessary paperwork. There are a lot of papers to sign when selling a home and Del took the time to explain each document to me and answered all the questions I had. He then assured me that he had everything he needed in order to handle the transaction in my absence.

Del had explained everything so clearly to me and made me feel so at ease about the process that I felt completely comfortable leaving my legal interests in his hands while I was off vacationing. This made quite an impression on me as I have never felt comfortable leaving my fate in the hands of others, especially the likes of lawyers!

Previously I would have worried about everything going smoothly on the actual day of my home sale but to my delight and surprise on the completion date of this sale I laid in my hammock and drank champagne in the sunshine celebrating with complete confidence that the transaction would be handled just fine. I returned home only to have my suspicions confirmed . . .yes, in my absence, money had been quietly deposited to my account!

Thank you Del for allowing me to let go of the stress and worry around this large, important and infrequent type of event in my life.