No Inspection .

Legal battle pushing Vaughan homeowner into poverty

An ongoing legal battle over missing insulation and resulting mould could force Vaughan homeowner to have house repossessed.

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Cole Burston / Toronto Star Order this photo
Sydney Walters in the backyard of his Vaughan home. Walters’ home is now vacant, and he lives in a rented apartment as the home is now contaminated with mould and inhabitable.
By: Noor Javed News reporter, Published on Wed Aug 19 2015

Every weekend, Sydney Walters spends hours mowing the lawn, and cleaning up the yard of a home he owns but hasn’t lived in for years.
His family fled the semi-detached home in Vaughan four years ago, when mould spread in his home due to the missing insulation in the attic. But he returns to the home every few days, to keep it looking habitable.
“I don’t want it to look unkempt,” said Walters. “It’s a beautiful house from the outside, but inside it is hell.”
The Vaughan resident says it breaks his heart when he sees the neighbours near his home on Hollywood Hill Circle sitting on their decks, enjoying the weather and holding barbecues with their families and friends.

Cole Burston/Toronto Star
Sydney Walters pulls a lawn mower over the grass in his Vaughan home’s yard.
“That should be me. That should be my family,” said Walters. “But instead, we are on the verge of losing everything.”
For Walters, “everything” refers to the home he bought in 2004, in the hopes of giving his family a taste of the suburban dream. But it’s a dream that has become entangled in a web of lawsuits, that Walters says have brought him to the brink of bankruptcy and will soon cost him the only asset he has.
In the meantime, Walters has been living in a cramped one-bedroom basement apartment a street away, with his wife and teenage son — who sleeps on the couch. The burden of paying for and running two households is proving to be just too much.
“I’m still paying my mortgage, and we pay almost a thousand dollars to rent this,” said Walters, pointing at the small apartment around him. “Our monthly insurance fee is so high. It’s just a matter of time before the bank will take possession of the house,” he said.
The Star profiled Walters in 2012, when he was living in a tent in the backyard of his home because of the mould inside. He had just filed a lawsuit against the city of Vaughan, the builder Villa Royale Homes Inc., and Tarion Warranty Corporation — alleging the parties are responsible for the damage to his home as a result of the bare attic and should be responsible for the costs of the cleanup.
In 2013, Walters initiated a new lawsuit against the parties, seeking $2 million in damages to their home and personal injuries. The lawsuit has sparked a handful of others, with the city suing the builder and the builder suing the city, the original homeowners and a subcontractor, who in turn sued the insulation company.
With the agreement of all parties, the claims against Tarion and the insulation company were dropped after recent mediation.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Since then, the case has hit a standstill as nobody can agree on who is at fault. And each party Walters is suing says the other should pay, if a judge rules in his favour. Court mandated mediation failed in June. Walters’s lawyer, Wendy Greenspoon-Soer, says the case is headed to trial early next year.

Cole Burston/Toronto Star
“Our monthly insurance fee is so high. It’s just a matter of time before the bank will take possession of the house,” Walters said.
According to the lawsuit, Walters and his wife Olivia bought the home in 2004 for $320,000 from the original homeowner, who bought the new build in 2002.
As first time buyers, Walters admits he was naïve. Because it was only two years old, he moved in without a home inspection. He dutifully paid heating bills — upwards of $400 a month — even though he noticed the home was “extremely hot during summer months and extremely cold during the winter months, with poor ventilation and ice buildup where the walls meet the roof,” according to the suit.
In the winter, when he turned up the furnace, heat would escape through the top and melt the snow and cause leaks. In the summer, the house was hot, and the mould began to grow and spread because of the moisture.
According to his claim, the family began to have health issues, and specialists and doctors advised Walters and his family to move elsewhere. Even now, he says he enters the home only if he’s wearing protective gear.
Walters complained to the city after a contractor he hired said the attic lacked insulation. During legal examination in 2011, notes from a city of Vaughan building inspector confirmed that “no attic ceiling insulation” was ever installed.
As a result of the investigation, the city of Vaughan sent Walters and Villa Royale an order to complete the insulation in 2011.
In a statement of defence, the city claims any damages should have been rectified by Walters, and that he has “exacerbated their own damages by suing Vaughan rather than fixing the problem.” They also say the damages were caused by the negligence of Villa Royale. Vaughan cites an independent contractor who said the cleanup and repair would cost around $15,000.
In the reply to defence, Walters says his house will need to be completely demolished and rebuilt. He blames the builder for not installing the insulation and the city building inspector for failing to ensure it met the Ontario Building Code.
Neither Villa Royale nor its lawyer responded to a request for comment for this story. Last week, days after the Star started asking questions about the matter, Vaughan’s legal counsel sent Walters a settlement offer “to retain and pay a contractor to complete interior repairs to his home… including the installation of attic insulation.”
Walters said he can’t comment on the offer.
Since 2011, Walters says he has gathered documents that try to find answers to how his house was approved, if insulation was never installed. A city document Walters obtained through an Access to Information request show a city inspector approved the home, including its insulation, a day after the house was sold. Normally, a home must pass city inspection before it is cleared for sale.
The city did not respond to questions about whether any internal investigation was conducted as a result of Walters’ 2011 complaint, as is required by the building inspector’s code of conduct protocol created in 2005.
The city of Vaughan said it could not comment on the matter because it’s before the courts.
“Our family, we are living in poverty. We are not poor. We are hard-working people, but we have no money. We go to bed hungry some nights,” said Walters, his eyes wet with tears. “We have a house, but we are living in these substandard conditions,” he said.
“That is just not right.”

“That is just not right.

Far from over Frank…

Because of multiple offers, so many deals went through without an inspection.

A good portion of Realtors are no longer putting up with it as they are indeed seeing the potential for serious concerns in the future.

Best regards,

“he moved in without a home inspection.” nuff sed!

Apparently, he did not take any steps to mitigate the damage.
That may turn out to haunt him.

Oh well

The builder was likely willing to install the insulation but would not repair the resulting damage. Did this guy not have insurance on the home? I was asked to inspect a home last year because they were seeing frost and mold on the ceiling. The insulation had blown back in a few areas and had created cold spots. The insurance company stepped in and it was repaired.

New homes need inspecting too, Loose kitchen centre section ,Missing attic insulation walk sloped to the home ,No barrier at end of valley gutter full of construction material Ladder left in attic,down spout to close to home . HRV did not work and a few more things .



It sounds more like a ventilation problem to me, i can see in the picture the downspout (his and neighbors) dump next to the foundation then into a 10 foot depression, Also it doesn’t look like much room to set a ladder and clean the gutters, If they have ever been cleaned.

Buyers should mandate the builders allow a fully qualified home inspector to perform the PDI inspection.

Some builders complain when I turn up for the PDI because they say it’s for the home owner. My answer to them…“Poppycock, the PDI is to allow the buyer to identify the things the builder should fix, they are bringing me along for expert advice”

If a builder complains about this, it sets a red flag up right away. I had one who failed to put railings on a raised front stoop. They said the plans didn’t call for it. I said, that’s because the grade on the plans and the grade on the house were different. The client got their railings.

Same builder different house, no handrail or railings on steps up to the front stoop. Number of risers? 7!

Same builder, different house same subdivision. Wiring hanging down from the floor above the basement. When I asked the builders rep why, he said well it’s a rough in for a dishwasher in the Kitchen above. I asked why it wasn’t “in the kitchen” he said, because the kitchen had moved. (all by itself???) I then asked why it was not in a junction box? He said the client could just cut it if he didn’t need it. I then asked what would happen when the client electrocuted himself cutting this energised, redundant, “rough-in” wiring that was in the wrong place…no answer.

This builder doesn’t like me. I don’t care.

I’d love to hear from other inspectors who have had similar concerns from builders.

Walters’ house is now vacant, and he lives in a rented apartment as the home is now contaminated with mould.
By: Noor Javed News reporter, Published on Wed Aug 26 2015

Sydney Walters says he fears the day when he will lose everything.
The Vaughan homeowner has become tangled in an ongoing legal fight with the City of Vaughan and the builder Villa Royale Homes Inc. over who is responsible for the missing insulation in the attic of his home that led to mould and forced his family to leave.
He continues to pay the mortgage of the house, and the rent on a one-bedroom basement apartment where he lives with his family.
Walters says the situation is pushing him into poverty — and could force him to lose his home.
“The city has put us through tremendous hardship,” he said.
“We will never recover and I don’t see an end in sight,” he said.
Since the Walters’ story was published in the Star last week, many readers have responded with offers to help.
A non-for profit organization called Canadians for Properly Built Homes has set up a trust fund at a Scotiabank branch near Weston Rd and Rutherford Rds., (Account number: 07286 04049 85) for anyone who would like donate to the Walters family.
“We wanted to let the Walters family know they are not alone, that somebody cares, and there are others out there going through similar situations,” said Karen Somerville, president of the CPBH, which aims to increase consumer awareness about building standards and push for greater protections.
Walters, who is nearly $200,000 in debt, says he is thankful for the support from the community.
He says any funds would go to help pay his mortgage, and overhead costs — to ensure he can prevent his home from being possessed by the bank.
And he’s still waiting for a call from Vaughan’s mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua.
“I am pleading to the mayor to personally get involved, and see that this matter is settled,” he said.
Donations can be sent via cheques or in person at the Scotiabank branch at 9333 Weston Rd, Unit #1, Woodbridge, Ont. L4H 3G8.
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