CPBH agrees that affordable housing for all Canadians is essential. However, the definition of affordability should not only include home mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities. It should also include the additional costs of operating and maintaining the home, which can be very significant. Even purchasers of newly built homes frequently find that they are facing repair costs much earlier than they expected, e.g., within the first few years of purchasing a newly built home.
Unfortunately, Canada’s National Building Code does not yet include energy efficiency and durability as explicit objectives, which are two of the key reasons that housing quality in Canada continues to suffer. Further, home warranty programs are often very restrictive, and usually require that homeowners substantiate their claims by hiring home inspectors and engineers at their own cost – with no guarantee that the warranty provider will ultimately warrant the items that need repair. These issues contribute to the importance of revising the definition of affordable housing so that it includes operating and maintenance costs in the short, medium and long term.