CMHC on leaky condos: no ‘duty of care’

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is facing a class-action lawsuit from leaky condo owners in the lower mainland and has a message for the people who suffered from this billion dollar debacle: F##k Off, its not our problem.

The lawyer for the CMHC argued on monday that his client shouldn’t be on the hook for the leaky condo crisis since it owes no “statutory duty of care” to homeowners.

Lawyer Ross Clark argued in B.C. Supreme Court Monday that the housing department is under no statutory obligation to Canadians in the wake of the billion-dollar housing construction disaster that first surfaced in the early 1990s.

Many families were left in financial ruin, forced either into bankruptcy or saddled with repair bills ranging from $25,000 to more than $250,000 per household.

Clark urged Supreme Court Justice L. Smith to dismiss the latest effort to certify a class-action lawsuit against the housing agency. The same court denied an effort for certification in 2002.

Why yes, now that you mention it, this is the same CMHC that claims on its website to be “committed to helping Canadians” by improving “building standards and housing construction” and providing “policymakers with the information and analysis they need to sustain a vibrant housing market in Canada.” It just so happens that this is also the same CMHC that was made aware of concerns about housing construction practices in coastal Canadian climates in the early eighties.

The CMHC isn’t to blame, Clark said, for the water-logged walls and mould-infested interiors of condominiums and townhomes built during the 1980s and 1990s. That responsibility rests with those behind the “poor design and construction.”

Peter Simpson, of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, said he was puzzled by the CMHC’s arguments in court. “I think it was an unfortunate comment to place the blame squarely at the feet of two members of the whole building community.”

Simpson said the leaky condo crisis was a “systemic problem and so there’s no shortage of blame to go around.”

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But, but…that's what the acronym stands for: CoMmitted to Helping Canadians!


Why do investors sell call options? Why are they willing to give up future capital gains in return for money now?A few possibilities:1) they may obtain much better than market prices using this method2) they obtain money now for something they only have to sell in the future… "now" money is worth more than "future" money3) there is the possibility that the prospective purchaser will default, leaving the owner with a windfall deposit4) tenants will probably treat the property a lot better if they will eventually own it.5) their financial master plan may involve them selling that property in a few years regardless6) … the most obvious : they don't expect particularly great capital appreciation going forward


Hey: Craigslist has a "rent to own".That's selling a call option on real estate.Why do investors sell call options? Why are they willing to give up future capital gains in return for money now?


Drachen wow you are humourless, I guess this topic weighs so heavily on you it prevents you from cracking a smile.My matchbook-cover law education (which accounts for nearly nothing) says the CHMC is not only un-responsible for the quality of the homes that people build & buy, but in fact, the CMHC has no way to even FORCE builders to make better homes. Since you want "someething useful" in these comments how about YOU refer to legal precedent that says otherwise?Personally I think people are suing CMHC because there's some possibility they'll get money and damn the righteousness of it.


Oh my god. And – a one bedroom apartment downtown, where you can rent the *bedroom* for $695 ($750 for a couple), and there's someone in the livingroom.LinkI mean. HOLY COW. Really?


Hey: Craigslist has a "rent to own".Link


Sorry, I don't know where I was going with that comment. I just started rambling on. Unless you're capable of doing an inspection yourself, ALWAYS make offers subject to inspection!


In every case of leaky condo that I've taken the time to look into, it has always come down to one thing:Shoddy workmanship.Not the building code, but good old crappy workmanship that wasn't caught/enforced by an inspector.Well, there was one case that I've come across of outright fraud, where excessive condensation was occuring inside a wall because the builder took the insulation out after the inspector signed off on it, to use it on another project.What I learned when I bought my place, and was reminded of while recently helping a relative (who really wants to buy now, despite my advice to the contrary) is that sometimes, realtors lie. Other times, they don't know and didn't bother to ask, or they're just completely oblivious.Of the four buildings I did quick walk-around exterior tours of recently for my relative, all 4… Read more »


if this government has been doing as good a job on regulating building codes as it has been regulating drivers of farm workers, we are really in for a treat.


CMHC has no mandate or obligation to enforce building standards. Isn't that obvious? You'd might as well blame CDIC for letting a bank make a car loan to someone who bought a lemon.Put the blame where is belongs, with provincial and local governments who are responsible for writing and enforcing building codes and consumer protection legislation.


GrantYou're a publicly funded institution dedicated to giving sweet loving to pretty ladies?If not then stop being a contrarian wiseass and add something useful to the conversation for a change.On the other hand if you ARE being publicly funded for this service, where do I sign up for your job?


Hey, i'm committed to giving the pretty ladies of vancouver all the sweet, sweet grant lovin' they can handle… does that mean they can sue me if I turn down dates to play poker with the boys?I'm not sure that wanting to do something necessarily translates into a legal requirement to do something.


I've noticed that smell as well, I thought maybe it was just a kits thing. What part of town are you in?So CMHC is committed to helping Canadians unless they actually need help?

mold city

Plenty of blame to go around…and judging by the scent around the morning 'smoke breaks' at the construction sites I walk by in the morning there also seems to be a lot of weed to go around.