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Frozen in Winnipeg: When you just can’t “Let it go....“

Like most new homebuyers, Tim and Brittany Gietz were excited when they purchased their first home in the cozy St. James neighbourhood of Winnipeg in August of 2013. At the same time, they purchased a homeowner’s title insurance policy from FCT.

“My dad is in the mortgage lending business, so I have heard a number of stories over the years about homes that had hidden problems. I wanted to make sure that I had the best protection for my investment, so we bought a homeowner’s title insurance policy,” says Mrs. Gietz.

The first year in their home there were no surprises. However, after a particularly cold spell last winter, their pipes froze solid and their home was anything but “cozy.” The contractor called in to thaw the pipes promptly instructed them to contact the City of Winnipeg. While dealing with the pipe issue, the City provided them with a copy of a building permit dated in 2012 that outlined approval for an 84.5 square foot addition to the front of the existing dwelling. But the addition was never built, despite the permit. Why?

After further investigation, the Gietzes learned that the City had issued a bylaw violation, which required the previous homeowners to repair plumbing and electrical work, as well as an improper stair guard leading to the basement before the addition could be constructed. The floor joists and foundation also required major structural repairs. The City now demanded the Gietzes comply with the bylaw violation within 14 days otherwise face potential legal action.

The bylaw violation notice from the City triggered coverage from FCT because the homeowners were being forced by a governmental authority to remedy an existing structure because it was built without a required building permit.

FCT hired an engineer to complete the report on structural repairs to the floor joists and foundation. In the summer of 2014, work began on the home to fix the foundation, plumbing, electrical and structural issues. This work was paid for by FCT. During this major renovation, Tim and Brittany had to move out of their home for over three months while the work was being completed Thankfully, all temporary housing costs were also covered under their FCT policy.

Let go of the hassle and stress with help from FCT

Before the end of 2014, the Gietzes got word from the City of Winnipeg that the final inspection was completed and the bylaw violation was closed. They moved back in to celebrate Christmas 2014 in their safe and newly renovated home.

“For a couple of hundred dollars, paid once when we bought the home and no annual premium, we realized a significant benefit. Without the team at Castle Mortgage Group to inform us about the great insurance program that FCT has, we would have ended up with debt that we could not pay off for years. I cannot even imagine having to come up with the money to complete such a major renovation only months after purchasing the home. FCT fixed our home and provided us with a housing allowance while we were displaced. Since this has happened, I have now joined the team at Castle Mortgage Group and make sure to always recommend that our clients purchase this insurance.” – states Mrs. Gietz.


Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.

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