Toronto-based sales agent Claude Boiron is leading a crusade against Kitec, a defunct line of plumbing pipes that prematurely corroded and deteriorated, leaving thousands of homeowners twisting in the wind with thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.
Boiron, a real estate broker, author, university instructor, and founder of Boiron Group, says he’s received a substantial number of enquiries about Kitec plumbing from worried condo owners in the last couple of months, prompting his initiative to pay for the repairs, provided clients buy and sell through Boiron Group.
The average cost of repairs is estimated to be between $5,000 and $10,000 — but, in some cases, could be well in excess of that figure.
“The cost of repairs can be more than $10,000, but it cannot exceed 1.25% of the affected property’s sale price,” said Boiron, adding sellers are required to fix the plumbing themselves or secure an estimate for buyers. “There’s definitely a stigma around Kitec now and one of the ways we can dispel that is by explaining the problem.”
Manufactured by IPEX Inc., Kitec plumbing is believed to have been used in roughly a quarter of condos built between 1995 and 2007, and its hasty deterioration is considered a certainty.
An IPEX representative refused comment, citing a class-action lawsuit that was settled in 2011 for US$125m.
Boiron recounted an acrimonious town hall meeting of waterfront condo residents as proof that the issue is just beginning to heat up.
“The owners of units wanted to lynch the property manager and condo board,” he said. “People are afraid and angry because it costs $5,000 to $10,000, and the average person might not have that sitting around.”
Although Boiron’s campaign as Kitect Crusader is only days old, he has already received calls about the matter and intends to host a town hall meeting during which affected residents will be briefed on their options for recourse.
Further complicating the matter, says Boiron, is that some condo boards are giving residents another year to rectify the issue themselves before stepping in, doing it themselves — and stiffing the unit owners with the bill.
Moreover, insurance companies are becoming skittish now, too.
“Insurance companies are starting to step back, saying they’re not going to insure if there’s Kitec plumbing,” said Boiron. “This is an issue that’s been kept in a bit of a pressure cooker, and the top has been blown off in the last two or three months. We want people to be aware of this. It’s a buyer beware situation, and we have a solution for you.”