Bob Aaron email@example.com
New construction must be covered
The first question for a prospective homebuyer to ask at the builder's sales
office should always be: "Are you registered with Tarion Warranty Corporation?"
Consider the fact that Tarion's enforcement team laid 993 charges against
illegal builders last year.
Yet, some builders still think that they can sneak in under the radar and
avoid participating in Ontario's new home warranty program.
A total of $575,000 in fines was levied by the courts in 2004 and two
repeat offenders received jail time.
The issue of unregistered homes is a serious problem for the entire
And it's getting worse.
Last year, Tarion's enforcement team of retired police officers
identified an astounding 5,792 homes, which had not been enrolled in the Tarion
This figure represents a 47 per cent increase over 2003.
Cumulative figures for 2005 are not yet available, but during the third
quarter of this year alone, Tarion's enforcement team discovered 1,175
un-enrolled homes and identified 80 unregistered builders.
Every builder or seller of a new home in Ontario must be registered with
Tarion and must enrol each new home prior to its construction.
Unfortunately, builders who fail to register with Tarion and enrol their
new homes in the mandatory warranty program often do not inform purchasers of
their right to statutory warranty coverage.
The courts do not take kindly to builders who fail to register.
A Cambridge-area homebuilder and company officer were recently convicted
in Brantford provincial court on one count each of failing to enrol a unit with
Frank Rocha Construction Ltd. got hit with a fine of $31,250, and
corporate officer Sally Rocha was fined a total of $15,625.
Earlier this year, Toronto builder Alexander Boros was convicted of one
count of failing to register with Tarion, one count of failing to enrol a unit,
and a third count of furnishing false information.
The result: He was fined a total of $75,000.
In announcing the conviction, Dave Roberts, director of enforcement at
Tarion, explained, "Boros fraudulently tried to register and enrol a home under
another builder's name, without that person's knowledge."
"Most Ontario builders work hard to provide quality homes and maintain a
positive reputation. The extremely high fines that Mr. Boros received show that
the courts recognize the damage his actions could have had on a legitimate
builder's livelihood," Roberts noted.
The courts are doing what they can to remove the profit incentive from
builders who ignore the warranty legislation.
In September, a Kanata-area numbered corporation was fined a total of
$184,375 on 29 counts of failing to register all 29 units in an Arnprior
Company officer Gurbakhshish Bal was fined $3,125 on one count of
furnishing false information.
North Bay homebuilder Roland Boissonneault, an officer of 840441 Ontario
Inc. (operating as Modular Systems of North Bay), pleaded guilty in May of this
year to five counts each of failing to register and failing to enrol a new home
with Tarion Warranty Corporation.
Boissonneault received a jail term of five months on all counts.
The time is to be served concurrently with a six-month jail sentence he
received in July 2004 for similar charges.
Modular Systems was also fined a total of $7,500.
Homebuyers should be aware that it is illegal for a builder to enter into
an agreement of purchase and sale or construction contract with a purchaser if
the builder is not registered with Tarion.
It is also illegal to begin construction of a home (even a one-off home)
or condominium without first enrolling it with Tarion.
But it is not illegal for a registered builder to sell a house from plans
and later enrol it prior to construction.
Buyers can protect themselves from unregistered builders by exercising a
little due diligence at the front-end of their search for a new home.
* Ask for the builder's Tarion registration number and verify it with
Tarion by phone. Or check on their website, http://www.tarion.com.
* Check the builder's reputation. You can do this by talking to other buyers who bought from the same builder.* Make sure the agreement of purchase and sale has the required Tarion "addendum."
* Look up the builder's registration, claims record, and record of chargeable conciliations on the Tarion web site.In the long run, a homebuyer will not save money on an unregistered home. To put it bluntly, buying a home without a warranty is simply too risky. Under the Tarion legislation, however, some new homes are not eligible for registration and warranty protection. There is no Tarion protection at all if the home is built using a remnant of a prior home on the site (such as a pre-existing foundation), or if it is a substantial renovation of an existing dwelling. There may also be no protection if a builder personally moves into a new home and lives in it for a time before re-selling it, or if it is used for a busy sales office prior to re-sale.