Decoding your Curiosity: The HCRA's most Sought-After Information by Consumers

Mar 4th, 2024

In this edition of The Home Front, we’re looking at the most frequently searched terms about the HCRA. We’ve aggregated thousands of your searches to better understand what’s on your mind and how the HCRA can help.

Based on your top searches, the HCRA has pulled together some important resources and tools that you can use to confidently navigate the journey of purchasing a new home!

1. Ontario Builder Directory

Not surprisingly, the Ontario Builder Directory is the most highly searched; it is an excellent resource for home buyers to do their homework before purchasing a new home. After all – an informed buyer is a confident buyer!

We’ve highlighted some key features of the Builder Directory to help you get the most out of your research:

  • Saw an advertisement for a new home but not sure who the builder is? To streamline your search, the HCRA updated the Builder Directory so you can look up builders and sellers by their public or marketing name (‘Doing Business As Name’), or their Legal name.

  • Checking for a builder’s licence? The Builder Directory clearly indicates if a builder holds a valid licence with the HCRA. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – never purchase a home from an unlicensed builder!

  • Is there a particular term in the Builder Directory you haven’t seen before? Check out the Glossary of Terms to better understand what certain terms mean and why they are important.

  • Did you know that the HCRA regulates licensee conduct? Each profile on the Builder Directory provides a builder’s licensing status, number of years’ active, number of homes built, and any conduct concerns including any charges and convictions. Stay informed and know who you’re working with!

2. New Home Buyer Dashboard

Whether you’re a first-time purchaser or a seasoned home buyer, there are many things to consider when considering a pre-construction home. Many purchasers simply do not know where to start, but the HCRA is here to help!

The HCRA’s New Home Buyer Dashboard is an excellent resource for prospective home buyers and a roadmap for what to expect when purchasing a pre-construction home.

  • Not sure where to start? The Dashboard provides an overview of the important steps in the home buying journey from purchasing to taking possession of your new home.

  • What can you expect from your builder? Buying a new home is an exciting and rewarding experience, and throughout that process your builder is expected to act professionally. Under the HCRA’s Code of Ethics, builders must treat new home buyers with fairness, honesty, and integrity, and they are also expected to provide conscientious and competent service.

  • Have concerns about a builder’s conduct? While most purchasers have positive experiences with their builders, there can be exceptions. The Dashboard links directly to the HCRA’s Complaints process if you have a concern.

3. Complaints and Outcomes

Another key area of interest is the types of complaints and concerns the HCRA manages – in fact, we have a previous blog that dives into this topic – read it here to learn more about how the HCRA can help!

As the result of a complaint, the HCRA may act against a builder. To keep you informed, we post these actions on our website:

  • Court Charges & Convictions: This includes charges and convictions for illegal activities such as building a home without a licence or failing to enrol in the new home warranty program. Unlicensed builders operating outside of the law pose a serious risk to home buyers and the industry – they have not demonstrated any technical building competency or financial responsibility which is a serious consumer protection issue. Illegal builders are not bound by the HCRA’s Code of Ethics, and as a home buyer, you may be on the hook for labour, civil and other liabilities. Read a recently convicted case of illegal building to learn more about how the HCRA works to protect the public and enforce industry standards.

  • Notices and Orders: These are actions taken by the HCRA against licensees regarding professional conduct concerns. On average, the HCRA receives about 50 complaints every month and the concerns can range from matters like poor customer service to contract price increases – read our blog to learn more about the types of complaints the HCRA manages. The outcome of a complaint may result in several different regulatory actions like suspensions, conditions, and in very serious matters, revocations of licences. Here’s a great example about how the HCRA revoked a licence after receiving complaints about a builder’s unprofessional conduct.

  • Discipline and Appeals: This includes alleged Code of Ethics violations against licensees and decisions made by the Discipline Committee. This may include mandating licensees to take educational courses and imposing fines of up to $50,000 or $100,000! Want to learn more about your builder’s obligations under the Code of Ethics? Read our recent blog post to learn more.

  • Are you researching a specific builder and want to know if the HCRA has taken regulatory action against them? Rest assured; this information is linked directly to a builder’s profile on the Builder Directory so you can stay informed!

We want to hear from you!

Understanding the information and resources new home buyers need is important to the HCRA. If you have questions or an idea you want us to explore on The Home Front, we want to hear from you! Submit your thoughts and suggestions here for our next blog.