Expectations for Your Builder

Your Builder Must Be Licensed

NOTE:

If you believe that a builder or vendor of a new home is not licensed or has not enrolled a new home with Tarion, please complete and send this illegal building form (download) to compliance@hcraontario.ca.

Building a new home for new owners in Ontario without a licence is illegal.
Your new home is likely your biggest financial asset – and it should be protected with care. The Home Construction Regulatory Authority protects home buyers by ensuring that all new home builders and vendors in Ontario act with honesty and integrity, have the technical skills to build homes, the right financial capacity to run a home building operation, and the right knowledge and capacity to offer you warranty protection on your new home.
Illegal building

is a serious offence. Fines of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a business can be imposed by Ontario Courts on illegal builders. In addition, convicted offenders may be imprisoned for up to two years.

How do you know if the builder you are considering working with is licensed?

Search

Search the builder in the Ontario Builder Directory to confirm that they are licensed to build homes.

Call

Call the Home Construction Regulatory Authority call centre at (416) 487-HCRA (4272) to verify that the builder is licensed.

Ask

Ask your builder to produce evidence that they are licensed by the Home Construction Regulatory Authority.

What Are the Risks to Working with an Illegal Builder?

  1. Structural Defects & Poor Craftsmanship
    If the builder is not licensed, they have not proven that they have the technical skills to build homes. It could also mean that the home is poorly built and does not meet the province’s Building Code specifications. It might even be a hazard to live in.
  2. Liability Issues
    An illegal builder may not comply with workplace safety regulations and it could lead to unexpected liability issues for the home buyer, especially if an on-site accident happens during construction.
  3. Financial Exposure
    If a builder has not proven that they have the financial capacity or even have the necessary insurance coverage in place, your investment is not protected.
  4. No Builder Warranty Protection
    The home will not be enrolled with Tarion and this means that your builder will not have helped you understand your rights and responsibilities under the new home warranty provided under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and administered by Tarion.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself from an Illegal Builder?

  1. Do your research
    The first and most important way to protect yourself from an illegal builder is to ensure that your builder is licensed by the Home Construction Regulatory Authority.
    • Search the builder in the Ontario Builder Directory to confirm that they are licensed to build homes.
    • If you cannot find the builder in your online search of the directory, call the Home Construction Regulatory Authority call centre at (416) 487-HCRA (4272) to verify that the builder is licensed.
    • Ask your builder to produce evidence that they are licensed by the Home Construction Regulatory Authority.
  2. Know the right questions to ask your builder
    If your builder tells you things like “You can save money by not going through Tarion”, or “I have my own warranty”, or “I am a special type of builder so I don’t need a licence” or any other reason that they say allows them to build without a licence or does not require them to enrol the home with Tarion, you should be wary. Illegal building is a serious offence. Fines of up to $50,000 can be imposed by Ontario Courts on illegal builders. In addition, convicted offenders may be imprisoned for up to two years. To protect yourself, keep asking questions until you have a full understanding of why your builder cannot prove that they have a licence. If you have any further doubts or questions about whether your builder is licensed, call the HCRA at (416) 487-HCRA (4272) or send an email to info@hcraontario.ca.
  3. Understand your warranty
    Mandatory warranty coverage is provided for new homes and condominiums in Ontario. It starts with deposit protection and delay compensation, and includes three separate warranties that last up to seven years after you take possession of your new home. For more information about warranty protection, please visit the Tarion website or call Tarion’s customer service team at 1-877-9-TARION (1-877-982-7466).
  4. Confirm that your home is enrolled with Tarion
    If your builder does not provide you with a Warranty Coverage for New Homes in Ontario brochure before your Pre-Delivery Inspection, ask for one, and confirm that your new home is enrolled with Tarion. If your builder says the home does not have to be enrolled, or they have their own separate warranty instead, call Tarion. There is only one mandatory new home warranty in Ontario, and it is not an option – it is the law. For more information about warranty protection, please visit the Tarion website or call a Tarion representative at 1-877-9-TARION (1-877-982-7466).

Your Builder Must Act Professionally

As the regulator of home builders in Ontario, the Home Construction Regulatory Authority has clear expectations for the professionalism of builders that is set out in government regulation and HCRA guidelines, Directives and Advisories.

When working with a licensed builder, what does professional conduct look like?

You should expect a level of professionalism that inspires trust and confidence. Taking into account the legal warranties, your relationship with your builder could last up to seven years, so it is important that the relationship is good and that you can trust them. Through the Home Construction Regulatory Authority’s licensing process, a builder’s past and present conduct is assessed thoroughly before they are issued a licence to build homes.

The HCRA has published A Guide to Good Conduct for Home Builders and Vendors to help licensees and applicants for a licence understand the HCRA’s approach to assessing the good conduct expected of all new home builders and vendors. This document sets out what is professional conduct in this industry. The following are general expectations of good conduct:

  • Comply with the NHCLA and its regulations. This includes an obligation to comply with the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.
  • Treat people fairly, honestly and with integrity.
  • Honour their new home warranty obligations.
  • Not engage in or be a party to misrepresentation or false or misleading advertising.
  • Not engage in behaviour that is harassing, bullying or discriminatory.
  • Provide reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities.
  • Maintain required privacy and confidentiality of personal information and not disclose personal information without consent or as required by law.
  • Not participate in or facilitate the building or selling of new homes in Ontario by someone who was required to be licensed as a builder or vendor or required to obtain confirmation of enrolment by Tarion, but failed to do so.
  • Avoid conduct that would reasonably be regarded as being disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional, unbecoming a licensee or likely to bring the new home construction and sales sector profession into disrepute.

your builder must honour the warranty

Your new home must meet or surpass the structural requirements and health and safety standards of the Ontario Building Code. New homes in Ontario are protected by mandatory warranties provided by your builder and backed by Tarion.

Tarion's Role

Tarion’s role is to protect the rights of new home buyers according to the terms of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act (the “Act”). The Act requires builders in Ontario to provide new home warranty coverage. Tarion is also responsible for managing a guarantee fund that exists to ensure that there are funds available to backstop any warranty claims for the length of each home’s coverage.

HCRA's Role

The Home Construction Regulatory Authority’s role is to license and regulate home builders and vendors. With respect to the warranty, the HCRA ensures that a new licence is not issued to a builder until evidence of their past conduct related to honouring all new home warranty obligations is assessed.

Questions about warranty coverage?

If you have questions about warranty coverage please visit www.Tarion.com or call 1-877-9TARION (1-877-982-7466).

Complaints about warranty matters?

Please note that the HCRA is able to address conduct-related complaints about builders but all matters related to warranty claims are Tarion’s role. If you wish to file a warranty-related complaint about a builder, please visit www.Tarion.com or call 1-877-9TARION (1-877-982-7466).