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 or condominium without first enrolling it with Tarion. Offenders will be charged by Tarion under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.
Illegal building affects everyone in the new home industry. Consumers may not find out about the warranty coverage they are entitled to, illegal builders may use sub-standard trades, and homes may not even meet Ontario Building Code standards.
Tarion’s enforcement department is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting illegal building activities in Ontario. In 2012 the work of Tarion’s enforcement team led to 69 convictions for illegal building. We continue to make strides in the prevention and detection of illegal building.
On January 1, 2011, it became mandatory for municipalities to share building permit information with Tarion’s Enforcement Department. This makes it easier for Tarion to identify illegal building activities at the outset of a project.
The Enforcement Department has also recently implemented new intelligence analysis software to help increase the accuracy and speed of detecting illegal building activities. Along with an intelligence analyst, the software improves the speed and accuracy of detecting illegal building activities by identifying high-risk builders and builders who have had their licences revoked by Tarion.
We are reaching out to the real estate industry to educate them about illegal building. We’ve developed a course that can be credited toward their continuing education requirements that educates real estate agents about illegal building and also about homeowners rights with respect to warranty coverage.
We host media roundtables and information sessions to talk about the warranty, homeowner protection and illegal building. We also issue press releases when someone is convicted of illegal building. Not only does it alert consumers to what is happening in their communities, but it also increases awareness of the issue, which often leads to an increase in tips related to illegal building activities.
We’re sharing information with other levels of government and agencies with an interest in underground activities. If a builder is not licensed with Tarion, they may also be engaging in other activities associated with the underground economy, such as hiring untrained or unskilled workers, evading taxes and not adhering to health and safety regulations.
If you suspect illegal building may be taking place, or have concerns related to builder conduct, please call Tarion's Compliance and Investigations team, toll-free, at 1-877-982-7466 ext. 3833. This number may also be used for inquiries regarding whether a specific home is enrolled and/or eligible for warranty coverage.