On February 1, 2021, the HCRA assumed responsibility for new home builder and vendor licensing in Ontario. This change comes as a result of Ontario's commitment to strengthening the province's consumer protection. The HCRA is meant to ensure that new home builders and vendors are held to professional standards, and that all buyers and owners of new homes are well-informed and trust that their homes have been built properly. Having the HCRA as a separate authority addresses consumer concerns about potential conflicts of interest within Tarion, Ontario's new home warranty and protection program administrator.
Role of the HCRA
The HCRA will be taking over the licensing competency, complaints and conduct responsibilities from Tarion. Its aim is to set out clear and consistent standards for all licensees by enforcing "high professional standards". The HCRA will help ensure that new home buyers and owners are well-informed and better protected by:
- "Licensing new home builders and vendors;
- Expanding the existing Ontario Builder Directory to provide regulatory compliance and warranty information about thousands of builders and vendors across the province; and
- Implementing a formal complaints process for the conduct of new home builders and vendors."
Licenses and Homes Enrolled After February 1, 2021
New Applications & License renewals
On February 1, Tarion registrations were automatically transitioned to an HCRA licence.
Tarion registrations that expired before February 1, 2021, cannot be renewed by Tarion and anyone in this position who wishes to carry on selling or building needs to contact the HCRA. Vendors and builders must first be licensed by the HCRA before applying for QFE or enrolling homes with Tarion.
License Display Requirements
The obligation to display an HCRA licence begins when the HCRA has delivered it to the licensee. The HCRA requires licensed vendors/builders to prominently display the licence: at the licensee's principal business address; on the licensee's website, if any; and at any premises where the licensee conducts business with the public.
Builders will receive a digital copy of their HCRA licence when they renew with the HCRA. In advance of their licence renewal with HCRA, vendors/builders should remove the Tarion Registered Builder logos from their materials, signage and advertising. In addition, vendors/builders should remove references to being a registered builder with Tarion and replace with wording about being licenced by the HCRA.
What About Tarion?
Tarion will continue to administer Ontario's new home warranty and protection program. Additionally, Tarion will continue to investigate warranty claims, resolve warranty disputes and manage the guarantee fund.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.