Home Construction Regulatory Authority begins operations
A new Ontario regulator, improving protection for new home buyers, started operations on Monday. The Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) is now responsible for regulating and licensing the people and companies who build and sell new homes in the province.
“The HCRA will enforce high professional standards for competence and conduct in the home building industry, giving new home buyers confidence in one of the biggest purchases of their lives,” said Tim Hadwen, Interim CEO of the HCRA.“We will also ensure consistency across the sector, curtailing unethical and illegal builders and maintaining a fair marketplace.”
In addition to licensing, the HCRA provides educational information for consumers on their home buying journey, and manages the Ontario Builder Directory (OBD) –the official source of background information about each of Ontario’s more than 5,000 new home builders and vendors. The OBD provides current information on each builder and vendor’s licence status and specifics such as whether they have had any convictions, the number of homes they have built, and their warranty history. It also lists illegal builders and provides details about charges and convictions to better inform and protect consumers.
The HCRA is also implementing a streamlined complaints process, providing a clear, straightforward way fora new home buyer to raise real concerns about a builder or vendor’s conduct.
An independent regulator, the HCRA takes over the licensing function from Tarion. Previously, Tarion was responsible for both licensing and warranty administration. Tarion will continue to deliver Ontario’s new home warranty and protection program.
A separate licensing body was recommended by a major review of Ontario’s home building sector.
“In essence, the HCRA will ensure professional standards for the builder, and Tarion will backstop responsibility for the building,” Hadwen said.
Recognizing that some consumers and builders may not immediately know where to turn, the HCRA and Tarion are committed to a “no wrong door” approach, seamlessly directing stakeholders to the right place to deal with their specific issues.