George and Melina Tanacs, owners of Passion Homes Inc., were fined a record $240,000 on 12 counts of illegal building, an unprecedented sum for this offence in the Province of Ontario. The charges stem from failing to enrol four new homes with Tarion Warranty Corporation in North York that were subsequently sold in violation of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. The Tanacs’ license to build new homes was previously revoked by Tarion in 2007 for poor customer service and failure to honour their warranty obligations.
“Tarion revoked the Tanac’s license because they continually failed to provide relevant documents as required by the warranty and repeatedly refused to respond to homeowner requests for service and repairs,” said Dave Roberts, director of enforcement at Tarion. “It’s our responsibility to regulate the new home building industry and ensure builders provide the warranty consumers are entitled to by law. The Tanacs weren’t fit to build and sell homes so we shut them down.”
Under “the Act” every builder or vendor of a new home that is sold in Ontario must be registered with Tarion, which protects the rights of new home buyers by regulating the home building industry, and administering and guaranteeing the province’s new home warranty program. Home builders are also required to enrol every new home with Tarion prior to its construction and provide materials that inform homeowners of their warranty rights and responsibilities. Tarion’s enforcement team, which includes a number of former police officers, works with municipal officials and others to uncover illegal building in Ontario. During 2008, their efforts led to 379 convictions and $851,000 in fines being levied by the courts.
Illegal building can be anonymously reported by calling Tarion at 1-800-786-6497, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.