Illegal home building puts owners at risk and threatens the livelihoods of legitimate builders, members of Sudbury’s finance committee were told on May 16.
Siloni Waraich, vice-president of Tarion, which administers the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, said they are working with the city and Sudbury and District Home Builders' Association to deal with an approach some illegal builders use to get around the rules.
The Act requires anyone building a new home to register with Tarion. A way around that, Waraich said, is for owners to take out building permits as if they were going to build the home themselves.
Sudbury is part of a pilot program in which Tarion verifies for building officials whether the home is actually owner built.
“We're not saying people should not be able to build their own homes,” she said. “They should.”
But the program helps ensure that people aren't duped into thinking they can get around the rules, save money and have no consequences. In fact, those homes are without a valid warranty should something go wrong — 180 families in the last two years alone.
“There are stories in every community,” Waraich said, of owners being devastated because their home wasn't built properly.
And there are fines up to $100,000 for companies and $25,000 for individuals who break the rules.
“One bad apple hits the front page of the newspaper, and the whole industry wears it,” she said.
Plus the practice is harmful to legitimate builders trying to “play by the rules.”
Louie Zagordo, president of SLV Homes and of the homebuilders association, said the legitimate industry in Sudbury employs 2,400 people, paying them $141 million and creating $292 million in investment property.
Tarion and the homebuilders association are lobbying the province to make the pilot program permanent.