A regulatory body has revoked the licence of a Mississauga homebuilder after it says that the company demanded that a buyer pay an additional $518,000 for a property that they already had a contract to purchase.
Ontario's Home Construction Regulatory Authority issued the decision earlier this month following an inspection of Pinetree Developments Inc. business operations that first began in December.
In a news release, HCRA said that its investigators found that Pinetree raised the price of an under construction home “despite a signed contract” and then attempted to resell that same property at a higher price after the original purchaser refused to pay the premium and launched litigation.
HCRA also said that Pinetree refused “to provide any documentation to support the increase despite repeated requests,” as required by law.
“After the purchaser refused to agree to the price increase, Pinetree listed the property for sale on Realtor.com for $2,999,999 despite the binding APS (Agreement of Purchase and Sale) and a certificate of pending litigation being registered on title,” the ruling from HCRA states. “The HCRA expressed its concerns to Pinetree and sent Pinetree a letter setting out its expectations that it would honour the APS and comply with the law. The HCRA indicated that if Pinetree did not do so, the HCRA would take regulatory action. To date, the property is still listed for sale.”
The investigation into Pineetree arose out of two complaints received by the HCRA.
However, the regulatory body said that its investigators eventually found several other alleged instances of misconduct, including “falsified building permit applications” and a failure by Pinetree to enroll five its its properties with the Tarion provincial home warranty program.
The HCRA said in its press release that Pinetree had an opportunity to appeal its formal notice that its licence, first issued on May 9, would be revoked, but did not do so.
They also said that Pinetree “has never provided the HCRA with any documents or information to address the HCRA’s concerns.”
"Any one of these actions would be cause for concern. Together they show a company unfit for a licence," the HCRA’s Chief Executive Officer and Registrar Wendy Moir said in the release. “Consumers must be protected from dishonest, unethical and unprofessional conduct, so the HCRA is revoking Pinetree’s licence to build and sell new homes."