The Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) announced on Wednesday that it has revoked Albion Building Consultant Inc.'s building license, stopping the developer from being able to build and sell homes in Ontario.

The move is the most severe course of action the regulatory body can take against a licensed builder, and marks the first time the HCRA has carried out such enforcement since its launch in 2021.

The revocation of Albion's licence follows what the HCRA describes as a "history of non-compliance with provincial rules and laws."

In 2022, the company was convicted by the Ontario Court of Justice of failing to enrol 11 new homes with the Tarion warranty program. Albion was sentenced to a total fine of $206,250, which the HCRA says has yet to be paid.

As well, Zamal Hossain, Albion's Managing Director, was convicted of acting as a director of a company that failed to enrol new homes. Farida Haque, who is listed on Albion's website as a co-founder, was convicted of acting as a vendor of a new home without being licensed.

"Enrolling a home is essential to ensuring consumer protection," said Wendy Moir, the HCRA’s Chief Executive Officer and Registrar. "Licensed home builders must act in accordance with the law, and with integrity and honesty -- or face serious consequences."

Prior to last year's convictions, Hossain and a company described by the HCRA as a "predecessor" to Albion were convicted of constructing homes without registering as a builder and for failing to enrol new homes with Tarion in 2016 and 2019.

As such, the HCRA issued a Notice of Proposal to Albion in March 2022 of its intention to deny the company's licence renewal application.

The regulator has only ever issued one other such notice, in September 2022, after Adi Development Group was accused of cancelling contracts and failing to return deposits. The Burlington-based developer successfully appealed the proposal.

Albion, however, was unsuccessful.

To protect existing homebuyers, the HCRA will permit Albion to complete homes that are already under construction. Upon their completion, or one year after the appeal tribunal's decision, whichever is first, the company's licence will be "immediately" revoked.

According to the Ontario Builder Directory, Albion will only be permitted to build and sell six homes, all of which are located in Scarborough: 150 Warden Avenue, 57A Jeavons Avenue, 57B Jeavons Avenue, 13 Queensbury Avenue, 15 Queensbury Avenue, and 92B Sharpe Street.

"Revocation is the most severe consequence for a licensee," Moir said. "Following the completion of the remaining homes, Albion will no longer be able to do business, and we sincerely hope this is a rare occurrence – but we will use it to send a clear message to the industry and ensure that consumers are protected."

In an emailed statement to STOREYS, Hossain admitted that Albion "failed to enrol a few houses," but that their actions were due to Tarion being unable to give them "enough houses to build."

Hossain said that in 2021, Albion applied to enrol 15 homes under Tarion, but that the organization only approved five. Hossain requested to increase the number of homes approved, but the processes and response "took months." Hossain said that as a growing company with an increasingly large client base, he had "no choice just to build."

"Our agenda behind building custom homes is to build good quality homes and provide service. We are growing big at a fast pace," Hossain said in an email. "We are being targeted by many unofficially and also victimized by a lot of discrimination with colour and origin."

According to court documents from the Licence Appeal Tribunal, Albion applied to enrol 12 homes in 2021, and was approved for 12. The company applied to enrol 12 homes in 2020 and was approved for five.

"That [Albion] built and sold homes when its directors and officers knew it was not licensed to do so and that those homes were not enrolled with Tarion is a significant indication that the appellant will continue to do so in the future," the documents read.

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