The Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) continues to crack down on bad actors in the homebuilding game, and one of the latest is Hira Custom Homes Inc.: a Cambridge-based builder that is being reprimanded for “unethical conduct” while selling homes in Caledon.

The HCRA said in a released on Wednesday that it has refused to renew Hira’s building licence after an investigation found that the company had previously “attempted to sell homes that were already under an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, unjustifiably increased prices, did not comply with conditions on its licence, and provided false information to both purchasers and the HCRA.”

The specific complaint that brought Hira to the HCRA’s attention was related to a property at 91 Troiless Street, Caledon.

A notice that was sent to Hira’s principal, Kamal Hira, on February 12, 2024, says that the complainant — the purchaser of 91 Troiless — signed an Agreement of Purchase and Sale with Hira for $1,875,000 in 2018. Between 2018 and 2021, the complainant provided Hira deposits totalling $750,000, and was assured by Hira in 2021 that the home would be completed in three months. However, after “numerous delays,” the transaction ended up closing on December 2022 for $2,294,038, with the complainant paying an additional $419,038.

“Hira used unfair leverage against the complainant to extract hundreds of thousands of dollars in price increases. The complainant detrimentally relied on Hira’s promises when they sold their homes based on the first closing date given,” the notice reads.

“While engaging in this scheme, Hira also sought new home buyers for these homes that were under contract. On at least one occasion, the complainant discovered real estate agents showing their home to potential purchasers while Hira was refusing to close on their properties.”

The notice further states that, when confronted by the HCRA, Hira alleged that the Town of Caledon refused to grant an occupancy permit unless Hira signed an agreement to install storm water culverts at a cost of $450,000. “Contrary to Hira’s claim, Caledon stated that Hira was made aware of this requirement when the building permits were issued, with the cost being between $80,000 to $140,000.”

This was all before Hira was declared bankrupt on April 18, 2023. The company's file with insolvency firm MNP Debt shows that Hira owed over $4M to unsecured creditors, as well as $525,000 to secured creditors and $4,000 to preferred creditors by the time of bankruptcy. Total liabilities clocked in at over $4.57M.

In any case, the HCRA is advising consumers to properly vet builders prior to working with them by checking the Ontario Builder Directory. It includes information on builders’ licensing statuses, as well as their conduct history with the regulator. That directory currently shows that Hira’s licence has been refused and that the company has 19 “chargeable conciliations” and owes over $1.61M to Tarion.