For what appears to be only the second time in its history, Ontario’s Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) is freezing all assets linked to a former licensee.

The building industry watchdog announced on Tuesday that it has put a freeze order in place for Albion Building Consultant Inc. after an investigation revealed that the company has been building homes without a licence and accepting “substantial payments” on the sale of those homes.

According to a press release provided to STOREYS, the freeze order “prohibits Albion from withdrawing or using funds it received from purchasers.” It also requires Albion to hold those funds in trust.

“Buyers give sizeable deposits to new home builders with the expectation they will conduct business according to the law,” Chief Executive Officer and Registrar for the HCRA, Wendy Moir, said on Tuesday. “The HCRA is taking appropriate action to protect the public and send a clear message to the industry that those who act unlawfully or unethically will be held accountable.”

As mentioned, the HCRA has issued a freeze order in just one other instance since its launch in 2021. In February 2023, the provincial regulator froze all assets of Highbridge Construction after the Ottawa-based company “abruptly” ceased operations while it had at least five projects underway.

Circling back to Albion: this is not the first time (or even the second, for that matter) that the company has been reprimanded by the HCRA. The company had its building licence revoked last year after failing to enrol 11 new homes with the Tarion warranty program and failing to pay a $206,250 fine due to the Ontario Court of Justice.

At that time, Albion was directed by the HCRA to complete homes that were already under construction — “to protect the interests of existing home buyers” — and the company's licence was revoked thereafter.

More recently, the principals of Albion — Zamal Hossain and Farida Haque — were linked to a new building licensing application that was filed with the HCRA under the name Dynasty Home Builders Inc. The HCRA ascertained that Dynasty was merely a “ploy” for Albion to stay in business using another name and refused to grant the licence.

Anyone who has purchased a new home or engaged in a financial transaction with Albion in the last three years is being urged to contact the HCRA immediately.