A St. Catharines-based development company is — once again — in hot water with the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) after an investigation revealed that the company was engaged in “illegal and unethical conduct.”

On Wednesday, the HCRA revealed in a press release that Christopher Lamb and his former company Novel Condominiums, also known as 1970175 Ontario Inc., “have been found guilty of 26 charges of selling new homes illegally,” and as a result, have been slammed with a fine of more than $150,000, which has been issued by the Provincial Offences Court.

“The convictions are a result of the HCRA’s investigation which revealed they had illegally entered into 26 Agreements of Purchase and Sale with new home buyers,” the provincial regulator also said.

HCRA’s Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, Wendy Moir, underlined in the release that Lamb and Novel Condominiums sold those homes without a licence – “which is illegal.”

She added that this case reinforces the importance of checking the Ontario Builder Directory prior to doing business with any builder. It includes information on builders’ licensing statuses, as well as their conduct history with the regulator. Per that directory, 1970175 Ontario Inc. is currently shown as having a “cancelled” licence.

“No one is permitted to take a shortcut or skirt around the rules. If you want to sell new homes in Ontario, you must be licensed by the HCRA and meet our professional standards and expectations,” Moir added.

This is not Lamb or Novel’s first run-in with the HCRA. In January 2022, Lamb and his company were charged on 26 counts each for “illegally acting as a vendor of a new home” and violating the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Those charges stemmed from an HCRA investigation into home sales in the Niagara Falls area.

At that time, the HCRA also said that they had issued Notice of Proposal to refuse licence renewal for Novel and for Growth Social House Inc., which Lamb had a 100% share interest in. This was only the second set of charges laid by the HCRA after the regulator’s initial launch in February 2021.