On July 1, a new code of ethics for Ontario homebuilders – the first in the province –  will take effect. 

Also new are clarifications to the simplified warranty and protections claims process for defects in new homes, as well as a mediation process for homeowners looking dispute any warranty claims. 

Designed to enhance protection for today’s homebuyer, the new code of ethics – under the New Home Construction Licensing Act, 2017 –  basically encourages licensed builders to be decent human beings. 

Common themes throughout involve behaving with integrity and not intimidating or coercing (AKA bullying) potential buyers. 

“The code will require licensed builders and vendors of new homes to operate in a professional manner with honesty, integrity, financial responsibility, and without intimidation or coercion," reads a press release from the Ford government. The code also provides the Home Construction Regulatory Authority with a new discipline committee and an appeals committee process to hold bad actors accountable. 

New condo site

“Since taking on overdue changes to this important sector, our number one goal has been to protect homeowners and support ethical practices and top-notch service by homebuilders and vendors,” said Minister Romano. “We all benefit when we raise the bar for quality new home construction in Ontario and make it easier for buyers and owners to get what they paid for. Our government is proud to be reaching the next milestone in this journey on July 1st.”

Perhaps the biggest change to come from the new code comes on the marketing front. The code clearly outlines the responsibility not to undertake acts or omissions that could be shameful, dishonourable, or unprofessional, and to clearly and truthfully describe and represent the features, benefits, and prices associated with a new home.

It states that advertising related to new homes must not be  “false, misleading, deceptive, or illegal.”

In the consumer protection department, the move will reduce the disclaimers in construction contracts and the discrepancy between glossy sales brochures and other marketing materials and sales contracts. In other words, it will reduce the unpleasant surprises and disappointments associated with the dimensions, layout, and look of new homes. 

As for the aforementioned bad apples, anyone with a complaint can submit it to the registrar appointed under the new Housing Licensing Act, who will investigate it and take appropriate action. If referred to a disciplinary committee who deems the code has been violated, a licensee may have to attend or pay for training courses for its employees and or receive a fine up to $25,000.

In a real estate climate of anxiety, the overdue code will let homebuyers rest a little easier in their house hunting. Because they have enough to keep them up at night.

Development Projects