A “series of unethical and illegal activities” has resulted in the revocation of a Mississauga developer’s building licence.
The Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) announced on Thursday that it has revoked Pinetree Developments Inc.’s licence to build and sell new homes in Ontario.
Following complaints from purchasers and the City of Mississauga, the HCRA launched an investigation into the luxury custom home developer in December 2022, and discovered “dishonest, illegal, and unprofessional conduct.”
According to the HCRA, in April 2021, Pinetree entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) for a property at 762 Montbeck Crescent in Mississauga for $2.6M. However, within weeks, the company demanded an increase of 5K in order to complete the home. (Diazepam) The purchaser agreed.
After construction had begun in March 2022, Pinetree “unjustifiably” demanded an additional $518K. The purchaser refused the new price and registered a Certificate of Pending Litigation. Despite both the binding APS and the Certificate of Pending Litigation, Pinetree re-listed the property for sale on Realtor.ca at $2,999,999.
Pinetree now refuses to close the transaction and, despite numerous extensions, construction is not complete. While the HCRA noted that it cannot confirm the reason for the delays, as Pinetree did not produce documents or respond to concerns, they appear to be due to financing issues with the company’s lenders. The property was listed for sale until May 11, 2023.
As well, Pinetree falsely identified the name and credentials of another GTA builder in order to obtain building permits from the City of Mississauga. Without the other builder’s knowledge, Pinetree listed the company as the builder of four new homes, including 762 Montbeck Crescent. The other properties are located at 119 Cumberland Drive, 121 Cumberland Drive, and 1032 West Avenue.
Pinetree also began construction on a home at 739 Ebony Avenue without having received a building permit from the City of Mississauga. The City issued two orders to immediately stop construction, both of which were ignored.
The company has also failed to enroll any of the five aforementioned properties in the Tarion warranty program, despite HCRA orders to do so.
“Any one of these actions would be cause for concern. Together they show a company unfit for a licence,” said Wendy Moir, the HCRA’s Chief Executive Officer and Registrar. “Consumers must be protected from dishonest, unethical and unprofessional conduct, so the HCRA is revoking Pinetree’s licence to build and sell new homes.”
Pintree failed to comply throughout the HCRA’s inspection, ignoring two compliance orders, a request for financial documents, and a letter from the Registrar regarding concerns with their conduct.
The revocation of Pinetree’s licence follows a 2018 infraction in which the company was charged and convicted in provincial court for illegally acting as a vendor of a new home. They were ordered to pay a fine of $5K.
At that time, Patricia Perruzza, a principal, officer, and director for Pinetree, was charged and convicted of two counts of illegally building and selling a new home.
Pinetree’s actions “show dishonesty, a lack of willingness to comply with the law, and unprofessional conduct,” the HCRA said, adding that the company’s conduct raises concerns about its financial viability and responsibility.
Pinetree was given the opportunity to appeal the HCRA’s decision to revoke their licence but did not do so. As such, the licence revocation is automatic and immediate.
The move marks the third enforcement action the HCRA has taken this year — in February, Albion Building Consultant Inc.’s licence was revoked, and Highbridge Construction’s licence was suspended.
Pinetree Developments did not respond to a request for comment.