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Toronto homebuilder fined $240K

A husband and wife Toronto homebuilding team has been fined $240,000 by an Ontario court for building and selling four homes after their licence was revoked.

A husband and wife Toronto homebuilding team has been fined $240,000 by an Ontario court for building and selling four homes after their licence was revoked.

George and Melina Tanacs, of Passion Homes Inc., were fined the record amount Dec. 11 after being found guilty of 12 counts of illegal building under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.

It's largest such fine doled out to an Ontario homebuilder.

"What started us investigating were complaints about poor customer service," said David Roberts, chief of enforcement for Tarion Warranty Corporation, in an interview Thursday with CBC News.

Tarion, which licenses new-home builders, provides warranties and performs other related duties in Ontario, learned that Passion Homes had three other homes under construction in the Toronto suburb of North York, and revoked their licence in late 2007.

The Tanacs, who have built a total of 11 homes, were told they could not continue to build or sell the homes until they enrolled the houses with Tarion.

Despite the order, the Tanacs continued construction and sold the homes in 2008 for between $400,000 and $500,000 each.

It wasn't long before the homeowners began complaining about problems that should have been covered by the builder's warranty. Complaints included leaky roofs that needed significant repair, and homeowners looking to be reimbursed for their $40,000 deposits.

Tarion sent out inspectors and found the four homes required a total of more than $350,000 of warranted work. The agency footed the bill for the needed repairs and is attempting to recoup the costs from the Tanacs.

"Tarion revoked the Tanacs' licence [in late 2007] because they continually failed to provide relevant documents as required by the warranty and repeatedly refused to respond to homeowner requests for service and repairs," said Roberts.

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