Complaint from home buyer leads to a Mississauga developer losing its license
Published June 2, 2023 at 11:10 am
A Mississauga developer has lost its license after a buyer complained about increasing prices after contracts were signed.
Pinetree Developments Inc. in Port Credit is no longer licensed to build or sell homes in Ontario, according to a press release from the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) on June 1.
On its website Pinetree describes itself as a “luxury custom home developer” based in Port Credit.
“We work with only the most highly-regarded experts in the industry to bring you a home that exceeds every expectation,” the website reads.
But HCRA launched an investigation in December after the buyer of a Pinetree home under construction at 762 Montbeck Cres. in Mississauga complained, according to documents from HCRA.
Pinetree did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Originally, the buyer signed a sales agreement to pay $2.6 million for the home but within weeks, Pinetree demanded an increase of $105,000 to the purchase price in order to complete the home, according to documents from HCRA.
The buyer agreed to the price increase, resulting in a new price of $2,705,000.
But then after construction of the home began, Pinetree demanded an additional $518,000 and was unwilling to provide any documentation to support the increase, HCRA says.
Pinetree then listed the property for sale on Realtor.com for $2,999,999 despite the binding sales agreement and a Certificate of Pending Litigation being registered on title. That listing was suspended earlier this year.
The company also falsified building permit applications, failed to enrol properties with Tarion as part of its warranty obligations, ignored City of Mississauga orders and repeatedly failed to respond to HCRA inspection letters and compliance orders, HCRA says.
“Any one of these actions would be cause for concern. Together they show a company unfit for a licence,” says 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.”
Currently the home at 62 Montbeck Cres. is not complete despite numerous extensions, and Pinetree has refused to close the transaction, HCRA says.
The HCRA cannot confirm the cause for the delays because Pinetree failed to produce documents and respond to the HCRA’s concerns despite a compliance order requiring them to do so.
The list of concerns from Pinetree include falsified building permit applications.
To obtain building permits from the City of Mississauga, Pinetree falsely identified the name and credentials of another builder, without their knowledge, HCRA says.
Also, HCRA received a complaint from the City of Mississauga indicating that Pinetree began construction on a home before the city issued a building permit.
Once the city discovered that Pinetree had done so, it issued an order to immediately stop construction. Pinetree did not. The city then issued a second order but Pinetree still continued to build.
Pinetree has never provided the HCRA with any documents or information to address the HCRA’s concerns.
“One of the standards for a licence is financial viability and responsibility,” Moir says. “Pinetree’s failure to produce relevant financial documents during the HCRA’s inspection created serious doubt about their ability to meet this standard.”
These are not the first infractions for Pinetree, according to HCRA.
In 2018, the company was charged and convicted in provincial court for illegally acting as a vendor of a new home.
Patricia Perruzza, a principal, officer, and director for Pinetree, was also charged and convicted of two counts of illegally building and selling a new home, in relation to a previous licence held by Pinetree.
“Pinetree had the opportunity to appeal the HCRA’s formal notice that their licence would be revoked but did not do so,” Moir explains. “Under those circumstances, the licence revocation is automatic and immediate.”
In May, HCRA noted Pinetree had started construction on or already built at least the following five homes without enrolling the homes with Tarion:
- 762 Montbeck Cres., Mississauga
- 119 Cumberland Drive, Mississauga
- 121 Cumberland Drive, Mississauga
- 739 Ebony Ave, Mississauga
- 1032 West Ave, Mississauga
The Home Construction Regulatory Authority, launched on February 1, 2021, is Ontario’s regulator for licensing the people and companies that build and sell new homes in the province.
For more information on the Pinetree complaints and order, see the file here.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising