Changes to Compliance and Penalties
The amendments to the Act contain some important changes to the HPO’s compliance and enforcement system.
The changes primarily involve the addition of “administrative penalties”. These penalties are issued and administered by the HPO directly and include compliance orders and monetary penalties.
Previously, if a person contravened the Act or Regulations, the primary tool available to the HPO, particularly for unlicensed individuals, was to request that Crown Counsel prosecute an offence. The use of administrative penalties in lieu of prosecutions will provide a more efficient and fair balance of penalties. The ability to prosecute offences will remain an important component of the HPO’s compliance mechanisms, to be reserved for more serious compliance situations.
Compliance orders and monetary penalties may be issued for the same types of non-compliance identified as offences in the Act, such as:
- building, selling or offering for sale a new home that is neither covered by home warranty insurance nor exempt from the requirement
- conducting the business of a residential builder without being licensed
- representing oneself as a Licensed Residential Builder without being licensed
- an owner builder selling or offering to sell a new home before the date permitted
- an owner builder failing to provide the required disclosure notice to a prospective purchaser of the home, and
- obstructing the Registrar or Compliance Officer in the exercise of their powers.
Monetary penalties of up to $25,000 may be imposed on a person by the Registrar for non-compliance with the Act or Regulations, a compliance order, or a condition of a licence or Owner Builder Authorization. If a person does not comply with either a compliance order or a monetary penalty and the order or penalty has not been successfully appealed, the HPO may apply to the Supreme Court of BC for a court order to compel compliance or payment.
The facts relating to compliance orders or monetary penalties will be made public on the HPO website.
Questions and Answers about the Appeal Board
Q: Which decisions of the Registrar can be reviewed or appealed?
A: The following decisions, made on or after November 19, 2007, may be appealed:
- Decisions with respect to a residential builder licence
- Decisions with respect to an application for an Owner Builder Authorization
- Decisions with respect to an application by an owner builder to sell a new home earlier than otherwise permitted, and any conditions placed on the permission
- Issuance of a compliance order or amendment to a compliance order, and
- Issuance of a monetary penalty.
Q: How can a request for review be made?
A: The person who is the subject of the decision can fill out a Request For Review form within 30 days of the decision. The Registrar will review the decision as requested and will notify the person requesting the review in writing of the Registrar’s decision, the reason for the decision, and the person’s right to appeal that decision to the appeal board.
Q: What is the process for appealing a decision?
A: If the person is not satisfied with the Registrar’s Review the person may, within 30 days of receiving notice of a review decision, appeal the decision to the Safety Standards Appeal Board.
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