RDN alleges Ballard Fine Homes issued fraudulent occupancy permits

June 13, 2023 | updated July 7 – The Regional District of Nanaimo alleges that at least three fraudulent occupancy permits were given to homeowners in 2022 by a representative of Ballard Fine Homes.

When acquiring a newly built home from a builder/developer, a home purchaser cannot move in without an occupancy permit issued by the local government authority certifying that the building has successfully complied with all applicable inspections.

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s Building Regulations Bylaw spells this out quite clearly. “No person shall occupy or use a building or part of it after construction of that building or part of it without first obtaining an Occupancy Permit.” (section 3.2)

This apparently is not the first time Gaudreault has ran afoul of BC building rules.

But, what if the builder gives you a fake Occupancy Permit? Seems unfathomable – what builder would risk the damaged reputation of such an act? According to court documents filed by the RDN, Ballard Fine Homes allegedly did just that.

Filings in B.C. Provincial Court claim that Ballard representative Darren Gaudreault of Parksville issued multiple fraudulent occupancy permits for three homes in the area.

Two of these new homes are in French Creek, the third in Meadowood.

Consequential penalties

The penalty for such an offence is intended to be consequential enough to serve as a deterrent.

The RDN’s Building Regulations Bylaw states that, ”a person who causes, suffers or permits an act or thing to be done in contravention or in violation of the Building Code or this Bylaw commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine and penalties as prescribed in the [BC] Offence Act.” (section 22 (1) b)

According to the RDN, Oceanside RCMP investigated the claims made by RDN bylaw enforcement officers Glen Forzley and Kari Miller. Three separate charges of Municipal Bylaw Offences each were filed against Ballard Fine Homes Ltd. and against Darren Gaudreault. *

Not the first offence for Gaudreault

This apparently is not the first time Gaudreault has ran afoul of BC building rules.

About ten years ago, according to BC Housing, “Island Dream Builders Inc., Darren Gaudreault, Marcel Gaudreault, and Monica Gaudreault, contrary to section 22(1) of the B.C. Homeowner Protection Act, built or caused to have built a new home in Qualicum Beach, B.C., without the New Home being registered for coverage by home warranty insurance provided by a warranty provider.”

The Gaudreaults and Island Dream Builders were issued a Compliance Order directing that they immediately register the New Home for coverage by home warranty insurance provided by a warranty provider, or provide the Home Protection Office with proof that the New Home is enrolled in a policy of home warranty insurance pursuant to section 22(1) of the Act.

The Gaudreaults complied.

The RDN’s allegations against Ballard Fine Homes and Darren Gaudreault have not yet been proven in court. The parties are scheduled for trial in July before Judge Tamara Hodge in Nanaimo Provincial Court.

Defendant Gaudreault is currently represented by Nanaimo lawyer Brian Sutton. Victoria lawyer Josh Bloomenthal is designated counsel for Ballard Fine Homes Ltd.

*Correction: The original published version of this story stated that information obtained from Court Registry files revealed that RCMP had validated the RDN’s claims, and that Regional Crown Prosecutor Leanne Mascolo had approved the charges. Ms. Mascolo was not involved in the Ballard / RDN file, and while the RCMP did investigate the RDN’s claims, they did not “validate” the claims. The error arose because a document from the Courthouse file that we cited had apparently been mis-filed and was not part of the Ballard / RDN matter. We apologize to the parties, and thank Ballard Fine Homes Ltd. for bringing this to our attention. July 7, 2023 at 3:23 pm PDT