Buyers hope for court win in Lower Mainland condo case

An appeal has been scheduled for pre-sale buyers in the Murrayville House case.

Would-be buyers of condos in the beleaguered Murrayville House project are appealing a judge’s decision that saw their pre-sale contracts cancelled.

Fred West has been waiting two and a half years since he and his wife put down their payment for a condo in the project.

After numerous construction delays plagued the project, it was finally completed physically late last year. However, legal wrangles between the creditors, the pre-sale buyers, and the builder continue. The project is in receivership and remains empty as ownership is sorted out.

On April 4, pre-sale buyers were devastated by a ruling that their contracts had essentially expired, and mortgage lenders to the project took priority.

The pre-sale buyers would have right of first refusal to buy their units, but at current market prices.

That’s impossible for many of the owners, who put down their deposits before condo prices skyrocketed.

“We paid somewhere in the vicinity of $340,000, and it was going to be listed for $503,000,” West said of the condo he’d planned to buy.

Now a judge has sent the matter to the B.C. Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel will hear arguments by a group of 22 buyers, represented by Solimano Law, on June 12.

“One for the little guys,” said West.

He admitted the buyers have no idea what the appeals court judges will decide, but he was very satisfied they’ll get a hearing.

If the appeals court overturns the ruling and sides with the pre-sale buyers, it could set a legal precedent for similar real estate situations in B.C.

On April 4, Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick had ruled that mortgage holders had legal priority over pre-sale buyers.

Creditors who financed various mortgages are owed more than $51 million in principal and interest.

The lenders had opposed allowing the pre-sale buyers to fulfill their contracts. They argued for selling the units at market price so they could recoup more of the money they are owed.

An appraisal of the project showed that the units’ value was 46 per cent higher than contract prices.

There are 92 units in the building. Courts are still sorting out the ownership of many of the remaining units, which had even more complicated issues to resolve. Fitzpatrick described the situation as “chaos” at one point in her April 4 judgment.

The primary developer of the project, Mark Chandler, was ordered extradited to the United States earlier this year to face a fraud charge in California. He is currently appealing that ruling.

The RCMP has also confirmed it is investigating the situation around Murrayville House.

Just Posted

Whalley falls in first game of Little League World Series

Team Canada goes down to powerful Panama in Williamsport

Surrey looks to target illegal dumpers with surveillance cameras

Since 2007, illegal dumping has cost the City of Surrey more than $8.5 million dollars

Peacock trapping to commence in early September, says City of Surrey

Since plan approved in June, bylaw has focused on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Downtown Surrey BIA announces all-candidates meetings

BIA plans three events for civic candidates this September, ahead of the Oct. 20 election

Pauline Greaves joins mayoral race in Surrey

Greaves says she will run as an independent, but ‘joining a slate is under consideration’

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

VIDEO: World of Magic coming to Vancouver

Seven magic shows will appear at the Vancouver Playhouse from September 7 to 9

Safeway union urgest rejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

VIDEO: RibFest kicks off in Langley

Free event features barbecue ribs, chicken, pork and brisket from Canada’s top rib artists

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Most Read