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

Pesky pothole problems persist

Mission mayor wants an explanation, apology from province for neglecting provincial highway

VIDEO: Two-year-old Mission girl dies after she was found unresponsive in pool

RCMP located toddler after she went missing from a daycare

VIDEO: Broken watermain cause of Lougheed flood

Mission crews have repaired the main by Mission Memorial Hospital

Abbotsford high school teacher charged with sexual offences involving two youths

Henry Kang, 50, charged with two counts each of sex assault and sexual exploitation

Province has been missing in action on flood protection, experts say

Political will to improve dikes lacking, says B.C.’s former flood safety chief

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Mission golf tournament attracts big crowd – including Santa

Event is a fundraiser for the 2018 Mission Christmas Bureau campaign

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

UPDATE: RCMP on scene to remove homeless housing protesters

Residents blocking the installation of modular housing in Maple Ridge

Most Read