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

Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

RCMP nab prolific car thief in Agassiz after month-long search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Traffic snarls at Agassiz/Harrison bridge after biker falls on road

A road bicyclist fell from his bike while crossing the bridge and needed medical attention

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Most Read