Appeal launched after Murrayville condo pre-sale contracts cancelled by court decision

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Condo pre-sale buyers fight for their units

Dan Fumano
The Province

A group of dissatisfied would-be condo-buyers are appealing a B.C. Supreme Court decision to cancel pre-sale contracts for an embattled Langley development.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled this month that 40 pre-sale contracts, entered into over the last three years by dozens of people who sought to buy condos in the troubled Murrayville House development, were void.

The property is entangled in lawsuits, and its developer, Mark John Chandler, is simultaneously facing a police investigation, regulatory action, and fighting extradition to the U.S. to face fraud charges there.

A court-appointed receiver overseeing the 92-unit Murrayville House had recommended allowing 40 of the pre-sale buyers to complete their purchases and take possession of their units, a position supported by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate, a provincial watchdog agency.

But a group of private lenders who financed the Murrayville project opposed the receiver’s recommendation, arguing the contracts were all expired and the units must be re-sold at current market rates, in order to capture more value for the creditors.

Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick ruled that the contracts had expired, and the condos should be re-marketed immediately and sold, though she said she had “great sympathy for the position of the pre-sale purchasers who have become embroiled in this litigation and who have now potentially lost the ability to obtain what they hoped would be their homes.” She ordered the would-be buyers get “first refusal” for their units, although many buyers said they would not be able to afford the units at current market prices, estimated to be almost 50 per cent higher than the contract prices.

A notice of application to appeal was filed last week on behalf of eight of the pre-sale buyers, seeking to set aside Fitzpatrick’s decision. For the grounds of the appeal, the lawyers have alleged the court erred by failing to give weight to public policy concerns, and by accepting financial information from the developer “as fact, without any, or adequate, evidence.”

The lenders had said that although the situation of the pre-sale buyers was unfortunate, the judge’s decision was the only appropriate one.

Diego Solimano, the lawyer who filed the notice of appeal, said Friday: “This matter affects all consumers of real estate in British Columbia. Anyone who has purchased or is thinking of purchasing real estate in British Columbia should be concerned.”

“The right of first refusal, which has been offered to those individual purchasers, is illusory as many of the individual purchasers are now priced out of the market, if they are forced to buy the same unit that they purchased with a written contract in 2015, but now at 2018 market prices,” he said. 

This month’s court decision, Solimano said, “goes to the heart of, and undermines, consumer protection legislation in British Columbia.”

Solimano said any others affected by the Murrayville decision and interested in joining the appeal, should contact his office at

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