3 years after buying a house, the promoter claims an additional $175,000 from them

Several buyers maintain that the promoter, Briarwood Development Grouptold them in the last few weeks that they either had to pay an additional amount for their house or sign a waiver agreement in which they would lose their property and have their deposit refunded.

The promoter of the real estate project Ashton Meadowswhich aims to build homes about 125 kilometers north of Toronto, maintains that the additional amount is used to cover the rising cost of labor and materials as well as logistical problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.

In a statement, the company said strive to address these challenges and find constructive solutions moving forward.

Buyers disagree. They believe they are victims of the promoter’s greed. Premier Doug Ford previously indicated the province would intervene in such a situation, but some experts say the government isn’t doing enough to protect buyers.

Jennifer LeFeuvre and her husband bought a house from the subdivision Ashton Meadows in 2019. They had then agreed with the developer on a house at a price of $605,000 and had paid a deposit of $62,500. The house was originally supposed to be ready on August 31, 2021, but Briarwood started reporting delays during the pandemic.

Briarwood Development Group argues that the pandemic is the source of the additional costs.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Doug Husby

In May 2022, Mrs. LeFeuvre received a note informing her that the house would not be finished before 2023. The developer then gave her the option to forego the purchase of the property. She and her husband decided to continue the work.

Then, in July, Briarwood announced to them that they had to pay an additional $175,000 to the $605,000, more than three years after the signing of the initial agreement. Again, the promoter gave them the option to terminate the contract.

What they told us is that they don’t want to sell us this house. They want to sell it to someone else for that new price, believes Ms. LeFeuvre. She and her husband didn’t want to sign anything that day. Instead, they hired a lawyer.

The pandemic devastating for the industry, according to the promoter

Dennis Williams finds himself in the same position after buying a $787,000 home from Briarwood Development Group. The promoter also gives him the choice of paying an additional $175,000 or abandoning the purchase and having his deposit of $77,000 reimbursed.

They trick peopleargues Mr. Williams who believes it is just a ploy to make more money.

In an email, Svitlana Mandrus, spokesperson for Briarwood, blames the pandemic for the current situation. According to her, COVID-19 has been devastating for the building construction industry.

We have always been committed to treating our partners and customers with the utmost respect as we work with them to solve the many challenges that the pandemic has brought.can we read in the email.

For real estate lawyer Bob Aaron, developers are using the pandemic as an excuse.

Portrait of attorney Bob Aaron.

Toronto real estate lawyer Bob Aaron says the province needs to do more to protect buyers in similar situations.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Farrah Merali

We have greedy promoterssays Mr. Aaron, before adding that these situations only occur because the government allows them.

Last November, Doug Ford denounced a similar practice by the promoter of a condominium project in Barrie. He then maintained that the promoters had to cover the additional costs if an agreement had already been reached with the buyers.

He also pledged to prevent this practice totally unfair.

Questioned last Friday about the situation of the buyers of the subdivision Ashton MeadowsDoug Ford recalled his zero tolerance for developers who impose additional costs on buyers. We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and make sure they can’t pull the rug out from under buyers’ feet.did he declare.

The Department of Public and Business Services says it is cracking down on bad actors and defend buyers against the practices immoral.

Matteo Guinci, a spokesperson for the ministry, said in an email that the province has implemented a code of ethics for promoters. He also explains that he contributed to the protection of buyers by creating the Office of Housing Construction Regulation (ORCL). Founded in February 2021, the body can impose fines ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 on promoters who do not comply with the code.

It is still uncertain if theORCL considered the case of Briarwood. The organization did not respond to questions at the time of posting.

Low fines, lawyer says

Mr. Aaron, a real estate lawyer, believes that the province’s code of ethics is poorly defined and does not protect buyers in situations like those experienced by Ms. LeFeuvre and Mr. Williams.

For him, the finesORCL are far too modest to deter promoters.

Ontario shoppers deserve better…the government is not protecting consumers, »

A quote from Bob Aaron, Real Estate Lawyer

Meanwhile, Jennifer LeFeuvre is left to herself and dreads the legal procedures that await her.

She says she voted for Doug Ford in the last election, partly because of his promise to support the working class. Will he support me now?, asks Ms. LeFreuvre.

With information from CBC’s Adam Carter

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