Murrayville House. File photo

Appeal court to hear challenge of Langley condo case

Murrayville House buyers want order “disclaiming” sales agreements overturned

Lawyers representing buyers in the troubled Murrayville House condo project in Langley have won a temporary stay of a court ruling that would force the purchasers to pay substantially higher prices than the units were originally sold for.

The group of 40 buyers has been granted leave to appeal the April 4 decision by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick, who ruled that they would not be able to purchase units at the prices they originally agreed upon.

The appeal will be heard June 12.

The application to overturn the decision was originally filed by lawyer Diego Solimano on behalf of eight named appellants. That number has now increased to 20.

Solimano called the ruling “an important step.”

The ruling was greeted as promising news for the people who signed agreements to buy units in the 92-unit condo at 5020 221A St. as far back as 2015, but they are not celebrating just yet.

“I don’t think it’s a victory, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Nolan Killeen, one of the buyers who speaks for a group of Murrayville House purchasers.

Several buyers have been house-sitting and renting rooms in hotels and bed-and-breakfasts while they’ve waited to move into the building.

Others, like Killeen, have since bought other condominiums to avoid being priced out of the market.

Killeen said some sales agreements were signed as far back as the fall of 2015, when some one-bedroom units in the project were selling for as little as $199,000.

READ MORE: Losses mount for buyers of troubled Langley condo project

If the April 4 decision is upheld by the appeals court, it would require buyers with signed pre-sale agreements to pay $100,000 to $200,000 above the original agreed-upon price if they are forced to pay current market rates.

Murrayville House ended up in receivership on Oct. 4, 2017, after months of wrangling between the builder and various creditors that prevented buyers from moving in.

The Bowra Group Inc., the court-appointed receiver in charge of untangling the condo project’s finances, has reported that a number of the units in the four-storey wood frame condo have been sold more than once, with 31 units sold twice, 12 units sold three times, and one unit sold four times.

READ MORE: Stalled Langley condo project owes $62 million, receiver says

The receiver recommended 40 of those 149 deals should be recognized and the buyers ought to be allowed to complete the deals.

The B.C. Supreme Court judge disagreed, saying it came down to the rights of the creditors, who would get more back if the units were sold at current market rates, versus the rights of the people who signed pre-sale agreements more than two years ago when real estate prices were lower.

Mario Mainella, Senior Vice President at Bowra Group, said until the appeal court rules on the matter, everything is on hold.

“We’re stuck at a red light right now,” Mainella told the Times.

“We can’t market or sell any units until the Court of Appeal renders a decision.”

Representatives of the project developer did not immediately respond to Times requests for comment.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Scouts in Langley learn how to communicate during emergencies

Weekend event at Camp McLean part of worldwide Jamboree On The Air and Jamboree On The Internet

Halloween on horseback

Langley riders club celebrates the season

ELECTION 18: Langley Township, you chose Jack Froese for mayor

Township voters went with a familiar face, handing incumbent a third term as mayor

Giants busy on ice in Langley and on the road

A teen goalie helps the squad during a glut of games.

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Voter turnout at 36% in B.C.’s municipal election

Vancouver saw 39% turnout, Surrey saw 33%

Harry and Meghan travel in different style on Australia tour

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day seven of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

The online auction features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe, with the sale scheduled for 31 October and 8 November.

In Khashoggi case: Saudi calls, ‘body double’ after killing

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the son of Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom announced early Monday, to express condolences for the death of the journalist killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by officials that allegedly included a member of the royal’s entourage.

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur waives right to preliminary hearing

Bruce McArthur, a 67-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been ordered to stand trial on eight counts of first-degree murder.

N.B. village faces backlash after council raises ‘straight flag’

Chipman Mayor Carson Atkinson says the flag met the village council’s criteria because it “recognizes, accepts and respects the rights of individuals under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Most Read