I’ve been writing a fare bit about a disturbing situation evolving in Oakville Ontario, where there is at least the appearance of unfair collusion between the Municipal Government in Oakville has allowed this shoddy builder to exploit consumers for over a year now!
The extreme abuse being cast onto paying customers (“consumers“) who have invested more than a million dollars, is simply egregious and serves as a true “Case Study” on everything that has to change in residential development in Ontario!
The founding principal for government is “to protect the people“, yet it is the entire system that is failing them, and this failure to effectively regulate this builder and therefore all builders, is occurring at a staggering frequency.
I know that it sounds like I am being harsh and to many people I may be construed as someone with personal issues with this builder or its owners.
Well, last week I got my hands on a law suit, filed by one of the other buyers in the Oakville property I’ve been blogging about.
I’ve had my fair share of threatened law suits having written what has been deemed a “controversial” blog for decades now (first as simplycondos.com/simplymansion.com and now simplycharles.com).
I’ve had more disappointing excuses of “educated professional lawyers” threaten frivolous law suits against me over the past couple decades of writing on important consumer related issues underpinning Condoland, than you can shake a stick at.
Developers know that the way a real estate license works, when they threaten to sue me they also serve Notice to my broker who’s legal fees I am obligated to pay.
I can defend myself as all Canadians have a legal right to do (not advised unless you know how to fight in the courts) but constantly facing legal fees for brokers gave them the leverage that they were after.
Just another disappointing reality out there that these highly educated so-called professionals earn their money by manipulating what in America is one’s right to “free speech” (no such deal in Canada) for pay.
In their Claim, this Plaintiff, one of my fellow buyers in this Oakville development, is suing this builder and the (totally legal) “shell company” set up for this one site and alleged to be an “MO” (method of operation) whereby “it declares bankruptcy immediately upon receiving its money” according to Plaintiff’s Affidavit), and three directors/owners of the company.
As I read through the Motion Record, Statement of Claim, etc., I was caught by how egregiously these party’s (collectively “Defendants“) had conducted themselves in dealing with this family, and the other families that have been required to live in this mess, since there was snow on the ground!
This builder’s outrageous conduct set out by this owner’s Claim, is so totally consistent with the case that I have been putting forward for weeks now, in which I make it abundantly clear that “the 18 consumers that trusted in the published representations within a developer’s sales brochures, contracts, sub-contracts and other printed material AND trusted in the protection of government involvement, have been and are continuing to be ‘exploited’, abused, and financially damaged“.
Now, let me say for the record, these named Defendants could not have gotten away with what they have been doing, IF “The SYSTEM HAD WORKED in the manner by which it was designed”.
The system has proven itself materially flawed here and once again the consumer is left “holding the bag“.
The shocking thing here is that the system HAD, in fact, been put in place in what, admittedly is an unique situation, whereby the “only way the developer or builder(s) could get paid was to deliver the pre-approved development of 18 detached million dollar plus homes”.
I say “unique” because the laws of Condoland have been so lapse and so abused for the almost four decades I’ve been in the business, that developers could move buyers into partially completed (one sink and bathroom, running water) condos in partially completed buildings with no wall paper or carpets in hallways, plywood lined elevators and the mess that is full blown construction site!
I’ve asked the question for years as to how such a ludicrous concept of “Occupancy” whereby buyers are required to take possession (“occupancy” really but they don’t have to occupy, they just have start paying the developer “Occupancy Fees” each month until “Registration“) could even be conceived let alone instituted into law.
I shared the concept of “Occupancy” with a Miami developer/friend of mine and he almost fell off his chair at lunch one day!
When I told him the concept was actually “law” in Ontario he was confused and dumbfounded!
Yet here we are with an entire industry driving the entire Province while forcing consumers to accept this ridiculous concept.
So, as a buyer of one of these 18 allegedly “upscale homes” and a thorough buyer that reads each document, upon seeing a bunch of legal documents referred to in the AP&S, I requested all of them before the expiry of the “Rescission Period” but they were not forthcoming for over a year, despite my repeated requests.
I’m a rather easy-going buyer, providing a Developer/Builder is doing their job, with Integrity, and we wanted this specific location. It actually was the location that made us jump at buying it site unseen over the Internet from Florida!
Having been thoroughly disappointed with the City of Toronto and having chosen to stop investing there all together, as the system and product are so drastically compromised that I do not see investing there as sound any longer, and looking all over the globe at varying types of real estate investments, Oakville proved a premier investment destination.
Oakville offers the safest and best investment for my wife and I, based on “capitalistic consideration” and “quality of life consideration“, both of which are equally as important to us at this point in life.
We investigated investing in mixed use buildings in small towns, but that was too extreme, and Oakville by the lake is definitively one of the nicest places that I’ve ever had the pleasure of considering as my home and I’ve lived all over.
I’ve blogged before about your “principal residence being the best investment that you will ever come across“.
You’ve got to live somewhere and it being the only legal tax free income that you will see, you simply cannot go wrong owning your own home.
The next best investment is paying off your mortgage and then you can say that the “heat is off” on your long term financial planning.
Third best investment is your next principal residence, keeping the first as an income property.
Having both paid off is the finish line in the race for financial independence.
Your cash on hand when that day arrives, coupled with your RSP’s should be pretty much “lagniappe” (a Cajun phrase meaning “gravy” or “extra bonus“).
The point is that a second owner in this development has seen this company’s and its owners’ “true colours” and those colours are dark and darker!
The law suit is a clearly articulated shameful account of downright “premeditated exploitation” by this builder who’s word means absolutely nothing.
This owner’s Pleadings prove a sad account that clearly shows “unethical and malicious conduct of the part of this builder” and “negligence on the part of this Municipality” in giving this unethical builder a license to exploit these consumers!
More sadly, is that this situation has “locked in” 18 unsuspecting buyers (“consumers” who were and are owed protection by the government) while giving the builder the opportunity to literally “grab the money and run“!
In the Statement of Claim the Plaintiff states: “On February 27, 2016 Sunrise’s site supervisor during a Pre-delivery inspection of the house suggested that Sunrise might be having financial problems and would likely file for bankruptcy as soon as all the condominiums in the subdivision were sold“.
And more sadly still, is that the Municipal Government of the Town of Oakville “failed in its duty to these consumers and despite there being a solid Sub-division Agreement in place, chose to give out “Occupancy Permits” in total contradiction of the Subdivision Agreement“!
It was the Municipality that drew up and executed the Subdivision Agreement, but for some unexplained reason (I’ve written to them requesting an explanation but have not heard back as of yet) they willingly chose to subvert the integrity of that Agreement to the best interests of the developer and builder at the sole expense of the consumers/buyers!
Immediately upon getting the Occupancy Permits this Builder imposed Occupancy (contrary to the Subdivision Agreement but obviously with the Municipality’s blessing and permission) onto the consumers that purchased (contrary to this specific ‘consumer protective clause‘ in the Subdivision Agreement)!
Can someone tell me what is going on here?
I didn’t think so . . . at least not without a whole lot of profanity!
Do you agree that the integrity of an Agreement, any Agreement, must be protected and upheld . . . or why have contracts at all, and then why have law at all?
So the Complaint, shows that at the very time that this builder was in financial difficulty, they were asking me to help them with a project that they were undertaking on highway #7 in Markham (the other end of Toronto)!
Having observed their decided lack of knowledge, skill and/or even a rudimentary awareness of the construction industry, I had told them that I could not nor would I put any clients into any of their properties, and explained, in detail why!
He still just didn’t get it!
The Pleadings read like a script from a hand of Bull Shit Poker!
To say that this builder has proven himself to be “pathological” would be an understatement!
I can tell you that if this guy’s lips are moving there is a very good chance that he is lying!
He’s got to be one of the most incompetent builders and/or business men that I’ve ever dealt with.
This to-be neighbour’s Claim paints a serious ethical issue against this guy, in that at the time of the “imposed Closing” (imagine the Subdivision Agreement stipulates that “no occupancy” without meeting specific provisions that were NOT MET!) this guy allegedly (according to the suit) pleaded with the Plaintiff that “without the Plaintiff’s co-operation to Close he may go bankrupt“.
He assured the Plaintiff that the many outstanding deficiencies in the home would be remedied immediately “if they would just help him by closing“.
They did and nothing has been remedied since!
The builder grabbed the money and ran!
What I find so egregious is that this guy had no legal right to even have the ability to impose Occupancy as without an “Occupancy Permit” (which must be granted by the Municipal Government who were party to the Subdivision Agreement) he would have no legal ability to do such a thing.
So this Plaintiff to this law suit, who now must reside in a semi-finished and deficient (and “unsafe” according to the Complaint) and who was allegedly supposed to be protected under the Subdivision Agreement written by and executed by the Municipality on the consumer’s behalf, has been force to hire an attorney and fight it out in court.
I went down to the courts last Friday to try to hear the pleading first hand but I was unable to locate to proper court room.
A copy of the title on the property was enclosed in the documents showing that many Tradespeople have put liens on this site due to “lack of payment“, validating this Plaintiff’s allegations.
The Title also shows serious mortgages taken out against the property at the same time as this builder bought a couple other sites Markham.
I told this guy to his face when I first met him that “I will make him famous if he tries exploiting his buyers like so many high rise developers downtown that I’ve fought with over my career“!
I even offered to write good coverage of him and his company providing they earned it by delivering a good product and quality service to their customers.
My invitations obviously fell on deaf ears as he’s been a decided disappointment from that time on.
This is your classic “little rich kid” (a la Donald Trump and many Condoland developers) syndrome!
I was told by multiple sources that his daddy is rich, lives in Dubai, and gave each of his (numerous) children a chunk of cash and the three amigos named in this law suit as defendants formed the company.
Every time I’ve worked with “Silver Spoon rich kid developers” it is obvious that they simply don’t get it in life, in business, and in reality and by “it” I mean anything and everything.
They live sheltered lives that leave them helpless when it comes to the reality of life.
They lack respect for the consumers that buy from them as they’ve never had to really earn money and never had to give it away to some stranger with a well written web site full of lies, brochures full of lies and hollow promises with no intentions to fulfill!
They frequently are highly educated (thanks to dad’s deep pockets) but seldom street wise or aware of key things that keep you alive in life like “integrity“, “honour” and/or “ethics” (take a look at Trump).
So now, this consumer, after being abused by the municipality that failed to require the developer and builder to comply with the Subdivision Agreement, and who issued the Occupancy Permits in contradiction of the Subdivision Agreement, and who Registered a POTL before it was completed, which has materialized into the physical mess that these consumers find themselves forced to live in today!
What good are contracts and promises of professional oversight when a situation like this is allowed to manifest itself today?
The Municipality has some explaining to do!
I’ve written to the Municipality but have not heard back since the supervisor went on holidays in August.
I don’t want everyone to get bogged down with how this mess has occurred or who’s fault it is. That’s what courts are good at.
I want to see the torment of these consumers put to rest. I have refused to move in, quoting Tarion requirements for Notices (something NOT HONOURED to date with any of these other purchasers) so I’m really, at this point, talking on behalf of these and all consumers!
All 18 houses have been fully constructed.
People are living there in the dirt, noise and debris.
It is time that the Municipal Government step forward and notify the developer that “the time is now to fulfill its obligation under the Settlement Agreement“.
It is time that the Municipal Government respect the best interests of those 18 families who relied upon the municipal government to protect their best interests and their investment in their home and to simply admit that a mistake has occurred and set about making things right at the earliest possible time.
It is unreasonable to think that these families should have to live through another winter without proper grading and drainage (leaky basements) landscaping, etc., when this work can easily be completed immediately through a very little amount of initiative by those who allowed this tragedy to happen.
The owners have suffered enough!
Simple grading, drainage, landscaping are unquestionably best completed in the fall.
There simply is no excuse for what has happens but less so, if this situation is allowed to continue going forward.
I’ll be keeping you informed.
Municipality of the Town of Oakville