Does the Olympic Village lawsuit stand a chance?
Real estate experts say that lawsuits from disappointed condo owners at Vancouver's former Olympic Village are predictable, while the outcome is anything but.
In five claims filed Wednesday, 62 owners are asking for their money back, alleging that they were victims of false advertising when they bought into the waterfront development. The suits claim that the suites are poorly designed and suffer from problems ranging from leaky pipes to faulty heating systems.
The owners also claim that the city was the true developer of the project -- not Millennium Southeast False Creek -- and that wasn't properly disclosed.
Real estate lawyer John Whyte says the lawsuits are entering an untested area of law.
"What they're trying to do is take advantage of a specific section of the Real Estate Development Marketing Act, which would permit them to rescind their contracts even after they completed. That section, as far as I know, has not been considered yet by any court," he told CTV News.
After the development was placed in receivership last year, prices at the Village were discounted by as much as 50 per cent.
Tsur Somerville at the University of B.C.'s Sauder School of Business says the lawsuits may just be sour grapes over discounted prices and decreased property values.
"You knew as soon as they went to market at a dramatically lower price point than the initial units had been sold at that people who bought at that higher price were going to try to find some way to get themselves out of the financial deal they were in," he said.
But plaintiffs Nicholas Gao and Yoko Chen, who took possession of their $600,000 suite in June, say they simply didn't get the quality they were promised when they bought during presales in 2008.
"Since we moved in, we have lots of problems, especially for heating and our floor is not even. It makes a squeaking sound," Gao said.
"If they delivered what they promised, we'd be happy to live here. But we didn't get what we paid for."
Chen says they were not planning to flip the home.
"We are not those investors that are just investing in the property and then resell it really quickly. We planned to live here for at least 5 years," she said.
George Macintosh, the city's lawyer, says that all necessary disclosures were made during sales. Major deficiencies, like a water pipe that broke in November, have since been repaired.
None of the allegations in the lawsuits have been proven in court.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson