Maggie and Jim thought they would be moved into their new homes at the Murrayville House condominium project in Langley by September at the latest.
Instead, with the project in legal limbo and their move-in on hold, they’ve been scrambling to find temporary accommodation and racking up thousands of dollars in unexpected debt.
The two buyers agreed to be interviewed by The Times about their experience with the troubled project on condition their real names were not used.
Both are concerned about getting dragged into the multiple lawsuits flying around the 92-unit building, which has been placed under receivership by the provincial Superintendent of Real Estate.
Maggie and Jim bought separate units in the condominium at 5020 221A Street and sold their homes in July and August because they were told by Newmark, the builder of the project, that the move-in was finally going to happen after many postponements.
“It kept on being bumped and bumped and bumped,” Maggie said.
After putting off selling his home because of the delays, Jim said he finally told Newmark “I have to have a closing date.”
He got a phone call from a Newmark customer relations person, who said it would be the end of July, so he sold.
Then, the move-in was delayed yet again.
“I thought, maybe (I’d spend) a few days in a hotel,” Jim said.
It turned out to be two months.
Jim estimates he paid $10,000 in hotel bills between August and September, starting with a stay at a Holiday Inn then moving to a less expensive motel.
Maggie estimated she’s spent about $5,000 so far, not just on temporary accommodation, but on storage fees and other unexpected expenses, like having to buy cold-weather clothing because “the seasons have changed and your boots are in storage.”
Renting is not a realistic option because most landlords want a minimum of a one-year lease, the buyers said.
At one point, Jim even considered buying another condo, just to have a place while he waits for the Murrayville House mess to get sorted out, but decided not to proceed.
Maggie and Jim said they know at least two Murrayville House owners who have done exactly that, bought another condo in another community while they wait.
On Oct. 4, a B.C. Supreme Court ruling put the Bowra Group Inc. in charge of the troubled Murrayville House condo complex, which has sat empty while creditors complain the company that owns it owes them millions of dollars that it has failed to pay.
Legal action has been taken by the lenders of Murrayville House, and there are liens against the property for unpaid trades.
Court documents filed with the B.C. Supreme Court registry in New Westminster allege debts in excess of $16 million.
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