‘Nobody Loves You When You’re Down 30% And Out’ – “This is not my fault. All I did is I just paid one point three million for this unit”

From Olympic Village Lawsuit‘, 16 Mar 2011, cbc.ca
“A lawsuit by a group of very unhappy condo owners.”

“Water dripping from the ceiling into toilets, or through light fixtures…”

“This owner’s apartment was without heat for 4 months after the heat and cooling system in the ceiling ruptured.”

Owner One voice over: “This is not my fault. All I did is… I just paid one point three million for this unit.”
Announcer: “That’s right, one point three million. He and owners have had enough.”

Owner Two (Mary Fines) “It’s not what we bought. [No, you bought something selling for about 50% more than it’s selling for now. -ed.] We’ve been lied to.”

“Lawyers say that it’s a first for Vancouver real estate, so many people, 62, wanting out of so many buildings, 5 in total.”
“It’s not just shoddy construction, like windows leaking when it rains…”

“…it’s about master bedrooms with no room for a queen-size bed…”

“The lawyers say, as owners of the land, and the lender, the City of Vancouver has an obligation to step in and fix these problems, or give the owners their money back.”
[Lawyer for Plaintiffs, Bryan Baynham]: “The product isn’t there. They were promised world class luxury and they got delivered something far far less.”

“The lawyer representing Marketer Bob Rennie suspects the recent price reductions of unsold condos may have something to do with this civil suit:
[Lawyer for Marketer, George Macintosh]“The arguments which are advanced officially… right?.. are.. are just attempts… right?… to get a complaint, when really what they’re upset about is the market price has changed.” [Agreed. -ed.]

“While the lawyers were talking today, Bob Rennie the marketer, mayor Gregor Robertson, and city staff, declined to comment or were unavailable to do so.” [Now that’s newsworthy… -ed.]

Owners love real estate when it goes up, but ruthlessly lose feeling for it when it becomes a leaking, cash-bleeding, price-dropping albatross. Expect more litigation in coming years. – vreaa

68 responses to “‘Nobody Loves You When You’re Down 30% And Out’ – “This is not my fault. All I did is I just paid one point three million for this unit”

  1. From reading this blog, it seems like there’s a RE story on the Vancouver TV news every day.

    • Restaurant Unemployee

      well it’s perfectly normal for a local newscast to frequently report on the main economic engine within the region.

      spec-u-laaa-tion land! (to the tune of south park’s “imagination land”)

  2. We live in a high end condo in North Vancouver, two towers, 196 units, I think that about 40 are sold. The build quality is horrible, lots of mechanical failures. We lease, would never buy here, the strata costs are going to be very high to manage this large, complicated building as it ages and the warranty comes off.

  3. For $1.3 million in Vancouver, this IS luxury.

    Still can’t stop laughing at these idiots.

    • Restaurant Unemployee

      this is really the first generation en masse that has fully expected LUXURY at all moments of their day.

      it’s fucking stupid. nothings worse than leather seats in the summer with no tint on the windows.

      • ‘Luxury’ is so yesterday, RU…

        The signage in front of one local (‘HillBillyRiviera’) low rise/wooden frame (and otherwise unremarkable) condo development which has yet to unload it’s inventory of suites (more than two years after completion), prominently features the following copy…

        “Lavish suites”…

        I am minded to think of the young Christian Bale as ‘Jim Graham’ in Spielberg’s Empire of The Sun – explicating to John Malkovich’s ‘Basie’ on the most productive post-occupation Shanghai neighbourhoods to loot/salvage…

        Jim: There certainly was good living, Basie. There – there was opulence!

        Basie: Heh heh. Opulence. Frank, we’ll go and take a look at some of these houses. Let’s go, Frank. Opulence. …

  4. That is the risk with so many -pre-sale condos and you are looking at a show suite inside a trailer or store front. Buyer beware!

  5. Kilby Snow – what building are you in? (name and address)

  6. And nobody has an ounce of pity for these owners. Nor will they have any of compassion for anyone who buys at these prices and gets slaughtered if house prices drop. We have a ruthless society when it comes to money. With all the scorn renters get, that should be abundantly clear.

    • Restaurant Unemployee

      i honestly believe that people have a sort of internal calculator running.. like if Jane bought at 150 in 1990 and sold at 900k in 2011 they just sort of think ‘well that’s 600% in 21 years – i’ll stay for 3 years and just take an 85% return, yeah, that’ll be good.

      oh well, my industry is going to get flattened, possibly.

  7. Tomorrow’s the big day when new mortgage rules will come into effect.

  8. The City of Vancouver is refusing to allow permits for the two towers that Concord Pacific wants to built opposite the Olympic Village on the north side of False Creek until and unless Concord builds the park and school that is promised to build twenty years ago – Concord has offered a temporary park (15 years) on an empty lot if the city will permit construction. The city, to my amazement, is refusing the permits. Perhaps the city is starting to realize that more shoddy empty condos is not a true economy.

  9. Get ready for Leaky Condo Crisis, Part 2.

  10. beating a dead whorse

    if the lawsuit doesn’t work, there’s always this strategy. people take this sort of thing seriously, right?

    i’m totally not a crank, btw


  11. “beating a dead…” has an interesting point. Will the building inspectors find willful sabotage? It is a provocative coincidence that these are the same angry buyers concerned about having paid 30% more than other residents. My money’s on Macintosh for this one.

  12. Meanest Operate Unruly

    i hope you like anagrams

    it’s funny, i wasn’t really implying that it was willful sabotage, just that the plaintiffs – being mostly flippers anyways and therefore probably lacking any shame – would resort to spectacle for attention.

    it’s funny, while we in vancouver are crying over broken dreams the rest of the world has all sorts of real human drama happening. and probably not one of these people fretting about being leveraged to the tah-tahs gives one shit about any of it. they’ve got their own meltdowns and little civil wars on their hands. they’ll get on the news to piss about the lack of luxury but they won’t WATCH the news and be pissed at how the country’s being run. probably because (up until now) it’s worked quite well for them. usually i am against the developers, but i really feel with companies like Fortress (at the beginning – i know they are not involved anymore, correct?) in the mix, it’s caveat emptor all the way.

    the funny part is that both bedrooms in my rental apartment are bigger than those bedrooms! suckers

  13. Okay, now I’m very, very confused…….

    Didn’t the 27 year old Homeopath say these condos were the “best value in the city” on Global TV a few days ago….? What gives???

    Save us, Bob Rennie!!!!!


  14. Hahahahahaha I work in construction as do most of my friends and we happened to take a look at what was going on there during the build. Let’s just say this didn’t come as a surprise, as a matter of fact this is just the beginning. Any tears I shed are strictly from laughing my ass off.

  15. My sympathy is used up this week. Sorry, cannot-be-bothered-to-measure-a-bedroom-before-buying persons.

    If you bought it because you thought the price would go up, that’s not shelter, it’s gambling. Now you found out it IS shelter and a shoddy version at that. Keep your priorities straight from the get-go next time. It will work out better.

  16. Hilarious. I’m waiting for the build quality issues with Woodward’s & any other tower within walking distance of the Amsterdam Cafe on Hastings. From working in that neighbourhood, I saw a LOT of young men in hard hats smoking pot on their lunch hours. I imagine the attention to detail may not be quite up to snuff.

    • Restaurant Unemployee


      i bowled 200 once completely fried

      the reality is that often when you are stoned and performing a task your focus actually improves, not to mention that being stoned makes the most unbearable chores slightly more enjoyable – when you are enjoying your work you will generally do your work BETTER.

      there is a difference between alcohol and marijuana – but you’ll have to try them both to find out! lol

  17. So let’s not feel too much schadenfreude for these owners and figure out how much $ the City would pay them to stfu.

    ~250 units for sale at avg price of say $800k (guess). That is $200MM on the table. Prices are affected by 2%, that’s $4MM drop in values due to bad press. Give them $3MM to go away, divide by 60 is $50k each.

    Problem is this could open up the lawsuit floodgates. Hard to see coming away from this without a loss.

    Maybe Rennie st al should have sold all units off as quickly as possible (within a couple of months) with deeper discounts and washed their hands of it. In the words of Yoda, “Now things are worse.”

  18. How deep a discount is required to move the remaining inventory?!

    Poor workmanship plagues OV

    • Wow.. that is quite the video.
      It was made by the lawyer for the plaintiffs. We note that some of the identical footage seems to have been used in the CBC piece; interesting.
      The deficiencies are far worse than we had imagined. Really shoddy work, even by Vancouver-boom standards.

    • First, I have ZERO sympathy for them! The buyers have not done their homework.
      Second, I find it interesting that that owners haven’t made these issues public before the big discount sale. Perhaps they were keeping it secret as long as they believed that it is possible to make money by selling the units to greater fools?

    • OMFG I am NEVER buying a Vancouver condo.

    • To be honest, a lot of those deficiencies are fixable with subsequent contract work. Even the “top rated” condo developers have long lists of problems like these that they work through in the months following occupancy. I don’t know what’s happening with these units on that front but the City should commission someone to schedule fix dates with contractors.

      This video has convinced me more than ever these owners are either ignorant, greedy, or both. That said, the small rooms is a glaring problem. How the heck do you fix that? I’ve seen this sort of thing before and it’s become the norm. When buyers start demanding and getting better wording in their contracts to handle these things, we know BC has woken up. Until then, we’re collectively inviting this type of shoddy workmanship.

    • Hahaha. Okay, sorry, but especially the small bed rooms are just too funny (well, I don’t have money in it).

      This reminds me of a Condo I looked at renting in Toronto back in 2003, It was Winter and I walked through the door and my shoulders in the winter jacket actually scraped along both sides of the hallway. Yes, it was that narrow.

      The living room was a “triangle”, how you could fit a couch there completely eluded me. I didn’t even consider renting it, much less would I have considered buying it, but clearly someone had.

      The building deficiencies don’t surprise me either. A guy I know worked on the OV and I asked him what he thought of the build quality, he just shrugged back then (late 2009) and told me it’ll hold up until the party is over. Guess he was right.

  19. all I have to say is:


    If you’re that desprate to “get in the game”, buy a frickin REIT stock! They were up 20%+ on average last year, and pay 5%-10%.

  20. specialfx3000

    This may sound bad, but I felt no sympathy after watching the video… instead I chuckled.

    Why does it surprise these owners that the queen-sized bed barely fits? Don’t they use the ikea measuring tape to measure their bed and compare with the floor-plans?

    The builders did something really well. The leak from the ceiling dripped directly into the toilet. That takes skill.

    • Restaurant Unemployee

      LOL too funny

    • Call in Mike Holmes for a Holmes inspection…. I am sure he can gut the place and “make it right” in about 6 months. or better yet…. call Shell Susy and ask him how to fix these simple problems, I am sure the house smart people would love a crack at these fixes…. LOL

      • Restaurant Unemployee

        could you imagine what would happen if Mike Holmes went in there?

        i doubt he’d have much nice to say – but when it’s all said and done he’d leave it in better shape than he found it. i have a lot of respect for him.

  21. I have some sympathy for the owners on the issue of shoddy workmanship, leaks, etc. but none whatsoever when it comes to room sizes. Did people not think to look at the plans and measure their furniture before signing on the dotted line?

    • I’d actually say the opposite. Those rooms are so small it is unreasonable. The contract, however worded, has some requirement for providing something liveable. The cosmetic stuff can be fixed, including most of the envelope issues. Shoddy, yes, but they fix it as best they can.

      • specialfx3000

        But it is livable… lots of people bought recently when the prices discounted and having the opportunity to view the completed units.

        The original owners are just choked.

        If prices continue to drop (which I’m sure they will), the recent owners will start to protest as well.

        Pass the popcorn.

      • They promised to provide something of a certain size, if they did that they’re in the clear.

        It’s not the first condo where that is the case, but it is a very prominent one, maybe people will finally wake up to the fact(s) that it’s mostly a con.

      • “maybe people will finally wake up to the fact(s) that it’s mostly a con”

        CBC Marketplace ran an exposee on these types of problem back in early 2008. Nobody can claim there weren’t warning signs out there. There is what the contract states and what is reasonable. I don’t know how the law would work in this situation but there is often some semblance of what’s reasonable set forward in court decisions (and IANAL).

        Here’s the VCI piece that links to the CBC Marketplace piece:

        It pays to be cynical IMO. Spread the gospel and this town will be the better for it.

      • When the windows arived on site it didn’t take long to find out that almost all of them were waaay wrong in terms of fit. The leaking from the ceiling, etc. these aren’t easy fixes like replacing door trim, they are really labor intensive and dirty jobs, made even more difficult by the fact that the suites are occupied already. No, these problems are bad and we’ll see more bowed walls and buckling floors soon.

        That’s what happens when you have concrete formers installing drywall and other tradesmen doing work they had no business doing.

      • Restaurant Unemployee

        i’ve seen east van basement suites with better build quality 😉

  22. jesse said: :This video has convinced me more than ever these owners are either ignorant, greedy, or both. ”
    The “fresh-off-boats” .. err prolly, ‘cough’. Not likely for those in the industry and related-industry. That photo on facebook must be taken a decade ago!
    * Mortgage Professional at Dominion Lending Centers
    * Mortgage Professional at TMG The Mortgage Group

    • Reap what you sow…

    • From all the people I know who bought presale condos, I can tell you it’s not just naturalized middle-class Canadians who are buying, a significant number of Canadian-born people of all income tiers are buying presales too. The concept that presale contracts are “take it or leave it” is contagious like the common cold.

  23. source: mingpao March 18th, 2011

    out of the 62 plaintiffs
    1/4 or 15 are of Chinese heritage
    1/2 are of Korean root
    thus, 3/4 of them are of Asian origin

    • In an apparently unrelated development from the same Chinese district (Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region) that brought us, ‘Wild Horses Can’t Keep Me Away!!’…

      [ChinaDaily] – Police nab 196 in pyramid selling fraud

      …”Those who were trapped in the scam were required to seduce more people to join the scheme in the name of investing in the real estate market amid a regional development drive. Instead of selling any apartments, the ring made profit by cheating and forcing its members to turn in at least 50,800 yuan ($7,732) as operational fees. The ring, without registering any offices, just operated in hotels or rented houses.”…


    • Meanest Operate Unruly

      are we laughing at the fact she has zero testimonials on her site?
      or her terrible grammar and spelling?

      is that her in the video with the sliding door?

  24. Today we are in Vancouver, and I promise you a very special 2 hour Holmes Inspection as we are coming to you from the home of the 2010 Olympics. First we will examine a 1.2 million dollar condo of Mr. and Mrs. Woo from mainland China who are complaining about the high strata fees and still have water dripping from the light fixtures.

    Second we will attempt what has been said impossible to do, we are going to give the HeeHaws a bedroom that will fit their bed.

    But first lets go inside this BILLION dollar complex and see what we can find. I am guessing that the tax payers will not like me too much when I am done. Before I begin thou, let me introduce you to my new friends Gordon, Ozzie, Gregor, Rennie, and the rest of the Vanoc team….

    “… What yellow package … hey we are still rolling here….”

    This is/was so predictable and a stick it to the city’s tax payers all the way…

    Christie better have some serious plans for when the SHTF in Vancouver it could get ugly for her, (then again she was an air head last time in office so why stop now)

  25. The video fails to mention that the 2 purchasers in the video are involved in real estate. Yoko Chen (real estate agent) and Mary Fines (real estate mortgage broker) and sadly they were speculating that the values of their units would sky rocket in price. Now they are wanting us tax payers to save them from their pre-sale purchase. I wish I could get my money back from the stock market after valuations have dropped, even though the company stocks I purchased were promised to be “worth” it.

    • We didn’t know that, but we’re not surprised.
      Thanks for the info.
      Many insiders will be BBQed when the market implodes, because they believe their own schtick, and have drunk deeply.
      Imagine how it warps one’s perspective when you daily see 100s of thousands of dollars being made by flippers.

  26. The owner-plaintiff bears striking resemblance of a Shanghai fashion designer.

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