To own a home in Metro Vancouver is to gain a foothold in the toughest housing market in the country.
But the owners of the 92 units at Murrayville House, a sold-out condo building at 221a Street in Langley, still wonder when they can move in, even one-and-a-half years after putting money down on their homes.
Coverage of Vancouver housing on Globalnews.ca:
The Lamb family owns one of the units after making a down payment in March 2016.
But since then, “it’s just been on and off, delay after delay,” Stephanie Lamb told Global News.
Lamb, who is currently living with family alongside her partner and a baby, said she began to worry last winter when “delays in the building were just becoming a little more, suspicious, I guess,” she said.
“Because really, how long does it take to do some landscaping? How long does it take to order a door? … So it kind of seemed like they were pushing it off on purpose,” she added.
One of the problems at the building is that its developer, Newmark Life, owed approximately $300,000 in back taxes to the Township of Langley.
Newmark said it had taken the project out of receivership from another developer.
READ MORE: Vancouver’s benchmark home prices crack $1M
The township could have auctioned off the units.
But Newmark avoided the auction when it made a $21,000 payment just before the tax deadline on Thursday afternoon.
The company is now “working hard to resolve the outstanding issues relating to the disagreements of the payout amounts between the lenders, so we can hand over the units to the homeowners,” said a statement from Jaspreet Dhaliwal, chief financial officer at Newmark Group of Companies.
In the meantime, condo owners like the Lambs and the Pfennigers have been left out of their own homes and forced to rent apartments and storage space elsewhere before they’re allowed to take ownership of their own property.
“We’ve been told there have been other people who have been homeless for a while,” Sharon Pfenniger told Global News.
But the building’s problems don’t end there.
A principal in the development company behind Murrayville House is set for a court appearance on Friday morning as he faces extradition to the U.S., in a case that involves charges of real estate fraud down south.
Meanwhile, the people who bought units in the building just want to go home.
“There’s a lot of rumours and hearsay about what’s going on with it,” Andreas Pfenniger told Global News.
“We just keep hoping it will be any day now. We wait and we wait.”