Visitor Question: I purchased a new home in a new seven-phase development, and in hindsight, I never received a Developer's Plan. And, to my dismay, no other purchasers had either. Further, it does not appear a Developer's Plan was filed with the government authority as required
A formal request for the Developer's Disclosure Statement was made to the city, to no avail. Subsequently a request was made to the BCFSA (British Columbia Financial Services Administration), but according to their Records Department, there is no document on record.
Upon reading the BCFSA Real Estate Development Marketing Act, I understand a Disclosure Statement is required to be provided to purchasers and by law, it requires purchasers to sign acknowledgement of receipt.
The City has received applications to amend the Developer's Plan; these amendments were passed, but my question is what are they amending? The City's response to a FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) request was that it has no record of the Plan.
This community is one a "small town where everybody knows each other." But what I see is evidence of the "Broken Window Syndrome". Where no law is observed, then any law put in place to protect the purchaser has no value. The purchaser then becomes fair game to any related party or supplier to the real estate transaction who wishes to capitalize on marginalized groups: low income, seniors, retired, low educated, or those who are encouraged to NOT go through the expense of retaining an independent lawyer. Can you see where I'm going with this?
As a case in point, the landing and steps from a homeowner's manufactured home were removed by a dealer or broker to show a newly listed mobile home. The owner had to get a step ladder to access his home -- I kid you not.
Months after I made a formal request for investigation and made a complaint to the BCFSA (and getting the run around), the only thing that is clear is that it's not just a matter of "a small town where everyone knows everyone", but clearly one where there's a relationship or association between the "who's who" and the "who's not."
How is this a "thing"? Any thoughts?
Editors Comment: We are U.S.-based and not attorneys, but we wanted to make a couple of comments that seem to apply all over the Western world.
First, a certain percentage of the developers just will not do what they are supposed to do until someone forces the issue. That might be a government enforcing its own laws, or it might be a court requiring a certain behavior.
Clearly you have right on your side here, as the applicable law does appear to require just what you said, namely giving purchasers a copy of the plan.
Second, if there were any other professionals involved in the real estate transaction, giving real estate or legal advice, they are to blame as well.
Third, you have to decide what you want from the situation now, given everything that has happened. Is it important to you to have the Developer's Plan? If so, your choices are to insist that your city find the basic document that they have allowed to be amended, to go to court if that is permissible to obtain a copy, or to ask the developer for it. You also may be able to talk to your elected officials to put some pressure on provincial authorities in British Columbia to find what they also should have a copy of.
We can't really comment on whether this is part of a broader attitude about abusing people on the bottom of the social or economic ladder. It may just be that the developer, the city, and even the province are trying to avoid your discovering something undesirable in the Developer's Plan. It certainly seems like everyone involved is making it difficult for you to find out the truth.
It also is possible that this is one of those laws that even the people in government don't believe in and therefore they look the other way when it is ignored.
To explore this further, you and your neighbors probably would need to have a private attorney if you cannot coax the city or province to come up with the document in question.
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