“In a second, all our dreams turned into a nightmare”: buyers lose millions as developer files for bankruptcy
MONTREAL – The Association des constructeurs d’habitations du Québec (APCHQ) filed a complaint with the police against a developer in Laval who went bankrupt last week, but not before receiving at least $ 17 million deposits from potential buyers.
Lisa Alahaydoyan is one of those buyers.
His plan was to demolish a house in Laval and rebuild it into the one of his dreams with a two-car garage and possible swimming pool.
“It was the house of our dreams,” she said. “We worked meticulously to make sure each piece was the way we wanted it to be.”
She and her husband did business with a well-known contractor called Bel-Habitat Incorporated who promised delivery by January.
Afarin Pouroskouei had the same project for his family on the adjoining plot.
“We checked with previous clients, we went inside their homes, we checked their homes,” she said. “They were satisfied. Then we checked with other brokers and also with the banks and they said there was no problem, this company is reliable.”
The two faced the contractor around $ 200,000 to launch their respective projects, but they say there were red flags as the project progressed.
Delays, paperwork issues and rumors of unpaid invoices began to crop up, and just as they were about to hand over ownership of the land, the contractors filed for bankruptcy.
The two families lost all of their deposits, and they were not alone.
At least 100 Laval families found themselves in the same situation with the same business; often after years of saving for a down payment.
Luc Perrier is president of Bel-Habitat. CTV News visited his office, which doubles as a storefront house, but no one opened the door.
According to buyers, no one has seen him since he filed for bankruptcy.
Future owners were suspicious and say Perrier encouraged his customers to increase their deposits to 20% of the purchase price, leaving dozens in shambles.
“In a second, all of our dreams turned into a nightmare,” Pouroskouei said.
There is a silver lining, however, as in Quebec, new owners are protected by what is called the Builders’ Construction Guarantee, an industry watchdog group.
However, it only reimburses up to $ 50,000.
The Home Builders Association felt there were enough questions raised that they have now filed a complaint against Perrier with the police.