He Signed $400K Deal for Home, Was Told to Pay Another $100K

'Toronto Life' explores the chaotic world of Ontario real estate
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2022 2:10 PM CDT
He Signed $400K Deal for Home, Was Told to Pay Another $100K
Toronto, Ontario.   (Getty / R.M. Nunes)

Toronto is certainly not the only city in recent years to experience a building boom and soaring home prices. Nor is it the only place whose construction industry was upended by pandemic-related supply and labor crunches. But the greater Toronto area had a shortage of affordable housing long before the pandemic. According to Sarah Treleaven of Toronto Life, that's why Todd Arkell decided in 2018 to put down a deposit on a $400,000 townhome to be built in nearby Barrie, part of an 850-unit community planned by Pace Developments. Arkell, a father of four, was looking out for his children: he was afraid they’d never be able to afford places of their own (his two oldest were were in their late 20s at the time) if he didn’t secure something for them. Not surprisingly, the original move-in date of August 2021 was delayed due to the pandemic.

Three months later, Arkell got a blunt email from Pace explaining that it was canceling his contract due to increased costs and an "unavoidable delay." However, the project itself was not canceled; Arkell could buy back his unit for an extra $100,000. He decided to fight back instead. Ultimately, Arkell got to keep his original contract, but as Treleaven reports, the story exposes deeper issues within Ontario’s consumer protection agency, Tarion, which one consumer advocate calls “deeply flawed.” Tarion protects buyers as well as builders, who happen to be “overly involved in the organization’s decision making,” particularly when it comes to early termination clauses, writes Treleaven. To address the mess, Ontario Premier Doug Ford created the Home Construction Regulatory Authority, “a new watchdog that effectively protects consumers from its consumer protection agency.” Read the whole story here. (More Toronto stories.)

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