A Coquitlam property – and who should have been first in line to buy it – is the subject of an ongoing legal battle that recently made a stop in the B.C. Court of Appeal.
At the end of 2022, a buyer signed a contract to buy the Orkney property. Approximately three weeks later, Jiaqi Wu signed a back-up contract to buy the property, according to a Court of Appeal judgement published Wednesday.
The first contract was signed between buyer and seller on Dec. 31, 2022 with the stipulation that any outstanding conditions be dealt with by Jan. 27, 2023. The contract also allowed the sellers to “entertain back up offers.”
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In the event the sellers received another acceptable offer on the Orkney property, they could give the buyers 48 hours to deal with all contract conditions . However, that 48-hour clause couldn’t be invoked if the buyers accepted an offer on their own lot, the Ailsa property.
After making an offer on the Orkney property on Jan. 19, Wu signed a contract with the sellers, took care of all conditions connected to the contract, paid a deposit, and asked the sellers to deliver the 48-hour notice to the rival buyers.
The buyers stated the clause couldn’t be invoked as they’d recently accepted an offer to sell the Ailsa property. All conditions of the contract were cleared by Jan. 27.
Wu’s deposit was returned on Feb. 3. However, on March 27, Wu registered a certificate of pending litigation on the property. A certificate of pending litigation is generally used to halt a land sale.
Wu contended the buyers misrepresented the deal they’d made to sell the Ailsa property, arguing the deal collapsed in short order. Wu also stated the rival buyers induced the Orkney sellers to breach Wu’s contract.
On April 12, a judge ordered the certificate of pending litigation be taken off the property. The judge also concluded Wu: “did not advance a viable claim to an interest in land,” noted Justice David Harris.
Wu appealed that ruling, pleading in court for more time to file the appeal.
A question of merit
Collin Bruce Murray and Paulette Anne Nelson, the buyer and seller of the Orkney property, contended Wu’s appeal should be refused as it is: “entirely devoid of merit.”
Wu filed a notice of appeal one week after the judge ordered the removal of the certificate of pending litigation. However, Murray and Nelson stated they were not served within the mandated timeframe.
Apart from the issue of the appeal’s timing, Wu’s chance of success on the appeal is “remote,” according to Justice Harris.
However, Harris noted the “threshold for the assessment of the merits of the appeal is low.” The judge also concluded that he couldn’t say with certainty Wu’s appeal has no merit.
“I am not persuaded that it is clear that the appeal is doomed to fail,” he wrote.
Harris granted an extension for Wu to serve the appeal within two business days of the judgment.
The case continues.