I met Stephen Shub, the real estate condo lawyer in 2006. I referred him to one of my clients planning to buy a condo hotel suite in Downtown Toronto. As a lawyer, Shub was required to provide due diligence into buying this new builder property.
On a careful review of the developer’s documents, Shub smelled trouble. He advised my clients not to consider buying into this project, because of various reasons. My client insisted that he must buy and asked Shub to act for him in this deal. Shub’s job, like myself, was to act in the best interest of his clients. He refused to work on this deal, he fired my client and asked him to seek another lawyer. He was sure that this project was in for a big trouble. Since my client was getting into this risky transaction, I was not comfortable, and I too decided not to work with this buyer.
Time went by, and one fine day there was this big article in Toronto Star about problems facing the above project. I was happy that I was being represented by a condo lawyer like Shub. I forwarded the article to my ex-client. That was it.
Just recently, Shub was again fighting hands over fist to protect many buyers from one of the builders’ clutches. This time this developer, who is responsible for one of the largest developments in the Toronto’s north end, had charged thousands of dollars more in closing costs.
On closing, many buyers were shocked to see that they were being charged between $7,000 and $11,000 for increases in existing levies. Though Shub was not representing my client this time, my client was one of buyers who was also affected. Shub estimated that the builder pocketed as much as $2 million in surprise closing adjustments from 244 unsuspecting buyers.
Like before, this time too, Shub put his foot down, he took a position that the builder had no right to charge purchasers for levies on legal grounds. He closed the transactions on behalf of his purchasers, and held in trust, the amounts in dispute until further resolution, in favour of the builder’s lawyer.
Shub is fighting for the builders to commit to voluntary upfront disclosure of all closing adjustments. He is also calling for regulatory intervention by the Ontario government so that builders do not spring “surprise attacks on the unsuspecting public.”
His voice has finally been heard by this builder. Just two days ago my clients received a letter from this builder that they will reimburse them almost $8,500 of their closing costs.
Time and again, good professionals are a boon to the industry they represent. Shub’s request for full disclosure is a must have in my opinion.
A Condo lawyer plays an important role when you are buying from a builder
Condo projects are mushrooming every where in the GTA, condos have become very popular with young first time buyers, investors and boomers.
Our government should seriously consider protecting consumers and bringing in a law that will benefit novice buyers.
Lesson learned from this
When buying a condo always have good real estate professional and a condo lawyer represent you.