British Columbia

Couple sues Love it or List it Vancouver showmakers, claims contractor was actor

North Vancouver pair claims 'defects' in reno pose a 'substantial' danger to their family

May 12, 2018

Jeanine Almeida, Norman Waine and their four children appeared on Season 4 of Love It or List It Vancouver in 2016. Now they claim the renovation to their house, done as part of an episode, was riddled with problems, putting their health and safety at risk. (HGTV)

A North Vancouver couple is suing the company behind the home design show Love it or List it Vancouver, claiming producers brought in an actor with no contracting experience to work on their home for their episode. 

Jeanine Almeida and Norman Waine also claim the renovation was riddled with problems, putting their family's health and safety at risk.

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The couple and their four children appeared on Season 4 of the show in 2016. 

On each episode of the show, families have to decide whether to stay in their current home. Both hosts — one real estate agent and one designer — try to sway them to move or stay.

The real estate agent works to find them a new house while the designer renovates their current home. At the end of the episode, the homeowners choose to move, or stay in their spruced up old house.

Almeida and Waine say they paid the show's production company, Should I Stay or Should I Go West Productions, more than $175,000 for their Lynn Valley home's renovation.

Jeanine Almeida and Norman Waine say they paid the production company behind Love it or List It Vancouver more than $175,000 to renovate their Lynn Valley home in 2016. (Google Maps)

They signed a contract agreeing that work would be carried out by Kenny Gemmill — the show's resident contractor — or a "reasonable alternative."

The lawsuit claims the show brought in Kerry van der Griend to work on the home in April 2016. 

Van der Griend, according to the suit, is an actor with "little to no experience" as a general contractor.

The kitchen, dining room, laundry room, garage and back deck were transformed during the show. During the on-air reveal, Almeida and Waine said they loved the "gorgeous" final product. 

But in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the couple claim they started noticing problems after filming wrapped. 

Posed danger to family after reno: lawsuit

The homeowners say they found defects that could lead to mould, water damage, carbon dioxide leaks and higher risk of a fire.

The alleged shoddy renovation poses "a real and substantial danger" to the couple and their family, according to the suit.

Almeida and Waine said the production company, which also runs under the name Big Coat Media, was negligent for breaching the duty of care it owed the couple.

The lawsuit also names two Love it or List it Vancouver producers, saying they told the couple they'd end up with a high-quality renovation from an experienced professional.

Almeida and Waine are asking for damages for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation, as well as general and special damages.

When reached by phone on Friday, Maria Armstrong, executive producer with Big Coat Media, said the company was unaware of any lawsuit.

"We know nothing about it," she said.

The Love It or List It franchise, developed by Big Coat Media in Toronto, has versions in Australia, the U.S. as well as several countries in Europe. Love It or List It Vancouver was the first spinoff.

A North Carolina couple sued Big Coat Media over their appearance on the U.S. version of the show in 2015. Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan said they also found "irreparable" damage after the show finished.

The company denied those allegations.

Big Coat Media hasn't filed a response to Almeida and Waine's lawsuit. None of the couple's allegations have been proven in court.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rhianna Schmunk
@rhiannaschmunk

Rhianna Schmunk is a reporter for CBC News based in Vancouver. Reach her at rhianna.schmunk@cbc.ca or @rhiannaschmunk.

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