Buyer spooked by mansion's bloody history awarded costs in B.C. court
A woman who backed out of buying a multi-million-dollar Vancouver home after she learned it was the site of a murder has been awarded her legal costs for fighting a lawsuit from the seller.
Earlier this year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that Mei Zhen Wang had relied on "fraudulent representation" to sell the 9,018-square-foot mansion at 3883 Cartier St. for $6.1 million.
Justice Paul Pearlman has already ordered Wang to return buyer Feng Yun Shao's $300,000 deposit, plus interest. In a decision last week, he said Shao was entitled to her costs as well, including 13 days of trial.
The exact amount of those costs has yet to be calculated.
Scene of a crime
Wang's son-in-law, alleged Big Circle Boys gang leader Raymond Huang, was gunned down at the home's front gate in 2007. Wang put the house on the market two years later.
In court, Wang acknowledged that when she listed the property, she was worried about the safety of her daughter and granddaughter, who lived in the mansion.
But when Shao toured the home as a prospective buyer and asked why the current owners were selling, she wasn't told anything about the killing. She learned about the murder five days after paying her deposit, and pulled out of the sale.
Wang filed suit against Shao for breach of contract, arguing she should be allowed to keep the deposit plus $338,000 in damages. But the judge ruled against her, finding that Shao was entitled to "an accurate answer, rather than one calculated to conceal Mr. Huang's death as a reason for the plaintiff's decision to sell the property."
After the botched deal, the home sold for $5.5 million to a buyer who was fully informed about the shooting. The address has since been changed to 3899 Cartier St.
In the meantime, Shao has amassed a real estate portfolio valued at more than $154 million, according to records from B.C. Assessment.
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Shao testified during the trial that she and her husband had a combined net worth of $100 million in 2009, although the judge noted that amount may have been overstated.
If you are interested in housing affordability, check out CBC's new podcast, SOLD! Host Stephen Quinn explores how foreign investment in real estate divides community, class and culture. Find it at CBC Podcasts or Apple Podcasts.