Laval homebuyers left in a lurch after developer goes bankrupt

More than 100 people who looking answers after the home-building company they trusted went bankrupt — leaving homes unfinished or not even started.

Homes are unfinished or not even started, though customers already invested thousands

Lisa Alahaydoyan says she and her husband invested more than $150,000 in a company that promised to build them a new house. (Valeria Cori-Manocchio/CBC)

Lisa Alahaydoyan and her husband paid more than $150,000 dollars to demolish a house in Laval, Que., and build their dream home from the ground up.

"Our dream, our home, what we've worked for for so many years; the promise of a forever home with our children in a perfect place for us," she said.

But then everything fell apart and the couple is one of more than 100 people who are looking for answers after the home-building company they trusted went bankrupt — leaving homes unfinished or not even started.

"Our dreams have just been shattered," said Alahaydoyan.

Afarin Pouroskouei was supposed to be Alahaydoyan's neighbour and now she too is left in a lurch.

"It was all the savings of our 10 years working here in Canada," she said. "All the savings we have. I don't have a penny right now."

Now the would-be neighbours are trying to figure out what to do next, and there are some concerns the bankruptcy was all part of a larger plan.

"There's a lot of information from all of these families that points to you know, this had probably been planned to get as much money as possible from all these customers," said Alahaydoyan.

Houses under construction were left unfinished when the company declared bankruptcy. (Valeria Cori-Manocchio/CBC)

CBC could not get in touch with the owner of the developer, Bel-Habitat Inc., and was instead directed to its insolvency trustee, Raymond Chabot. 

A spokesperson for Raymond Chabot said the company is in talks with all those affected by the bankruptcy and is doing what it can to help. 

As the case  moves forward, more information will be available later this month, the spokesperson said.

Non-profit GCR offers help

Garantie de construction résidentielle (GCR), a non-profit organization that administers the guarantee plan for new residential buildings in Quebec, is also following the case.

The organization offers psychological support and has set up a hotline for customers of Bel-Habitat Inc. to call if they need help.

GCR can order repayments of up to $50,000 when products aren't delivered as promised, it says on its website.

Regarding customers like Alahaydoyan, who is also pursuing legal action, the company says "GCR will set up a specific support program for affected buyers."

"We know how difficult and stressful the current situation is. GCR will protect affected consumers in accordance with the regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings," it says on the site.

But Pouroskouei would like to see more done and is calling on the government to step in.

She and Alahaydoyan both say they want provincial law changed to stop situations like this from happening to others.

Based on a report by Valeria Cori-Manocchio