New townhouse delay leaves Toronto family in housing limbo
A Toronto couple is in limbo waiting to take possession of their newly constructed home and warning others to learn from their situation and take extra precautions.
Alicia Den Ouden and her husband Joe Diclemente were supposed to be moving in on Friday – after having waited more than a year and a half longer than they expected.
When they bought their new place located near Bloor Street West and Dundas Street West, Den Ouden was pregnant with their first child. Now they have two.
"It really flips your whole world upside down when you think you're going to move into a home and then you're homeless," said Den Ouden.
Finally this spring, they received a firm occupancy date from the builder for Aug 14. Then a letter with a delayed occupancy date for Aug 28. They gave up their apartment and booked movers.
But now the builder has pushed the date back to likely mid-September and the family says it has no permanent home to move into.
Have a contingency plan, lawyer suggests
Toronto real estate lawyer Bob Aaron advises having a contingency plan when buying a new build.
That may mean paying for two places at once sometimes, even if it ends up costing a bit more, he said.
"At least you have the ability to move in and out when you want and not when the builder says you have to," he said.
Aaron, who has had clients waiting as long as seven years after signing, said sometimes people don't read or understand their agreement properly.
A key thing is understanding something called the outside tenancy date, he said. Unlike a firm occupancy date, it's actually binding.
"Sometimes people just get carried away with buying a new home. And they're not really into [asking] 'What's the outside date on this?'"
"I don't even think I've ever looked at that date before," Den Ouden said
Now, Den Ouden is advising others to look closely at the terms of a new build deal.
"They're just trying to sell you on the place and giving you this whole dream," she said.
"Look beyond that and ask as many questions as possible. We thought we did, but I guess we didn't."