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$80K Burnaby real estate lawsuit hinges on Canada Day stat

The seller of a Burnaby home claims a woman who agreed to buy it missed the deadline to back out of the deal and should have to pay back the $80,000 deposit a real estate firm 'unlawfully' returned to her.

What a difference a day makes.

An $80,000 deposit for the purchase of a Burnaby house hangs in the balance based on where the statutory Canada Day holiday fell this year, according to a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court last month.

Ann Yung Fong So, the owner of a 1955 single-family home at 8272 17th Ave., signed a purchase and sale agreement in June with Bing Feng Zhang, who agreed to buy the property for $1,845,000, according to the Sept. 21 notice of civil claim.

As part of the deal, Zhang paid an $80,000 deposit into a trust account at The Residential Group (TRG) Realty Ltd.

So claims Zhang accepted the deal on June 28 and had three business days to back out without forfeiting that deposit, but Zhang didn't deliver her notice to rescind the contract until July 4.

"July 3, 2023 was not, contrary to what the buyer and the brokerage may have thought, a statutory holiday," states the notice of civil claim. "Canada Day for 2023 fell on Saturday, July 1, 2023, not Monday, July 3, 2023."

So notified Zhang the notice to rescind wasn't sent in time and the deal was still on or the deposit would be forfeited, according to the claim.

So says she also notified the real estate brokerage that the contract was still valid and told it not to release the deposit without her consent.

At some point, however, the brokerage "unlawfully" released all but $4,612.50 of the deposit to Zhang, according to the claim.

"By releasing the deposit, or some or all of it, to the buyer without the consent of the seller, the brokerage breached these statutory trust conditions," the claim states.

So is now suing Zhang and TRG Realty Ltd.

She is applying for court orders compelling Zhang to pay her $80,000 and unspecified damages.

She is also applying for a declaration saying TRG Realty Ltd. breached its statutory trust and an order compelling the brokerage to pay her $80,000 or keep $80,000 in a trust for her "pending further agreement of the parties."

None of the allegations in the notice of civil claim have been tested in court.

Neither Zhang nor TRG Realty Ltd. have yet filed a response to the suit.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com