Failed rent to own agreement leaves Vernon family homeless for Christmas

Rent to own goes sour

A Vernon family says it has been left homeless after rent-to-own agreement went sour.

Tim Boruch says he entered into the deal in January 2021.

He paid $10,000 up front and continued to pay $545.61 a month towards the purchase – over and above the usual rent of $2,700.

"We were to take over all responsibilities of the home for the two-year term," says Boruch.

"The home has a basement suite. We managed the tenants and made it our home. We did considerable renovations worth over $12,000 knowing the house was to be ours at the end of the term."

Boruch says he completed the contract and by January 2023 had paid the property management company $23,094.63.

It was to be held in trust for a 5% downpayment upon purchase of the home. However, Boruch says the company has ceased contact.

After seeking a mortgage broker and "exercising our option to purchase" the day before the end of the contract, Boruch says that left 45 days to close the sale.

That's when things went sideways.

Boruch claims the company doesn't own the home and is not actually partners with an undisclosed party that does.

"He just has a similar contact with them as he had with us."

The homeowners claim in court documents that the partner did not exercise the option to purchase in time, voiding the contract.

Boruch believes the deal fell apart because the assessed value of the home grew more than anticipated in the agreement.

A five per cent year increase was calculated in, with a closing price of $461,892.38, but "because of the booming housing market over the two years of the contract, the value taken from the city assessment in 2023 was $632,000, which left $170,107.62 on the table in home equity above the contracted selling price," he says.

In March, the mortgage broker said the deal had fallen through.

A further $87,392 for a downpayment was suggested.

"We secured the extra money and had a new lender," says Boruch.

However the other parties' lawyer "never showed up" and they were told the owners "had no idea we wanted to purchase their home."

In April, the Boruchs launched a civil lawsuit and continued to pay rent.

In August, an eviction letter was posted on their front door stating that the contract partnership was being terminated immediately.

"Doesn't a tenant have to do something wrong to be evicted?" asks Boruch. "We had never been late on the rent or caused damage or anything. Furthermore, they continued to accept rent from us for months after the contract ended. We didn't think of ourselves as tenants, we made the home ours, we managed the downstairs tenants, and much more.

"From our point of view, at this point the home was supposed to be ours, and we were going to court to prove that."

The letter from Sandhill Properties states that it would no longer be the landlord as its tenancy agreement with the titled owners had ended.

"As a result, you are required to move out of 3501 24th Ave. immediately."

A counter claim was issued in October, claiming trespass and property damage.

"It must be the new garage door, or the new flower beds, or the professional tree work," says Boruch.

On Nov. 23, there was pounding at the door, and Boruch says two "extremely aggressive" men tried to force their way into the home.

"They were contracted bailiffs, and they stated we were being moved 'now'. There was also five men and a moving truck in our yard, as well as a locksmith."

Boruch says he pleaded for them to calm down as he explained the situation.

He called 911, and while police calmed the situation, they allowed the move-out to take place.

"This was happening while my crying wife and teenage daughter grabbed for priceless family artifacts and medicines," Boruch says of the traumatizing incident.

A writ of possession dated Nov. 20 on behalf of Jessi and Aaron Brown states the bailiffs "are commanded promptly to seize and sell at public auction or tender for the best price available sufficient of the goods and chattels of Sandhill Properties" at the address.

A Residential Tenancy Branch dispute resolution document dated Nov. 16 also orders Sandhill out.

Boruch says the court order for removal was between the owners and management company – "We are not named in this document."

He called it "one of the most disrespectful, brutal, hurtful, and unethical things I've ever experienced."

"As of today, we are a homeless family, without day-to-day belongings," he says of the family of four.

"We will be in survival mode for some time."

Meanwhile, the family is split between a relative's home and a hotel room.

Boruch says he's glad for support the family has in the community during the transition, but that "things are getting done."

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