PHOTO: Property nightmare. VidorHsu | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
A Queensland mum was left “crying every day” after the developer building her family’s dream home invoked a termination clause in the contract just a year after signing it.
Peggy and David Sitbon had signed a contract in February last year to buy a four-bedroom townhouse at an off-the-plan development in the Queensland suburb of Seven Hills.
They claim they were told the house would be ready for the family-of-four by August, but the Sitbons said they waited months for the land to be put in their name and it never happened.
Now the couple don’t know how they will buy a new place after being priced out of the area when the developer, Property Developments No. 1, activated the sunset clause to legally terminate the contract in February 2022.
Mrs Sitbon said they had originally agreed to purchase the townhouse for $700,000 but said the townhouses are now being sold for hundreds of thousands more.
The couple, who are originally from France and became Australian citizens last year, said they had requested the sunset date be reduced from two years to one because they believed the place would be finished by August and didn’t think it would be a problem.\
“It was the worst decision we made – it was a very bitter test. It was a wake up call for us that it’s not because you are in a beautiful place with beautiful people that you should trust everyone,” Mr Sitbon told news.com.au.
David and Peggy Sitbon missed out on their family home due to QLD’s sunset clauses. Picture: Supplied
While their $34,000 deposit has been refunded, one townhouse from the development is now being advertised on realestate.com.au for offers over $1 million, although it has a balcony which the Sitbon’s did not opt for in their plan.
But the couple said they can no longer afford places in the area at all.
“Now with the market the way it is, even with the budget we had one year ago, we can’t find something else and now we don’t know what we are going to do,” Mrs Sitbon said.
The mum, who has two children aged 14 and 11, has been left frustrated and incredibly upset by the process.
“They kept us on the hook every month they said it would be ready the next month and then the next month, we had to extend our finance and everything they asked we did – we couldn’t control anything,” the 49-year-old said.
At the couple’s requests, lawyers for Property Developments No. 1’s provided reasons for the delay in completing the building after the sunset clause was activated.
They pointed to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the property market resulting in a lack of trade contractors and materials, bad weather and council delays for the hold up.
But Mr Sitbon, 48, claimed the delays also meant they missed out on the $15,000 government HomeBuilder’s grant.
He added they had requested that the sunset clause be extended by two months from February this year and were “shocked” when it was denied.
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