Leverage has for some years been representing consumers who have suffered at the hands of opportunistic developers. We have had one case running for over two years against a developer who dragged his feet until the sunset date had arrived, and rescinded all the contracts. All the owners were then offered to purchase the property at a higher price. Our clients refused to sign any contracts at a higher price.

Leverage conducted a class action to defend these consumers. They were a group of seven people, which, at law, we refer to as a “class”. These were normal Mums and Dads ranging from the young to the early retirees. These people were able to find a way to join together to defend against the opportunistic developer.

Over a period of two years, Leverage has had to conduct this case in the most difficult circumstances. It was hoped that Fair Trading or the banks would assist in fast tracking this case. Unfortunately, the consumers were left to their own devices, using the efforts of Leverage and it’s legal team.

The matter was determined last Tuesday in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court considered that the developer had not used their best endeavors to complete the development. A fundamental part of contract law is that persons must do everything necessary to satisfy their side of the bargain. The Supreme Court indicated that the developer did not do everything necessary to complete the development in time. On that basis they found in favour of the consumers.

There are two remedies when this sort of case occurs. First, Leverage sought specific performance whereby the developer had to complete the contract of sale. A second remedy is damages for breaching the contract. The Supreme Court granted specific performance to Leverage’s clients. This meant that, the developer must sell the property to Leverage’s client at the initial value on the contract.

Normally, this would still mean the client would be out of pocket for their costs. However, Leverage was able to secure arrangements with the administrator of the developer that all costs of proceedings were deducted from the purchase price.

This is an outstanding result for a class of people who had faith in the system to protect them. They will get their property at the original price and have their legal costs deducted from the purchase price.

Litigation is always too costly to do alone but sometimes when people work together, they have an opportunity to achieve justice.

 

This article was written by Bailey Compton, Principal Solicitor & Director at Leverage Group.

To get in touch with Bailey, please email info@leveragegroup.com.au or call 1300 438 538