As a side victim of new federal law banning non-Canadians from buying homes, an immigrant family sees their dream of owning a home turn into a nightmare.
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Anne Boyan arrived in Quebec last April with a work permit in her pocket, accompanied by her husband and two children. Originally from France, she works as a registered nurse at CHU de Québec-Université Laval, while her spouse Pascal Burdin is a favored companion at the University Institute of Mental Health.
Tired of paying rent every month and already well integrated into their neighborhood, the small family took steps with Desjardins to buy a house. Anne Boyan and her husband have targeted a semi-detached house near the school that they were due to take over in March.
She had heard about the new federal law but believed it was aimed at large foreign investors speculating in real estate.
“We will not speculate! ‘ said the mother, discouraged.
The couple signed the purchase offer on December 20. The following day, the federal regulation was published, setting out the criteria for the application of the law.
“When we contacted our financial institution to find out if we were eligible, they confirmed that this law does not affect us, we were validated in our idea and we started buying a house. We were allowed to view the house, sign the purchase offer, and we were granted the mortgage. »
The couple and the seller tried in vain to find a notary to formalize their contract before the deadline. They have suffered many rejections and now they are in insecurity.
The small family, who have already informed the owner of their current apartment about their departure, risk having to look for another apartment in the shortest possible time. Anne Boyan fears that she will not be able to find a roof for her family in the same area and that she will have to uproot her relatives again.
And they’re not the only ones suffering the consequences of federal legislation. The man who sold them the house, Jean-Sébastien Bouchard, also found himself in a gray area.
” I had […] understood that it should prevent speculation in inner cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, where foreigners who don’t even live here buy condos and houses, don’t live in them and drive up market values. I never thought that my little twin in Pointe-de-Sainte-Foy could be affected! »
Sold or not?
Despite everything, as a precaution, he had consulted the notary of the real estate agency Du Proprio and calmed down. After coming to terms with the Boyan-Burdin family, he made an offer to buy a house. He, too, is in limbo and fears losing the house he covets.
“I don’t know if my house is sold or not. It embarrasses the sellers of my new home and the buyers of my current home, he complains. The law exists and I don’t mind, it’s the ambiguity of the law that puts us in a gray area and we can’t know if it works or not. »
Hundreds of buyers affected
Only at Desjardins are “hundreds of buyers” affected by the new federal law temporarily banning non-Canadians from acquiring residency.
If the law came into force on January 1st, the application criteria were not known until December 21st.
However, since that date, the Quebec financial institution has suspended the funding of promises of purchase from its customers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Hundreds of immigrants see their home-buying plans fall through.
Desjardins claims to have accompanied its customers “to the best of its knowledge and belief and pointed out these uncertainties” in the past few months. When the federal law was introduced, there was no question of banning the purchase of real estate in Canada, stresses the institution’s spokeswoman, Chantal Corbeil.
to have been surprised
“As of December 21, 2022, the criteria have not been communicated by the government. Many of them had hoped that the purchase promises would be accepted, she emphasizes. Unfortunately the rules […] has no plans to accept future sales promises,” she adds.
The Supreme Court will soon rule on a lawsuit filed by a Montreal real estate developer who sold under-construction housing units to foreign buyers before new federal law.
“We are awaiting a decision from the courts. [concernant les droits acquis] by the end of January, emphasizes Ms. Corbeil. If a court decision or new legal intervention clarifies something, we are ready to reconsider the position. »
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