Winnipeg couple wait for decision after decades-long battle for their home

Winnipeg couple wait for decision after decades-long battle for their home

After a more than decade-long court battle a Winnipeg couple who say they were swindled into giving up title to their property will have to wait a few more months to find out if they can stay in the home.

Final submissions were made late last month in a complicated case that started in 2007 when Venni and Rosa Sartor sued local businessman Richard Boon and a handful of companies he controls in an effort to save their home.

Justice Colleen Suche has reserved her decision in the case until early September.

The Sartors allege Boon used “fraudulent misrepresentations and fraud” to induce them into signing an agreement that saw Boon take over their mortgage when the couple ran into financial difficulties and risked losing their West Kildonan home to foreclosure in 2004.

The couple say they began getting unsolicited calls from Boon while they were facing foreclosure, offering to take over the remaining $38,395 on their mortgage.

Richard Boon, pictured in 2015, has a long history in the courts when it comes to people fighting to get the title for their homes back. (CBC)

Boon admits he found out about the Sartor’s looming foreclosure by going through records at the land registry office.

Desperate to keep their home the Sartors agreed to the deal, which saw the couple paying $600 per month at an interest rate of 9.25 per cent. Boon was also to pay property taxes under the deal.

The Sartor’s lawyer, James Beddome said in court Boon drafted documents which the couple did not read, instead relying on Boon’s explanation of what the documents were before signing.

Beddome told court those documents included a transfer of title of the Sartors home to a numbered company controlled by Boon and a caveat on the property which purported to be an offer from the couple to sell their home to Boon for $38,500.

The Sartors say they were never told they were signing over title of their home and never agreed to sell the home.

“Mr. Boon’s business plan is if you’re in trouble I’ll take over your mortgage and I’ll get your house for free too,” said Beddome in his final submission

“No one in their right mind would enter into that type of bargain.”

Transfer denied

Ultimately, and unbeknown to the Sartors, the transfer was not allowed when the land registry office found the sale amount to be “materially lower than the Fair Market Value of the property.”

After paying approximately $14,400 to Boon for the next two years the couple say they received a bill totalling just over $8,000 for unpaid property taxes and a warning from the city that their home was about to be sold at a tax sale.

When the Sartors paid the bill they learned Boon had registered a transfer of their title and about the offer to purchase. 

The couple stopped paying their monthly payments to Boon in 2008 after they filed their suit, arguing he had breached their agreement by not paying the property taxes. They continue to live in the home.

The couple’s suit seeks a declaration of clear title to their home, a cancellation of the contracts they signed with Boon, and damages of $50,000 to $60,000.

Boon counter sued in 2014 seeking a judgment of $71,316.44 from the Sartors and possession of the property, claiming the Sartors defaulted by stopping their payments.

In his final submission Boon’s lawyer Gavin Wood argued his client was only trying to help the couple in a time of need.

“He sees himself as giving people one more chance,” said Wood. 

The two suits have been joined and Suche’s ruling will stand for both cases.

Neither Boon nor the Sartors agreed to speak to CBC News.

No Stranger to the courts

Boon and his corporation Daylight Capital Corporation have been at the centre of several disputed real-estate deals over the years involving homeowners in debt and on the verge of losing their homes to foreclosure.

Dozens of Winnipeg homeowners have transferred title of their homes to Richard Boon and his associated companies for more than a decade. His business involves searching public land and tax registries to find prospective clients and then contacting them to lend them money.

While it’s not illegal for Boon to operate in this way, many of his clients have taken him to court to regain ownership of their homes.

A Winnipeg woman is warning people who get behind on their mortgages and property taxes to be careful of anyone approaching them and offering help. 2:50

In March Boon lost an appeal and was ordered to to accept payment and return the title to a home previously owned by a Winnipeg couple Boon had acquired through a deal he’d made to take over the couple’s mortgage.

Shawn and Roxanne Brown financed their home through a complicated arrangement with Boon in 2002. After they were late with some payments, he tried to sell the house while they were still living in it, prompting a court battle that Boon lost in 2015 and that was upheld by the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

In 2006 Manitoba’s land registry office told CBC News Boon had talked 69 people into transferring ownership of their homes over to him in exchange for help paying their mortgages over the six previous years.

That year the land registry office simply stopped processing Boon’s land transfers — preventing him from taking ownership — after determining many of Boon’s clients didn’t understand what they were doing.

Published at Sat, 07 Jul 2018 07:01:45 -0400