Court battle over Sunchaser Vacation Villas heats up

Nearly 1,000 owners at Sunchaser Villas have entered into a class-action lawsuit against Northmont

Nearly 1,000 owners at Sunchaser Villas have entered into a class-action lawsuit against Northmont Resort Properties Ltd. in a dispute over a costly renovation project at the Fairmont Hot Springs holiday destination.

“The basis for the lawsuit is that Northmont has breached its contractual obligations to timeshare owners and leaseholders at the resort,” said Michael Geldert, managing partner at Geldert Law who is representing the claimants.

The class-action came together after costly renovation fees were charged to each owner of the 18,950 units.

Sunchaser Villas was managed by Fairmont Resort Properties Ltd., which filed for bankruptcy in 2008. Northwynd Resort Properties Ltd. purchased Sunchaser from creditors, and manages it through Northmont, which is Northwynd’s subsidiary company.

After the takeover, the new management company said that under previous management, owners had been paying unsustainably low maintenance fees and that a large renovation project would be required. Owners were given the option to either pay $4,195 to keep their timeshare unit, or $3,168 to opt out.

The Supreme Court of B.C. approved Northmont’s ability to impose those fees last fall, but a subsequent appeal was successful in reversing the decision.

Although the renovation charges were initially found to be legal, the result of the appeal did not make imposing those fees illegal.

“Whether or not that’s true is a matter of interpretation before the courts,” said Mr. Geldert.

The class action will continue collecting names until Friday, September 19th, but will be flexible if more interest is shown. A case-planning conference is scheduled for Tuesday, October 14th.

All involved parties and a trustee will be present as the procedure for being heard will be laid out.

Mr. Geldert said lawsuits of this nature normally last between one and 1.5 years, but that settlements usually take place before conclusion.

“We’re certainly open to having those settlement discussions,” he said.

He said that precedent has been set for similar lawsuits in B.C. and Alberta going back to the 1990s.

“The timeshare industry has always seemed to have issues with resort managers who, for whatever reason find themselves between a rock and a hard place, and they start making decisions that ultimately attract some liability and concern on behalf of the people they are responsible for managing,” he said.

 

Just Posted

Bounding into the great outdoors

Playwest Mountain Experience takes hikers into the wilderness.

Fat Man Yoga offers low intimidation workout

“I needed to do more stretching and more flexibility stuff for my fat man body,” said Ryan Karl.

Feds caught with consultative pants down as groyne issue flares up: PSPC urged to get second opinion

MP Stetski said that of local stakeholders “nobody was aware of the project.”

De Groot family still waiting for inquest after 2014 Slocan shooting

Lawyer for Peter De Groot’s family say many questions remain unanswered

Four-year-old girl one of two killed in highway crash near Creston

The 26-year-old driver of a Saturn SUV was also killed

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Telus customers enraged as outrage hits fifth day

Telus.net has been down since Aug. 15

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Most Read