History of murder no reason to bail on home purchase: Court of Appeal

Court overturns ruling that buyer should get her deposit returned, after backing out of buying luxury Vancouver home where former occupant was murdered

A woman who back out of buying a luxury Vancouver home after discovering its former occupant was murdered outside its entrance will not be getting her money back, the B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled.

Feng Yung Shao found out that former occupant Raymond Huang, alleged member of Chinese gang the Big Circle Boys, was fatally shot on the sidewalk outside 3883 Cartier Street in Shaughnessy in November 2007.

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Shao was not told of the murder at the time of viewing the property, and bought the home in 2009 with a $300,000 down payment. However, after finding out about the unsolved murder, Shao pulled out of the purchase, and successfully sued in the B.C. Supreme Court to get her down payment back.

However, seller Mei Zhen Wang, mother-in-law of Raymond Huang, appealed the initial verdict at the B.C. Court of Appeal and was successful in the April 23 ruling.

Shao had argued that she was lied to by omission when she agreed to buy the 9,018-square-foot mansion, as Wang told her the family was moving merely because her granddaughter was switching schools to West Vancouver.

Court documents state that the granddaughter had in fact been asked to leave West Point Grey Academy because of media reports on the shooting of her father, but Wang did not explain this at the time to buyer Shao. Shao argued that the omission amounted to non-disclosure of a material latent defect in the home, which is illegal.

Last year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that Wang used "fraudulent representation" when selling the house and awarded Shao damages. But the three appeal court judges disagreed in their ruling Tuesday.

‘As [Wang's daughter Winnie Yuan] testified, if her daughter’s private school had not made the unfortunate decision it did, the family likely would not have moved at all. Thus, there was no misrepresentation by omission,” Justice Mary Newbury wrote in the decision of the three judges.

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