B.C. Supreme Court Justice Randall Wong ruled Monday that defendant Hwang Soo Lee, a real estate agent with New Star Realty Ltd., had acted “beyond belief.” Especially for a real estate agent, he should have known better, said the judge. New Star Realty was not held liable, however.
Lee originally agreed to sell his property, a house on Morgan Creek Way in Surrey, in January 2009 for $740,0000 to Kundan and Puja Khullar. But when he got an offer for $779,000 from another couple, he tried to ask the Khullars to cancel their agreement three days after the deadline to accept the original offer.
Wong found this activity had broken an already binding contract. To try to discourage the Khullars from the agreed contract, Wong said Lee told them the closing costs had been upped by $80,000, bringing the total price to $820,000.
“For an extra $39,000, Mr. Lee was prepared to scuttle the prior Khullar contract,” said Wong. “Mr. Lee’s duplicitous behaviour was high-handed and outrageous. Since he was also negotiating his role as a realtor in the sale of his own property, his actions were not only surprising and unprofessional, it was simply dishonest, with extreme disappointing results to the Khullars.”
Eventually, the Khullars bought a house two doors down, albeit for $177,000 more in price. The court’s ward includes that cost, as well as $81,000 for “opportunity loss and comparative functional difference.”