Vesta Homes refuses to build Diane’s dream home, taking her to court to tear up contract

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Diane Trang Wilson with her children Bronwyn, six, and Adelyn, one, in front of the plot they bought as a house and land package in 2013. Photo: Janie Barrett 
Nanjing Night Net

Once a week, Diane Wilson would take her daughter Bronwyn to a rectangular plot of land, strewn with pipes and machinery, in the gaze of the Mounties club in Sydney’s south-west.

“We wanted to show her where our first house was going to be built and get her excited,” said Ms Wilson, a 27-year-old single mother. “We’d point out where her bedroom would be and imagine running around in the backyard.”

But three years later, the site at 616 Cabramatta Road in Mount Pritchard is still empty, instead becoming the scene of a court battle that will hinge on the controversial sunset clause.

Ms Wilson and her then partner Owen Wilson signed a contract for a $597,000 house and land package with Vesta Homes in December 2013, with hopes of moving in before Christmas the following year.

The project never properly got off the ground and they struggled to find out why when Vesta Homes ignored their phone calls and refused their requests for meetings.

About a year ago, the owner of Vesta Homes, Nashat Satar, began trying to rescind the contract, citing the sunset clause that allowed either party to walk away if construction wasn’t completed on time.

He claimed “significant delays” were caused by drainage problems, lost paperwork and Fairfield City Council.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Ms Wilson said. “I wanted to fight this. We’ve waited for three years, living together in my parent’s spare bedroom.”

Under new laws introduced by the NSW government, if a developer fails to gain the buyer’s consent, it must take the matter to the Supreme Court to justify the termination.

The laws were designed to stop greedy developers from misusing the sunset clause and rescinding an off-the-plan contract, only to sell the property at a higher price soon after.

This is the first time the laws will be tested with a case involving a house and land package.

The median house price in Mount Pritchard has jumped a whopping 50 per cent to $652,000 in the past three years, reflecting Sydney’s hot property market.

“I want to live here as this is where I grew up, this is where my parents live, and my daughters go to the local primary school,” said Ms Wilson, mother of Bronwyn, 6, and Adelyn, 1.

In legal documents seen by Fairfax Media, Mr Satar claimed “significant delays” were caused by the fact Fairfield City Council had granted a development consent, despite sewer problems.

To overcome the problems, he tried to get permission from both the council and Mounties club, which was occupying the land, to create an easement.

But he found out only the Land and Environment Court could grant an easement, which it handed down in December 2014.

He claimed he was further delayed because the council required him to formally register the easement. Mounties signed the instrument, but this was lost when he changed lawyers in mid-2015.

Eventually, Mounties signed the new instrument and it was sent to council for the final sign off.

Council meeting minutes show it approved the easement in December 2015.

But later that month, in his sunset clause letter demanding the contract be rescinded, Mr Satar’s lawyer said: “We have not yet received the signed instrument … [and have] little confidence that the matter will be resolved by council in a timely manner”, which is contrary to the council’s minutes.

When this conflict was raised by Ms Wilson’s lawyer Stephen Titus of Carneys Lawyers, Mr Satar’s lawyer wrote: “We maintain that our client has used all reasonable endeavours to progress and complete the project … irrespective of market conditions.”

Mr Titus responded by sending a copy of the minutes and saying: “You client has tried to mislead our clients into believing it did not know why council had delayed approval and was not sure when it would be approved.”

Among the factors the Supreme Court must consider is if the land or property has increased in value.

The only sunset clause case that has been decided under the new laws was found in the favour of the buyers, despite the developer, Jobema, claiming the delays in constructing the Hurstville apartment block were outside its control.

Mr Satar, also known as Joe, has been able to rescind multiple contracts with buyers of packages involving other lots of the same, subdivided land.

Despite growing legal bills, Ms Wilson is determined to stand her ground.

She said Bronwyn couldn’t understand why the massive $228 million redevelopment of Stockland Wetherill Park shopping centre, which kicked off about the time they signed the Vesta Homes contract, could be completed before a brick had been laid for their two-storey, four-bedroom home.

“She asked me, ‘Mum, how come that’s finished already, but they haven’t started on our house?” she said.

“So she’s at an age where she can work out it doesn’t make sense, and I’m trying to wait but it’s hard because you’re doing this for the kids, not for yourself. My daughters have never known their own place.”

Company documents show Mr Satar is also the director of Hill View Property Development, Hunter Management and Development Group, Reptar Cebu Developments, Silverdale Property Development and 178 Developments, as well as jewellery and boat businesses.

Fairfax Media contacted Vesta Homes and Mr Satar’s legal representatives at Marsdens Lawyers multiple times, but did not receive a response. Latest consumer affairs news here\n”,colour:”red”, title:”Mt Pritchard”, maxWidth:200, open:0}] );}if (!window.googleMaps_Icons) window.googleMaps_Icons = {};window.googleMaps_Icons[“red”] = {“marker”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic南京夜网/mapfiles/ms2/micons/red-pushpin.png”},”shadow”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic南京夜网/mapfiles/ms2/micons/pushpin_shadow.png”}};if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap2016929232317);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/]]>

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