Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

The owners of a house in North York that is home to a historic 250-year-old red oak tree will have to sell the property to the city at the originally agreed price, even though its value has risen sharply since the agreement was signed.

During a court hearing Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Susan Vella said evidence shows that the property owners, Ali and Fanta Mamadou Simaga, wanted to end the sale with the city so they could relist for a higher price due to the state of the real estate market and how long it had taken since the deal was originally entered into.

“This is not a valid reason to terminate a real estate agreement,” Vella said, noting that the real estate market is known to fluctuate. “Neither the seller nor the buyer can get out of a binding deal just because in hindsight they think they have made a bad deal.”

During their legal battle, the Simagas have had three lawyers to represent them. In court on Thursday, Shahzad Fuzail Siddiqui argued that a $ 2 security deposit was due at the time the agreement was accepted, was paid to Simaga’s one year and three months late – and noted without it that the deal was only a piece of paper.

The city’s lawyer fought back, saying questions about the deposit were not raised by Simagas until four months after the payment was made in March.

“Two dollars is just part of the purchase price. It’s such a nominal amount, ”said Michele Wright, who represented the city. “They can not turn around later and point to it as a reason for the termination of the agreement.”

The Simagas originally agreed to sell the property, located near the Humber River, to the city in 2019 for $ 780,000 so the tree could be preserved, the house demolished and a parquet floor set up. The agreement allowed the city a year to raise money to come up with half the funds needed to buy the house, but initially declined.

The Council agreed to cover the shortcoming.

The deal was due to close in April this year, but Simagas began asking for additional funds to help cover litigation costs, mortgage rates and the burdens they faced during the sale process.

The city ended up taking Simagas to court to force the sale at the agreed price.

Ownership will be transferred to the city on Dec. 1 at the original price, minus $ 7,500 for litigation costs – unless Simagas and the city decide to close the deal earlier.

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