'Where did it go?': Oshawa, Ont. homebuyers shocked after hot tub removed before closing
TORONTO -- When a couple sold their current home with a pool they were looking to buy another house with a deck, gazebo and hot tub already in place.
They found one for sale in Oshawa, Ont. and in the MLS listing it said “beautiful deck with gazebo and hot tub” included. They toured the property and saw the hot tub and gazebo firsthand and agreed to buy the home in April of this year.
But when Denise Weagle and Steve Benko went back to do their final visit before closing both the gazebo and hot tub were missing.
“When we did our final walk through seven days before closing both the gazebo and the hot tub were gone,” Weagle said.
“We walked around and just thought, ‘Where did it go?’”Benko added.
The couple says they decided to close the deal in protest and seek compensation for the missing items after they moved in, but later they were told the hot tub and gazebo were removed because they were old and had no value.
“It totally contradicts what we saw in the advertisement and what we saw in the walk through," Benko said.
They decided to purchase another gazebo and a similar used hot tub for about $8,000, but when they tried to get compensation they say both agents involved blamed each other and no one would take responsibility.
“I just think someone should be held accountable when they have clearly made a mistake and they should not make it that difficult for people to be reimbursed," Weagle said.
After months of inaction they filed a complaint with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and the Council ruled in their favour.
RECO said of the selling agent "you included misleading advertising within your listing for the subject property” and that “a registrant shall not knowingly make an inaccurate representation in respect of a trade in real estate."
The selling agent’s insurance company agreed to a settlement to cover almost the entire cost of the replacement gazebo and hot tub.
Weagle said she felt she was getting nowhere until she contacted CTV News Toronto.
“I don't think we would have gotten anything back. I think they would have constantly given us a hard time on what we paid and why. So I'm super happy and thank you so much for helping us," Weagle said.
If you're buying or selling a home and a problem arises you can file a complaint with the RECO. If both sides can't come to an agreement, RECO can issue warnings, disciplinary action or suspend an agent from selling real estate.