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Real Estate Companies Told To Pay Up

CAP ESTATE (St. Lucia) Ltd. and Sea Breeze Hills Development Ltd. have been ordered by the High Court to pay thousands of dollars in damages to JASDIP Ltd. and Alexander and Winifred Geddes. They obtained judgment in default of a defence in a case against the real estate companies.

The judgment was handed down this week by High Court Master Agnes Actie.

The cases were about land sales transactions. Two claims were filed against the companies, one from JASDIP Ltd., the other by the Geddes.

Court documents stated that by Deed of Sale dated June 3, 2008, JASDIP Ltd. obtained title to two parcels of land from Cap Estate (St. Lucia) Ltd. By Deed of Sale and Deed of Lease Assignment dated June 17, 2009, Alexander and Winifred Geddes obtained the freehold and leasehold title for two parcels of land from Cap Estate (St. Lucia) Ltd.

The parcels of land formed part of an upscale development at Cap Estate known as “Sea Breeze Hills Development”. A development company, “Sea Breeze Hills Development Company Ltd”, was incorporated for the purpose of maintaining the high standards and future viability of the development.

Both title deeds contained a clause that the “Development Company” would have the responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the common areas, garbage collection, pest control and all incidents incurred in the normal course of property maintenance and management of the development.

The Deeds of Sale expressly stated that the common areas had been vested in the “Development Company”. Each purchaser of a lot within the development was ipso facto (something obvious and in need of no explanation) a member of the “Development Company” and was entitled to the issue of one common share in the company for each lot purchased with a view to having some control in the development company.

Court documents stated that prior to the execution of the Deed of Sale, the parties had entered into an agreement for sale with the companies. It was a term of the agreement for sale that the common property would have been transferred to the “Development Company” prior to the execution of the deed of sale.

The agreement provided that the “Development Company” would have the responsibility for road maintenance and repairs within the development, garbage collection and disposal, pest control and security. The Development Company was to levy charges on all property owners within the development to defray the expenses incurred in fulfilling its obligations.

The claimants, JASDIP Ltd. and the Geddes, aver (assert, declare) that Cap Estate (St. Lucia) Ltd. had up to the date of filing of the claims failed to vest the common areas in the “Development Company” and had also failed to transfer the shares in the Development Company to the claimants in accordance with the expressed terms of the Agreement for Sale and Deed of Sale.

The claimants also aver that they, along with other land owners, have had to personally finance the management and maintenance of the development which was intended to be the responsibility of the “Development Company”.

The claimants, having obtained judgment in default of defence, were now seeking the assessment of damages.

Dexter Theodore Q.C. represented the companies and, according to court documents, vehemently challenged the assessment of damages on several grounds.

He was of the view that the claimants were not entitled to any compensation as the Deeds of Sale were silent on provision of security services and that the provision of security services was only a term in the Agreement for Sale but did not form part of the Deeds of Sale.

He contended that the terms of the Agreements for Sale were inadmissible in this assessment of damages having been neither pleaded nor exhibited to the affidavits in support of the applications for default judgment.

Theodore, however, contended that should the companies be held liable, then liability is limited to US$5000 in accordance with the Agreement for Sale that he alleged was inadmissible.

In the end, JASDIP was awarded the following Special Damages: Security services — $366,577.99; Maintenance of the guard house — $1,620.82.

Total Special Damages amounted to $ 368,198.81 with interest at the rate of 3% from June 3, 2008 to the date of filing the claim and at the rate of 6 % from the judgment till payment of debt in full; Prospective Loss — $51,336.00 with interest at 6 % from the date of judgment until payment in full.

In the case of the Geddes, they were awarded Special Damages in the sum of $37,044.74 with interest at the rate of 3% from June 17, 2009 to the date of judgment and at the rate of 6% from the date of judgment until payment in full; General damages for mental stress in the sum of $3000 with interest at the rate of 6% from the date of judgment until payment in full; Prospective Loss in the sum of $3900 with interest at the rate of 6 % from the date of judgment until payment in full and Prescribed Costs on the global sum in accordance with CPR 65.5.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

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