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West Vancouver Realtor faces disciplinary hearing over alleged soil samples

Real Estate Council to hear complaint over lot excavation
3084 Procter

A longtime West Vancouver agent will face a disciplinary hearing before the B.C. Real Estate Council this week for allegedly allowing a buyer to excavate for soil tests on a Proctor Avenue lot without the consent or knowledge of the property owner.

The Real Estate Council will also look into allegations that Howard Paul Isaacs of Angell, Hasman & Associates Realty Ltd. committed “conduct unbecoming of a licensee” by telling the husband of the owner that he was unaware of the details about the excavation “when you knew that was untrue.”

Isaacs says that the real estate council is making a mountain out of what was literally a molehill on the Altamont neighbourhood property. He added that the husband of the registered property owner was a personal friend of 20 years who he believed he was doing a favour in order to get the property sold. “I thought we had a 20-year friendship,” said Isaacs. “I always acted in his best interests.”

The complaint against Isaacs stemmed from the sale of a vacant lot in the neighbourhood of Proctor Avenue and 31st Street.

Isaacs said the owner had bought the lot 16 years earlier for $650,000 and had it on the market for about five years with various real estate agents before listing it with him.

Isaacs said he thought the owner had overpriced the property. “Eventually I got someone who wanted to buy it,” he said. That buyer wrote an offer subject to checking the soil conditions on the lot, said Isaacs.

As his friend was out of the country at the time, Isaacs told the buyer he could go ahead, as long as the person doing the testing put the earth back the way he found it. At the time, the property was “a weed-infested lot,” said Isaacs. “It’s not Butchart Gardens.”

A small backhoe was used to dig three samples on the lot down to bedrock, said Isaacs.

That buyer ended up not buying the property, he added.

By this time, however, a neighbour decided she wanted to buy the lot. That deal eventually went through, with the lot selling for just more than $3 million in February 2016.

But when his client arrived back in town and saw the excavation, he wasn’t happy and launched the complaint, even though the deal had already been signed to sell the lot, said Isaacs.

Isaacs said he considers the complaint to be over “an extremely trivial incident,” adding if he hadn’t been a personal friend of his client, he may have proceeded differently. “I thought we had a friendship,” he said. “Obviously I was wrong.”

The disciplinary hearing is scheduled to take place this Wednesday and Thursday.

The most recent assessed value of the still-vacant Procter Avenue lot is just under $3.5 million.