When the homeowners purchased their residences, they paid $500 to a builder for what they thought was a refundable grading deposit. A grading deposit, sometimes called a security or damage deposit, is meant to ensure that a new neighbourhood complies with the city’s regulations. This can include rules for driveways, curbs and sidewalks.
Typically, the money collected is released when a community is assumed by a municipality.
Rosa Savella, one of the homeowners, said that the neighbours were told they would get their $500 grading deposit back when they purchased their home.
“She said, ‘Oh yeah, minus your $500 because you’ll get that back sooner or later, as soon as the land gets assumed,’” Savella told CTV News Toronto.
The neighbours recently found out their development had been assumed by the city about a decade ago. When they asked for their deposit back, the builder declined, calling it a “grading fee” rather than a deposit.
A spokesperson for the builder, Fieldgate Homes, said that the charges were laid out in the agreement of purchase.
“We did charge a non-refundable grading fee of $500 + GST. Fieldgate provided no undertaking on closing to any purchaser for the refund of the grading fee. We hope homeowners are happy with their homes despite this misunderstanding.”
The neighbours claim they were told verbally there would be a refund and are disappointed that after 16 years, they won’t receive one.
“We are not asking for anything extravagant. We just want the grading fees we were told we were going to get back, to get them back as promised,” Tony Gentile, another homeowner, said.