- A controversial dispute between Vista Del Mar Developments Ltd. and two property owners (Janet Francis and Dwight Clarke) was resolved last week after over 6 years of court proceedings.
- Vista Del Mar contracts state that all property purchasers must build residences on their lots within a given amount of time.
- The owners purchased the plot of land from Vista Del Mar in 2009, but were forced to sell it back due to their failure to begin construction.
- Although the owners made multiple attempts to appeal the rulings, both Grand Court Justice Ingrid Mangatal and November’s Privy Council hearing rejected their arguments.
- The property is being repurchased by Vista Del Mar from Francis and Clarke for $462,460.
A Win for Vista Del Mar
A controversial dispute between Vista Del Mar Developments Ltd. and property owners Janet Francis and Dwight Clarke was resolved last week after over 6 years of court proceedings. The owners purchased the plot of land from Vista Del Mar in 2009, but were forced to sell it back due to their failure to begin construction on time.
Located off of West Bay’s Yacht Drive, the Vista Del Mar property was purchased by Francis and Clarke for $462,460. On the purchase date, both parties signed an agreement stating that construction would begin on the land by November 2010. This is not uncommon – in fact, almost all Vista Del Mar contracts state that all property purchasers must build residences on their lots within a given amount of time.
The purchasers, however, failed to begin construction within the allotted amount of time. They were granted an extension in an appeals court judgement the following year, but no progress had been made by October 2013. Vista Del Mar then told them they planned to repurchase the land for the original price.
Grand Court Hearing
Vista Del Mar issued a writ seeking to enforce the repurchasing agreement, and despite continued appeals from Francis and Clarke the issue was brought before the Grand Court.
At the hearing, the owners presented a variety of reasons that Vista Del Mar should not be able to reclaim the land. They argued that Vista Del Mar had acted in an unfair and discriminatory manner, and that the group was motivated almost entirely by financial gain. The land has increased in value by around 50% since the original purchase. This did not dissuade the court.
The privy council ruled in favor of Vista Del Mar, stating that “The appellants’ contention that they are entitled to resist specific performance because [Vista Del Mar] exercised its rights against them in a discriminatory manner was rejected by both the judge and the Court of Appeal. The judge found that it was not made out on the facts. There is no basis on which the Board (the Privy Council) could come to a contrary conclusion.”
The Board ruled that the appeal should be dismissed. After years of tumult, Vista Del Mar will repurchase the property for the original price.
John has been working as an agent with ERA Cayman Islands for 8+ years specialising in high-end real estate, hospitality and property management. Formerly of Vail, Colorado; John has set down his roots in Grand Cayman. John holds a degree in business law from the University of Saint Thomas.