Patrick Quintal says he has been left in financial ruin after the collapse of Toplace
One of the many victims of the controversial property development company Toplace has claimed that he was left financially bankrupt after the company suddenly collapsed.
Volunteer administrators for the company’s construction division were appointed on July 7, while its founder, Jean Nassif, is abroad, wanted on fraud-related charges.
The Toplace Group has been described as one of Australia’s largest privately owned development and construction companies with 30,000 buildings in Sydney.
Its fall is expected to affect thousands of apartment buyers and contractors in Sydney with various projects currently under construction.
One of them is IT manager Patrick Quintal, who owns and lives in a unit in the troubled Vicinity Flats with his wife in Canterbury, Sydney’s west.
The building is allegedly riddled with defects and a Building Works Rectification Order (BWRO) was issued by the NSW Building Commissioner on 7 July and in August last year.
Quintal bought the apartment in May 2021 for $600,000 and moved in at the end of July.
“When I bought I had no idea of the potential problems, most buildings have a couple of rendering issues but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
“But around August 2021 we received an engineering report that basically referred to the building as a death trap.
“The best way to explain it is that everything that could have gone wrong in terms of construction did go wrong.”
The defects include problems with the slab and beams in the basement, the BWRO report says.
Various props have also been placed in the basement of the building.
Toplace founder Jean Nassif (pictured with his wife) is believed to have fled abroad and is wanted by NSW Police on fraud-related charges.
Quintal also claimed that the balcony walls have cracks everywhere, while her balcony floods every time it rains.
“The flood comes to my apartment door and I sit there and wait for the rain to stop,” he said.
The water has been close to reaching my apartment a few times.
He also said that one of the building’s waterproofing membranes was “completely dysfunctional.”
Mr. Quintal’s quarterly tax brackets also jumped from $900 a month to $4,000, most of which goes to insurance.
Assume you have paid $22,000 to strata liens in the last 12 months alone, taking ‘special’ liens related to building rectification orders.
But to make matters worse, Quintal said no insurance company within Australia would insure the building, so the owners had to get assistance from one abroad, but their policy doesn’t cover defects.
Quintal said the BWRO has now fallen to the owners, given the recent collapse of Toplace.
Mr. Quintal lives in the Vicinity Apartments complex in Canterbury, which is reportedly riddled with flaws (fixtures holding up the building in the photo)
“It was always in the cards for me that Toplace was going to go bankrupt,” he said.
“I’m just surprised that the government hasn’t done anything.
What is Topplace?
Toplace is one of Australia’s largest private construction, construction and property development companies.
The company has built more than 30,000 residential and commercial buildings in Sydney, including homes, shopping centers and suites.
The company was founded in 1992.
‘When you buy an apartment near the CBD, you expect it to be safe and that you can live there.’
The Department of Fair Trading has estimated the total cost of the repairs to be $50 million and with 276 units, the owners expect a cost of more than $180,000 each.
“I can’t sell the apartment, I can’t refinance or get another mortgage, especially given how the interest rates are,” Quintal said.
‘And the imminent threat of having to pay $180,000 per person. It is financial suicide. I can’t even move in and rent a place, and I’m already struggling to make the mortgage payments.
A court case has been underway with Toplace over defects within the Vicinity Apartments grounds, but Quintal says that due to repeated delays, the cost of repairs has now fallen to the owners.
“The court case is still ongoing, so the debts are not considered owed, and we as homeowners are classified as unsecured creditors, which I would imagine puts us at the bottom of the list,” he said.
The situation is serious. I have seen four separate units that have had to foreclose. There is a unit that I can see from where I live that had a sign saying the bank repossessed it.
This is going to get a lot worse for anyone here. I can’t get any of this money back, none of it is recoverable. It is an active money sink.
Antony Resnick and Suelen McCallum of DVT Group were appointed as volunteer administrators.
Resnick said it was too early to guess how much money was owed to creditors or how many apartment owners were affected.
‘There is a number [of projects] in different stages, and many land possessions,’ he previously told the Australian Financial Review.
“It has not yet been decided whether these are completed by the administrators or sold.”
Creditors are expected to meet for the first time next week.
Quintal said he has spent thousands of dollars in strata liens for the building.
Resnick said that of the creditors there were about 40 employees, the Sydney Morning Herald informed.
Buyers who bought apartments with Toplace outside of the plan may see their developments sold to other companies should the company go into liquidation.
But he cautioned that it may not be good news for those who take the company to court over defects, as they may have to suspend proceedings.
The company said it had suffered “operational difficulties” like other builders in the post-lockdown period, due to staff shortages and rising material prices.
“Senior management is working closely with VAs (volunteer administrators) to achieve the best possible outcome for their stakeholders, especially creditors and our consumers,” Toplace said in a statement.
‘We anticipate that through this process, over time, all creditor debts will be satisfied in full.
‘Contrary to media commentary, no bank has ever lost money financing Toplace Group projects. Grupo Toplace has a wide portfolio of properties which will materialize throughout this process to satisfy the obligations contracted with creditors.
The unit owner claims that many of the balconies in the unit complex have cracks and flood when it rains.
“Toplace is confident that with control under the VA experience, he will be in the best shape to navigate through these difficult times.”
NSW Police last month issued a warrant for Nassif’s arrest on allegations that a $150 million loan from Westpac was obtained using fraudulent pre-sale documents for an apartment complex in Castle Hill.
The 55-year-old man left the country on December 22.
It had previously applied to review a NSW Fair Trade decision to suspend its license for 10 years and permanently ban Toplace from engaging in construction work.
Fair Trading discovered that both Nassif and his company had engaged in inappropriate conduct.
The operating ban was temporarily lifted to allow the company to finish remediation work on several apartment blocks, but was reinstated last week.
NSW Fair Trading said its disciplinary action to cancel and disqualify Toplace’s contractor’s license remains in effect, along with any construction work rectification orders and other orders issued.
“Any Corporation of Owners, vendors, business contractors or others who believe they have claims against Toplace should contact the Administrator to register as an unsecured creditor,” their advice read.
‘You will need to complete and provide the Trustees with a ‘Proof of Debt’. This will ensure that your claim against Toplace is registered and that any notices or other communications that the Trustee sends to creditors are provided to you.’
For those who purchase the plan, they are also encouraged to contact the servicers to register as an unsecured creditor.
New South Wales Premier Chris Minns addressed the issue on Wednesday, calling on Nassif to come forward with authorities.
“I know the building commissioner is also working with tenant associations in New South Wales, for those who have already bought or moved into a property in Toplace,” Minns said.
“We need to allow those administrators to do their job and determine what the full scale of funding to the organization is, as well as the potential damage that exists at what we believe are about 10 properties in New South Wales that they are looking at.” in.
“There are many creditors and law enforcement agencies who are keen to speak to Mr Nassif, I would encourage him to make himself available to investigators in New South Wales so we can find out exactly what he has done in this state. and what are their possible responsibilities”. are.’
Toplace has been contacted for further comment.