Couple short-changed in Stonewood Homes house swap
A Canterbury couple claim they may have to pay more than $350,000 over a botched house swap deal with Stonewood Homes.
Craig and Denise Tomlinson have been locked out of their Kaiapoi property for two months, after discovering their land was passed to a roofing company without their knowledge.
The couple only found the deal when the local Stonewood Home franchise went into receivership in February, owing contractors and suppliers $15 million, and a fence popped up around their property.
A security camera has been set up to prevent anyone assessing the site.
Roofing company Metalcraft, one of Stonewood's biggest suppliers, has placed a mortgage on the land.
It means the Tomlinsons may have to buy the property back in a mortgagee sale, which they believe could reach as high as $350,000.
"We can't get in there at all, the alarms will go off if you even try and get in there. It's just so wrong what they've gone and done," Ms Tomlinson says.
"The stress is unbelievable, unbelievable. We shouldn't have to go through this."
The Stonewood Homes assets have since been purchased by Inno Capital, a wealthy investment group, with the new owners vowing to honour all existing house contracts.
Their director, Clint Webber, says he wants to finish the build for the Tomlinsons but he's unable to access the property and pick up the debt on the land.
"We're doing everything we can to help them, and they have 100 percent of our support, but unfortunately it's a legal issue which is outside of our control," he says.
"I'm very sympathetic and I'm very upset by what's happened, because these are decent people"
He described the deal as "questionable" and said it was not something he would personally do. Some of the Stonewood Homes staff were "very, very upset" about the situation.
"The problem we've got is there's so many people affected by the previous Stonewood. There's so many tradesmen and creditors that are in horrible positions as well," he says.
There had been "extensive discussions" with Metalcraft over the problem but not resolution.
"It's put a lot of strain on relationship with Metalcraft ... It's just a transitional period right now where we're assessing who we're working with going forward. If our clients are not looked after by our suppliers, we will not work with them going forward."
Ms Tomlinson points the finger squarely at the former Stonewood Homes boss Brent Mettrick.
"He said, 'you don't screw me, I won't screw you'. I said, 'we're not those type of people'. Well mate, you screwed us."
Receivers KordaMentha say they're unable to deal with the property but liquidators, who carry stronger powers, are likely to take a closer look at the Stonewood Homes insolvency.
"With that mortgage in place, we, as receivers, are unable to deal with the property," they said in statement.
"We appreciate this must be very distressing for Mr and Ms Tomlinson, who are caught up in a complicated set of circumstances."
Metalcraft refused to comment when contacted this morning. Mr Metterick could not be reached for comment.