An epidemiology academic caught up in a bitter legal nightmare over the purchase of her “dream home” because her bank was 13 minutes late in finalizing the deal has been dealt another devastating blow.
Dr. Loretta McKinnon fears she will soon be evicted from her downtown Brisbane rental property, for which she placed a winning bid of $580,000 at auction in 2021.
She was thrilled with the bargain purchase, especially after a similar property next door sold for $200,000 more just two weeks later.
But Dr. McKinnon’s dreams were dashed weeks later after her lender, the Commonwealth Bank, accidentally ticked the wrong box on official documents and missed the payment deadline to complete the 90-day agreement.
The seller canceled the deal because of the late agreement and pocketed her $29,000 deposit, leaving the would-be homeowner to pay both rent and the loans she took out to purchase the property.
Loretta McKinnon (above right) thought she had bought her dream home two years ago, but the sale fell through weeks later
The Commonwealth Bank accidentally checked the wrong box on the documents and missed the payment deadline to complete Loretta’s settlement
Dr. McKinnon was embroiled in a complicated legal battle for two years to acquire the three-bedroom Windsor property that she has now called home for almost three years.
This included placing a caveat on the property to prevent the seller, who is also their landlord, from selling it to someone else.
Dr. McKinnon now faces a hefty bill and the risk of homelessness after losing her case to buy the house in the Brisbane Supreme Court this month.
Judge Peter Applegarth ruled that Dr. McKinnon should lift the reservation and pay the seller’s legal costs.
“I’m devastated,” she told Daily Mail Australia.
“The last two years have been really tough.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, but I’m the one who’s being punished.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” “I feel like I’ve been beaten to a pulp.”
A court has Dr. McKinnon was ordered to lift the caveat she had placed on the property to prevent the seller, who is also her landlord, from selling to anyone else.
Dr. McKinnon has spent the last two years warning others of their ongoing plight. Pictured is signage outside her home in Brisbane
Dr. McKinnon plans to appeal the recent court decision and continue her long fight for justice.
Due to the rental shortage in Brisbane, she was unable to move or change banks.
The tripling of interest rates in the last two years has also massively affected their desire for home ownership.
“I sold two assets to be able to buy this house, which was a really good deal,” she said.
“With that $580,000, I wouldn’t have a place to live now.”
“I can’t move out either as there are no rental properties in Brisbane.”
“The bank must be held accountable.”
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland has since amended the contractual requirements guidelines to include a grace period if a property settlement deadline cannot be met in time to comply with other states.
She claims it took the Commonwealth Bank a long time to admit the mistake and feels held captive by the bank.
“The bank needs to help me purchase this house or find a suitable replacement for me,” she said.
Loretta’s settlement fell through after the Commonwealth Bank missed the payment deadline by 13 minutes. The seller kept her deposit and the house in Windsor (pictured above), where she still lives as a tenant
“I feel that the bank did everything in its power to ensure that the settlement could not take place.”
“I was a valued premium customer, but they took away my banking privileges and treated me like the enemy. ‘I would cut all ties if I could.’
“I wouldn’t mind moving to a new home as I’ve been completely traumatized and trapped here for over two years.
“The fear was always that I had to stay here because the CBA wouldn’t adequately compensate me if I left.”
“I just hope it doesn’t break me in the meantime.”
A Commonwealth Bank spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia that it was not involved in any legal proceedings regarding Dr. McKinnon’s reservation between Dr. McKinnon and the owner of the property.
Loretta McKinnon (pictured) plans to appeal the recent court decision
Loretta still lives in the Brisbane home she bid $580,000 for as a tenant at a 2021 auction
The bank added that it has spent the last seven months with Dr. McKinnon worked together to resolve the situation and ensure she was not left worse off as a result of the outcome.
“CBA has been actively working with Dr. “McKinnon and the owner of the home where she currently lives are negotiating to facilitate the purchase of the residence,” the spokeswoman said.
“Dr. McKinnon did not accept CBA’s offers to resolve the dispute and completion of the purchase was not possible.”
“CBA has both Dr. McKinnon and the property owner confirmed that it wishes to continue to work with both and has invited the parties to participate in mediation to resolve the outstanding disputes.”
Loretta McKinnon (pictured) just wants the long-running legal saga to end
Dr. McKinnon hasn’t given up on her legal battle despite the threat of possible eviction (pictured, a sign outside her “dream home”).