An epidemiology academic embroiled in a bitter legal nightmare over the purchase of her ‘dream home’ because her bank was 13 minutes late finalising the settlement has been dealt another crushing blow.
Dr Loretta McKinnon fears she’ll soon be evicted from her rental property in inner Brisbane which she made a winning $580,000 bid on at an auction in 2021.
She was thrilled with the bargain purchase, especially after a similar property next door sold for $200,000 more just a fortnight later.
But Dr McKinnon’s dreams came crashing down weeks later after her lender, the Commonwealth Bank ticked an incorrect box on official documents by mistake and missed the payment deadline to finalise the 90-day settlement.
The vendor terminated the deal over the late settlement and pocketed her $29,000 deposit, leaving the aspiring homeowner paying both rent and the loans she took out to buy the property.
Loretta McKinnon (above, right) thought she’d bought her dream home two years ago only for the sale to fall through weeks later
The Commonwealth Bank ticked an incorrect box on documents by mistake and missed the payment deadline to finalise Loretta’s settlement
Dr McKinnon has spent two years locked in a complicated legal fight to trying acquire the three bedroom Windsor property she’s now called for home almost three years.
It included lodging a caveat on the property to block the vendor, who’s also her landlord from selling to anyone else.
Dr McKinnon now faces a hefty legal bill and the threat of homelessness after losing her case to buy the home in Brisbane Supreme Court this month.
Justice Peter Applegarth ruled for Dr McKinnon to remove the caveat and pay the seller’s legal costs.
‘I’m devastated,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The last two years have been really hard.
‘I’ve done nothing wrong but I’m the one 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 ordered Dr McKinnon to remove the caveat she lodged on the property to block the vendor, who’s also her landlord from selling to anyone else.
Dr McKinnon has spent the last two years warning others about her ongoing plight. Pictured is signage outside her Brisbane home
Dr McKinnon plans to appeal the recent court decision and continue her long fight to get justice.
She’s been unable to move due to the rental shortage in Brisbane or switch banks.
The tripling of interest rates in the last two years have also thrown a massive dent into her home ownership aspirations.
‘I sold two assets so I could buy this home, which was a really good deal,’ she said.
‘That $580,000 wouldn’t get me an apartment now.’
‘Nor can I move out as there are no rentals in Brisbane.
‘The bank needs to be held accountable.’
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland has since amended guidelines for contractual requirements to include a grace period if a property settlement deadline can’t be met in time to be in line with other states.
She claims the Commonwealth Bank took a long time to admit the error and feels she’s been held captive by the bank.
‘The bank needs to assist me in acquiring this home or finding me a suitable replacement’ she said.
Loretta’s settlement fell through after Commonwealth Bank missed the payment deadline by 13 minutes. The vendor kept her deposit and the house in Windsor (pictured above) which she still lives in as a tenant
‘I feel that the bank did everything they could to ensure settlement couldn’t proceed.’
‘I was a high-valued premier customer but they’ve taken away my banking privileges and treated me like the enemy. I would sever all ties if I could.’
‘I would not mind moving on to a new home as I have been completely traumatised and imprisoned here for over two years now.
‘The fear has always been that I had to stay here as CBA would not compensate me properly if I left.’
‘I just hope it doesn’t break me in the meantime.’
A Commonwealth Bank spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia it wasn’t involved in court proceedings concerning the removal of Dr McKinnon’s caveat 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 made a $580,000 bid on at an auction in 2021 as a renter
The bank added it had spent the last seven months working with Dr McKinnon to resolve the situation and ensure she isn’t worse off from the outcome.
‘CBA has been actively negotiating with Dr McKinnon and the owner of the house, where she currently lives, to facilitate the purchase of the residence,’ the spokeswoman said.
‘Dr McKinnon has not accepted CBA’s offers to resolve the dispute and the completion of the purchase has not been possible.
‘CBA has confirmed to both Dr McKinnon and the owner of the property that it wishes to continue to engage with both of them and has issued an invitation to the parties to attend a mediation to resolve the outstanding disputes.’
Loretta McKinnon (pictured) just wants the long running legal saga to be over
Dr McKinnon hasn’t given up on her legal fight, despite the threat of possible eviction (pictured, a sign outside her ‘dream home’)