Crown Crest Leasing
This case alleges that the defendants breached consumer protection law in registering security interests against consumers’ home title.
The defendants in the action are Crown Crest Capital Management Corp., Crown Crest Financial Corp. and these companies’ CEO and owner, Lawrence Krimker.
The plaintiff alleges that the defendants’ conduct breached consumer protection law, in that the defendants registered amounts on people’s home title that had not been disclosed to consumers.
The Court will decide at a later date if the cases will proceed as class actions.
The case seeks to represent consumers whose HVAC agreement was directly or indirectly assigned to Crown Crest, and Crown Crest registered an interest against their home title.
What is the Class Action about?
This class action lawsuit alleges that companies run by CEO Lawrence Krimker, all breached Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act by failing to disclose the total amount that HVAC and HVAC-related equipment would cost under the “rental” contracts consumers were asked to sign. Further, these companies failed to disclose to consumers that Notices of Security Interests (encumbrances) with inflated amounts of thousands of dollars would be registered against their home titles as leverage to extract unconscionable buyout sums from consumers who need to sell or refinance their homes.
The lawsuit covers rental agreements for equipment such as furnaces, air conditioners, air purifiers, water heaters, water softeners, water purifiers, water treatment systems, water filters, boilers, air cleaners, humidifiers, chimney liners, duct cleaning services, filters, thermostats and other equipment or services offered under the rental contracts, or bundles of these goods and services.
In addition to other remedies, the class action is asking the court to declare that all these consumer agreements are unlawful and unenforceable under the Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiffs also ask for the removal of all of the unlawfully registered Notices of Security Interest from consumers’ homes.
What is the next step for the class action?
In order for an action to proceed on behalf of the entire class, a judge must decide whether the members of the proposed class have common issues, and whether a class action is the preferred way to resolve the issues. The process to decide these issues is known as the “certification motion”. If the judge is satisfied that the case meets all of the requirements for certification, he or she will issue an order which certifies the action as a class action.
The certification hearing for this class action has been scheduled for October 1, 2, and 3, 2024.
Do I have to do anything to 'join' the class action?
No. If the lawsuit is certified, and you are included in the class as defined, you are automatically included in the lawsuit. Registering on our website ensures you are provided timely updates and notices about how the case is progressing.
The defined class includes all individuals in Ontario who:
- are or were at any time party to a consumer agreement for HVAC or HYAC related Equipment* with any person who directly or indirectly assigned that consumer agreement to one of the defendants between July 17, 2013 and the date of certification of this action or any other date that the Court deems appropriate (“Class Period”); and
- against whose property the defendants registered, or caused to be registered, a security interest or other encumbrance on title, or the defendants otherwise owned or controlled such an encumbrance on title.
* “HVAC or HV AC-related Equipment” means furnaces, air conditioners, air purifiers, water heaters, water softeners, water purifiers, water treatment systems, water filters, boilers, air cleaners, humidifiers, chimney liners, duct cleaning services, filters, thermostats and other equipment or services offered under the rental contracts, or bundles of these goods and services.
How do I make sure I am in the defined class?
In order to make sure you are captured in the defined class, you would need to be a homeowner in Ontario subject to a rental agreement for HVAC and HVAC-related equipment with one of the following companies:
- Crown Crest Capital Management Corp.
- Crown Crest Financial Corp.
- Crown Crest Capital Trust
- Crown Crest Capital II Trust
- Crown Crest Billing Corp.
- Crown Crest Capital Corp.
- Crown Crest Funding Corp.
- Sandpiper Energy Solutions
- Sandpiper Energy Solutions Home Comfort
- Simply Green Home Services (Ontario) Inc.
- Simply Green Home Services Inc.
- Simply Green Home Services Corp.
IMPORTANT: If you are not captured by this class action, there are separate limitations periods that apply to you. You should contact a lawyer for individual advice.
What is a Notice of Security Interest (NOSI)?
NOSIs operate in the predatory HVAC market similarly to liens, and are used as financial collateral by lenders against affected consumers. In this case, they are being used to secure buyouts from consumers. The defendant companies are using NOSIs to charge consumers amounts far greater than the actual value of the equipment under the agreements.
In order to check if you have a NOSI on your title, you have to do a parcel registry search of your property in the way described below.
How do I get a parcel registry search of my property?
You can get a parcel registry search through the government, using the Ontario Land Property Records Portal. To use this portal, you must type in your municipality, search for a property, and enter your address into the “address” tab. Once you find your address, you can purchase the parcel registry search for around $40.00.
The parcel registry will give you the ownership history of your title, as well as note any mortgages, liens, and security interests that have been registered on your title. If there is a NOSI from one of the defendant companies, you are likely captured in our class definition.
Can Sotos LLP help me get the NOSI off my house or help me get out of my contract?
Sotos LLP, as class counsel, currently acts for the class as a whole. Our goal is to help all of Ontarians affected by these companies’ scam to get out of these unlawful agreements and to remove the NOSIs from homeowners’ titles using the class action proceeding. Due to this, we are currently unable to act for consumers wishing to pursue their specific disputes with these companies on an individual basis.
What are my immediate options?
If your situation is urgent, for example in situations where you are trying to sell or refinance your home, please consider the following options:
- Complain about this company’s conduct to Consumer Protection Ontario. Here is their guide on how to complain: https://www.ontario.ca/page/door-door-sales-and-home-service-contracts
- You can seek advice on any complaint or small claims documents from Pro Bono Ontario. Once you have read the above and drafted your complaint and/or claim, you can contact Pro Bono Ontario to ask a lawyer review your documents and provide comments on them. You can call them at: https://www.probonoontario.org/hotline/
- In cases where you must urgently remove a NOSI, you can individually retain a lawyer to bring an application to remove suspicious instruments registered on title to your property. Please note that this may prevent you from being part of the class action in the future. To get connected to a lawyer for this purpose, please see the Law Society of Ontario’s Referral Service here: https://lsrs.lso.ca/lsrs/welcome
- November 6, 2023: People’s Trust Company, one of Crown Crest’s creditors, has filed an application under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) which directly implicates the class action. Please see the following Update.
- July 4, 2023: The plaintiffs have filed the Amended Fresh as Amended Statement of Claim pursuant to the order of the Superior Court of Justice.
- June 22, 2023: The certification hearing has been scheduled for October 1, 2, and 3, 2024.
- June 21, 2023: The Superior Court of Justice has set a timetable for the hearing of the certification motion on October 1, 2 and 3, 2024. You can find a copy of the timetable as amended by the Court here.
- March 23, 2023: The Class Proceedings Fund approved funding of the case.
- May 31, 2022: The plaintiffs filed a Fresh as Amended Statement of Claim.
- May 27, 2022: The Superior Court of Justice granted the plaintiffs’ motion to add new parties and amend the claim. You can find a copy of the order here.
- December 29, 2021: The Superior Court of Justice granted carriage of this class action to Sotos Class Actions. You can find a copy of the Court’s decision here.
- September 2, 2021: The plaintiff served her certification motion record.
- July 7, 2021: Plaintiff issued Statement of Claim in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
- Responding Motion Record of the Defendant Lawrence Krimker dated September 18, 2023
- Reply to All Defendants’ Statements of Defence dated September 7, 2023
- Amended Statement of Defence of the Corporate Defendants dated August 5, 2023
- Amended Statement of Defence of the Defendant, Lawrence Krimker dated July 28, 2023
- Order of the Superior Court of Justice dated July 4, 2023
- Amended Fresh as Amended Statement of Claim dated July 4, 2023
- Timetable for the hearing of the certification motion on October 1, 2 and 3, 2024
- Fresh as Amended Statement of Claim, issued May 25, 2022
- Reasons for Decision (Carriage Motion) issued December 29, 2021
- Statement of Claim, issued July 7, 2021