Asian buyers often dismiss contracts
March 09, 2018
George Lee, founder and principal lawyer at B.C.-based George Lee Law Corp., claims his Asian real estate clients are often confused and dismissive of legal contracts.
“It’s not the way things get done in Asia,” he explained. “Many of my clients have lent millions of dollars to a friend, or a friend of a friend, on a handshake and trust. There is no legal contract and no security.”
Relationship, George points out, is what counts in Asia. People deal with friends or people referred to them by friends. They see no need for a written contract.
“Naturally, when they come to Canada, they bring that habit with them,” George said. “They don’t understand the need for a written contract – until something goes wrong, of course.”
While encouraging his Asian clients to conform to the North American tradition of dealing in legally binding contracts, George also lends his expertise to explaining to Canadians the Asian reluctance to engage in written contracts.
“Most of the difficulties that arise for my Asian clients arise out of construction related issues,” he said. “Construction, renovation, buying and selling property – in Canada we take it for granted that a contract is involved. Not so with immigrants from Asia.”
The majority of civil litigation cases his law firm—which has three offices in Metro Vancouver—deals with stem from real estate related transactions, Lee said.