A group of Ontario homeowners say they’re disappointed that the $500 grading deposit they paid a builder 16 years ago will not be returned to them.

The homeowners said sales representatives for the building company Fieldgate Homes told them they had to pay $500 for a grading deposit that would be refunded to them once their subdivision in Vaughan, Ont. was assumed by the municipality.

Builders collect the fee, which is sometimes called a security or damage deposit, to ensure the project follows city regulations, such as those involving driveways, curbs, and sidewalks.

Rosa Savella moved into the development when it was first built 16 years ago and said a sales representative told her she would be refunded for the $500 deposit.

“She said ‘Oh yeah, minus your $500 because you’ll be getting that back sooner or later as soon as the land gets assumed,’” she told CTV Toronto on Thursday.

Savella’s neighbours also said they were told they would get their deposits back.

“A grading fee is a common practice. I think it still happens today where people purchase homes and they get this deposit back,” homeowner Luciano DeRose said.

However, the homeowners said they recently discovered that the housing development had already been assumed by the municipality 10 years ago without their knowledge.

Steven Davidov, the director of operations management for Fieldgate Homes, said the company never promised to refund the money to the homeowners.

“We did charge a non-refundable grading fee of $500 + GST. Fieldgate provided no undertaking on closing to any purchaser for the refund of the grading fee. We hope homeowners are happy with their homes despite this misunderstanding,” he said in an emailed statement.

Davidov also said the charges were laid out in the agreement of purchase.

The homeowners, on the other hand, claim they were told verbally the deposit would be returned. They said they’re disappointed the builder won’t refund their money.

“We’re not asking for anything that extravagant,” homeowner Tony Gentile said. “We just want the grading fees that we were told we were going to get back, to get them back as promised.”