PHOTO: Mission Beach residents Margie and Chris Lower, whose property settlement has been delayed indefinitely by the investment firm Mayfair 101. Photograph: Supplied

Chris Lower and wife Margie, who has stage four cancer, have made plans that depend on their deal with the investment firm

Earlier this year, Margie and Chris Lower cleaned out their tiny corner of tropical paradise in Mission Beach, preparing to hand the keys of their fisherman’s shack to investment firm Mayfair 101.

Margie, who has stage four bowel cancer, had wanted to be closer to hospitals for medical treatment and family. She imminently needs about $60,000 from the sale of their home to pay for a course of immunotherapy.

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The couple were the sort of seller that Mayfair 101 encountered right across Mission Beach, where property prices had been stagnant for more than a decade. It went on an investment spree last year, snapping up the right to buy more than 230 local homes, businesses and vacant blocks to complement its $31m purchase of the nearby Dunk Island resort.

In March, the evening before the Lowers’ beachfront home was due to settle, they were told Mayfair 101 was exercising an unusual “force majeure” clause to indefinitely suspend about 60 outstanding contracts to buy properties in Mission Beach.

With those sales still in limbo, last week a key company in the Mayfair group was placed in the hands of receivers. This followed an investigation and legal action by the corporate regulator that has hampered Mayfair’s attempts to attract new investors required to resume property purchases.

Court documents show the receivers are to investigate whether Mayfair 101’s founder, James Mawhinney, may have breached companies law in the operation of the group.