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James ()
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Re: Alberta leaky condos—radio interview 2012/03/14 02:41  
Condo troubles
CBC Calgary Radio
Wednesday June 29, 2011

Some condo owners in Southwest Calgary are looking for answers. The Bella Vista Condominums in Bankview are leaking.

The building was constructed in 2001 and opened to residents in 2004. It now needs repairs to its roof, eaves, balcony and parkade.

And residents are paying the price... between $77,000 and $189,000 each. Tricia Stephens owns one of the condos. She joined us on Tuesday's show.

Listen to the audio radio interview at:
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Re: Alberta leaky condos—radio interview 2012/03/14 17:26  
Great interview, thanks James, worth the 7 minutes.

It raises so many issues that Ontario dealt with and will continue to deal with, as standards and expectations are raised and volumes increase.

Pouring concrete year round, changes the concrete, so engineers have their work cut out.

New home protection legistlation, ANYWHERE is never enough, as new conditions and problems surface from the last round of so called higher standards.
Richard Forster
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James ()
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Re: BC Condos—Buyer Beware 2012/03/15 07:19  
Condo nightmare: buyer beware of leaky, rotten condos
The Vancouver Courier
By Deb Abbey, Contributing writer
September 22, 2011

If you’re buying a condo, you might think there’s a government agency, regulatory body or some mechanism out there to ensure you’re protected from shoddy workmanship, poor design or lack of maintenance. Or at the very least that the market knows about and prices these substandard condo developments accordingly.

Think again. In my last column, I talked about Fred and Ethyl, a couple who thought they’d done all the right things and still ended up with a $100,000 assessment within months of buying their condo [their share of the cost to rainscreen their leaky condo development].

How can you avoid being caught in a financial pickle like this?

Start with the basics. Make an informed decision. If you make a bad decision, there’s no easy way to recoup your losses. In fact, some court decisions have found “against” the buyer for not doing adequate research.

In order to protect yourself and your investment, conventional wisdom recommends that before you buy a condo, you read the Form B Information Certificate, the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement and the last two years of minutes from Strata Council Meetings and AGM’s. While that’s good advice, there’s no guarantee that potential problems will be evident in any of these documents.

And just because a building hasn’t leaked yet, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. If the building was constructed in the 80s or 90s, it’s imperative that you request any building envelope or engineering reports that have been done as well.

In my experience, some strata councils (condo boards) are reluctant to put anything on the record that could potentially have an impact on the current valuation of the property. While this is shortsighted management, it’s becoming the norm in a lot of developments where everyone has a vested interest in keeping property values as high as possible.

So, read the minutes and the Property Disclosure Statement and the Form B. Look for any references to water ingress, mould or rot. And find a reputable home inspector who will inspect your condo as well as all of the common areas.

I talked to Wayne DeJong of Pillar to Post Inspections. His inspectors routinely look at the common areas of every condo they inspect. “Some clients have to be convinced that we should look at those areas even though it’s included in the fee,” he said. Although a home inspection is not a substitute for a building envelope study or engineering report, it may save you a lot of grief in the future.

A CMHC study reports that in many cases, buyers of leaky condos have had many warning signs in home inspection reports and other documentation that was provided, but did not understand the implications of the comments.

DeJong’s inspectors will help you understand your strata minutes and building envelope or engineering reports. “If a buyer wants a detailed interpretation of those documents, we can provide that as well for an hourly rate.” Other building inspectors offer similar options. In the end, make sure you have a clear understanding of any potential problems and the cost of remediation in the future.

One of the biggest red flags that I’ve encountered as a real estate agent is lack of transparency. If the documentation is incomplete and not made available in a timely manner, move on. In an era of “all cash, no subject” offers, not seeing the appropriate documentation creates an unacceptable level of risk for any buyer.

Don’t let a pretty building with nice tile in the foyer and a great view fool you. It’s estimated that more than $3 billion has been spent repairing leaky condos, yet the problem still exists.

Read more: story.html#ixzz1pB9G6R4Y
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Inspection - Reports and Studies Should Be Included 2012/03/15 08:57  
It sounds like Ontario should be thinking about a specially trained inspectors, and things like the envelope study, garage condition, should be part of wider and more inclusive status report.

Inspection should include a review of the reports in possession of the manager.

You can see the trick in BC, is not to have reports, boards keep them secret.
Richard Forster
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James ()
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Re: Alberta—Check for shoddy workmanship before you buy 2012/03/15 21:13  
Check for shoddy construction first, condo buyers told
CBC Calgary News
Posted: Jun 29, 2011

Experts say when it comes to buying condos or new houses in Calgary, do your homework first.

"I've seen a lot of examples of the workmanship that's coming out and it's quite horrific what's happening to a lot of these people," said realtor Mike Libel.

Condo owners in Bankview are facing a large repair bill after it was discovered that their nine-year-old building is leaking.

An inspection at the Bella Vista Condominiums on 14A Street turned up building code violations. Owners are on the hook for between $77,000 and $189,000 each to pay for repairs to the roof, eaves, balcony and parkade.
Talk to existing owners

There are many things a prospective homeowner can do to guard against shoddy craftsmanship, Libel said.

He recommended talking to people who already live in the building, hiring a home inspector or structural engineer and doing checks on the developer.

But no home is going to be 100 per cent flawless, he said.

"I'm not sure there's one thing, or even a series of things a homeowner can do to protect themselves."

James Manfron, a certified home inspector, said he constantly sees problems with the envelope of homes — the roof and siding — which is not inspected by any official body.

An improperly built envelope can result in water leaks, rot and even mould.

"Unfortunately there are no checks in place and no one to really be held responsible other than the builder when we're looking at the envelope. Those are always places we notice issues," he said.
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Building Envelope, Parkade and Commerical Components Out of Reach For A Home Inspector 2012/03/15 22:42  
Thermal scans are available here as an extra in the home inspection package.

Much of the damage is in the parkade and commercial components, so a residential inspection does not protect the owners from the cost of fixing the whole real estate. Even if your unit is dry and above the water line, you are still paying for all repairs.
Richard Forster
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James ()
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Re: Alberta Renovation Project Becomes a Fiasco 2012/03/16 00:43  
Condo fiasco
CBC Radio Edmonton
Thursday December 15, 2011

Condo-owners in an Edmonton 20 story high-rise are astounded after workers walked off the job during major renovations.

The 30-year-old condo hired a contractor to do major renovations to their building envelope. This was an $8 million project.

The work was started and the balcony railings and windows were removed. Then, quite unexpectedly, the workers walked off the job.

What happened next was a pile of liens and lawsuits. Listen to the story on this CBC radio pod cast.
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Re: Alberta Renovation Project Becomes a Fiasco 2012/03/16 11:07  
The owners meeting here to announce our "building envelope and garage restoration" is filled to capacity.

Sixty lucky owners get a free meal and a stage show!
Richard Forster
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Re: Alberta Renovation Project Becomes a Fiasco 2012/03/16 15:28  
"The owners meeting here to announce our "building envelope and garage restoration" is filled to capacity.
Sixty lucky owners get a free meal and a stage show!"

I don't understand what this posting has to do with a Alberta condo fiasco.
M. Kutuzov
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Alberta's Conservatives Are Another Realty For Condo Owners 2012/03/16 16:04  
...and i dont understand what the poor decision of the Alberta conservative about home construction has to do with Ontario rights.

Forgive me!

Maybe you can enlighten us about the garage and envelope and potential restoration scams and problems to come here in Ontario?

Denver was an eye opener too, but applying it to Ontario, was a stretch!
Richard Forster
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Mickey ()
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Re: Why a String on Ablerta & BC Condo Nightmares 2012/03/16 16:10  
"...and i dont understand what the poor decision of the Alberta conservative about home construction has to do with Ontario rights."

I am having trouble understanding what this sentence means. Don't worry about it, I will not try to edit it. It is not important.

For me, this string serves a purpose. Alfonso and you have been constantly telling us just how much protection the condo owners in Alberta and BC have and how that is the direction Ontario should follow.

This site shows me that this is not so.

I encourage you to start a string on condo horror stories in Ontario. That would be useful.
M. Kutuzov
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Nobody Said Alberta Was A Model Of Consumer Protection 2012/03/16 18:35  
The only thing I said was that property managers are licensed in Alberta, and subject to a code of ethics, and fines. Someone did suggest managers were a problem here in Ontario.

Nobody said it was a model for anything else. Don't be silly! It's Alberta!!!!

Their "Conservative" governement has kept other much needed consumer reforms off their agenda for decades, does that clarify it for you? You know how that works. Conservatives rewarding their builder buddies by stalling or preventing much needed legislation.

All cleared up for you now?

You can look at other jurisdictional models here:
Richard Forster
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James ()
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Re: Yet Another Alberta Condo Nightmare 2012/03/16 21:28  
Condo nightmare
By Tanara McLean ,Edmonton Sun
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What started as a few leaky windows at the Rossdale Court condo complex in Edmonton’s River Valley, turned into a massive $2-million renovation project.

“There are people that have units that are as big as 1,400 and 1,500 square feet and they’ve paid upwards of $50,000 over the last four years,” said Lynn Yakoweshen, president of the Rossdale Court condo board.

Yakoweshen and her condo neighbours have been living a small watery nightmare since 2006, after their virtually new building sprung small leaks.

Eventually the group hired inspectors, who soon realized a proper water membrane wasn’t installed in most of the building, causing outdoor walkways connecting portions of the condo to sag and rot.

“Now that we have the waterproof membrane, it’s solid. Nobody’s going through,” joked Yahoweshen as she toured the condo, pointing out where work had to be done.

Rossdale owners were forced to cover the renovation charges out of pocket because they say they were left with no legal recourse.

The builder dissolved his company and started up under a new name shortly after the building was complete, meaning there was no legal entity for the condo board to chase.

That’s a loophole Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman has been trying to close for nearly 10 years.

“What you’re seeing here is a complete failure of the government to provide consumer protection to people that have made the single biggest investment of their lives,” said Blakeman.

Under current Alberta legislation, builders are required to offer a one-year home warranty. The province recently announced a new plan, set to take effect in the spring of 2012, that would extend the period where charges can be laid for building code violations up to a minimum of three years.

However, the new rule isn’t retroactive.

Maurice Otto, director of building and inspections in Edmonton, says condos and houses do not have the same inspection criteria because professional architects and engineers draw specialized plans for most condo structures, and it’s up to them to provide letters saying they’ve followed through on meeting building requirements.

City of Edmonton inspectors visited Rossdale 10 times during its construction, mainly for insulation checks.

Otto also says although the city does perform inspections on condominiums, the responsibility is on the government’s doorstep to set more stringent guidelines to hold builders accountable.

Municipal Affairs Minister Hector Goudreau was not available for comment.

Comments from readers
please name the builder who built these condos and the new company. It only takes alittle word of mouth

Agreed.....until the government changes the laws they should name the person and the company, as well as any new ones they start up. Public shaming goes a long way

It's Blair Hallett of Tessco, as stated on CBC Radio.

For those of you who remember, Blair Hallett was the owner of Hy-mark Builders a construction company that was convicted of failing to ensure the health and safety of workers and failing to ensure duties that might endanger a worker were performed by a competent worker or under direct supervision, and to employing a person under the age of 15 without the proper consents and approvals. Shane Stecyk, the 14-year-old nephew of Hallett, had been on the job for only two days when he fell through an atrium opening on the roof of a condominium under construction in Edmonton in July, 2000. There was no guardrail around the atrium opening where Stecyk was working, but one was subsequently installed. After Stecyk fell, Hallett phoned 9-1-1. He and the company foreman decided to install a guardrail before OH&S officials arrived.

CBC has this same story and they list Blair Hallet and Tessco as the developers.

NOTE: The Sun article also has a nice two minute TV story at this site.
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James ()
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Re: Yet One More Alberta Condo Nightmare 2012/03/18 19:32  
Condo repairs an ongoing ‘nightmare’
Metro News—Calgary
Jeremy Nolais
20 October 2011

The view is not so beautiful at Bella Vista, whose entrance is still covered in green mesh and construction materials. Residents say crews work on the building seven days a week, causing continuous disruption.

Nearly four months after details came to light of a southwest condo development facing millions of dollars in repairs, some owners are cutting their losses and moving on.

Others, who wish to stay, say they are being forced out.

Bella Vista, located near the corner of 17th Avenue and 14th Street S.W., will likely rack up a bill of $5.5 million when repairs caused by longtime water leakage are complete, according to estimates provided to owners of its 60 condominiums.

That has left resident Mohsen Nejati and others on the hook for anywhere from $50,000 to $187,000.
The Iranian immigrant managed to get a loan to cover the repairs, but is still unsure he will be able to cover his portion due to thousands in accrued interest.

“Why do they have to do this?” he said. “I got the money but now they need the interest, too. I have medical problems. I can’t take it.”

A member of the Bella Vista condo board, who requested anonymity, painted a much different picture of the situation.

“I think everyone has come together on this and we are getting through it,” she said.

Wayne Daley doesn’t see it that way. Unable to afford an $84,000 repair bill, he will declare bankruptcy and move out of Bella Vista in the near future.

“It’s a nightmare,” he said. “I am going to basically become a criminal.”
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Re: Yet One More Alberta Condo Nightmare 2012/03/18 22:34  
Waterproofing was an 80's issue here.

We have Tarion here, so the first five years are totally secret, until the class actions, hit the courts.

Bargain or poor caulking and water-proofing seems to an industry issue, condo and freehold. Mike Holmes has made a whole season, on water and insulation issues.

Forgetting the vapour barrier was the 80's headlines on Ontario for many high-rises.
Richard Forster
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James ()
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Re: Expensive Condo Repairs in Calgary 2012/03/21 16:02  
Condo repairs
CBC Radio—Calgary
Tuesday June 28, 2011
7 minute audio
Some Calgary condo owners are being asked to fork over tens of thousands of dollars for repairs to their units. Jennifer speaks with their MLA Kent Hehr about how this can happen and why there isn't more consumer protection.
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Re: Expensive Condo Repairs in Calgary 2012/03/21 17:47  
One year is not enough warranty, that part is clear.

Looks like engineering and contracting needs more regulation there too!
Richard Forster
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James ()
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Re: Legal Action in BC over Troubled Condos 2012/03/23 17:49  
Legal Action over Troubled Condos
Posted on August 8, 2011 by kevinfrankblog

Vancouver Realtors Real estate expert Ozzie Jurock faces legal charges from investors who allege that Jurock and his partners failed to inform them about some rather costly deficits in their buildings. According to recent reports, Ozzie Jurock, a very well known and high profile real estate guru, guided investors into condo purchases that were losing investments.

Many investors new to the real estate game took Jurock’s advice when it came to buying into the condos. Jurock and his two partners are now subject to legal action by these same investors.

The properties that are being investigated in the action include Roosevelt Apartments in Prince Rupert and the Crestwood Estates in Williams Lake. Many of those who invested had taken part in the real estate investment course offered by Jurock himself.

Those undertaking the lawsuit claim that Jurock mislead them when it came to the investment value of the condos.

The allegations are based on the fact that the Jurock and his partners didn’t disclose the fact that the condos were in need of extensive repairs. Another leaky condo syndrome with high costs.

According to the lawsuit allegations, Jurock and his partners sent a statement saying that the condos were in effect free from material defect. The lawyer representing some of the accusers claims that this was misleading as a review of the condos later showed that they were in need of very extensive reparations.

One condo that sold for $73,000 later was found to require another $35,000 in repairs due to leaks.

Lawyer Roy Millen is representing over sixty percent of the owners who are now seeking a class action lawsuit before the B.C. Supreme Court.

Some of the many problems that plague the buildings, according to the unhappy buyers include, poor sealing in the window frames and leaks, cracks in chimneys, and poorly-made flashing on roofs, stacks, vents and the like.

The disgruntled owners claim that the costs of fixing all the problems have been tallied to be about $35,000 per unit. This was figured out by a study commissioned by the owners.

Many of the buyers who had taken Jurock’s course said they trusted him and some even recommended the investment to friends and colleagues. As such, the appearance of trouble and the costs of repair have hit them particularly hard.

Apparently, one of the condominiums in question, Crestwood Estates in Williams Lake, was sold to Jurock and his company for $4.2 million. Later however, Jurock and partners took in approximately $8.5 million in sales of the units.

One of the problems was that a statement indicated that there were no major problems in the units. Yet appraisals of the units were based upon the show suite. While all the other units were supposed to be brought up to this rental standards, no units were actually brought up to the standards of the show suite.

Another issue was the fact that many of the prices for the units were based on the circular logic of the market. Appraisers also relied on the sales of the unit to peg the condos value. However, as many of the units were selling to members of Jurock’s class, the prices have been claimed to have been artificially high.

Approximately half of all the owners of the Williams Lake unit are seeking involvement in the class action lawsuit. This 75 unit condo is therefore a huge subject of the investigation.

Jurock and his lawyers have said in their defense that they never represented the condos as devoid of problems, or without any need for maintenance. Moreover, Jurock claims that many of the allegations are baseless and that they look forward to their day in court in order to show this to be the case.

Jurock and his partners also claim that many of their investors have seen profits. The clients who invested in their Kimberley properties for instance, have apparently seen their investment go up from sixty thousand dollars to $120,000. In Kamloops, Jurock claims that investors who bought in at $50,000 are now seeing their investments worth $120,000.

Some buyers are more apt to blame themselves for trusting Jurock instinctively without performing their own due diligence. This is yet another reminder that buyers need to do as much research as possible when it comes to investing.

While Jurock speaks about his clean track record, the verdict remains to be seen with regards to the developments in question.
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