Friday, September 28, 2012

Leaky 7-Year Old 240-Unit Condo Complex Requires Stiff HOA Repair Assessments, Leaving Dozen Condo Owners Facing Foreclosure; Developer: 'Not My Problem!'

In Calgary, Alberta, CBC News reports:

  • A Calgary architect is trying to turn the page on one of the city's largest condo repair projects, which left many residents of the leaky building with repair bills in the thousands. The Bella Vista in the city's southwest required millions of dollars to fix several leaks that caused mould. Residents first learned of the problem a few years ago and the condo board began substantial repairs at a cost of $4 million soon after. "We had to basically strip off the enclosure — the entire enclosure, all the stucco, roofing, flashing," said Tang Lee, an architect whose team fixed many of the problems. "There were some issues with the design, as well as the construction, workmanship," Lee said. At least a dozen unit owners fell into foreclosure because they were unable to pay their share repair bill, with some assessments coming in around $80,000. It was reported one owner had to pay over $180,000, which is a record high in Alberta. "We are all sitting on mortgages like everyone else, so it's a mortgage payment and condo fees, and it just seems a bit unfathomable," said Tricia Stephens who owns a unit. Other owners tried to get legal help. "Well, I went to two lawyers,” explained Nick Mascarenhas. “They both told me ‘Nick, don't throw good money at bad money.’ They advised me to file for bankruptcy, walk away, cut your losses — but I realized I'm here; I don't want to lose my car, credit cards and have to change different things." Mascarenhas ended up staying and borrowed cash to cover his bill. "I've had to change my schedule, get a different job — I now do a 60-hour work week, just to compensate for that extra payment," he said. The Bella Vista is now fully repaired, but the condo board is suing the people who built it. The developer maintains it's not at fault, saying the building passed inspection.
For the story, see  Calgary condo owners still paying for big repair bills. See also:

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