Condo News

As It Happens—CBC Radio
21 March 2012

A woman in New Hampshire is being sued by her condo board because she refuses to rip out the flower garden in front of her unit and plant bushes like every other unit.

She was given permission by the developer to plant her garden. Now the condo has a new board.

So far the daily $60 fines plus lawyer fees that the board wants run up to $12,000. She has offered $3000 but the board refused it.

So the woman will sell her unit and buy a home that is not controlled by a five-member condo board because she does not want to live under "the power they think they have".

Condo fiasco
CBC Radio Edmonton
15 December 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.

Alberta condo construction woes flagged 3 years ago
Government offers sympathy but no action on condo construction mess
Charles Rusnell CBC News
Posted: Feb 24, 2012

A government committee identified problems with Alberta’s residential construction practices and lax inspection regime three years ago, but critics say the committee’s recommendations have never been acted on.

In the last three years alone, hundreds of Albertans have been forced out of their condominium complexes because they were too unsafe to inhabit. Thousands of other Alberta condo owners have had to spend tens of millions of dollars to repair crumbling buildings, many less than a decade old.

Last year, about 300 residents of the Penhorwood complex were ordered to leave in the middle of the night because officials feared the nearly new building would collapse. Last year, they voted to borrow $35 million to rebuild the entire condo project.

(How would you like to have to take out a loan for $35 million to rebuild your condo complex? I imagine their having to continue to pay their mortgages as well.)

Earlier this week, about 150 residents of the Bellavera Green Condos in Leduc were given an eviction order because of serious fire-code issues.


Throw-away buildings: Toronto's glass condos
CBC News
14 Nov 2011
Many of the glass condominium towers filling up the Toronto skyline will fail 15 to 25 years after they’re built, perhaps even earlier, and will need retrofits costing millions of dollars, say some industry experts.

Buyers drawn to glass-walled condos because of the price and spectacular views may soon find themselves grappling with major problems including:

    * Insulation failures.
    * Water leaks.
    * Skyrocketing energy and maintenance costs.
    * Declining resale potential.

Glass condominiums — known in the industry as window walls — have floor-to-ceiling glass, so essentially the window becomes the wall. Window walls generally span from the top of the concrete slab right to the bottom.

One developer calls glass-walled condos “throw-away buildings” because of their short lifespan relative to buildings with walls made of concrete or brick.

“We believe that somewhere between, say, five and 15 [years], many, many of those units will fail,” said David House of Earth Development, which bills itself as a socially responsible property developer.

Read more at: Toronto's glass-wall condos


Condo nightmare: buyer beware of leaky, rotten condos
The Vancouver Courier
By Deb Abbey
22 September  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 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.


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.

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