Condo woes

When we heard a representative from the Condominium Owners of Nova Scotia interviewed this morning on CBC Information morning we said to ourselves “about time”. About time, that is, that someone spoke up.

Condominium owners facing big repair bills are calling for legislation to protect their investment.

Lorne Verabioff, president of the Condominium Owners of Nova Scotia, said the group is receiving a steady stream of complaints from buyers left paying for repairs after the one-year warranty expires.

“The builder says it’s past the warranty period and you have to repair it yourself. So that then falls onto the owners who have to cough up special levies to fix these deficiencies that should not have happened in the first place,” he said.

Verabioff considers himself lucky. He has run into few problems, unlike some condo owners in Clayton Park who expect to shell out tens of thousands of dollars each to cover more than $1 million in repairs to their building….

Verabioff said the main problem is water infiltration because of “incompetent” installation of windows, siding and doors on balconies.

“That leads to water getting into the units, which then, if not corrected, leads to mould, and the problem escalates from there,” he said. [link to source- CBC April 21]

We wrote a post -very tongue in cheek we thought- about this very issue a while ago, remember? It was titled ” It could never happen here“. Waving a red flag as usual. Did anyone in Town listen we wonder?

Condo owners hit with thousands of dollars in unexpected repair bills just months after moving into their units are hoping a new consultant’s study will lead to greater protection.

“Substandard condo construction is a serious problem, but you don’t hear a lot about it because owners are reluctant to make it known their building has a problem,” said Lorne Verabioff, president of Condominium Owners of Nova Scotia, a new group fighting for condo owner rights.

“They are worried about the resale value going down.

“There are horror stories out there. I know of one building that needed $1.7 million in repairs just two years after it was built. Because the builder was no longer on the scene, everyone in the building had to come up with $30,000 to make the repairs. It was awful.” [link to source. CH April 17]

Awful for sure. What is this group proposing?

Mr. Verabioff said the executive of his 70-member organization recently met with a consultant hired by the province to look into the residential construction industry.

The group pressed for legislation that would require builders and developers to post a bond that could be tapped into by condo owners if unusual structural problems developed in the first five years. …

“Dale Madill, a senior policy analyst with Service Nova Scotia, said Novus Consulting Group Ltd. is in the early stages of its homeowner protection review, looking at best practices in other jurisdictions and seeking input from interested groups and individuals….

If changes to regulations or legislation are required, Mr. Madill said they will flow from the study and consultation. [link to source- CH. Ap.17]

Waiting for this study is

…not enough for Liberal Diana Whalen, Service Nova critic and the Clayton Park MLA where many new Halifax condos have been built in the past six years.

She said the complaints about condo construction problems are well-documented and the Tories need to act immediately to ensure the situation does not mirror the condo disaster in British Columbia several years ago, which left condo owners facing $1.5 billion in repair costs due to poor workmanship that led to leaky pipes and water penetration from outdoors.

“There were 19 condominiums approved in Halifax last year and 20 in the approval process for this year,” Ms. Whalen said.

How many in Wolfville?

“Where is the protection for these people? Every day that passes with out action on this file puts new homeowners at risk.”

Indeed!

To ensure more condo owners have protection sooner, she said she will be introducing a private member’s bill this fall that will require developers to post a bond equal to five per cent of the project that will be available to condo owners for five years. …T

Her bill will also call for the mandatory licensing of residential builders, a move supported by the Atlantic Home Building & Renovation Sector Council and the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association.

“For a plumber, you have to be licensed,” said Paul Pettipas, the association’s CEO. “For an electrician, you have to be licensed. If I go across the street and get a haircut, that person has got to be licensed. But the same person could build you a house, as long as they followed the national building code, [or even if they didn’t! ww] and no one would say anything.” …

Despite a homeowner’s perception that building inspectors are making sure a building is up to code, the occupancy permits inspectors issue really offer little protection. [link to source CH April 17]

Why not? What is their job then?

CONS wants independent inspections of all condos to ensure they are built to code, for developers to be responsible for all repairs related to shoddy work for 10 years, and for builders to be licensed.

To us it is shocking that there is no inspection of these developments to insure they are up to code and soundly built. Why is this just the provinces responsibility? This is something that could be done by a municipality if it cared enough to without any legislation. Just don’t give a permit unless the developer or builder agrees to an independent inspection. It could happen tomorrow. Why hasn’t it?

In our view the Town should be held responsible for any incompetence in building if the developers and builders can’t be held responsible. When a development is approved by development agreement there is no reason that the Town cannot assure themselves that the building is built competently and demand independent inspection. Condos should have sprinklers for example. Instead our Council worries more about architectural guidelines. Shame on them, is all we can say.

We couldn’t find a link to the CONS website but if we find one we will link it here is the link to the CONS website.

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3 responses to “Condo woes

  1. This is the website for CONS:

    http://www.cons-online.ca

  2. thanks! I’ll add the link to the post.

  3. Pingback: Homeowners’ protection « Ww - Wolfville watch - Ww