April 19th has come and gone bringing with it strong listings and weak sales. As of last night there are now at least 16,071 places available for sale in the REBGV area causing some to celebrate. Time will tell if the Vancouver market is fragile enough to see a price top coincide with these rule changes. Every market cycle needs a top and a bottom – those that buy at the top help to pay the bills of those that buy at the bottom.
Speaking of paying other peoples bills.. Strataman has an interesting post in the forum for anyone looking to buy into a strata property. Apparently many condos have common areas where the utilities are billed directly to the strata without any sub-metering. This can be a problem for residential condos with commercial properties attached that have heavy utility usage.
Once caught out the commercial strata will try to share the costs on a sq.ft division. Needless to say this is also a scam as restaurants, stores like Urban Fare, Costco use substantially more of “the common area” utilities per sq.ft, then a residential strata.Most combination strata s are weighted heavily in favor of the attached Commercial Strata. To actually solve this problem the residential strata has to manage all the utilities like they are a service provider. They have to pay for and install sub-meters where possible, pay for consultants such as myself to construct legally binding contracts,and generally fight fo recovering costs spent on SOMEBODY ELSE’S PROPERTY.
I have NEVER found a declaration in the strata titles that indicate the fact that services are supplying OTHER properties. The City of Vancouver refuses to discuss the issue.As all strata developments are signed off by the developers architects and engineers, no impartial inspection is ever done until exorbitant costs bring the strata to a consultants door. I have also never found a building inspector that does condo purchase inspections even slightly aware of this.Property managers are gradually becoming aware of this.
Tip: Buy only into single strata developments like one strata on ONE piece of land. Multiple RESIDENTIAL strata have the same problem. (Spectrum is three residential strata lots for instance).
Read the whole thread on this issue in the Forum, and if you’ve got questions or comments about strata living issues feel free to make your own thread in the new strata living forum. This is where Strataman will be posting his tips and commentary about strata and building maintenance issues in the future.