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Differences between condo stratas and townhouse stratas


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#21 Bernard

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 10:36 AM

As a townhouse owner in Parkside Place, I'd like to chime in.

Surely there were years where Parkside was poorly managed, but that's a challenge every strata faces. Parkside was well built, is solid and dry, and new management and council have done a wonderful job of improving the space. The grounds are clean and well kept, all the buildings have new roofs and were repainted two summers ago. The financial health of the strata is very solid and you won't have to spend an extra $30k on parking.

There are 120 units, both condo and townhouse, on 5.5 acres with a heated in-ground pool and playground so there is a lot to manage, but with pride of ownership just about anything in possible.

Townhouses are a great option for many looking to get into the market, and with interest rates as low as they are, you won't find a better value anywhere in the region than Parkside and you would find the monthly mortgage payments to be hundreds less than renting something similar.

Proximity to downtown, a further-developed Tillicum mall, Costco, Uptown, Camosun - well just about everything, is a bonus. Bus routes everywhere, and even UVic is a straight shot up McKenzie.

Parkside Place FTW!

Matt.


I have to admit I have not looked closely at the place in the last couple of years, but there was a time, not that long ago when things were bad.

When I sat on the Property Assessment Review Panel we had a lot of people appeal their assessments from Parkside and we got a lot of information on how bad things were.

1) The pool remained closed
2) Many units did not pay their special levies (or whatever they are called)
3) Some were rented out to people that were of dubious quality
4) Too many people deferred all the maintenance on their unit.
5) The Strata Council would not enforce much and the management company was no where to be seen

I know that five to seven years ago it was one of the cheapest places to buy anything in this region and I know a number of young professionals bought into the Parkside.

I am glad to hear things are better now. The one thing I am not convinced of though is how solidly built it was in the first place. It never suffered from the leaky condo stuff, but some of the details and reports I saw on this development did indicate it was marginal construction for the era.

#22 Matt R.

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:17 AM

As an owner who has no interest in selling any time soon, perhaps it's best if Parkside stays off the radar for now.

We, too, had read through the minutes prior to purchase and were concerned at the way things had been run, which no doubt contributed to the low purchase prices at the time.

1. While I have lived here, the pool has been open regularly and very well run. There are three licensed BC commercial pool operators on site, me being one of them, and there have been zero issues with the pool whatsoever. The strata spent approx. $30,000 last year on pool resurfacing. It's a real hidden gem in the area. Many dozens of people use the pool daily throughout the summer and in to the fall, and being a commercial swimming pool it is licensed by VIHA and inspected annually.

2 and 5 are certainly related! The current council led a successful revolt about 4 years ago, fired the management company and in fact we have seen two successive property managers taken to task over their misdealings. One has been stripped of his license and formally reprimanded, the other has a hearing before the real estate council of BC this year, where they will likely not fare well.

Current council is very pro-active and has re-written the bylaws to make penalties easier to enforce, including forced sale and liens. Proline has been contracted as property manager and they have been excellent to work with.

3. Rental restrictions have been tightened up and are being enforced. This has helped a lot with some less than desirable tenants on site. There are 120 units, which many people would find "affordable" to own, so this brings a mix of people into the space. However, pride of ownership is evident - you can take a stroll around and rarely even find a cigarette butt on the property, much less damaged common areas or graffiti. The townhouse units are 3 bed/2 bath 1200 sq ft over two floors. Some people, of course, don't take very good care of the inside of their units, but what can you do? Many on the other hand have spent thousands refinishing their suites, bringing back the original oak floors, renovating kitchens and bathrooms, building cedar decks on their patios and the like.

4. Council has been very proactive in spending money on preventative maintenance. There was a time when thermostats did not work right, so some units would have their heat on all day, and their windows wide open even in the winter to keep things comfortable. Can you believe it! Council has worked hard to pay for repairs such as this. There is a full time caretaker who liaises with trades, keeps the grounds kept, and perhaps most importantly keeps an eye on the place. The strata has been spending significant funds every year to try and catch up on the issues that had clearly been left to slide. $600,000 on new roofs over two years, new paint for every building, ongoing fence repairs, taking Chevron to task for their damages, tree pruning, even little things like line painting in the parking lot.

I am sure it's still one of the cheapest places to buy anything in the region and if you work in town it's that much closer than Langford or Colwood or Duncan.

The buildings are all 50+ years old, so there are certainly issues with aging infrastructure, but I have seen nothing to indicate poor construction practices. You are right, there are a number of young professionals with young families as owners, many of whom have lent their professional expertise to council. The buildings are dry, quiet and mostly square. ;)

As a lifelong resident of Victoria with a young family and modest income who rented for approximately 15 years, I can't imagine why people in a similar situation aren't begging/borrow/stealing a downpayment to purchase a townhouse here. Monthly payments can be as low as $800.

I have heard mostly negative things about stratas, but in my experience a strong council and management company can really contribute to the common good, but it really is a democracy where majority rules. If you have a group of like minded people willing to vote, things can go well. Our last budget was approved unanimously, as owners are starting to see the benefits of investing in themselves.

End of rant. :)

Matt.



I have to admit I have not looked closely at the place in the last couple of years, but there was a time, not that long ago when things were bad.

When I sat on the Property Assessment Review Panel we had a lot of people appeal their assessments from Parkside and we got a lot of information on how bad things were.

1) The pool remained closed
2) Many units did not pay their special levies (or whatever they are called)
3) Some were rented out to people that were of dubious quality
4) Too many people deferred all the maintenance on their unit.
5) The Strata Council would not enforce much and the management company was no where to be seen

I know that five to seven years ago it was one of the cheapest places to buy anything in this region and I know a number of young professionals bought into the Parkside.

I am glad to hear things are better now. The one thing I am not convinced of though is how solidly built it was in the first place. It never suffered from the leaky condo stuff, but some of the details and reports I saw on this development did indicate it was marginal construction for the era.



#23 Barra

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 08:31 PM

The Strata Property Act requires that all Bylaws must be registered at the Land Title Office, so I assume that you can get them there, if you ask.
When purchasing, you get to review the past two years of strata council & AGM minutes. I'm not sure if there is a requirement to provide the Bylaws, but I sure would not buy a strata lot without reviewing them.
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#24 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 09:26 PM

Here is Parkside Place if you're like me and couldn't place it:

http://maps.google.c...hJ8aosM4-T7WiHA

If you are a sane, reasonable person I highly recommend joining your Strata Council.

I often wonder how two to six unit condo/townhouses fare with such a small number of owners to make decisions. What if a duplex badly needs a roof and one co-owner refuses?

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

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#25 sebberry

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 09:33 PM

Sometimes joining the council can be easier said than done.

We've had a great council this year and we're doing some belt tightening and trying to be proactive. We have a few residents who somehow seem to make a stink at the AGMs and then end up getting themselves elected, but I'm hoping things are a bit better this year. Hopefully when the residents see some positive discussion for once instead of bickering they'll see the light.

We're also with proline and our manager has been pretty good for us. The "cranky councils" managed to change our property management company from Proline to two others before we finally went back to Proline. There's no sense in having such lack of consistency.

Now if only we could overturn some of the stupid restrictions here :rolleyes:

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#26 phx

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 09:17 AM

What if a duplex badly needs a roof and one co-owner refuses?


There is a duplex on Shelbourne that's had one half repainted.

#27 MarkoJ

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 10:10 AM

I would look to professional legal advice but my thinking is you would probably end up in small claims court if your neighbor was not willing to share in the cost of a necessary roof replacement. From my experience, in the majority of cases the owners will come to an agreement about repairs.

I really like strata duplexes for several reasons...

- Typically bigger finished sq.ft. than comparably priced townhomes.
- Typically much bigger lots than comparably priced townhomes.
- You don't have to deal with an official strata (in the majority of situations) and the potential headache.

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#28 MarkoJ

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 10:16 AM

The Strata Property Act requires that all Bylaws must be registered at the Land Title Office, so I assume that you can get them there, if you ask.
When purchasing, you get to review the past two years of strata council & AGM minutes. I'm not sure if there is a requirement to provide the Bylaws, but I sure would not buy a strata lot without reviewing them.


Some other things you might want to ask for

- Copy of property disclosure statement for strata properties.
- A copy of the registered strata plan.
- A copy of the financial statements of the strata corporation.
- A copy of section 59 Strata Property Act, Form B information certificate, and a copy of the Rules.
- Information regarding any building warranty that may be applicable.
- A copy of any available building inspection reports or any remediation reports and engineering reports.

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#29 Sparky

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:16 PM

Here is a first for BC. An owner is forced by a judge to sell her condo. She was taken to court by the strata.

http://www.timescolo...7255/story.html

#30 sebberry

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:26 PM

Banging on the floors, slamming doors..

Hmmm.. maybe I do have a case against the orangutan upstairs:rolleyes:

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#31 Sparky

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:30 PM

^ :)

#32 sebberry

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 06:00 PM

^ :)


Maybe my all-night coughing episodes will remind him of how easily sound travells in this building ;)

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#33 Sparky

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 07:51 PM

Maybe my all-night coughing episodes will remind him of how easily sound travells in this building ;)


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#34 goke

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:25 PM

If one buys a condo pre-completion or even a pre-sale, are the Strata Rules in place to be reviewed? Or are the rules only drafted after the building is occupied and a Strata Council is formed?

#35 jklymak

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:36 PM

The developer will have some, in my experience, based on the standard schedule, plus a few things in their favour about advertising, etc.

#36 MarkoJ

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:24 PM

If one buys a condo pre-completion or even a pre-sale, are the Strata Rules in place to be reviewed? Or are the rules only drafted after the building is occupied and a Strata Council is formed?


The developer has to provide you with a Disclosure Statement. In the Disclosure statement you will find a section called "Strata Information," which will contain information such as:

Unit Entitlement
Voting Rights
Common Property
Limited Common Property
Bylaws
Parking
Storage Lockers
Bicycle Storage
Furnishings and Equipment
Budget
Developer's Contribution to Contingency Reserve Fund
Rental Disclosure Statement

Etc......

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