July 13, 2015 11:03 pm

Downtown Edmonton condo owners on the hook for $2.3M repair


WATCH ABOVE: People living in a downtown Edmonton condo building have been hit with a huge repair bill. They each owe about $46,000 and it’s due within weeks. Su-Ling Goh reports.

EDMONTON — People living in a downtown condo building have been hit with a massive repair bill. Each of the condo owners is expected to pay an average of $45,000 for repairs on the Oliver Gardens building, located at 101 Avenue and 117 Street.

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“The first reaction was, I almost threw up,” said John Prior, who bought his condo seven years ago. “Complete financial shock and ruin.”

Condo owners received a letter last week notifying them of a special assessment, asking for payment to repair the building’s parkade, roof and foundation. The total cost of the repair is $2.3 million and each owner’s share is due Sept 1.

“It’s heartbreaking, honestly,” said Janelle Lane, who owes $45,000.

Owners were given two options: pay the full amount by Sept. 1 or partake in a loan acquired by the condo corporation.

“I did the math on the loan. If I pay that extra $397 every month for 20 years, it actually turns out to be closer to $95,000,” said Lane.

Pinnacle Realty and Management has been managing Oliver Gardens for less than one year.

“This building was built in 1980; 35 years ago. Most of the major components (i.e. roof, building envelope, windows, etc.) have lived, or will soon have lived, their life cycle,” the company said in an emailed statement to Global News.

“An engineering firm was retained to assess and provide insight as to what they felt were priorities at Oliver Gardens. The Board and Management met several times with them to ensure that, as per the Condominium Property Act, they were acting in the best interest of all owners.”

Lawyer Don Masson says it’s one of the worse cases of special assessment he’s ever seen.

“Unfortunately, the Condominium Property Act sets out the ability for the board to make that determination that a special assessment has to be done. And they’ve received the notice, and there’s really no recourse for them,” said Masson.

Condo fees won’t necessarily cover the repairs. The Condominium Property Act requires a reserve fund study every five years, and it’s up to the owners to be aware of the building’s condition, both physical and financial.

“I really feel powerless right now,” said Lane. “I’ve only been given two options. I can’t even vote on whether or not we start to phase these projects in.”

Prior says his bank has turned him down for refinancing and he’s also concerned for the many seniors who live in the building.

“There’s got to be some sort of option for these people because either of the ones they presented to us are just not feasible and it’s going to result in foreclosures and people’s lives being ruined.”

Pinnacle Realty and Management said the owners who are on the condo board agreed unanimously to the assessment. The board, management and owners have a meeting on Thursday.

With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News. 

© 2015 Shaw Media

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