This article is written by Jeremy Deutsch and appeared in the Friday, January 14th, 2011 edition of the Kamloops This Week.
The condo-unit owner at the centre of a building-code dispute between the city and a strata is applauding the move by council to slap the entire building with a notice to warn potential buyers.
Richard McElroy, the owner of a unit in the Loma Bella condo units in Sahali, said he’s been battling with various groups, including National Home Warranty, builder Mike Rink and his own strata, to get a settlement problem with his unit fixed.
He said the decision by city council should help put pressure on all the interested parties to fix the problem. “Finally, some sunlight and some wisdom,” McElroy told KTW. “Council in their wisdom has put us all in the same boat now as a strata.”
City council decided to put notices — referred to as Section 57 — against all 16 units in the development, due to outstanding building-code violations and to reduce the potential liability against the city.
The notice, which is filed with the Kamloops Land Title Office and is meant to warn potential purchasers of the problems, can be lifted once the repairs are complete.
The saga began after settlement issues on McElroy’s unit were discovered in 2007. What has followed is a legal mess around who is responsible for the repairs, which finally culminated in the city moving to put the notice on the strata at the end of last year.
A representative of Loma Bella’s strata appeared in front of city council on Tuesday, Jan. 11, asking for another 30 days to deal with the issue. The strata rep suggested it wasn’t fair for the entire building to get a notice when only one unit is involved. But council wasn’t convinced.
Mayor Peter Milobar argued the issue has been ongoing for years and an extra month isn’t going to get the problem solved, noting there hasn’t been much agreement between the sides involved. He said council too often hears from people who buy property with a problem, and then complain they weren’t alerted by the city before the purchase. “We know there is a problem. We know it needs to be repaired,” Milobar said. “My concern is that future purchasers know that there is a potential liability there for them.”
He also suggested the easiest way to ensure the repairs are done is to make sure everyone is aware of the violation and have a vested interest in a resolution.
As for McElroy, he said he’s felt like a hostage through this situation, noting he can’t rent or sell the unit because of the possible dangers. “It’s been really frustrating,” he said. The cost of repairs to the unit are estimated at be $100,000.