Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson takes questions in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 20, 2020 (Hansard TV)

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson takes questions in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 20, 2020 (Hansard TV)

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

B.C.’s housing minister says the province is doing its best to deal with an international problem, as she continues to be peppered with horror stories of huge increases in condominium insurance.

Opposition MLAs are highlighting the crisis of some strata property owners, facing double or triple rate increases, huge jumps in deductible amounts and in some cases refusal to insure at all. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson says a bill before the B.C. legislature tightens rules for depreciation reports and allows the use of reserve funds to pay skyrocketing insurance costs.

The impact of construction and maintenance issues on strata insurance was highlighted in a report June 16 by the newly established B.C. Financial Services Authority. But examples from B.C. tell a different story, of new buildings with no water or other damage claim history facing huge increases.

Langley MLA Mary Polak said she can identify “row upon row of brand-new townhomes” that are facing huge increases. “This isn’t about depreciation reports,” Polak told the legislature July 7. “It’s not about maintenance.”

One of those is the Prestwick townhouse complex in Langley, where the strata president was informed three days before the insurance came due that the premium was rising from $88,000 to $250,000. The complex is two years old and has no insurance claims, the president told the Langley Advance Times.

Robinson said the problem arose last fall and the government is moving as quickly as possible. But the COVID-19 pandemic has added enormous costs to the provincial budget, leaving few options to provide the immediate relief that opposition MLAs are calling for.

RELATED: B.C. changing rules as strata insurance costs rise

RELATED: Insurance shock for Langley townhouse owners

RELATED: Insurance up 40% province-wide, water claims cited

Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Marvin Hunt described a constituent named Diana, faced with a 280 per cent jump in premiums that forced the strata to dip into their capital reserve funds to pay for it.

“But that’s not any kind of a solution,” Hunt said. “As Diana says, ‘we can’t do that every year. We’ll run out of our funds’.”

Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong said there are thousands of property owners across the province who face the same situation, with monthly strata fees growing larger than mortgage payments. Using capital reserves to cover insurance depletes the savings accumulated to keep up with necessary maintenance like replacing roofs, de Jong said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Just Posted

Capitals’ Kahlil Fontana blueliner evades Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ Ethan Hersant during second-period B.C. Hockey League Island Division action at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Susan Quinn/Black Press Media)
Cowichan Capitals go out with a bang

Caps finish BCHL season strong with 6-1 thumping of Clippers

The MS Society flag flies at Duncan city hall to mark MS Awareness Month. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan and CVRD help mark MS Awareness Month

MS Walk scales back, but fundraisers are still vital for MS Society

“Keeping fit for Mother’s Day: Participants of Cowichan Lake Recreation’s Mother’s Day hiking event make their way down the Trans Canada Trail, Sunday, May 8. The morning event later wrapped up with snacks and prizes.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette May 11, 2011)
Flashback: Bears, elk, salmon, candidates, and lumber graders

This week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by

Sign up to fundraise to help those affected by dementia. (Submitted)
Not too late for Cowichan residents to join Alzheimer’s Walk

Set a walking or fitness goal for May and raise funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

Robert’s column
Robert Barron Column: Poachers in forest reserve should be treated harshly

‘Poachers need to be rounded up and prosecuted as soon as possible’

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read