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Residencias Los Jardines - Life & Times

ISSUE #510: May 4-10, 2014

New Government; Same Problems!!

New Government; Same Problems!!

Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter -determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of Lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.

Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have resales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
DEVELOPER / PROPERTY MANAGER
Residencias Los Jardines / http://www.residenciaslosjardines.com info@residenciaslosjardines.com
ResidenciasPropertyManagement@gmail.com

 

Featured house this week

Paradisus Condos / Rorhmoser
FOR SALE

Paradisus Condos - click to visit

Paradisus will consist of 4 towers in Rorhmoser, a suburb to the west of central San Jose. Not far from the US Embassy and shopping malls, Rorhmoser is a residential area that was developed in the 60's and 70's and is currently seeing significant re-development with high end condos. It is the area where the new stadium and a number of luxury high rise condos have recently been built with more on the drawing boards. Phase one of this development is nearing completion; it consists of two towers and the amenities -pool, exercise room, etc. Tower one is expected to be completed in January and Tower 2 should follow in February / March. The location of this development is superb... it's off the main traffic paths and sits on a ravine overlooking a river. To the east is San Jose / Heredia; to the west is Pavas / Escazu. With floor to ceiling windows and a wrap around balcony, these units offer fantastic light and views.

Each of the units consists of two bedrooms / two bathrooms, and a large living/dining/kitchen area. The floor plan of each of these units has eliminated the optional "den / office" divider. The result is a larger area offering more flexible furniture arrangements while still maintaining the option of including an office area. At 105m2 plus two parking spots each and storage locker, they offer a great opportunity for someone seeking views, security, central location, and first class, all round living...

Read more about Paradisus Condos

 

Loma Real Escazu / Guachipelin, Central Valley
FOR SALE / price reduced!

Loma Real Escazu - click to visit

$325,000 now $310,000 / 3 bdrms + maids rm / 3.5 bthrms / owner financing

Beautiful house in residential area: 24 hours security. 274 m2 construction. 2 story, 3 bedrooms + maids quarters, 3 1/2 bathrooms, ample eat-in kitchen, six years old, immaculate condition, lot 264 m2 professionally landscaped, two car enclosed garage, 1500 L reserve water tank, electric demand water heaters, Independent office. Located close to all amenities. Taxes $500 yearly and security $80 monthly.

Appliances and built-ins included. Furniture upon negotiation.

Owner will take back a mortgage for up to 5 yrs. @ 12% interest only.

View more pictures of Loma Real Escazu

 

Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Market Activity

Sales: no inquiries.

Rentals: no viewings.

 

FOR SALE

Unit #114: $235,000 / See Unit

Unit #116: $214,000 / See Unit

FOR RENT

Unit #107: $1,500 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Unit #114: $1,400 mo. / Available June 1 / See Unit

Unit #116: $1,400 $1,300 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Unit #121: $1,500 mo. / Available May 21 / See Unit

Site Plan

 

HOUSE FOR SALE

UNIT #114
FOR SALE $235,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf. (plus covered parking for one car and two lockers 67 sf.) single story, semi detached house, with garden terrace, two bedrooms is a beautiful executive style home. This home consists of two large bedrooms one with six piece en-suite bathroom with additional access to separate full shower. Each bedroom has large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and bathroom ceilings provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are four TVs (one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in breakfast / dinning room.) This is a beautiful well appointed home.

 

UNIT #116
FOR SALE $214,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car and a separate, secure storage locker. It is and end unit and therefore attached on only one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

 

HOUSES FOR RENT

UNIT #107
FOR RENT $1,500 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1716
Total area (Sq M): 158
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,716 sf. (plus parking for one car) two story, detached house, with three terraces, two bedrooms (one on each floor) and upstairs master suite is a beautiful home. This home consists of two VERY large bedrooms (one on each floor) with en-suite bathrooms and a powder room, each with large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and ground floor bedroom ceilings as well as the master bedroom on the 2nd floor, provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are three TVs (one in each bedroom and one in the living room.) This is a beautiful home. There is a rough-in for a dishwasher in the kitchen area.

 

UNIT #114
FOR RENT $1,400 mo.
Available June 1

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf. (plus covered parking for one car and two lockers 67 sf.) single story, semi detached house, with garden terrace, two bedrooms is a beautiful executive style home. This home consists of two large bedrooms one with six piece en-suite bathroom with additional access to separate full shower. Each bedroom has large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and bathroom ceilings provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are four TVs (one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in breakfast / dinning room.) This is a beautiful well appointed home.

 

UNIT #116
FOR RENT $1,300 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car and a separate, secure storage locker. It is and end unit and therefore attached on only one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

 

UNIT #121
FOR RENT $1,500 mo.
Available May 21

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1423
Total area (Sq M): 131
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): Two story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This two story, detached 1,423 sf home + parking for one car has two bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and a 2nd. floor covered terrace. The open railed wrought iron cement stair case leads to the 2nd. level where the master bedroom with en-suite master bathroom as well as 2nd. bedroom and en-suite bathroom are located. Also accessed from the 2nd. floor hallway is the covered terrace. This is a very nicely furnished home with a good floor plan for those wanting two floors.

 

Our Lives

WEATHER: The normal pattern of sunny mornings, clouding in the mid day followed by a short rain and then clearing has developed. A beautiful time of year...

All In A Week's Living in CR

Colon: The rate inched up a bit to 564.

Comments

The new government of Solis was anointed this past week. He promised more "transparency" in decision making, and no corruption... of course, he made the usual grandiose promises that every new government tends to make... we'll see what actually happens. He's got a big job to do, a culture to overcome, a budget deficit and structural impediments to within the government laws to change before he can be successful.

Rumors keep appearing that Hewlett-Packard, a very large employer in CR, will also be leaving... so far, they are unconfirmed rumors... we'll just have to wait and see. On the positive side, one person feels the effect of companies leaving will not affect the country so badly. His scenario goes like this... and he sites one specific example to support his thesis: A number of high tech companies have had difficulties in finding qualified people and have not been able to expand. Now that Intel people are coming available, they can expand. One smaller medical devices company which supplies US based customers as well as Boston Scientific here in CR has now started a 3rd. shift. While I don't doubt this one case (I know the plant manager), I'm not sure about the capability to absorb so many people without there being an affect.

When expats get beyond idle speculation about leaving CR, they are faced with some realities which cause pause for thought: selling their house at a loss in some cases, not being able to replace it with one equally as nice, the hassle of moving and re-locating and the uncertainties associated with that, the weather and life style they have grown accustomed to here in CR will be impossible to replicate...

 

News Items of the Week

1. MABE - appliance mfg.: out of Mexico restructures and lays off 350 people.

2. International Tax Information Exchange: it's all coming together driven by the US-IRS...

3. Eviction Process: a review of a recent change in the expedited eviction process... it seems to be working.

4. Teacher Strike of Pay: Why would anyone think a relatively complex centralized payroll system would work smoothly when the government has not been able to implement a simple land exit tax...? ...and even though the new guy gave assurances that the system would be fixed soon, he has no basis for making that promise when it's the software designers who have the power don't seem to be so confident...

5. Central Bank Raises Interest by almost 1%: this is a huge hike... the stated reason is to combat inflation.

6: Grandiose Promises of the New Government: I think I've heard it before...

 

1. Appliance manufacturer Mabe lays off 350 employees at Heredia plant

May 7th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Mabe, a Mexican-owned company which designs, produces, and distributes appliances to more than 70 countries around the world, announced it would stop producing ranges and ovens at its plant in Heredia, laying off 350 employees in the process.

The company made the announcement yesterday, saying it would continue to manufacturer refrigerators for both the domestic and international market from the Heredia plant.

Domestic demand for the company’s line of ranges and ovens will likely be met by importing the appliances from its other plants in the region.

The company said the decision was the result of restructuring.

The layoffs add to last month’s announcements by Intel and Bank of America in which the companies laid off a combined 3,000 people, as well as CustomerSpeak, which fired 500.

2. Costa Rica, 46 countries commit to automatic exchange of tax, financial info

May 7th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Tax evaders and privacy advocates beware – Costa Rica and 46 other countries signed up yesterday to automatically share banking, financial, and tax information in what the OECD is touting as a major step towards cracking down on global tax evasion.

The Declaration on Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters was endorsed during the OECD’s annual Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris by all 34 member countries (which include the United States and Canada), along with Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and South Africa.

Under the declaration, Costa Rica, the United States, Canada, and 44 other countries have committed to “swiftly” pass new domestic laws that will allow them to collect information on all bank accounts and automatically exchange it with other participating countries.

Previously, countries would have to request data on suspected tax cheats using a process that was often complicated and some countries were uncooperative.

“The Declaration commits countries to implement a new single global standard on automatic exchange of information. The standard, which was developed at the OECD and endorsed by G20 finance ministers last February, obliges countries and jurisdictions to obtain all financial information from their financial institutions and exchange that information automatically with other jurisdictions on an annual basis,” the OECD said in a press release.

“Tax fraud and tax evasion are not victimless crimes: they deprive governments of revenues needed to restore growth and jeopardize citizens’ trust in the fairness and integrity of the tax system,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said. “Today’s commitment by so many countries to implement the new global standard, and to do so quickly, is another major step towards ensuring that tax cheats have nowhere left to hide.”

The United States was the catalyst for the change with its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which requires international banks to provide data on accounts held abroad by its citizens and companies or face sanctions.

The OECD will deliver a detailed Commentary on the new standard, as well as technical solutions to implement the actual information exchanges, during a meeting of G20 finance ministers in September 2014.

3. Judiciary considers new, swifter eviction law to be successful
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial officials are upbeat about the impact of a new law that cuts the time necessary for evictions from years to months.

The law, Ley 916, went into force last Sept. 5, and from then until February some 45 cases have reached the Juzgados Civiles de Menor Cuantía that is designated by the legislation to handle the cases.

Among other changes, the hearing on an eviction is oral and the usual back and forth of paperwork is eliminated, those involved in the process said. And the process is simplified.

As expected, the bulk of the cases are those specified in the law: non-payment of rent, overstaying a lease and failing to pay condominium assessments. Luis Guillermo Rivas Loáiciga, the president of the Sala Primera civil court, said that about 80 percent of the cases are like these.

Under the new law, once a complaint is filed, a judge has five days to issue a resolution, which has the effect of embargoing a tenant's possessions for possible use in repayment.

Once notified, the tenant has 15 days to contest the complaint. If the tenant does not respond, the judge signs what amounts to a default order for the eviction. If the eviction is contested, the tenant has 15 days to show that payment had been made. But as the case progresses, the tenant also is obligated to post the appropriate rental amounts with the court. Failing to do so will result in immediate eviction, the judiciary said.

So there is no free ride as has been the case under previous laws.

Froylán Alvarado Zelada, a judge who handles these cases, said that a typical eviction should take about a month and a half and no more than four months, according to a summary prepared by the Poder Judicial. There are appeals possible, but they, too, are expedited.

In the past, tenants have been known to hang on without paying rent through various legal maneuvers for up to five years. The way the prior law favored tenants was an impediment to investments into apartment buildings and condos.

The same law also applies to commercial locations, such as storefronts.

Of the cases that have been filed, many have been dropped for one reason or another. Tenant and landlord might have come to an agreement. About 20 cases are now in various stages of the legal process, the Poder Judicial said.

4. Education ministry promises every employee will be paid May 14
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The education ministry said Wednesday that 828 teachers have not received pay and that 6,000 have only been paid partially.

The ministry continued to blame the snafu on moving the files of teachers and other employees to a new payroll system.

Many of the nation's teacher are on strike in protest over the non-payment to their colleagues.

The Ministerio de Educación Pública came out with a detailed explanation Wednesday. It said that there are 75,000 persons on the payroll, and the bulk have not been affected by the payroll problem.

The statement, which was unsigned, defended the quality of the new system, and said that a hundred employes have been working to resolve the non-payment.

In the meantime, school children have at least a full week of no classes, although some schools have teachers who are reporting to work. But in most cases, the children do not come because the parents are uncertain of the staffing at the school.

The statement said that education officials were confident that by May 14, the next payday, the system will be making accurate payments.

Of the 828 teachers and employes who have not been paid, at least 628 have been incorporated into the new system so they will be paid May 14, the statement said.

The 6,000 teachers who were not paid the extra money they earned by teaching more classes also will be incorporated into the system and paid on time, the statement said.

Technicians will be working today and Friday to incorporate into the system the 200 who have not been included yet, said the statement.

The ministry also said that some 3 trillion colons additional will be paid out May 14 to make up for deficiencies in payments since January.

5. Central Bank raises rates to curb inflation

The Central Bank raised interest rates yesterday to curb rising inflation recording. The bank increased the policy rate from 4.35% to 5.25%, which implies that increases the cost of borrowing makes the Central Bank and the yield paid on investments He also raised the rates offered to the public by the Central Direct system.

The increase ranged between 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points.

Yesterday also increased the basic borrowing rate, which is an average of the returns for installment savings between five and seven months from 6.70% to 6.80%.

This yield is calculated by the Central, but not defined.

The outgoing Central Bank President Rodrigo Bolaños said yesterday that with the increase in inflation April the board of the issuer decided to raise the fee in order to send the signal of the commitment of monetary authorities to keep inflation under control.

In April, the consumer price index rose 1.14% bringing accumulated inflation reached 3.20%; more than half of that expected for the entire year, it would be an inflation between 3% and 5%.

Much of the increase is explained by the effect of the increase in the price of the dollar in the first four months of the year.

Bolaños said they want to stop the effects of the second round that generated an increase in the dollar.

For second-round increases Bolaños was referring to additional increases that could occur due to the increase already had the goods linked to currency prices.

Expectation. Climbing the rates are expected to demand for goods and services will slow and thus, pressures on inflation.

However, that depends on the effect of the measures on the Central market rates.

Gerardo Corrales, manager of BAC San José, said the measure will have little impact on the rest.

"These (market rates) was more deposits was set by Treasury, state and private banks," he said.

Alberto Franco, Ecoanálisis economist, said that it is expected that the increase in the monetary policy is followed by the increase in the Direct Central and in the titles offered through auctions.

"Whether that happens will depend on the ultimate vision of the new authorities who will assume the leadership of the Bank from tomorrow (today)," Franco said.

On his last day of work, Bolaños said he sent a query to the financial sector a methodology to estimate an effective rate in dollars. This would be similar to the basic rate in colones and serve as a reference for the home loans in that currency.

6. High expectations as Costa Rica swears in president

Costa Rica's new President Luis Guillermo Solis pledged to run his administration as a "glass house" and tackle corruption "eating away" at the country and economy as he was inaugurated Thursday.

The 56-year-old historian took the oath of office at a ceremony in the National Stadium in the capital San Jose attended by dignitaries including presidents from Central and South America and Prince Felipe of Spain.

Dressed in a dark suit and accompanied by his partner, six children, and his father, Solis pledged to uphold the constitution and serve his country, prompting loud applause from the thousands gathered in the stadium.

The new president promised dialogue with all sectors of civil society and has vowed wide-reaching political and social reform of a country with severe infrastructure problems, a struggling economy and border tensions with neighboring Nicaragua.

"Corruption is eating away at our democracy and is breaking public finances. The new government will fight it tirelessly," he said.

His first act after being sworn in was to sign an ethical commitment with his cabinet.

He also announced measures to tackle the fiscal deficit of six percent of GDP, which he said was the biggest challenge for his government and a threat to the stability of public finances .

And he pledged to increase investment in public education from 7.2 percent of current GDP to 8.0 percent by the end of his term in 2018.

Outgoing president Laura Chinchilla, of the social democratic National Liberation Party (PLN), was Costa Rica's first female head of state. Her government was shaken by corruption scandals.

- Obscure candidate to president -

Solis came out of nowhere in the polls to win the first round of balloting on February 2, staggering the political establishment in the Central American country of five million.

With a record of more than 1.3 million votes, or 78 percent of the ballots cast in the run-off election, he became the first third-party candidate in more than half a century to win the top post in Costa Rica.

Proud of their health and education levels, Costa Ricans complain about the rising cost of living, a bankrupted social security system, corruption and the widening gap between rich and poor.

"The people want transparency, new opportunities. Other governments have done nothing and left the 'churuco,'" said housewife Xinia Perez, 52, using a local word for problem.

But Solis's opponents claim he has yet to lay out real details of how he will achieve his ambitious agenda, and that his administration is full of new faces, mainly culled from the academic world, with little political experience.

The new president must also deal with a more fragmented congress than ever, with his party holding just 13 of the 57 seats and the largest block going to the PLN, with 18.

"I hope that he does not disappoint," said Beatriz Rojas, 29, a business manager, adding: "He seems to know what the country needs."

Brian, Lita, the Late Hugo IV, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, Chico II and Chica II

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