70's Tune Up... Moving On

ISSUE #597: Feb. 22-27, 2016


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
Residencias Los Jardines / https://www.residenciaslosjardines.com info@residenciaslosjardines.com


Featured house this week

Paradisus Condos / Rohrmoser

Paradisus Condos - click to visit

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...

Semi furnished unit: For sale: $235,000
Fully furnished unit: For sale: $245,000
Floor 12 -west view

Read more about Paradisus Condos

See a Youtube video of development


Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Market Activity

Sales: 116 is pending.

Rentals: Several inquiries but all full for the foreseeable future.


Unit #106A: $165,000 / See Unit

Unit #107: $205,000 /See Unit

Unit #116: $189,900 / sale pending / See Unit

Unit #123: $237,000  $215,000 / See Unit

Site Plan



UNIT #106A

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Apartment
Furnished: Yes

This is a fully furnished 2-bedroom unit situated in a 2-story building, which has two units on the ground floor and two units on the 2nd. floor. Each unit is the same size (1,250sf) divided into 800 sf of interior space and 450 sf of covered front and back terraces. Units 106A and B are on the ground floor; Units 106 C and D are on the 2nd. Floor. The solid masonry demising wall (common wall) as well as the 5” concrete slab prevent sound transference.


UNIT #107

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1716
Total area (Sq M): 158
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2
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 #116

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
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 #123

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1516
Total area (Sq M): 140
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: hot, dry and windy... beautiful...

Health: 70's tune up: I seem to be stabilized... we'll see how this plays out.

Car: still working on getting the license plates. Yes, one more document was needed, another $200. There is no end to this nightmare.

Foreclosure: painting is largely done and clean up work has been done as well. A number of small -but important- items need to be done yet but it is coming closer to being able to shown to possible clients.


News Items of the Week


1. Violence: it is increasing... negotiations are short... lots of targeted kills and collateral damage from banditos who can't shot straight.

2. Some lawmakers are listening to the rating agencies but not everyone is singing from the same song book.  And none of the lawmakers seems to want to reign in spending...

3. The Corporate Tax: all that needed to be done was small changes in wording... they couldn't get their act together to accomplish this... now it seems to have died.

4. The largest mall in Central America can't work things out with the street department to get approved access. Wow!!!!

5. ...this is really what the Tico mentality is and there is some justification for it... Ticos have no family in public officials and see waste and corruption everywhere... and abuse of public funds, eg. wildely extravagant pensions and salaries...

1. 'Culture of violence’ behind Costa Rica’s jump in homicides, says OIJ chief

Costa Rica hit a record-breaking 558 homicides — more than one person a day — during 2015, according to the Judicial Investigation Police’s (OIJ) 2015 annual report released Monday. Costa Rica has seen double digit homicide growth the last two years, up 14.7 percent in 2014 and another 16.9 percent in 2015 after several years of declining figures.

Homicides weren’t the only dark spot in Monday’s report. Thefts have more than doubled across Costa Rica in the last five years and car thefts were also slightly up over 2014. OIJ Director Walter Espinoza cited a “culture of violence” in Costa Rica as one of the reasons behind the jumps in homicides and thefts during the last year.

The province of San José reported the most homicides in 2015, at 258. But the Caribbean province of Limón was the deadliest with a 22.4 homicide rate per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by San José at 16.2 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Stronger policing tactics might actually have played a role in the spike in homicides in recent years. Authorities pointed to the break up of several criminal organizations in places like the canton of Desamparados, just south of the capital, San José, as one of the causes of the spike in killings.

Espinoza said that power vacuums created by arresting the leadership of criminal organizations can generate violence as other groups vie for control. The OIJ director said that studies suggest this violence tends to stabilize over time, but he did not specify when he believed that might happen.

Costa Rica’s homicide rate climbed to 11.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015.

Costa Rica’s homicide rate may be ticking up but it remains far below that of its northern neighbors in El Salvador (104) — the highest in the world — Honduras (57) and Guatemala (36).

Thefts have more than doubled across Costa Rica in the last five years. In 2011 5,144 reports of theft occurred. In 2015, that figure was 11,489. OIJ claims that more than 55 percent of thefts were due to negligence on the part of the victim, followed by pickpockets, who were responsible for more than 20 percent of thefts. The cantons of San José and Alajuela reported the largest number of thefts at 2,222 and 710, respectively. Nationally, there was a theft reported every 46 minutes.

Guns were the preferred weapon for criminals in homicides, robberies and car thefts, according to the report. Espinoza said OIJ supported more robust gun controls to help curb the use of deadly force during these crimes.

There were some areas of improvement last year. Home robberies were down 13.4 percent and non-residential burglary decreased 12.9 percent, according to the report. Assaults were also down in 2015 compared to 2014.

Espinoza said that police cooperation, robust investigations and successful prosecutions would be needed to address Costa Rica’s lack of public security.

"There’s something we need to realize. We live in the most violent region on earth where there exists a general culture of violence," Espinoza said. "It’s not as worrying as in the Northern Triangle, but we police need to join forces to try and lower it."

2. Government makes a double effort for new taxes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government came out Thursday with a two-pronged effort to get new taxes.

On the one hand, the Ministerio de Hacienda warned of the impact of a credit downgrade by Standard & Poor's. Then the same ministry unveiled the draft of a proposed law that would restrict government spending, if passed.

The ministry said that Standard and Poor´s said the probability was high that there would be a new reduction in the country's credit rating in the next 18 months. The rating agency said that Costa Rica's rating was now BB- with a negative perspective.

Another rating agency, Fitch, affirmed the country's unsecured foreign- and local-currency bonds at BB+ in January. That rating on a different scale is classified by Fitch as non-investment grade speculative.

Ratings are important, particularly for a country like Costa Rica where half the annual budget is borrowed money. A poor credit rating means high interest rates demanded by lenders.

Helio Fallas, first vice president and minister of Hacienda, predicted big repercussions from the credit rating cut. Standard and Poor's said the change in the rating reflected the continuing deterioration of the country's financial situation, citing continued expenses and the absence of fiscal reform.

The Luis Guillermo Solís administration has been trying to win passage of a legislative package containing new taxes since the president took office. There is resistance in among lawmakers.

Also Thursday the ministry presented a draft of a bill that was designed to control the increase in the central government expenditures.

The draft was presented for discussion.

The announcement also pointed out that the legislature has been performing in an unconstitutional manner. The ministry cited Article 179 of the Costa Rican Constitution which says budgetary expenses of the executive branch cannot be increased if there is no evidence cited of new income to support them.

This article has been widely disregarded. The draft contains a proposal that future expenditures be accompanied by an explanation of their long-term sustainability.

Many lawmakers have been critical of the executive branch seeking new taxes without any effort to make significant budget cuts.

Right now the package for new taxes is held up in committee.

3. Tax corporations has little future

Although there is majority agreement, Otto Guevara will use all resources to prevent approval. The government intends to raise ¢ 47 billion with tax. (CRH)

The government 's intention to revive the tax on corporations has little future in the Legislature. Representatives of various parliamentary factions agree that it is unlikely that the project progresses because even achieve a majority agreement, must overcome a major obstacle: the warning of the Libertarian Movement to use all the tools of the legislative regulations to prevent its approval.

The initiative, which is processed under file 19,818, seeks to rehabilitate the tribute that weighed on legal persons, which was annulled by the Constitutional Chamber on 29 January 2015.

The project entered the week before the Congressional Committee on Financial Affairs and was sent to a subcommittee, where 3 legislators will have to issue a recommendation next Tuesday.

The head of the bench of the Libertarian Movement, Otto Guevara, reiterated Wednesday that his group will do everything possible so that the initiative is not approved. Otto Guevara: "The project is not going." (CRH)

He explained that the initiative has no future if the executive branch keeps it in the terms proposed.

"He charges a tax on all corporations in the country, impoverishing those who use that vehicle to begin the process of formalization in the economy," he said.

He said they are also against a proposal by the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) to collect a tribute to corporations depending on gross income from them, because it becomes virtually a tax on income.

The legislator said that if the project is transferred to the Commission on Security and Drug Trafficking also go there to file motions.

"It will present a significant number of motions and if they rule the bill, we will reiterate in plenary. Honestly, I see very uphill path that project , " he added.

The head of the parliamentary faction of the PUSC, Johnny Lewis, acknowledged that if amendments are not made in the collection of the tax gradualism has little future.

Deputy Johnny Leiva sees little future tax. (CRH)
On motions to be submitted Guevara, he said that depends on the way the Executive Branch.

"Now the Legislature has nothing future because we are subject to the designs of deputy Otto Guevara, who using the regulation has announced that it will project against tax fraud, will not pass the proposed tax on corporations to support the Ministry of security. So one could hardly speak of the future, if there is no agreement with Don Otto Guevara, "the legislator of the National Liberation Party (PLN) Rolando Gonzalez.

According to the head of the bed of the Frente Amplio, Gerardo Vargas Varela, Otto Guevara was clear that the initiative does not go.

"From the point of view that if the project is viable, in the words of Otto Guevara that project is dead ," he said.

With the initiative, the government aims to raise ¢ 47 billion annually.

95% of the funds would go to the Ministry of Public Security and the difference to the Directorate General of Social Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Justice.

4. City Mall press the MOPT to avoid closing entries

Since November, the month in which he opened City Mall in Alajuela, a dispute between the state and project developers for a number of defects in the construction of the entrances to the mall, surrounding sidewalks and overpass began on the radial.

However, the company holds 31 already corrected the faults detected by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT). It says it is only pending inspection authorities to verify repairs.

Improvements in radial Alajuela were part of the obligations of Central Real Estate Development (ILAC), City Mall owners, before opening the business.

The aforementioned defects MOPT to process led to the closure of the entrances to the shopping complex.

Enterprise LEA City Mall opened access to the radial Alajuela without collateral MOPT
To avoid closing DICA requested, on January 8, the Dispute Tribunal an interim injunction to suspend the management. Karla Madriz judge ruled in favor of the firm.

In this situation, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) said the Court, on 26 January, the company aims to minimize defaults, describing them as "missing children."

Among the flaws cited by the PGR it is that the sidewalks around the project does not comply with the Equality Act for Persons with Disabilities, as well as obstruction of several culverts.

For these reasons, the Attorney General asked the court to revoke the provisional injunction and order the suspension of the entrances to City Mall.

BESIDES the City Mall Parking is flooded due to heavy downpours
According to the press office of the Judiciary, the resolution of this case is pending.

Persecution. Natiuska Traña, City Mall lawyer said that there is a persecution of MOPT against his client.

"This is a topic that is being viewed as persecution; if you get to review the restricted access of Paseo Metropolis and Multiplaza, you have never been delivered (...). Those overpasses have lower quality and do not have any public exposure, "said Traña.

OUR FILE Government Holidays prevent access close to City Mall
The defender added that on several occasions they have met the requirements of the MOPT, but when inspections, new requirements arise.

The Nation tried to know the version of the MOPT on this subject; however, they failed to respond because the matter is in the hands of the courts.

On November 15, several houses and shops in Montserrat neighborhood, in Alajuela, ended flooded.

Laurence Chacon, coordinator of Sewers of the Municipality of Alajuela, said the cause of that fact was a diversion of rainwater by the construction of City Mall.

5. International bankers here seeking info on tax bills
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Representatives of the World Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank met with Costa Rican officials and some legislators Monday to push for approval of more taxes.

There are a handful of bills at the legislature that the executive branch has proposed. Still even within the Presidencia there are those who doubt any bill will be approved unless strong curbs are placed on spending. President Luis Guillermo Solís has not shown an inclination to make significant budget cuts.

In fact, the central government is going ahead with major construction projects that eventually will show up in future budgets.

Lawmakers already approved for the second and final time in September a $48 million loan to build a wholesale produce market in Sardinal, Guanacaste.

State banks are putting up $12 million and the government the balance for a $35 million convention center in Heredia. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo also seeks to hire some one to help it market the facility.


The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes will soon seek bids for a $7.5 million office tower at Plaza Víquez. This is supposed to be the start of a $30 million government city.

The finance ministry still is trying to purchase a 5,200-square meter office building for $121.7 million.

Even the legislature plans new buildings at a cost of $76 million.

The public has taken notice, and there even is a Facebook page devoted to fighting the legislative construction proposals.

The visitors Monday were Fabrizio Zarcone of the World Bank and Javier Biverinotti of the Interamerican Development Bank. Both entities have significant investments in Costa Rican loans.

The Partido Acción Ciudadana, which generally supports new taxes, reported the meeting. This is the party of the president, and attending Helio Fallas Venegas, minister of Hacienda, and José Francisco Pacheco Jiménez and Fernando Rodríguez Garr, both vice ministers.

Marco Vinicio Redondo Quirós, an Acción Ciudadana lawmaker, said the two men visited to verify what the government has been saying. Redondo said some persons object because the proposals have been put forward by the current government.

Fallas is seeking a value-added tax, increased income tax, anti-fraud legislation as well as changes in what income is exonerated from taxes. There also are bills to reduce the amount spent in pensions. And then there is the bill to renew the tax on corporations.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board is expected to begin this week increasing the interest rate it charges to banks, and this is expected to have an impact on what Costa Rica will have to pay for international loans.

There also is the possibility that the Banco Central will not be able to continue to support the colon currency against the dollar. An increase in the value of the dollar will make repayments of international debt harder. The colon is among the few currencies that has actually increased in value against the ever stronger dollar.

Although officials seldom discuss the topic, average Costa Ricans loath taxes because they do not have faith in public officials. A procession of recent news stories about excessive salaries and pensions contributes to this attitude. They also suspect systemic corruption.

The Ministerio de Hacienda unknowingly supported this anti-tax view Monday when it reported that it had collected 926.7 million colons ($1.76 million) from professionals who had understated their income.

The Dirección General de Tributación, the tax agency, is part of the ministry.

The tax agents have been checking up on the returns of 450 professionals who purchased fancy cars, properties and condos, yet declared little income.

The faulty tax reports came from physicians, lawyers and architects, among others, who reported expenses related to food, transportation, private education, medical expenses and personal loans that should not be included, the agency said.

The tax agency said at least 1,000 more professionals will undergo a review after the first of the year.

Meanwhile, the legislature is expected to begin a Christmas holiday without taking action on any of the tax bills.

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

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