Vacancies Galore!!!

ISSUE #622: Aug, 14-20, 2016


Vacancies Galore!!!

ISSUE #622: Aug, 14-20, 2016

Toronto: (416) 461-2203 // (647) -498-4266
Costa Rica: Land line: (506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101 // Cell: (506) 8305-3965

Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly newsletter -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 re-sales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
Developer / Property manager
Residencias Los Jardines


rentals & sales

Paradisus Condos / Rohrmoser
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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

Since August 1st For rent $ 1,400 mo.

More Opportunities
rentals & sales

Condominio Santa Lucia, Tres Rios

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Price reduction: $520,000 $549,000 (Appraised: $800,000)
6 bedrooms
5 bathrooms
610 m2 (6,500 sf)
2 Story
2 Car garage

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: One offer conditional for unit #107 at Los Jardines.

Rentals: Paradisus: Unit available for rent, $ 1,400 mo.
Los Jardines: Units #112, #113 and #106A are available for rent.

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #106A: $ 165,000 / See Unit
Unit #107: $ 205,000 / Conditional offer / See Unit

Unit #106A: $ 1,200 / Immediately / See Unit
Unit #112: $ 1,250 / Immediately / See Unit
Unit #113: $ 1,250 / Immediately / See Unit

For sale

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
$205,000 / Conditional offer

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.

For rent

UNIT #106A
$1,200 mo. / Immediately

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 #112
$1,250 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on two sides by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

UNIT #113
$1,250 mo. / Immediately

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. It is attached on one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer. The three other sides allow light, ventilation and garden views.

Our Lives

Weather: Our normal "rainy" season... working perfectly...


last week it was ICE workers and red taxis. This week it was the train operators...

Accident: When having to get a signature on a document, the place I had to go which was located in a busy, commercial area, did not have any parking. To get off the road, I realized I was in front of an unused access to a garage... o.k. I'll park there for the 10 min. I needed. I knew there to be a large, open rain water culvert... on either side that I could see, I saw there was a metal transition... NOT where I was... kerplunk!!! broken tire, (and later a bent tire rod and a few other sundry items), no jack, and a flat spare tire... I called my trusty back up (Enrique) who came, jack in hand, removed and bought a new tire, installed... and then another new tire and a jack later and tie rod repairs later... I'm back in business... Driving here is always and adventure... one which I really hate.

Vacancies Galore!!

Los Jardines:
112 - the tenant did a midnight exit...
113 - tenant just didn't come back from holidays
123 - after three years, he is being reassigned (he hasn't yet told me he is leaving at the end of the month, but that is what rumor has... I hate it when people play these stupid games.)
126 - tenant wants a bigger place but cannot afford vacant places at Los Jardines

13-1 - tenant moved to a larger place...hopefully, I have a 5 mo term client
13-4 - tenant signed for a year for his girlfriend,..she left for the States.. he is playing games with will likely end badly....

Managing Information: CR can't do it... This week I've spent a day fighting with two different entities over information I have previously given them... but they can't find it or can't understand it... or haven't tired​... Scotiabank wanted verification that I had applied for a new residency card... I had and have a receipted document... I gave it to them last week... this week I received a call saying that I had not given it to them... (actually, them loosing it is not all that surprising... my experience is that about 50% of the time, this happens); I received an email from the administrator of Paradisus saying I had not paid water for three months... after a day, this was reduced to one month, and that month is "under review"... several times, I gave them the exact amounts, exact time and place of deposit... they couldn't find it... and, for the month "under review" I had also scanned and sent them copies of the deposit... go figure...

News Items of the Weeknews


1. Banking: as I have mentioned many times before, banking is difficult. The difficulties are attributed to preventing money laundering but I sincerely believe they don't work... the serious money laundering is done in big lumps and usually by directors of banks. The little guys pay the price. The current pending house sale got to be too complicated using the CR lawyers trust account... the money flow will now be done between US banks... directly...

2. Rail Strike: last week it was ICE and the Red Taxi drivers. This week the train drivers struck... their contract had expired, the governing body hadn't renewed it, went to a different employer without consultation...drivers didn't like it, wanted more money, better working conditions, travel expenses to and from work, etc...

3. Asset / money confiscation: following in the US footsteps... we'll see what the Sala IV says.

4. Administrative Oversight of Road Construction: the governing body does not itself have a coherent administration. Solis vowed to eliminate the organization but can't...

5. Weather: something the government can't screw up...

6. Solis approval rating: can't get much lower... and two years left to go... I can't think of one initiative he has accomplished... but he travels a lot...

1. Moving money around legally becomes even harder
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Moving money into and out of Costa Rica is becoming more difficult even if the motive is clearly legal.

An expat who might wish to purchase real estate property here might find great difficulty in bringing the purchase money into the country. In fact, banks here have been known to refuse wire transfers.

Other expats who do business here but live in the United States may have problems with their home institution. One sometime expat in the tourism business here collects the bulk of his income in the United States. But he has to pay expenses here with monthly deposits of cash into a Costa Rican bank. His home institution just shut down his accounts because of what was thought to be their suspicious nature.

Of course, expats can carry funds in cash to Costa Rica as long as they declare amounts in excess of $10,000 both leaving the United States and when entering Costa Rica. Even if they are not stuck up leaving the airport, they might have problems depositing the cash into local banks.

Most expats know that they should not travel within Costa Rica with substantial amounts of cash. That could mean just several thousand dollars. Most U.S. currency has been tainted with microscopic amounts of drugs, and the local drug dogs will find the money.

Then the nightmare begins.

New legislation has increased the possibility of nightmares even for an expat who is not traveling. A new law showed up in the official newspaper this month that gives police agencies broad powers to seize assets, including cash, without notice.

This is law No. 9387 that was designed to update the criminal code to punish terrorism-related crimes. President Luis Guillermo Solís signed the measure July 28.

Although called an anti-terrorism law, this update covers all money laundering and other illegal activities and allows officials to confiscate the assets at their own discretion.

This is one of those asset forfeiture laws that has been the subject to strong criticism elsewhere. In order to get back the assets, the owner will have to prove in court that the assets are legitimate. All banks and financial institutions are obligated to report suspicious transactions, and bankers here usually overcompensate to protect themselves. The Registro Nacional also is instructed to freeze property designated by investigators.

The freezing takes place without any notification of the owners.

So an expat may wake up one morning to find that his bank accounts, home and vehicles are frozen and perhaps confiscated because investigators believe he has behaved suspiciously. He would face a lengthy court battle to recover his goods.

An investigative agency like the Unidad de Inteligencias Financiera del Instituto Costarricense sobre Drogas has the power to freeze the assets and then ask prosecutors to seek a court ruling validating their action.

To get around the local paranoia over large sums of money, some expats are conducting real estate closings through title companies in the United States. That works well if both the buyer and seller are U.S. residents with bank accounts there.

2. Rail service predicted to be normal today after strike
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anyone seeking a ride on the valley train or the Heredia route had a long wait Tuesday.

State railway employees made good on their promise to strike.

They used the change of an employer on their contract as a reason to seek more money.

Casa Presidencial said that the trains were supposed to run normally today.

The persons who drive the trains and those who provide support services became employees of Desmantelamiento de la Catenaria S.A. as of Tuesday. The firm was one of three that were selected by the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles in a hurry-up, no-bid procedure.

The contract is supposed to be for about three months during which time the work will be put out for formal bids.

The temporary nature of the situation did not stop the employees from leaving thousands of commuters stranded. There also was the expected spike in motor traffic.

Desmantelamiento de la Catenaria agreed to conduct a study to make an appropriate increase in employee salaries. The additional amount will be passed on to the state rail company, said Casa Presidencial. There also were some matters of expenses that were resolved in favor of the employees.

Rail officials tried to head off the strike with a 4 a.m. meeting Tuesday, but reaching an agreement took much of the day.

3. Court plans hearing on coercive taxation measure
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

One of the more powerful weapons in the arsenal of the Costa Rica’s tax collector is something called Artículo 144.

This section of the tax code says every taxpayer must deposit within 30 days whatever the Dirección General de Tributación says is owed before an appeal can be filed.

This rule does not just apply to big business, Expats can be snared, too. For example, a tax investigator might conclude incorrectly that Canadian snowbirds have been renting their beach home while they are not in Costa Rica and failing to pay sales tax on the rent. The result would be a large assessment of taxes owed, fees and interest.

The snowbirds would have to come up with the cash before presenting what might be an air-tight case. Of course, there would be delays in getting the money back if they won.

That situation might even apply to the purchase or sale of a vehicle by another expat.

So even if the expat is in the right, and the tax agency is incorrect, no challenge is possible until the full amount is paid. And then the case goes to the tax agency in-house court.

So it might be years before the expat can get a fair hearing in a legitimate court even if the tax collectors are wrong.

If this process sounds unfair, the Sala IV constitutional court considered that it might be and has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in an appeal of the tax code article. No decision is expected then, but the Ministerio de Hacienda is expected to mount an argument in defense of the article.

4. Road agency gets strong criticism from watchdog
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s road and highway agency received strong criticism Tuesday from the Contraloría General de la Republicá.

The budget watchdog said that the agency, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, lacked a system of administration, which was the reason it was created in the first place.

The Contraloría monitors the work of government agencies.

Costa Rica is ranked 115th of 140 countries in the state of its highways, said the Contraloría. Despite receiving a lot of money each year, the Consejo shows serious weaknesses, said the summary of the report.

This is not a new criticism. President Luis Guillermo Solís, in his campaign, promised to eliminate the consejo. But when he got into office he found out that this was more difficult than he thought.

The Contraloría said its study showed that the consejo was not well coordinated and that it was executing highway projects without the required administration.

The report said that highway projects were being done without a technical basis that would optimize the public investment.

5. Expats worldwide see Costa Rica as having the best weather
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An international survey of expats puts Costa Rica first in having the best weather.

The survey comes as no surprise. The organization InterNations asked the question about weather in its survey of expats in 195 countries. There were 14,000 respondents.

“If you move to Costa Rica, Cyprus or Greece, you can be sure to enjoy the outdoors almost every day of the year,” said InterNations. “Other destinations with fine temperatures include Malta, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Spain, Portugal and Mexico.”

Said the organization about Costa Rica:

“The country clinches the 12th spot out of 64 countries in the overall ranking of the survey. One prominent factor for its high rank is the weather and climate, with 71 percent of the respondents living there rating it as very good. The friendly locals and great work-life balance are just some of the reasons why expats decide to move to this tropical paradise. Unlike many other destinations that are mostly career-focused, the most popular reasons for moving to Costa Rica are for a better quality of life and a thirst for adventure.”

Other countries with great weather scored poorly in security. That included Uganda and Kenya.

“North America, Oceania and Asia, let alone Antarctica, the seventh continent, did not receive much appraisal when it comes to good climate,” said InterNations.

Ireland rated in the bottom 10 because despite having outstanding beer and whiskey, there is a lot of rain.

6. Solís' approval rating at record low

Only 10 out of 100 Ticos approve of the job President Luis Guillermo Solís is doing, according to results of the latest opinion poll by consulting firm CID Gallup released this week. That’s the lowest of any Costa Rican president in 38 years.

Of the 10 percent who said they approve of Solis’ work, only 1 percent considered his work “Very Good,” while the remaining 9 percent said it was “Good.”

Almost 40 percent of those polled said Solís’ work in office has been “Regular” and 37 percent considered it “Bad.”

Eighty percent of respondents said they believe Solís is leading the country in the wrong direction and said they are pessimistic about the goals the president can achieve during his remaining two years in office.

That same group of people think the country’s financial situation is worse than it was a year ago. Only two out of 10 people believe the country will be better within a year.

Just over halfway through his four-year term, Solís’ approval rating is at its lowest level yet.

Negative opinions of Solís are more common among those who said their financial situation deteriorated in the past year and among those who claim to read or watch news at least three or more times a week, the study noted.

CID Gallup conducted its survey from Aug. 6-11 by telephone and via home visits to 1,205 adults across the country. The poll has a margin of error of 2.38 points and a confidence level of 95 percent, the company reported.


Brian C. Timmons
Property Manager RLJ and Newsletter Author

Costa Rica:
Cell: (+ 506) 8305-3965
Land line: (+506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101

VOIP: (+416) 461-2203


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