2017 and Beyod!!!

ISSUE #640: Jan. 1-7, 2017


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

Web: https://www.residenciaslosjardines.com
Emails: info@residenciaslosjardines.com

rentals & sales

Paradisus Condos / Rohrmoser
Visit our website

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

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #106A, #114, #123 and #125

Rentals: Paradisus: Nothing available
Los Jardines: Units #106D and #123 are available for rent.

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #106A: $ 165,000 / See Unit
Unit #114: $ 199,000 / See Unit
Unit #123: $ 199,500 / See Unit
Unit #125: $ 135,000 / See Unit

Unit #106D: $ 1,250 mo. / January 15 / See Unit
Unit #123: $ 1,450 mo. / 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 #114

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

This 2 bedroom/2bathroom,1,290 sf single floor end unit home includes a 150 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. This house is fully air conditioned and has recently been professionally decorated by international decorator Alcides Graffe and has undergone a complete renovation—new modern furniture, finishings, window coverings, and art work by Carlos Gambino. It is arguably the nicest furnished unit at Residencias Los Jardines and only steps from the pool

UNIT #123

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1516
Total area (Sq M): 140
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 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.

UNIT #125

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2 floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 662 sf, + parking for one car and 33sf locker is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple—or investment property.

For rent

UNIT #106D
$1,250 mo. / January 15

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1227 + parking
Total area (Sq M): 113 + parking
Bedrooms: 1 + den (bedroom possible)
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 2nd floor
Type: Apartment in 4 plex
Furnished: Yes

This 2nd story, 1,227 sf (113 m2 + one parking space) )is a georgous home with one of the best views at Los Jardines. The very large front covered terrace faces west and is suitable for entertaining; the off-bedroom covered terrace faces east for sun sets. This very tastefully furnished and fully equipped home offers a lifestyle envied by many. The owner offers financing if desired.

UNIT #123
$1,450 mo. / Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1516
Total area (Sq M): 140
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 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 dry season is here. The rains held on longer, into late Dec., but they are gone, gone, gone now...

Repair to Small Rancho: Structural repairs are done and for those who objected (for some reason) to the roof, I suggested planting a vine... that has been done so now we just wait for the vine to cover it...

Hammock: I am probably going to have to replace the existing hammock sometime in 2017... but like a trusty pair of old shoes, not before it completely brakes...

Holidays: I ate, drank, and socialized my way through it all. I took time off from writing and from subjecting devoted readers to my dribble... Now I am back at it...

2017 and Beyond: I haven't a clue... what I thought would happen in 2016 rarely did; I am completely out of guesses and expect to continue to be surprised... I do know that the sun will rise followed by night time... that banks in CR will continue to be horrible organizations and will continue to fill the sinking ship with ICE, SETENA, AyA, INS and every other government organization. I do not expect a strong RE market either for rentals or for sales... People who want to sell are going to have to accept today's market, make their peace with it, and move on... It could bee a good time to be a buyer.

Inflation, exchange rate, and economy: CR continues to have a strong economy... why don't know... but 4% growth seems to be what is being said. Inflation is near 0% and the exchange rate, while slowed devaluation, continues to devalue which benefits those earning and holding US $--- I paid my Paradisus unit property taxes this week... the info. was right this year, the amount was about $20 less than last year, and when the exchange rate was factored in, total cost was about $670 per each unit ​appraised at $240,000 each.

News Items of the Weeknews


(1) Short term Rentals subject to taxes: This has been the case for some time but not enforced. I really don't see how this will be enforced unless government agents are dedicated to​ searching out short term rentals, it is hard to monitor when all the units are rented... filing is always difficult and not likely to happen. I don't rent less that 1 month so am not affected.

(2) Turrialba and volcanic ash: yes, it continues and is a bit of a hassle because of the fallout... this requires lots of cleaning... not fun...

(3) CR and Violence: yes, we are not immune to it either... rage exists here, bad things happen, the roads are dangerous... look at the increase... not mentioned is the proportion of motocycle accidents which has grown substantially... many do not know the rules of the road, don't care, are young, idiots in a hurry to death... some get there...

(4) Electricity Rates: even though ICE continues to petition for increases, the regulators aren't buying into it. We are supplied by CNFL--as clients, we will receive a 14% reduction... this will probably be followed by an increase somewhere along the way.

(1) People renting houses and apartments for less than a month must pay taxes

Collection of levies was managed by hoteliers, as they qualify this service as unfair trade against their activity Saint Joseph.

Rental services for houses, apartments and condominiums in periods of less than one month must pay sales and rent taxes, and those who perform such activity must register as taxpayers of these two taxes, in order not to be subject to fines.

This was reported by the hotel entrepreneurs through a press release. In it indicated that the Ministry of Finance the notified of the issue, after which it was further clarified in the new law to improve the fight against tax fraud, published in the scope number 313 newspaper La Gaceta of December 20, 2016.

The activity of renting houses and apartments has been questioned for years by the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH), as it is considered an unfair competition against inscribed lodging establishments that pay municipal, sales, rent and other taxes.

Alan Saborío, Managing Partner of Deloitte, explained that neither the rent of rooms nor the stores are taxed with sales tax. However, in the General Sales Tax Law, in article 1, rents were levied for less than a month, but there was a void of interpretation and that rule was not fulfilled.

The new law against tax fraud provision is clarified and the obligation to register is established, said Saborio. It clarifies, he added, the concept of temporary residence houses and defines the possible action of the Ministry of Finance against those who rent for weeks, days or less than a month.

The CCH held these clarifications in the legislation and possible actions of the Ministry of Finance. "It represents an achievement for the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels, because throughout 2016, its president Gustavo Araya, maintained a constant struggle with the objective of being able to define the conditions of equality of competition within what is called tourist lodging." That camera in a statement.

Asked about this, Saborío acknowledged that the big issue here is how to control those who provide that service, collect taxes or sanction them as established by the law for rent and sales.

Saborío recalled that there are third-party companies that are dedicated to offering and renting houses and apartments, in which case it would be a little easier to control, different from what happens with owners who individually provide the services, usually over the Internet.

In beach regions, such as Jaco, there is the practice of renting apartments, houses and condominiums. The new legislation requires those who offer such services to register. (Archive / Allen Campos)

The CCH announced that it will initiate, in coordination with the Ministry of Finance, an awareness campaign so that neighbors of the houses and apartments report the anomalies. The Chamber did not give dates for the beginning of the campaign nor defined in what it consists.

An attempt was made to contact a Treasury spokesperson to expand the information, but they did not respond to emails or calls made.

In the case of sales tax penalties are imposed with fines from 50% to 150% of the omission of income. In case those fines exceed 440 minimum wages, which is very difficult, the law establishes the jail.

Saborío described these changes as a positive step in the control of these practices, despite the difficulties to supervise it. He recalled that the worst enemy in the area of tax collection is informal activities and that the State comes to measures that oblige taxpayers to maintain self-control.

(2) UPDATE: Green alert declared as Turrialba Volcano ashfall intensifies
Michael Krumholtz

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) declared a Green Alert for the Central Valley on Thursday afternoon as Turrialba Volcano continued to pump ash intothe skies in the latest of the constant eruptions that have lasted throughout the past two weeks.

A statement from Casa Presidencial indicated that a combination of continued eruptions, a dry air system over Central America that has reduced the chance of rain, and strong winds have all contributed to the increase of ashfall in the area.

The CNE asks municipal emergency commissions to be vigilant, keep their communities informed and monitor ash levels. If people have to leave their houses in areas where significant ash is present, the government recommends that they cover their mouths and noses with towels or dust masks. The CNE also suggests not consuming food outdoors and to even avoid driving in areas with high ash levels.

On Thursday morning, the National University’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) reported more ashfall being carried by southwest winds towards the San José metro area. Ash was seen covering cars and buildings Wednesday throughout the capital and the broader Central Valley, including as far north as Heredia and as far west as Escazú.

Dr. Mauricio Mora of the University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network (RSN) reported Thursday morning that those in San José can expect to see more effects from Turrialba’s persistent activity.

“These episodes are separated by periods of low ash emissions and light harmonic tremors,” Mora said in the report. “The winds are blowing southwest this morning, according to data from the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), and will therefore continue to affect the Central Valley.”

Inbound and outgoing flights seem to be back to normal Thursday after numerous delays and cancellations on Wednesday. Traveler’s can check their flight status on the Juan Santamaría Airport web site.

According to an OVSICORI report, the areas with the most ash fall have been: Barva, Moravia, Santa Bárbara, San Francisco de Heredia, Guadalupe, Coronado, Santo Domingo, Tibás, Escazú, Central Heredia, Pavas, Carrizal, Sabanilla and Alajuela.

A Facebook video sent to OVSICORI and posted on the institute’s page Wednesday shows just how much ash is being sent into the middle of the country.

(3) Costa Rica suffered through most violent year on record in 2016
Michael Krumholtz

Not even Costa Rica could avoid the curse of 2016, as it marked the most violent year in the country’s history. Annual statistics confirm that Costa Rica continues to show alarming trends in violence, specifically when it comes to homicide and traffic mortality rates.

End-0f-year statistics from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) show that the country set an unenviable record for murders in a single year, with 577 reported homicides in 2016, up 19 killings from last year’s previous record high.

Among these figures were notable murders of international residents, including the shooting of U.S. citizen John Lonergan outside of a night club in Jacó last September, as well as the brutal slaying of 56-year-old U.S. businessman Dirk Beauchamp alongside four members of his family in Matapalo, Guanacaste in February.

Compiled with the latest census numbers, that leaves Costa Rica with a murder rate of 12 killings for every 100,000 people in the country. That rate has nearly doubled since 2002, though it still remains a far cry from neighbors in the Northern Triangle such as El Salvador (104 killings per 100,000 people) and Honduras (61 killings per 100,000 people), according to 2015 World Bank data.

Meanwhile, on Costa Rican roads, numbers from the Traffic Police show that there were 448 accident-related deaths in 2016. That is up a staggering 50 “on-site” fatalities from the previous record rate set in 2015. More than a quarter of those killed on the roads were between the ages of 21 t0 30.

A recent survey from Australia’s Global Positioning Specialists listed Costa Rican roadways as the fourth most dangerous in the world for drivers, taking into account the poor road conditions and high mortality rate.

In terms of both homicides and traffic deaths, the deadly trend has begun spilling into the new year, according to a OIJ report that listed nine people killed in traffic accidents or murders on Sunday alone.

Rising rates of violence have also led people to become increasingly worried about safety throughout the country, according to a University of Costa Rica School of Statistics report from December. The report showed that more than half of those polled consider Costa Rica’s level of insecurity to be either high or very high.

(4) Regulator approves decrease in electricity rates for next quarter

The sustained decrease in the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity in recent months resulted in lower electricity rates that will apply for the next quarter.

The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) reported that new rates will apply for all eight power companies in the country starting on Jan. 1, 2017. The change in tariffs will vary by company, but will average 5.41 percent, the regulator said in a news release on Wednesday.

ARESEP energy chief Mario Mora said that the agency approved lower rates thanks to the country’s efforts to replace fossil fuels “with energy from renewable sources, and also with cheaper energy bought from the Regional Electricity Market.”

Costa Rica generates most of its electricity using hydroelectric plants. When water reserves are insufficient to meet national demand, power companies turn to thermal plants, particularly during the dry season months of December -April.

Customers of the National Power and Light Company will benefit the most from the reductions, with a 14.75 percent drop in their monthly tariffs. Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) clients will see a 9.76 percent cut in their rates.

The smallest cuts will apply for customers of cooperatives in rural areas such as CoopeAlfaro Ruiz, Coopelesca and Coopesantos.

See the full list of approved changes in rates:

Electricity from renewable sources

ICE officials reported last week that most of the electricity used in Costa Rica this year came from renewable sources. The agency noted that the country surpassed 250 days using only renewable power sources.

During 2016, 98.12 percent of Costa Rica’s energy was generated from renewable sources. Fossil fuels represent only 1.88 percent of the 2016 total, ICE noted.

Most of the electricity this year — 74 percent — came from hydroelectric plants, followed by generation from other renewable sources plants using geothermal, wind, biomass and solar power.


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

Web: https://www.residenciaslosjardines.com
Emails: info@residenciaslosjardines.com

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