I Have Failed!

ISSUE #647: Feb. 19-25, 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

13th Fl / East view
Available April 5

Market activity
sales & rentals

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

Rentals: Paradisus: For Rent: 13th Fl / East view / furnished​ / Available April 5 / $1,400
Los Jardines: Nothing available.

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

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.

Our Lives

Weather: an unusual shower, lighter winds -warm- virtually no volcanic ash.

I Have Failed... to work myself out of a job and to actually "retire". With all the turnover lately and this coming week, my butt hasn't and won't see the hammock... After a month of "decision making" a corporate client located near Los Jardines has finalized the rental of 3 houses for 4 mo. each. During their delay, I leased two units I was holding for them but was able to secure two more at the last minute. The third, not one I manage, is occupied for the first 10 days... the company will have to keep two of their six people in a hotel until it is available. This process has been difficult, stressful, and time consuming. And the resulting work to turn the units over simply creates a lot of work. However, I have been able to maintain a very healthy occupancy rate over the years and even more recently when the rental market is more challenging... since these are only for 4 mo., I will be going through this again soon... the company says it is bringing additional people in so perhaps we'll get more business. It works well for them since it is within 2 blocks of their office and their employees can all be located in once compound with legitimate invoicing and legal documents which allow them to write checks against.

Other Friends: Our Montreal friends are traveling CR... I expect to see them again in a week or so. Our now Florida friends came and returned. We'll see if the Europe trip happens...

Luck of the Draw... BAD: I had the second worst tenant I can remember in 35 years. and ex-Florida cop and his tica (wacko girlfriend+ two kids, one of which I later found out was autistic). In three months, they virtually destroy a unit and while he had a restraining order against her which got her sorry ass kicked out of here, he made a midnight exit leaving his deposit behind... fortunately, I was able to re-rent it a few days after he left but I have spent the month fixing things. This doesn't happen very often -fortunately- but sometimes... yes... it does...

Aging Friends: So far this is the score: 3 with broken shoulder blades due to falls; 3 with kidney cancer; 3 with broken hips due to falls... yes, there are others but these are the multiple culprits... and yes, this does not include the multiple prostate issue sufferers...

Permanent Residency: We applied for this status in April 2016. Followed up a number of times, it was never ready... we were to check again in a "few months". I began running into problems banking and my driver's license was coming up for renewal... I needed a valid residency permit... Lita and I went, armed with what we need to renew our "temporary" residency... In the process, I showed the receipted copies of our "permanent" residency application. The representative checked on line and found that our "permanent" residency was now ready. Two hours later, we walked out with it.

Joke of the Week: A government official said that an entirely new, 4 lane bridge would be built over the canyon between Lindora / Santa Ana and Belen... this is currently serviced by a very old, two lane bridge which even before the Virilla bridge construction created a bottleneck and know it can take an hour to get across this stretch... This new bridge is urgently needed... the joke? construction is suppose to begin next month...!! they haven't completed the purchase of two sections of land and while the contract has been let, I have never seen a situation where contract awards were not challenged in the court and this takes one plus years to resolve... Construction to widen Lindora Blvd to 4 lanes was suppose to start two years ago... so far, they have moved most of the power / phone poles... that's it...

News Items of the Week


1. Fraud: a new scandal in the making... looks like lots of people got burned.

2. Water Rationing: Again, I am glad we have our own well... AyA just cannot get on top of their job.

3. Job Fair: lots of hiring and job opportunities in the Central Valley, mainly from international companies.

4. Security: they continue to hire officers who continue to quite or get thrown in jail for being as bad as the official crooks. and look at all the "gifted" hardware"

5. Convention Center: a completely useless and unnecessary investment since there is already a private facility very near the proposed location...

6. Traffic: superlatives do not describe the utter chaos and frustration created by this bridge construction... EVERYONE is complaining about it but there is no alternative...

1. Costa Rican prosecutors investigate luxury condominium fraud in Central Valley

The Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office has opened up an investigation into real estate developer Homes Grupo Inmobiliario after complaints of consumer fraud have surfaced.

A press release from the Public Ministry confirmed that prosecutors began the investigation into the real estate company Friday after seeing media reports and receiving personal accusations from clients.

The investigation “is based on recent communications and publications made on various national media outlets as well an individual report made by people directly in our offices,” said José Pablo Miranda, who is in charge of fraud cases at the Prosecutor’s Office.

Specific complaints regard the following housing projects: Real Garita in Alajuela; Real Boungainvillea in Santo Domingo de Heredia; and Condado del Valle in San Sebastián.

Daniel Quesada, a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office, told The Tico Times in an email that Homes Grupo Inmobilario took deposits for the three development projects from clients looking to reserve a condo. However, after long delays and unfulfilled promises on the part of the company, clients would then make calls and send emails to numbers and addresses that didn’t exist or had been deactivated, the spokesman said.

Quesada added that the company was offering clients a discount of up to 20 percent of the property’s value if buyers paid the cost of the property’s premium right away.

Would-be homeowners lost as much as $50,000, according to Quesada.

The statement from prosecutors urged anyone who has invested with Homes Grupo Inmobilario to fill out a formal complaint with the fraud section of the Prosecutor’s Office, or call the section at 2295-4810.

A Feb. 14 article from Spanish-language daily Diario Extra claimed that the company was defrauding its investors by concealing banking info and including unrealistic project completion dates in contracts. The management of Homes Grupo Inmobiliario released a note to clients last week on its Facebook page to address the claims.

“All of our projects – contrary to what was indicated today in a nationally circulated news article – do exist and are in process of completing requirements for the corresponding legal institutions,” the memo said. The company’s statement added that it had recently changed offices, and that’s why phone numbers and addresses given to clients appeared to be nonexistent.

A YouTube page under the Homes Grupo Inmobiliario name has a handful of videos promoting condominium and model house projects, including the Real Garita and Condado del Valle developments mentioned in the Prosecutor’s Office press release.

Luxury homes in Condado del Valle are advertised at a rates starting at $109,900, while Real Garita’s residences are offered at rates starting as $122,700. (ticotimes.net)

2. Water and Sewer Institute announces rationing plan for up to four months

More than 200,000 residents of Costa Rica’s Greater Metropolitan Area will face daily water rationing in periods ranging from 6-12 hours at a time during the coming months, the Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) reported.

AyA said in a news release that it will soon disclose the exact dates for the launch of its rationing plan, but it likely will be enforced between March and July. AyA estimates are that aquifers will reach their lowest levels in April.

The agency says rationing is necessary because rainfall levels in the past rainy season were lower than expected in most of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM). The region includes cantons in the provinces of Cartago, San José, Heredia and Alajuela. It is also the most densely populated area of Costa Rica.

Water shortages caused by drought conditions are already affecting residents of San José.

Rationing by areas

AyA will enforce scheduled rationings on three levels —high, medium and low— depending on the severity of the water deficit. Households in areas slated for high rationing could have their water cut for more than 12 hours per day.

High rationing will apply for some 49,000 residents of communities south of the capital in Desamparados and Alajuelita: El Llano, El Huaso, San Juan de Dios, San Josecito, Veracruz and Santa Bárbara.

Communities in areas slated for medium rationing could be without water from 6 to 12 hours per day.

This rationing plan will apply for some 191,000 residents of communities in the cantons of Moravia, Goicoechea, Desamparados, Alajuelita, Curridabat, Santa Ana, and Central San José. The specific communities are Calle Montoya, Cipreses, Tirillas, Hatillo, San Sebastián, Hospital, La Carpio, Linda Vista, San Josecito, Los Guido, Salitral, San Jerónimo, San Rafael de Coronado, Carmen, Zapote and San Francisco de Dos Ríos.

Low rationing will bring water cuts in periods shorter than 6 hours per day. They will be enforced for some 198,000 residents of Brasil de Santa Ana, Chiverrales, Mata Redonda, Merced, Pavas, San Juan de Dios, San Miguel and Tejarcillos in Desamparados, Guadalupe, Trinidad, San Jerónimo, San Vicente in Moravia, Piedades Sur and Hoja Blanca in Escazú.

Astorga said that estimates from AyA are that some 896,000 GAM residents will not face any problems with rationing.

Shortage causes

AyA Executive President Yamileth Astorga said there are various reasons for the water shortage, the most significant being that high temperatures recorded in the current dry season reduced water levels at aquifers that supply GAM aqueducts.

She said that the AyA had expected precipitation levels in the past rainy season to increase, compared to previous years.

“But that didn’t occur,” she said. Rainfall levels last year were on average 20 percent lower than expected, according to the AyA.

Other reasons for the shortage are the proliferation of illegal wells and the rapid expansion of the urban area. The growth in construction of housing and commercial projects is waterproofing soils, Astorga said.

She noted that water shortages are already affecting residents in various parts of the country, mainly in the Pacific provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas. She said they are already addressing the situation and in the past months AyA staff drilled 43 wells in both provinces.

She asked the general population to help reduce the need for rationing by implementing water-saving measures. Among them she cited:

  • Fix leaks
  • Take shorter showers
  • Wash cars less frequently
  • Install water-saving shower heads
  • Turn off the tap while you’re not directly using the water
  • Start the washing machine only when you have a full load
  • Water gardens at nights and use buckets instead of hoses
  • Collect rainwater to reuse it on your plants


3. Job fair huge success

The Cinde job fair held over the weekend has already resulted in 334 people hired and another 1,132 in the process of being hired. The job fair, which was held in the old customs building in San José, was attended by 8,350 people looking for work with 57 different companies doing the screening. This job fair, as is the trend now with job fairs, focused on bilingual candidates. (CR Hoy)

4. Security ministry accumulating plenty of firepower
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Despite its reputation of not having a military, Costa Rica is quickly increasing its law enforcement personnel and the equipment they use. The security minister was at the legislature Thursday asking for more.

The minister, Gustavo Mata Vega, told the Comisión de Seguridad y Narcotráfico that he needed more equipment and resources to strengthen the work of the police in the face of the realities of world and regional security.

As he was speaking, his ministry, Seguridad Pública, was announcing that the first 291 recruits have begun their basic police course. They are the first of some 1,500 police the ministry is recruiting.

The ministry already has about 10,000 officers.

The ministry officers include the street patrolmen in blue, frontier police, members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the Servicio de Vigilancia Áerea. There are other police agencies, such as prison guards, traffic police, tax police and municipal police officers who are under the jurisdiction of other entities. The Judicial Investigating Organization is part of the judiciary.

Mata in his visit to the legislature listed the hardware his ministry recently acquired. This includes two airplanes and two boats. The arrival of three helicopters is awaited. In addition, the ministry has at least one King Air, a top-of-the-line turboprop luxury plane, that was confiscated on the Caribbean coast, as well as a handful of other aircraft.

The previous administration of the United States is providing $25 to $30 million more in equipment, according to the U.S. Embassy.

The donations, some still to be delivered, include two 110-foot patrol ships based for the Pacific, two C-145 cargo planes, a 45-foot vessel, two 38-foot interceptor crafts, 19.5-foot river boats, construction of a hangar and operations center for air operations in Coto 47 at Ciudad Neily, three armored vehicles and more construction at the Kilometer 35 security checkpoint of the Interamericana Sur highway. There were many more lesser donations including a maintenance package for the King Air.

Previously the U.S. government invested in coast guard stations in Flamingo and Golfito as well as financing for a $5 million radar station on Isla del Coco.

The expense of U.S. taxpayer money is not altruistic. Nearly all the donations are directed in one way or another to stopping the ship.

5. Convention center will get its official start today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Central government officials will renew their $35 million bets on a massive convention center when they hold a cornerstone ceremony this morning at the site.

The Centro Nacional de Convenciones y Congresos is being built by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo in order to join in what is a very competitive business.

The project has been delayed several times. The start of construction once was set for January 2014.

The firm in charge of construction is Edica Ltda., the same company that built Lincoln Plaza and part of Juan Santamaría airport.

The job was awarded through competitive bidding.

The tourism institute will be investing $25 million, most of which is generated by a tax on airport arrivals.

Banco de Costa Rica and Banco National are putting up $12 million. The upfront costs for running the operating costs are in addition to construction money.

The tourism minister, Mauricio Ventura, has been a prime promoter of the project and has said that the project will be a major boost to the entire region.

Conventions are a $120 billion-a-year business in the United States, and Las Vegas, Nevada, gets nearly 5 million convention visitors a year.

The center will be a building of 15,600 square meters, about 167,917 square feet, on 10 hectares, about 25 acres, with rooms for 1,000 cars in Heredia along the General Cañas autopista.

6. Transport officials trying to drive commuters to public transportation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Transport officials are unhappy that restrictions on the Río Virilla bridge on the General Cañas autopista have not caused commuters to surrender their vehicles.

But they may act soon to drive more and more persons to public transportation.

Carlos Villalta Villegas, lamented that private vehicle use is almost back to normal. He is minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes. He reported Thursday that public transportation was under utilized.

When traffic officials restricted passage on the bridge because of construction, there was a 5 percent increase in bus passengers, he said. But now the number of people who ride on the buses have returned to pre-construction numbers. About 148,000 persons travel by bus in each direction each weekday, the ministry said.

Villalta also said that the Alajuela-San José train service is under utilized. He said he lamented seeing 10 cars in a row on the bridge being occupied by just one or two persons.

He said that citizens were not collaborating with the ministry and that there was increased congestion on alternate routes.

Officials closed at first the eastbound lanes of the bridge and turned the westbound section into one lane in either direction.

And they further restricted access to these lanes at rush hour.

The ministry said there was a plan being advanced to further restrict bridge travel by prohibiting access to vehicles based on the last digit of the license plate.

This is the same system restricting travel in the metro area.

Each day about 20 percent of the private vehicles are forbidden between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Officials may try to impose the same rule for the Río Virilla bridge, they said.

Meanwhile, when the previous two-lane eastbound bridge lanes are reopened as three lanes, traffic will be shifted to them so workmen can add a third lane to the westbound section.


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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