Tranquility in the Central Valley!!

ISSUE #654: April 9-15, 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


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


FOR SALE: Agent says this is a Bargain...

2700 sq ft house in best area Escazu
Owner finance at 8%
This is 3-4 bedroom house with garden and views with owner finance at 8% for balance of $200,000. 2 car garage with watchman directly in front of the house. Downpayment is $25,000

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #106A, #114, #123, #124 and #125

Rentals: Paradisus: For Rent: 13th Fl / East view / furnished​ / Available April 5 / $1,400
Los Jardines: Unit #116 available for rent / $1,250 mo.

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 #124: $ 135,000 / See Unit [new]
Unit #125: $ 135,000 / See Unit

Unit #116: $ 1,250 mo 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 #124

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

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

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 #116
$1,250 mo.
Available 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 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.

Our Lives

Weather: Winds have died, no showers this week...

Tranquility in the Central Valley: All the locals are at the beach... wonderful here -roads are empty. Many things are closed but one can still survive nicely -the hammock never closes for holidays.

Market Activity: Not only is it Semana Santa but there just aren't people looking. I had occasion to talk with a waitress at my favorite beer and wings place... she used to work in the travel industry along with 26 others. That business closed two years ago. Another person said that before 2008 his business was good; now he and others are barely surviving. The government keeps citing more visitors to the country but the nature of those visits must have changed... these people don't see the clients... agents do not received inquiries or if they do, the inquiries are with budgets much less than before... $700-$800 range...

My short term Argentinian showed up with family... on time and paid in full for his 6 wk. stay. I don't like the short stays but in this case the owner lost only two days of rental income... and short stays are charged a premium over longer terms clients.

My Car: I was told all was fixed. I took it for a drive... 4 things are still wrong... the story continues...

News Items of the Week


1. Inactive Corporations: Looks like the advantages of this category may be disappearing.

2. Reduced Electricity Rates: ICE and CNFL continue to push for higher rates... if they spent as much effort on cleaning up their act, becoming more efficient, producing reliable and quality power, cutting out the overly generous bonuses and salaries and benefits, I might have some sympathy for them...but as of now, my tears cannot come... all the government monopolies are horrible...

1. Inactive corporations will get taxed if law passes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Plenty of expats hold or formed inactive corporations to their own dwellings, motor vehicles and boats.

This is an asset protection measure, and an inactive corporation does not have to file tax returns, among other benefits.

That is because the law considers such a corporation as one without financial activities.

But many of them do. An audit by an international organization reported that between 2011 and 2013, the nation’s tax agency sanctioned in some way 3,331 inactive corporations for engaging in commerce.

Most were believed to have failed to register as a taxpayer to duck income taxes. The audit report also said that the Registro Nacional and the tax authorities were not supervising adequately corporations in general.

The study was by a team from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Costa Rica is hoping to be invited to join the organization, and the Paris, France-based international organization is examining many aspects of government and society.

There are many forms of corporations in Costa
Rica, ranging from the well-known sociedad anomia and sociedad de responsibilidad limitada to the lesser known sociedad en nombre colectivo and sociedad en comandita simple. There also are branches of foreign corporations that are registered to do business here.

A proposed law, No. 20.327, would require the tax authorities, the Dirección General de Tributación, to register as active all the existing corporations. The Registro Nacional would be required to turn over all its data for this purpose upon passage of the bill.

Lawmakers have expressed concern that inactive corporations could be used to launder money and become involved in other illegal activities. The bill summary outlines these concerns and says that in many cases, government officials do not know where these corporations are located.

For expats with currently inactive corporations, the initial impact will seem to be be minimal. If the bill passes, corporation owners would have to file an annual tax return even if there had been no economic activity.

The bill has a good chance of passage because Costa Rican officials are working hard to meet all the requirements for membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

2. Reduced electricity rates this year? Don't hold your breath

Chances of seeing a decrease in monthly electricity bills this year is not very likely for customers of the two main state-owned power companies.

Over 700,000 customers of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) will pay eight percent more in their monthly electricity bill starting this month. Meanwhile, the National Power and Light Company (CNFL) filed a new rate hike petition this week that would raise tariffs for its customers by 26.6 percent.

The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) is evaluating the request, which, if approved, will affect CNFL’s 540,000 customers starting in July.

Both companies’ requests state, among other arguments, that the increases are essential if the companies are to address the budget shortfalls estimated for this and next year.

Business sector opposed

Leaders of the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries (CICR) said in a public statement that the alleged lack of financial resources “is result of ICE and CNFL’s inefficiency in their spending.” Chamber President Enrique Egloff said the energy agencies have no interest in lowering their rates, and plan to continue implementing expensive projects.

Egloff said all of ICE’s recent projects cost more than their initial estimates, which is driving up rates.

“Projects such as Reventazón, Pirrís, Toro III and Balsa Inferior, instead of helping to lower tariffs, have rather doubled and even tripled them,” Egloff said.

He blamed both agencies for the closure or relocation of many companies in recent years. Industrial rates here are higher than the average on Central America, and this hurts the country’s competitiveness, he said.

“Costa Rica is much more expensive than Europe and the United States. ICE and CNFL’s rates are more expensive than those of 51 power companies in South America,” he said.

Egloff said the country is trapped in a vicious circle created by ICE and CNFL’s high expenses.

“High tariffs force companies to close or move, and prompt consumers to look for alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, to reduce their monthly bills. This reduces revenues for ICE and CNFL, who then ask ARESEP for rate hikes to pay for their expenses, and the circle continues,” he explained.

Agencies reject claims

The ICE sent a written response to The Tico Times calling the CICR’s claims “false and unfounded attacks.”

In an extensive document, ICE officials said that it is false that competitiveness relies solely on electricity tariffs. The agency claimed it provides reliable service, plus “coverage, sustainability and also stable tariffs,” despite a lack of govenrment subsidies.

The document also called foul on the claim that rates here are among the highest in the region, or that those rates are causing business closures or relocations.

“On the contrary, the stability of the energy supply here has attracted investment of foreign hi-tech companies to free zones where ICE supplies electricity,” the statement adds, going on to describe programs the agency has implemented to “optimize costs and expenses, aimed at reducing tariffs.”

The CNFL in a news release said that its administration “maintains strict control over costs and efficient use of its resources,” and has successfully reduced worker benefits through negotiations over the past two years.

Legislative hearing

In response to business leaders’ complaints, however, the Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Public Income and Spending Control approved a motion to call ICE Executive President Carlos Obregón and CNFL General Manager Víctor Solís to appear before them. Both officials will take part of a hearing on April 20 where they will have to explain the impact on electricity tariffs of the agencies’ investments.

Committee members on Thursday reviewed the reports of various projects from both agencies whose final costs were much higher than they were initially estimated.

Among these were the Diquis hydroelectric plant, in the South Pacific, with an expected cost of $1.4 billion in 2007, and a final cost in 2014 of $3.6 billion. The Reventazón hydroelectric project in the Caribbean had a final cost of $1.5 billion, more than double the $697 million projected in 2007.

Legislators also cited CNFL projects such as the Parque Eólico Central, a wind farm in Santa Ana, west of San José. The project had an estimated cost of $21 million but ended up costing $53 million. The costs of another CNFL project, the Balsa Inferior hydroelectric plant in Alajuela, ascended from $94 million to $361 million during the life of the project.

The committee members unanimously approved the motion for Obregón and Solís to appear before them.


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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