A Mixed Bag

ISSUE #715: June 17-23, 2018


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

Distrito Cuatro / Guachipelín / Escazú
Price reduced: $ 125,000 to $ 99,000

about Distrito Cuatro

Rendering proposed
Distrito Cuatro - click to Download full PDF

Real de Santa María / Borreal de Heredia
$ 185,000
Private financing available

See location on Google Maps

Real de Santa María / Borreal de Heredia

Download more pictures (8.35 Mb)

Hyundai Santa Fe 2008
$13,500 $11,000

Hyundai Santa Fe 2008, Turbo Diesel, automatic, excellent family vehicle, safe, comfortable, interior with leather seats. Good tires, engine, turbo, suspension, and AC. Marchamo 2018 and Retive. It now has been road tested for 5 weeks and performed flawlessly. I can now sell with confidence...

  • 5-door / 5 passenger
  • Power steering, windows, mirrors, brakes and locks
  • A/C front and rear
  • Cruise control
  • audio/radio control
  • Air bags - driver / pass
  • Security system
  • Fog lamps
  • Tinted windows
  • Roof rack
  • CD player / radio USB/AUX
  • Hydraulic lift
  • Leather seats

Best price in the Multiplaza area for
Fully Furnished Condo


2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 1000 sq ft, full furnished condo, with 2 parking spaces. On quiet street off the main road, 24/7 armed gated security. Close to Multiplaza, District4, Cima hospital, Mas x Menos, World gym, Paco.

Brian referral 8827-1314 / 8330-1035

Market activity
sales & rentals

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


Paradisus: Available immediately, $1,400 mo.

Los Jardines:
Unit #106C Available immediately, $950 mo.
Unit #106D Available immediately, $1,150 mo. (Until Dec. 1)
Unit #112 Available immediately, $1,150 mo.

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #106A: $ 165,000 / See Unit
Unit #114: $ 199,000 / See Unit
Unit #124: $ 135,000 / See Unit

Unit #106C: $ 950 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit
Unit #106D: $ 1,150 mo. / Until Dec. 1 / See Unit
Unit #112: $ 1,150 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit

For sale

UNIT #106A
$ 165,000

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
$ 199,000

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 #124
$ 135,000

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.

For rent

UNIT #106C
$ 950 mo.
Available immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: 4-plex
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 #106D
$ 1,150 mo.
Until Dec. 1

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1227 sf . + 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 #112
$ 1,150 mo.
Available 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.

Our Lives

Weather: We have had the normal rainy season weather and all is great. Plants are happy, dust is gone, etc.

What Happened This Week:

Scotiabank: The story is that I have no story...


Santa Fe: Two calls... a gringo who had the money felt it had too many miles... perhaps he is not familiar with diesels... a tico who wanted to trade a bit of cash and an older car... not interested.

Distritcuatro: Two viewings... no follow up... I may have to fix it myself in order to sell it since no one I am attracting seems to have the vision or capability to do what is needed... I really don't want to to this but and have dropped the price but it still is not happening...

Rentals: We continued to have viewings. Several previous viewers now seem to be back. I could get all three vacancies filled -two today and one on Tuesday... but that is all speculation / hope... potential clients... two Microsoft employees from India, one Brazilian businessman, one American relocating for lifestyle who intends to work part time at Berlitz--quite a cross section / all expats.

Heredia House: No calls... It sits there looking good...

"Mi Culpa" (My Fault) or Was It The Right Thing to Do?: I think the answer depends on your perspective. A RE agent brought a prospective client interested in buying one of our units. The client -an Am. couple from Florida- late 60s & 72 years old. Their plan was to live here 3 mo. a year and rent the balance. They were people we would like to see live here. The unit being considered is a good unit and the price is reasonable. The agent who I have known and have worked with for 10+ years and who I respect and who has a good reputation and to whom I have referred people, wanted me to answer some of their questions. I had done this before and since I was in my hammock it didn't present too much of a burden... We had the conversation / they asked some good questions... I followed up with the agent later and he told me that after the conversation they decided not to buy and of course, he was upset with me. The picture I painted was accurate... property prices are decreasing, rents are decreasing, vacancies are increasing, government reporting and taxes on rental income are coming. All of these are true and the agent knows this. However, he had hoped I would have glossed over these to paint a rosier picture. Mmmm... I certainly didn't set out to scupper his deal -but I certainly did and am sorry for that. On the other hand, the context I added their pending plan, caused the client to walk away... If the client wanted the lifestyle fine / if they were looking for an investment... there are probably better options.

Los Jardines: The new property manager continues to plug along at numerous repairs and seems willing to grapple with several issues the previous people didn't... water reliability (while better than AyA, a small fix can improve reliability (having an in-line pump and having an operable back up pump), and a surge protector at the master panel to protect our motors and electronics... ICE power is so awful that we need this. I have advocated it for a number of years (5) but it fell on deaf and dumb ears... now maybe. We still have some internal discord but we are moving ahead....such is condo life...

Saturday was hectic: Multiple showings -two rentals at Los Jardines, one at Distritcuatro + two inquiries, and one 2nd showing at Paradisus. The bottom line at the end of the day are two multi year rental contracts. Finally!!!! In both cases I had to lower the rent a bit but if they become multi-year contracts it is worth it. All that is wonderful but here is what really impressed me: The tenants themselves: There are two sets of two guys for each Paradisus and for Los Jardines -all four in their late 20s, all techies, two from China (Paradisus -security / surveillance) and two from India (working for Microsoft-disaster recovery and other stuff I didn't understand). All for of these guys are impressive... they are bright, bright, bright, amicable, goal oriented, thorough, detailed, and at this point, just nice guys. My current thinking is that N. Am. better watch out... China and India are like PacMan... in fact, these guys are out in front... I am sure glad I don't have to compete with these guys... I would be the hands down looser... I would be road kill in a nanosecond. The third possible lease is to an American... he can't make up his mind... and that sums up the future...

News Items of the Week


The articles below are all about what the new government is doing to turn the country around. Finally it seems that the country has found someone serious about changing the trajectory... The truckers protested on Monday creating traffic chaos -this coming Monday there is supposed to be a general strike- the unions and special interest groups are not going to go down easily... as I have said before, my 15 years of observation is that three strikes and the government caves. We'll see ...

1. Tax Evasion: Yes, the laws are already on the books but have not been enforced... now the new government seems to be ready to deal with this...

2. Internal Strife: This ought to create lots of internal strife...

3. Government strategy: To find out what needs to be done to make the government more efficient, effective, and competitive as well as more cost effective. Admirable goals... we'll see...

4. ICE: This is a recent history of absolute corruption and conflict of interest as well as abuse -government at it's worst... unfortunately there are lots of similar cases...

5. General Strike: The unions seem determined.

1. Costa Rican Government Announces Plan Against Tax Evasion

President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado and the Minister of Treasury, Rocio Aguilar, announced today the plan to battle tax evasion, through which they expect to collect taxes by end of this year for an estimated amount of $88 million that have gone uncollected.

The information was shared in a press conference held this Wednesday, June 20, at the Presidential House. The plan includes 10 strategies and the implementation of technological tools to control evasion as well as legal administrative actions and the work of the Fiscal Control Police.

Among the measures contemplated are, the collection of approximately $132 million owed by 800 contributors, debts that are already in the judiciary collection stage, for this, the government will move forward with the repossessions and embargos to imports, rental payments, ticket sales of public events, and any other credit in favor of the debtors.

Complying with this plan, Treasury already acted the case of a company that owed an important amount, through the repossession of raw materials, through this action the company paid off over $2.2 million.

“Another action is the plan to collect the amounts transferred by error to retirees after their death; this action will be carried out in coordination with the National Directorate of Pensions. For example, just 11 cases like this will represent the collection of more than $417 thousand dollars”, explained Aguilar.

The Fiscal Control Police will be in charge of running at least 1000 operations during the second semester of 2018.

When it comes to customs, the Government will be implementing a new automated process for the revision of merchandise which will radically change the manual process used today.

Tax control will also include the revision of 117,000 contributors to determine why they declared in the past year zero taxes, and will include actions over 1500 contributors that are not complying with their obligation for the emission of electronic invoices.

President Alvarado commented that “controlling evasion requires the actions of everyone”.

2. Analysis Reveals Huge Differences in Salaries in Costa Rican Government’s Ministries

An analysis carried out by the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR in Spanish), “Challenges for the modernization of the remuneration scheme in the ministries” which was published today, revealed huge differences in the salaries from one Ministry to the other.

The analysis was done for the Legislative Assembly, with the purpose of offering technical data and information that will serve as support and enrich the debate of the fiscal plan.

“There are serious differences in the salaries in the remunerative scheme of the Government’s Ministries, which is a very homogeneous sector in terms of the salary norm that applies, as of numbers from 2016”, states the document by CGR.

Differences in salaries are evident across the board, both in professional and non-professional positions, the difference, for instance, a security guard can make close to $490.00 in one Ministry while a security guard in a different Ministry can make as much as $1800.00.

The Comptroller General of the Republic highlights the importance of revising the evaluation mechanisms related to the performance of each employee and its relation to the remuneration system.

The salary received by employees with the same professional profile doing the same job in two different ministries can differ by as much as $5 thousand dollars.

“The differences in salaries for a same job position are explained mainly by the salary incentives associated directly with the time of service, as it the case with annuities”, explains the report.

In 10 cases, employees in a Ministry have a considerably higher salary than the Minister (as much as $7 thousand), which shows an internal discrepancy between the salary received and the level of responsibility assigned to each person.

According to La Nacion newspaper, “The percentage of incentives paid within the Ministries reach a 44.3% of the total salary, way over the 10% that exists in the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), organism which Costa Rica aspires to be part of”.

When compared to the salaries in the private sector, the public service pays considerably higher salaries.

3. These are the notables chosen by Carlos Alvarado to analyze reforms to the State and public administration

The notables will work in two commissions, the Reform of the State will be presented by Rodolfo Piza, Minister of the Presidency; and the reform of public administration will be coordinated by Pilar Garrido, Minister of Planning.

Presidential House announced on Friday the names of the notables who will participate in two committees where the reforms required by the State and public administration will be considered.

The Minister of the Presidency, Rodolfo Piza, explained that the monthly recommendations that the notables provide to the Government will be translated into new bills and executive decrees.

"Over the course of two years, what we will have is a gradual proposal, several proposals, and where we advance faster we will probably do it in the first months, in the other cases it will take more time, but in any case we will be informing you (the press) every month," said Piza.

Former ministers, ex-deputies, former presidential candidates, academics and current government officials are among the group convened by President Carlos Alvarado.

The first will be chaired by Rodolfo Piza and the second by Pilar Garrido, Minister of Planning.

State Reform Commission:

  • Margarita Bolaños, former president of the Citizen Action Party (PAC)
  • Abril Gordienko, lawyer, academic and excandidata to the vice president of the Libertarian Movement Party
  • Francisco Antonio Pacheco, lawyer, former Minister of Education, ex-deputy of the National Liberation Party and former president of that group, ex-rector of UNED
  • Vladimir de la Cruz, historian, writer and ex-deputy of the Fuerza Democrática party
  • Kevin Casas, former Vice President of the Republic (2006 - 2007)
  • Rolando Araya, civil engineer, former Minister of Transport, ex-deputy and former presidential candidate
  • Mario Redondo, lawyer, ex-deputy of the Christian Social Unity Party (PUSC) and of the Christian Democratic Alliance and former presidential candidate
  • Diego González, lawyer, lawyer of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and former head of the Legal Department of the Presidency of the Republic
  • Silvia Castro, rector of the Ulacit
  • Marcia González, lawyer and Justice Minister
  • Roberto Salom, sociologist and exvicerrector of Social Action of the University of Costa Rica (UCR)
  • Velia Govaere, lawyer and former vice-minister of Economics
  • Sol Echeverría, university professor and excandidata vice president of the Republic for the New Generation Party (PNG)

Public Administration Reform Commission:

  • Mónica Catalán, business administrator and lawyer, current administrative director of the fraction of the National Restoration Party
  • Edna Camacho, economist, former head of the Treasury, former director of Cinde and minister coordinator of the Economic Council of the Government
  • Ana Virginia Calzada, litigating lawyer, former president of the Constitutional Chamber
  • Jorge Guardia, economist, lawyer and former president of the Central Bank
  • Roman Navarro, lawyer and former official of the CCSS, the Foreign Ministry, the Legislative Assembly, the Judiciary, the Bar Association and the Aresep
  • Miguel Sobrado, sociologist and business administrator, professor at the National University (UNA)
  • Ana Victoria Zapata, lawyer, former national director of the Ministry of Labor and former director of the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica

According to Rodolfo Piza, a minister of the Presidency, the state reform commission will work for two years and will give monthly progress reports.

In the case of the commission for the reform of public administration, Minister Pilar Garrido said that it will be appointed for a term of four years.

The notables, in addition, will rescue agreements of the board that formed the former president Laura Chinchilla in 2013.

The president of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado, said that the raison d'etre of the commissions that he swore this Friday is the erosion of the Costa Rican institutionality that is not in tune with the agility that the world demands today.

And although he recognized the diverse nature of the meetings, he said that the common factor among the groups is "the commitment to improve that Costa Rica that we all love".

"The mandate that we have today is what has guided us as the Government of the Republic: to work for what unites us, to work for those common longings (...) Today, again, our challenge is to strengthen ourselves in what unites us, in respect, in the love of Costa Rica that is bigger, stronger and more visionary than any pettiness there may be," he said.

Alvarado said that the concrete results will be what will serve to judge the progress of the work of both committees of notables.

The first session of the board of notables on state reform will be next Monday at 5 pm at the Presidential House.

4. Controversial ICE legal manager will leave charge at the end of this month

Julieta Bejarano Hernández, corporate manager of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), will officially leave this month when she retires after a trajectory that was not without controversy.

The press office of the Institute confirmed that the departure of the 63-year-old official will be effective as of June 30.

Bejarano leaves the institution five months after being appointed in the Corporate Legal Management of the ICE Group, a change included in a new restructuring of the top of the institution that was decided shortly before the change of government.

For her new position, she received an increase of â‚¡ 862,000, which means that the salary used to calculate her pension remained at â‚¡ 4.7 million, as confirmed by the ICE Customer Service area.

This will be Bejarano's second start. The civil servant welcomed the labor mobility in September 2004 after 32 years in that entity. However, the former president of the ICE, Eduardo Doryan Garrón, appointed her legal director in 2010, that is to say 5 years and 8 months later, although the statute of the entity establishes that an employee with mobility can not return until seven years later. of your exit.

During his time outside ICE, he founded the company Consultores en Infraestructura GIP Limitada in 2005, along with four other people. This firm received contracts related to the ICE for $ 17.6 million between 2006 and 2012, among them as the executing unit of hydroelectric projects of which the fiduciary is the Institute.

To return to the entity, Bejarano said he had ceded his shares (20%) to his partners, without any payment. Then, he assumed the Legal Directorate and became a member of the Procurement Board, which has decision-making power in hiring.

For this reason, the deputies of the Commission for Control of Income and Public Expenditure in 2016 stated that the behavior of the official could constitute a violation of the duty of probity. The legislators transferred the case to the Ethics Office, which finally rejected the complaint and filed the case.

In 2015, Bejarano acknowledged that she was responsible for having decided to keep the salary of bosses to some 300 ICE employees who no longer had head quarters. In an interview with this newspaper he explained that this decision was made by measuring the cost-benefit of possible demands of the workers.

In that case, the lawyer María Gabriela Sánchez Rodríguez wrote, in August 2015, a legal criterion that suggests the entity reduce the salary to 300 officials who earn as bosses, but who had ceased to be.

As he refused to demand that criteria be varied, Sánchez raised the matter to the Comptroller General of the Republic.

The official alleged that, due to that case, she was dismissed. However, his removal caused 12 deputies from five factions to send a letter to the then President of the Republic, Luis Guillermo Solís, to investigate the "labor and political persecution."

The deputies pointed directly against Bejarano Hernández as the person responsible for the dismissal of Sánchez, who was the head of the Judicial Processes and Consultancy Department.

The following year, in 2016, Claudio Dittel, former corporate manager of Finance and Administration ICE, said that the entity should be intervened politically by pointing out a problem of concentration of power in decision-making.

Dittel said then, before deputies of the Commission of Control of Income and Public Spending, that a "clique" had the ICE trapped, in which it included the executive president, Carlos Obregón, and the legal director, Julieta Bejarano.

5. Costa Rican Government Asks Labor Unions Not to go on Strike on Monday but Unions Stand Their Ground

The Minister of Presidency, Rodolfo Piza, asked labor union leaders to reconsider their decision of going on strike this coming Monday, June 25 and asked them to continue the dialogue to reach a resolution regarding their opposition to the fiscal plan.

The statements were made by Piza in the third meeting held with labor union leaders and which also included the participation of the Vice-President of the Republic, Marvin Rodriguez, and the Minister of Labor Steven Nuñez.

“This movement will hurt the Costa Rican population, specially users of public services, the workers, the country. We invite you to reconsider going on an unjustified strike. We invite you to resolve the problems at the dialogue table and not on the streets”, said Piza.

Labor unions however, confirmed the call for a general strike remains firm for this Monday, “Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social (Buscco) and the labor union movements, firmly clarified to the government that the meetings held (3 so far), are not considered as a formal dialogue table, but instead, only as a space to come together to find the opening of the dialogue table that has been requested repeatedly and that the government has not wanted to formalize. The Minister of Presidency, Rodolfo Piza, has repeated that they ‘do not accept conditions’ although they insist they are ‘open to dialogue’. Dialogue will resume June 29, but this does NOT suspend the call for a general strike next Monday, June 25″.

“From the Executive branch, we are taking the necessary actions to have better tax collection, battle evasion and trafficking. We have adopted measure to contain the increase of public expenses cutting budgets without affecting any labor rights already acquired or any social program, but the commitment to Costa Rica must come from everyone”, stated Piza.

The Minister of Presidency concluded by saying that “the country needs to maintain our characteristic social and labor peace, and the Government will take actions within its legal frame to guarantee the order and the respect of citizens rights”.

Labor Unions warned that in this occasion they will not be limiting their protests to San Jose, but instead, this will be a “National Movement” that will have an impact in different areas of the country including the blockage of public roads.


Brian C. Timmons
Property Manager RLJ and Newsletter Author

Costa Rica:
Cell: (+506) 8-455-59-35
Land line: (+506) 2282-4142 Ext. 101

VOIP: (+416) 461-2203

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

Previous reports