From Hard Times to Worse...

ISSUE #772: Aug. 4-10, 2019


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

Market activity
sales & rentals

Sales: Los Jardines: Units #114, #116 and #124


Paradisus: Nothing available

Los Jardines: Units #106C, #106D and #113

Residencias Los Jardines
property management, rentals & re-sales

Unit #114: $ 199,000 / See Unit
Unit #116: $ 195,000 $ 189,995 / See Unit
Unit #124: $ 125,000 / See Unit

Unit #106C: $ 950 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit
Unit #106D: $ 1,050 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit
Unit #113: $ 1,200 mo. $ 1,150 / Available immediately / See Unit

For sale

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 #116
$ 195,000 $ 189,995

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.

UNIT #124
$135,000 $ 125,000

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
$ 1050 mo.
Available immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1227 + parking
Total area (Sq M): 113 + parking
Bedrooms: 1 + den (bedroom possible)
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 2nd. floor
Type: 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 east and is suitable for entertaining; the off-bedroom covered terrace faces west for sun sets. This very tastefully furnished and fully equipped home offers a lifestyle envied by many.

UNIT #113
$ 1,150 mo. price reduction
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. 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

Rainy Season... We got a little rain but less than the average... we didn't have to water and the garden is happy but I suspect the water table is not being replenished.

What Happened This Week

Vacancies: Another week and not one inquiry...

From Hard Times to Worse ...: The president and property manager got fed up and quite effective immediately. I was not entirely surprised. People can only take so much blow-back and having been in that position a number of years ago, I knew what she was going through. During her "kick-ass" period, she single handily turned Los Jardines around. Vito and I came on board and assisted her. Now we are left to fill the void in the short term and determine the future in the longer term. Not what either of us wanted nor signed on for nor want to spend our time doing this. We will work ourselves out of the role as fast as we can. We have a number of interviews set up for next week (none of the candidates are ideal but we will see if we can make one of them work...). Pam will remain on as the defacto president until such time as we can replace her... she will be available for the government / banking representations needed of the position but will no longer be on the front line of abuse. That role will probably fall to Vito and I and more to me since I am full time at Los Jardines and Vito only part time...

"La Trinidad" Foreclosure: I think I have a new buyer and I fully expect to close next week. It is not as good a deal as I thought I had but one which I can accept because it off loads a problem I don't want nor need... I know the purchaser and believe I will not have problems with the VTB mortgage.

Now, if the above wasn't enough to fill my week, there was also the following:

Hacienda (Revenue CR) call: Again I received a call re. my non registration for ???? It could be since I haven't registered for many of the new requirements... but I was busy at the time and put the call off to later. I discussed this with a Tico I was dealing with, and he advised to be careful, it may be a scam... and I remembered several in the past so...when the buy phoned back, I said I wanted an appointment, he threatened a fine I said, bring it on, but I want an appointment, he then finished the conversdation with "F...Y...!" so for sure, it was a scam.

Scotiabank call: Around 7 pm Wednesday evening, I received a call from the CC Fraud department (so the caller said) asking if I had made a C303,000 purchase... I had not. I denied it, he said my card / account has been compromised and that he would freeze the account immidiately and that first thing next morning, I was to go to my branch and order a new card. I did go, the account was fine, still open and operating, and there was no appearance of a C303,000 charge... what gives????? Who knows?

Liability Insurance: We did get a quote, finally, but it came with no explanation and only one option... wow... we'll have to follow it up and flesh it out... amazing in my mind, but at least we did get a quote... through all this, we can see just how unimportant this insurance is... unlike N. Am. This does not surprise me but we have to do it for the newbies who have not yet become accostomed to CR.

Wine Club: I am hosting it this month. I am using the same restaurant as last year which did a great job. Hope it happens again. Just another activity to do in my "retirement"...

Birthday Party in Style: A member of the "old farts" Tuesday ground had his 81st birthday and invited us and our wives... It was done in style.. wonderful food, fantastic steaks and being Kiwi, he had racks of lamb for all who wanted... wine and beer flowed freely. A very nice event.

INS Suit: They had until yesterday to file an appeal of the award. While I have not hear definitively if they did, I fully expect so based on those cases more advanced than mine. My lawyers will review, respond and we wait for a review... a year or so... AND we will file a civil suit immediately the purpose of which is to enforce the award... the two will go in parallel.

Moto-Car Accident: While out sourcing materials for Los Jardines, I saw a motor cycle plow into a car which had advanced to turn left. The bike's tire embedded in the car's wheel well as the moto guy flew over the hood and onto the pavement. It so happened that a cop was ahead of me and behind the car plowed into... The driver was battered and bruised -beyond that I don't know... (see article 1 below)

Europe We leave for Spain - Portugal in less than a month. A lot to do in the interim. And this is another reason to push for a Los Jardines resolution ASAP...

News Items of the Week


1. Traffic Accidents: It was reported (not in this article) that CR has one of the worst accident rates per 100,000 vehicles in the world... I believe it. And motor cyclists represent about 1/2 of the deaths.

2 / 3 / 4. Strikes and Protests: While these didn't really affect us the do affect the overall country which is in disarray.

I did go to replenish my CAJA medicine... most of which was not available. I bought it over the counter but had paid for it through my mandatory CAJA payments.

5. Interest Rates: They continue downward... problem is, there is not much new money to lend and not much new demand. Private lending rates are going up. We'll see what happens when the government repays the local lenders with the Eurobond proceeds.

6. Mandatory Anti Virus Injections: It is amazing that this vaccine was not available until now. And the government dealt with it expeditiously even though not all agree with the mandate... but there may not be any practitioners to administer it...

7. WOW... now read this: With all the chaos -see 2,3,4 above, now read this... and then read #8

8. Reformist Government: We'll see... Alvarado has caved on several issues so far. We'll see

1. In Costa Rica there are 10 traffic accidents per hour

The Traffic Police reported that, until August 6th, 49,264 road accidents have occurred so far this year, which is equivalent to an average of 10 incidents per hour.

The data is part of a call for attention to drivers to redouble roadside prevention during rainy days. According to data provided by the Road Safety Council (Cosevi), 23 road deaths were reported in July. The lowest figure reported since November 2016, when 20 deaths occurred.

In the first 7 months of the year some 241 people died in road accidents. Of that amount, 117 were motorcyclists.

Given the rainy conditions reported in the early hours of this Tuesday, the authorities turned a series of tips to take into account:

-Maintain an adequate distance with the other vehicles.

-In rainy moments, reduce speed.

-Do not stop in yellow areas.

-Verify that the air conditioner and brushes are in good condition. If they are worn out, immediate replacement is recommended.

-Check the good condition of the lights.

2. More than 19 thousand appointments lost to the strike

More than 19 thousand appointments were lost this Wednesday after the demonstrations of the unions in the health sector. This was reported at about 3:00 pm by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS).

The General Medicine service was the most affected, with more than 10,000 appointments lost. In Specialized Medicine, more than 6,000 appointments were lost. And nearly 2,600 appointments for surgical procedures were also lost.

Finally, outpatient surgeries and elective surgeries were the ones that lost the least appointments in the attention of the insured.

3. This is what you need to know about Thursday’s protest

On their fourth day of strike, the employees of the health sector made the decision to take their protest to the streets. They will meet from 7:00 am in the vicinity of La Merced Park, in San José, and two hours later they will leave for the offices of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund on Second Avenue.

In the case of Siprocimeca, the call is for everyone to wear the coat that identifies them as doctors.

In hospitals, the situation will remain the same: with affectation in appointments and scheduled surgeries but with the guarantee of the attention of emergency services.

However, CCSS authorities denounced that in some hospitals the “minimum services” are not being guaranteed; for example, this Wednesday the blood bank of the Calderon Guardia Hospital was closed and on Monday only a linear accelerator operated at Hospital Mexico.

Health officials were joined by educators and students.

The representatives of the 17 unions in the sector insist that an Executive Decree be repealed in which annuities are capped.

4. ANDE summons its affiliates to a great national strike

The National Association of Educators (ANDE) called its affiliates to participate on a “great national strike” on August 8th. The demonstration will begin at 9 am, at La Merced Park, in downtown San José, heading for the Legislative Assembly.

According to the union, the strike was called for several reasons, including dual education, pensions from the National Magisterium, the right to work and even in support of the strike held by employees of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS).

In addition to this demonstration, for this Thursday the movement of unions of the CCSS that began last Monday is maintained. Students also plan to hold protests in educational centers and a concentration outside the Congress, where the Dual Education project will be voted on in the second reading.

5. Basic Rate reaches new minimum of the year, in favor of debtors

On Wednesday, the Central Bank reported that the Basic Passive Rate (TBP) reached 5.8%, a new low level in 2019 and a range that had not been seen since December last year.

The TBP is an average of the rates that financial institutions use to capture resources and pay for user savings.

This downward movement means that those who have debts in colones will see their loan installments diminished as long as they are indexed to the TBP, however, the effect would not be immediate.

Each financial institution periodically reviews the reference rates and makes the adjustment. This will impact the reduction of the Basic Rate on your credit.

On the other hand, the Effective Rate in Dollars, also decreased and now stands at 2.43%

6. Court approves the mandatory application of vaccine against Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On Thursday, the Court of Justice, in the Constitutional Chamber, ruled the vaccine for the Human Papillomavirus, was in the best interest of minors and it constituted a constitutionally legitimate purpose for the protection of public health.

In the resolution, the magistrates unanimously rejected a claim filed by a minor against the mandatory application of the HPV vaccine by the Ministry of Health.

According to the complaint, in international information sources, she discovered that the vaccine could cause severe secondary effects.

As a response, the Constitutional Court ruled that the vaccine was approved by:

- United States Food and Drug Administration.

- The Advisory Committee on Immunization and Vaccination Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States.

- The European Medicines Regulation Agency of the World Health Organization.

- The Pan American Health Organization.

Also, before the Constitutional Court's ruling, the Ministry of Health reported that "the vaccine has been scientifically evaluated and the benefits of using the vaccine far outweigh the risk."

According to ministry authorities, a minor's health conditions, such as allergies and bronchial problems, do not interfere with the application of the vaccine.

Finally, the ruling states that health institutions develop an informational campaign to explain the plan to immunize against HPV.

According to the resolution of the Constitutional Chamber, the law orders parents or guardians of 10-year-old girls to apply for the vaccine, as ordered by the Ministry of Health.

On April, Román Macaya- Hayes, president of Social Security, announced a lot of more than 35,000 vaccine doses against the papilloma-virus that causes cervical cancer, as A.M. Costa Rica reported.

The vaccination campaign contemplates applying two doses for each minor with a period of six months between both doses. The plan intends to vaccinate 35,015 girls who turn 10 this year.

Macaya-Hayes says that this vaccination campaign will reduce the mortality associated with cervical cancer. "As parents, we should be aware that cervical cancer is avoidable in a large percentage of cases and this vaccine is an instrument of protection," he said.

According to Dr. Macaya in the world, 270 million doses have already been applied in different countries, which has been strictly monitored for quality, safety, and efficacy. "We can say that it is an effective and safe vaccine and it is good news for women in Costa Rica," he said.

This vaccine was included in the basic Social Security vaccination list, so it is the parents' obligation to keep the children with the vaccines up to date, as the court said.

Most HPV infections cause no symptoms and resolve spontaneously. In some people, an HPV infection persists and results in warts or precancerous lesions. The precancerous lesions increase the risk of cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, or throat.

Nearly all cervical cancer is due to HPV with two types, HPV16 and HPV18. They account for 70 percent of cases.

Between 60 percent and 90 percent of the other cancers mentioned above are also linked to HPV.

HPV6 and HPV11 are common causes of genital warts and laryngeal papillomatosis.

7. Pluses grow faster than base salaries in CCSS and reach ¢ 541,000 million

While base salaries increased 15% above inflation between 2010 and 2018, the incentives defended by unions grew by 25%

Annuity (from 1.94% to 5.5% of base salary per year worked)

Exclusive Dedication (35%, 45% or 55% base salary)

Incentive to the Hospital Career, Administrative and Exclusive Dedication (22% of total salary)

Bonus or Additional Exclusive Dedication (17% base salary)

External Consultation Incentive (22% of total salary)

Salary Supplement to Nursing Professionals and Assistants (15% base salary)

Incentive Rural Zone (10%, 17% or 24% of base salary)

Prohibition (65% base salary)

Medical Technology Bonus (15% base salary)

Incentive of rotation (7% or 15% of basic salary)

Compensation for risk and danger (5% base salary)

Headquarters availability (5% or 20% base salary)

Housing allowance (21% of the base salary of base salary)

Ban Audit officials (65% base salary)

Computer Technician Bonus (25% base salary)

Zoning (between 5% and 18% of base salary)

Availability by displacement to Engineers (10% or 20% base salary)

Bonus radiation protection (20%, 25% or 30% base salary)

Plus salary lawyers of Legal Management (15% base salary)

The bonuses paid by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) to its 57,000 employees are growing at a much faster rate than base salaries.

Between 2010 and 2018, spending in pluses grew 25% above inflation , from ¢ 407,000 million to ¢ 541,000 million. These figures are expressed in colones of 2019.

Meanwhile, the base salary increase increased by 15.6% in the same period. It rose from ¢ 352,000 million to ¢ 433,000 million.

The growth of the bonuses is explained, in good part, because 19 of these incentives are paid as percentages of the salary, so that they increase each time the salary base rises. In addition, most are not subject to a performance evaluation.

The unions of the CCSS went on strike to demand that this condition be maintained, since the tax reform ordered the conversion of the percentage bonus payments to fixed amounts to stop the exponential increase in spending.

The growth data is contained in the Information System on Plans and Budgets of the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR). The incentive item includes percentage, nominal, school salary and bonus bonuses, among others.

8. Víctor Morales, Minister of the Presidency: 'This is a reformist government'

The new Minister of the Presidency, Víctor Morales Mora, affirms that the government will continue to promote deep reforms even if they are unpopular, due to the need to order the State. He adds, yes, that the Executive will seek to do so in an environment of "social peace."


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


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