Back to House Arrest

ISSUE #823: August 2-8, 2020


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

12-2 at Paradisus $1,400 mo.
this one has white living room furniture

Market activity
sales & rentals

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


Paradisus: 12-2 at Paradisus $1,400 mo. (white living room furniture)

Los Jardines: Available immediately: #106C $900 mo. / #121 $1,300 mo. / #125 $825 mo.

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 $ 115,000 / See Unit

Unit #106C: $900 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit
Unit #121: $1,300 mo. / Available immediately / See Unit
Unit #125: $875 $825 mo. / 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
$125,000 $ 115,000

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
$900 mo.
Available immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1250
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Floor
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 #121
$1,300 mo.
Available immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1432
Total area (Sq M): 131
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 Story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This is a detached, two story, two bedroom, 2 1/2 bathroom house. It is nicely furnished as the prictues indicate. Ground floor consists of den/TV room, dining room, living room, kitchen, and 1/2 bathroom. Second floor: master bedroom with full bathroom including a jacuzzi, 2nd bedroom with ensuite bathroom, terrace.

UNIT #125
$ 875 $825 mo.
Available immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 60
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2nd Floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 662 sf, (62M2)+ 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

What Happened This Week

Weather: We have had one good soaking rain but basically quite dry... hopefully, we will return to the rainy season's normal weather pattern.


1. Back to "House Arrest": This week, we return to stick lock down. Driving is only allowed one day a week depending on license plate. And destinations basically only include grocery stores, hospitals/clinics, pharamcies, banks. Taxis and food deliveries can operate, as well as building supplies can be delivered. Gawd help you if your frig or rice cooker dies... We have laid in supplies which we hope will last us thru the week barring any major / unusual breakdowns. It will be a quite week, little traffic, and I will have an excuse to hammock...

2. Slippery walkway tile: This job is done. In retrospect, I find it amazing that the simplest and least expensive as well as maintainable, albeit not very elegant, solution escaped us / me for so long. What we ended up doing will work, doesn't look that bad, and was cost effective.

3. Rain Water Diversion Project: For some time, we have not dealt with this problem. At times, we have had to drain water onto neighboring properties. Now that those properties are being developed, we can no longer do that. After lots of thinking / discussion, Jonas put the design and the component pats together before he left. This week we got it assembled. We have to wiat to see if it works.

3. Foreclosure / INS suit: We wait.

4. Wire Transfer: Finally done... life is more and more complex.

5. Scotiabank Information Demand: I have been pushing to present the info which was demanded by July 14... well that didn't happend as they closed down... but getting some one to accept it, has been difficult. Finally, I was directed to give it to an assistant... I did... it was not the correct information... I dont know if it was me or ??? but I feel like I am the mole in "Wack-a-Mole"... I have gone back and asked for very specific description of what is needed... I wait...

Comment: Over a rum and tonic, I reviewed the chronic projects / problems I have solved over the past 18 mo...

  1. Found a new, competent accountant;
  2. resolved the slippery walkway tiles;
  3. painted the faux rock, retiled the apron around the main pool and fixed numerious associated issues;
  4. fixed the internet such that it is reliable and fast;
  5. installed an irrigation system which left the garden in the best condition at the end of the dry season;
  6. hired and trained a new gardener and sorted out responsibilities;
  7. advanced the building rehab project and focus attention on what needed to be done;
  8. found, trained and then lost a replacement for me -darn;
  9. returned the garden to almost what it should be;
  10. and now, there is one more (final) project -fixing the security camera system such that it works.

This is not my favorite project because I do not believe it will ever solve anything mysteries but others think it important... regardless, I am working on it now... It will be fixed and then... NO MORE chronic issues...

I have driven most of these projects but I have had a good team in Vito and Daisy, owner and office manager... We do not always agree -but if we always agreed why do we need each other ?? -but we are able to work together and together advance Doneste... which is the objective... When I look at the administrations we had before this team took over, I become more and more enraged... and am really glad I have been able to right this wayword ship and have a supportive, compent team of assoiciates... we have money in the bank (thanks to Vito), we have a organized office with current and accurate accounting, and virtually all the chronic as well as current items have been accomplised. We are in good shape...

News Items of the Week


1 / 3 / 4. Unemployment at 24%: What more can be said... the unemployed are not going to go to the campo and harvest coffee or pineapples... and remember, there is no effective unemployment benefits or supplements like in North America... there may well be significant issues here... we haven't yet seen them but starving, desperate people will do what they have to to survive.

2. Pending Changes: We will see... right now, confusion

1. Costa Rica’s Unemployment Rate Spirals out of Control With Historic High

There are currently 551,373 Costa Ricans without work: 282,000 men and 269,000 women. These are the latest figures from the National Statistics and Census Bureau (INEC), and indicate that the country has reached a 24% unemployment rate, the highest in the most recent years of Costa Rica’s history.

These figures represent an increase of 256,000 more unemployed people from the previous year, and indicate a dramatic increase, especially for women. It is predicted that the unemployment figures may even continue to rise further.

The COVID-19 crisis has of course exacerbated the unemployment situation, with its impact being most strongly felt in certain sectors. According to INEC, “The sectors that during this trimester registered the strongest impact on unemployment due to the pandemic were: businesses related to repairs, transportation, food service, hotels, restaurants, personal services, construction, and smaller businesses related to these industries.”

Women were more strongly impacted, with a 6.2% decrease in employment, as compared with a 4.6% decrease for men. Those working less than 40 hours a week were also affected, with their unemployment rates increasing by 20%. This includes those under-employed or currently seeking employment.Independent workers and those self-employed are also being impacted economically. Of those working in their own business, 13.4% have been forced to close or dramatically reduce hours due to COVID restrictions.

Many industries have managed to pivot and adapt to the new situation, with an increase in sales on the internet of 6.2%, an increase in in-home services of 28.3%, and a growth in special deals and home deliveries of 11.4%. Yet over 500,000 workers remain unemployed, an increase from 2019 of 12% to 24% in 2020.

The Costa Rican government is encouraging those without work to avail themselves of opportunities in the agricultural arena, harvesting crops, particularly coffee, pineapple, sugarcane, watermelon, oranges, and potatoes. These are jobs often taken by Nicaraguans, who are increasingly being prohibited from working in Costa Rica due to lax mitigation of COVID-19 in their country. The government predicts that crops may end up rotting in the fields, and remind workers that there are some 77,000 jobs available in agriculture currently.

The Minister of Labor and Social Security, Geannina Dinarte, explained, “Due to the COVID crisis, there are labor opportunities which people should now explore. Both the agricultural and tech fields are hiring. There are 77,000 jobs available for harvesting crops.” She went on to point out that the high unemployment numbers were a direct result of the economic contraction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging businesses worldwide.

Knowing that workers everywhere are suffering due to the coronavirus is not much of a comfort to Ticos struggling to pay rent, electric and put food on their family’s table during these difficult times.

2. Government agrees to change restrictions

After meeting Thursday with mayors and private-sector representatives, the central government has agreed to adjust the mid-August coronavirus measures.

Among the expected changes are a standardization of the national vehicular restrictions and permission for some businesses to remain open in Orange Alert areas during the upcoming “Closed Phase.”

More information will be announced “in due time,” Casa Presidencial said. The Tico Times will share those details when they’re revealed.

Under the current plan, Costa Rica will enter a “Closed Phase” from August 10-21. During that period, there will be strict driving bans and business restrictions in Orange Alert cantons, which comprise much of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM).

Any changes to the August measures will consider “availability of beds in Intensive Care Units, infection rate, projections of the spread of the disease and saturation of health services,” Casa Presidencial said.

3. Alvarado responds to unemployment rate

President Carlos Alvarado responded on Thursday to Costa Rica’s record-setting unemployment rate.

“The unemployment data Costa Rica announced today hurt us,” he said. “They are the harsh result of the pandemic that has hit the global economy, generating historical unemployment figures in many countries.”

Alvarado and Planning Minister Pilar Garrido announced the following economic measures:

  • Ministers and executive presidents will take a 15% pay cut. A bill in the Legislative Assembly would apply that same pay cut to all public-sector workers with monthly salaries greater than â‚¡1,500,000 (about $2,500).
  • A “guarantee fund” of â‚¡175 billion will support 18,000 companies “so that they can develop productive activities and generate employment.”
  • Up to 30,000 jobs in the tourism sector will be protected via a fund managed by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT).
  • Some 200,000 more “Bonos Proteger,” an emergency financial relief stipend for individuals, will be approved. (Click here to apply.)
  • The government will continue pushing public-infrastructure investments, simplify trámites for small businesses, and support tourism investment for coastal communities.

“We must assume this enormous challenge facing Costa Rica and the world together,” Alvarado said. “We will continue to work hard to protect people’s health and jobs.”

4. Unemployment in Costa Rica reaches 24%, the highest in its history

Unemployment in Costa Rica reached 24% in the April-June quarter, the highest on record, as the country continues to suffer the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Thursday’s report from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), the unemployment figure reflects an increase of 12.1 percentage points compared to the second quarter of 2019, when the lack of jobs was already a government priority.

“In absolute terms, the unemployed population reached 551,000 people, an increase of 256,000 people compared to the second quarter of 2019,” INEC said.

The data indicate the economic crisis is especially affecting women. Unemployment is 30.4% among women, compared to 20% for men.

“For women, there is a higher level of unemployment, although in both sexes, the unemployment rate has doubled with respect to what was observed in the same period of the previous year,” the report reads.


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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