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COLCO Frequently Asked Questions

Ron recently wrote to COLCO - "I'm in the process of buying a condo and I would appreciate any information you can give me. A list of leaky condos would be a good start. I would also appreciate a checklist of things to look for when viewing a condo and any other information you might have that would help me make an informed decision." 

COLCO responds: 

  1. If you want a guarantee, don't buy a condo. Doing all of the items listed below will not guarantee a problem free experience. If you feel this is too much to ask the consumer to undertake prior to buying a home, call your provincial and federal government and demand a compensation package for owners of 'leaky homes' so that you might be willing to buy a home in British Columbia some day.

  3. Help others make informed decisions - if you discover information about leaky condos, report it to COLCO. 

  5. Use our Questionnaire and/or Send copies of Strata Council Minutes and Engineering Reports to COLCO. (PO Box 16041  New Westminster, BC V3M 6W6). 

  7. Help COLCO help others to make informed decisions, send a $20 donation to: 

  8. COLCO Treasurer PO Box 16041  New Westminster, BC V3M 6W6 
    Maintaining this web site and keeping the Leaky Rotten Condo List updated is not cheap.
    If we helped you, help us! 
  9. If you are going to buy a condo, ask for all of the Strata Council Meeting minutes, going back to the beginning of the Strata. 

  11. Ask for the handwritten notes from the property manager (or recording secretary) for all Strata meetings. 

  13. In our opinion, a responsible and proactive Strata Council will have hired a properly qualified professional engineer to conduct a building envelope survey. 

  15. Get a consulting engineer (a properly qualified P. Eng. with building envelope training and experience) to inspect the building envelope survey. Ask the consulting engineer to comment in writing as to the reliability of any survey conducted.  Make sure all engineers involved in any surveys and reviews have errors and omissions insurance for building envelope failure. 

  17. Get an independent building inspector to inspect the entire building. Read this correspondence about the cozy relationship that exists between many real estate agents and building inspectors. 

  19. If they claim that they are only doing "minor repairs", run away. From our experience, "minor repairs"  inevitably turn into major levies. 

  21. Ask for the expense books and look for large payments to construction and repair firms. 

  23. Talk to everyone in the Strata if it isn't too big. If it's large, talk to a wide range of people from different parts of the building. 

  25. Don't take the word of the Real Estate agent at face value. Have them put all promises, claims, and assertions in writing. 

  27. Get everything in writing and have a lawyer review all claims and documents.  Hire a lawyer familiar with leaky condo issues. 

  29. If anyone claims that there are no leaks in the Strata, get it in writing. Don't let them phrase it "we know of no leaks in the Strata". 

  31. Avoid buildings where the developer still has or has had any significant influence over the Strata Council at any time. 

  33. Contact the Homeowners Protection Office about any Warranty claims. Ask if the building permit was issued after July 1, 1999.  Buildings built with permits issued after this date fall under the Homeowners Protection Act. Buildings built with permits issued before July 1, 1999 do not fall under the act and any warranties offered are voluntary and may not be similar to HPA requirements.  One of the firms offering Warranties on homes in BC termed the differences like "comparing a Volkswagen to a Mercedes".

  35. Obtain and read the HPO's Buying A New Home: A Consumer Protection Guide

  37. Consider what this book has to offer 
This document was compiled with input from leaky condo owners, all of whom relied on the promises of the developers, contractors, real estate agents, and the other organizations and people responsible for the leaky rotten condo disaster.

Updated Feb 10, 2001
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