Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson takes questions in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 20, 2020 (Hansard TV)

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson takes questions in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 20, 2020 (Hansard TV)

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

B.C.’s housing minister says the province is doing its best to deal with an international problem, as she continues to be peppered with horror stories of huge increases in condominium insurance.

Opposition MLAs are highlighting the crisis of some strata property owners, facing double or triple rate increases, huge jumps in deductible amounts and in some cases refusal to insure at all. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson says a bill before the B.C. legislature tightens rules for depreciation reports and allows the use of reserve funds to pay skyrocketing insurance costs.

The impact of construction and maintenance issues on strata insurance was highlighted in a report June 16 by the newly established B.C. Financial Services Authority. But examples from B.C. tell a different story, of new buildings with no water or other damage claim history facing huge increases.

Langley MLA Mary Polak said she can identify “row upon row of brand-new townhomes” that are facing huge increases. “This isn’t about depreciation reports,” Polak told the legislature July 7. “It’s not about maintenance.”

One of those is the Prestwick townhouse complex in Langley, where the strata president was informed three days before the insurance came due that the premium was rising from $88,000 to $250,000. The complex is two years old and has no insurance claims, the president told the Langley Advance Times.

Robinson said the problem arose last fall and the government is moving as quickly as possible. But the COVID-19 pandemic has added enormous costs to the provincial budget, leaving few options to provide the immediate relief that opposition MLAs are calling for.

RELATED: B.C. changing rules as strata insurance costs rise

RELATED: Insurance shock for Langley townhouse owners

RELATED: Insurance up 40% province-wide, water claims cited

Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Marvin Hunt described a constituent named Diana, faced with a 280 per cent jump in premiums that forced the strata to dip into their capital reserve funds to pay for it.

“But that’s not any kind of a solution,” Hunt said. “As Diana says, ‘we can’t do that every year. We’ll run out of our funds’.”

Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong said there are thousands of property owners across the province who face the same situation, with monthly strata fees growing larger than mortgage payments. Using capital reserves to cover insurance depletes the savings accumulated to keep up with necessary maintenance like replacing roofs, de Jong said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read