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

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Fruitvale

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Trail Blazers: Looking at the pioneers of leadership

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

MP reflects on Okanagan-Kootenay travels

Richard Cannings is in his second term as MP for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding

Person steals sound system, Ipad from Rossland restaurant

Mook Thai Lounge staff have had to buy a new sound system at a cost of $700

Trail Orioles given the go ahead to return to limited action

Trail Orioles will host the Cranbrook Bandits in a doubleheader on Saturday at Butler Park

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

Most Read