23 January, 2012
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Swim coaches that the residents of the Azalea Park condominium, Singapore, have hired are being told that they need to give the condominium 10% of their revenue to continue their services at the condo’s pool.
It’s punitive because the lessons aren’t being offered to non-residents – so the act only punishes owners from the full use of their pool. It’s arbitrary because it’s based on the coaching fees, not directly the number of students or time used in the pool. And it’s onerous because the additional overhead and red tape will drive away the coaches.
All in all – a 10% fee doesn’t correlate with control of the facilities (which the condominium already has added time restrictions). Nor does it equate with a “worry of additional wear and tear” because the owners are already paying for that in their monthly contributions (its owners using the coach, not off site individuals).
I can only imagine if this idea catches on, maybe condominiums would just have a 10% surcharge to all contractor work purchased by residents. Want to renovate? 10% please.
22 December, 2011
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Living in one of the few rat free places in the world, I never fully understand the devastation rats can have on a building or a lifestyle. These little beasties can chew through sheet metal and enjoy swimming through sewer lines and popping up through your toilet!
Now, I’m more concerned over those Norwegian rats (which the Norse must curse the name, as they did not actually originate from Norway), not those small mouse sized rats which have their own condominium developments.
In New York popular lore says there are 4 rats for every human inhabitant. This myth may become something more than true since the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene cut 57 of 84 full-time pest control positions in 2010.
Most condominium and HOA bylaws specifically forbid the ownership or breeding of rats. In this case, I’m fully behind this rule. I’m normally very open for owners to have pets of all types, but rats do pose a significant infestation risk in the case where they may escape. Sorry, I have a strong bias against rats. I highly suggest rat proofing.
I have the greatest sympathy for owners in developing nations. India and Bangladesh both have significant waste and garbage infrastructure deficits. A previous blog post highlighted a condominium corporation in India that initialized its own recycling program to cut down on local unlicensed dumping.
For Suhaila Majid of Titiwangsa Sentral Condominium in Jalan Cemur, Kuala Lumpur, their back lot parking has become a community dumping ground for garbage. This has led to excessive rats invading the grounds.
Singapore residents near a nature reserve have extra visitors every day for their first floor units. The infestation has been going on since 2003, and includes home invasions as the beast go for the food.
For North American condominiums and HOAs, I would think that any long term infestation should show up on an Estoppel, and all exceptional infestations should show up on board minutes.
27 October, 2011
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Having just congratulated the Ministry of Sound for proactively participating in local redevelopment, and successfully preventing a 41 floor condominium from being built too close to their business of “being noisy”, I have a great example of the reverse.
Miss Lin Yu Yang, of the Rivergate Condominium in Robertson Quay, Singapore, is successfully getting the attention of local government officials to cut out local street drinking and early morning use. The Rivergate is located in the Robertson Quay, an extremely popular night club, hotel and restaurant area. The very famous, huge, nightclub Zouk is located there.
Having recently purchased a ~3.2 million USD condominium, Miss Lin has become distraught over the level of night life noise. It’s too much for her, and she wants the first Singapore no-alcohol zone to surround her home.
Seriously. You’re going to spend that huge amount of money on a condo, and not do your research if it is suitable for your living needs? Drive by at night?
If I had enough to buy an expensive unit like that – I would definitely require a week long residency – even if I had to rent the unit out for that week.
As Miss Lin is quoted:
If we ask them to stop, they may say: ‘You think that just because you are rich, you can tell us what to do?
Well, yeah. I think they would.
27 September, 2011
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Some trends cover the world, but the underlying reasons may be different. For example, Singapore and Toronto both are experiencing a surge in shoebox condos (500 sqf or less) but for significantly different reasons.
With Singapore, prices on condominiums are averaging $1185USD/sqf – putting the price of anything lager than shoebox well outside the financial means of most local residents.
In Toronto, price is not nearly as sensitive (running about $630USD/sqf), but tax legislation is pushing units to list at $390k or less or suffer, and one bedroom condominiums now make up almost 60% of new construction. This forces smaller shoebox units to be built in order help create consumer choice in a market that prefers one bedroom condominiums.
In both cases though – Singapore and Toronto are both seeing massive preconstruction sales to investors and foreign buyers. This is likely a strong incentive to build shoebox condominiums, as they become more “affordable investments” and require smaller capital down. If that’s the case, shoebox condominiums are creating a new form of downtown transient population – encouraging renters to populate the cores of each city.
I live in an 1150 sqf 2 bedroom condo – with wife and 2 cats. At 500 sqf, one of those would have to go! (I love you hunny!)