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

Crankworx comes to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

The event normally takes place at Whistler, but has taken to the road in light of COVID-19

EDITORIAL: Improving highway safety

Highway 97 has seen plenty of collisions and accidents over the years

Sternwheelers once plied Okanagan Lake

Vessels once transported passengers and goods along the Okanagan Valley

Fires ignite on Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie; Kamloops Fire Centre blazes holding

Crews working throughout region over holiday weekend to contain wildfires

VIDEO: Vegan, gluten-free bakery moves into new space after COVID-19 closure

Jaide and Joel’s Bakery, now True North Bakehouse, is starting fresh

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Passengers escape unharmed from destructive houseboat fire in Shuswap

Cause of blaze on Mara Lake under investigation, flames erupt at 2 a.m. Aug. 4

Alberta vehicles allegedly damaged in Summerland

Lug nuts loosened, windows smashed in several instances in Okanagan community

Interior Health reports nine new cases of COVID-19, 149 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Former Kelowna resident makes fundraising goal for cancer fertility treatments

Rebecca Hamilton recieved a boost in a battle against cancer - $25,000 for post chemo treatments

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Most Read