Saturday, October 12, 2019

B.C. senior fears massive condo levy could force her out of her home


Published Friday, October 11, 2019 6:35PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, October 11, 2019 7:40PM PDT


ABBOTSFORD - A Fraser valley senior facing an enormous condo levy fears she could be forced from her home if she can’t come up with the money.

86-year-old Mabel Olscamp has been living at Dogwood Manor in central Abbotsford for 26 years.

In June, the building’s strata council voted to move ahead with a $1.4-million project to repair the buildings balconies and replace windows and siding.

The cost was divided amongst the 33 units and Olscamp learned her share was more than $44,000 – due by September 30.

"I can't get that money because I already took out a loan against my mortgage and I don't have the income,” she said. “I'm a senior, 86-years-old, and I don't have that kind of money to meet that commitment because the payments would be sky high."

The deadline came and went and that’s when Olscamp approached her bank and staff there helped her come up with a plan to make payments over a period of time.

"They're hesitating,” she said of the strata council. “It appears that they don't want to accept this proposal."

Ken Billingham, vice president of the council, told CTV News Olscamp’s proposal lacked specific dates for payments and that’s why it hasn’t been accepted.

"A demand letter has gone out to the owners that are in default and subsequently one of the options open to the strata is to put a lien on the property,” said Billingham.

The executive director of the Condo Homeowners Association of BC says this situation is a good reminder for stratas to make sure they have healthy contingency funds.

"If you had been saving the money, maintaining your buildings and doing the work all along, you wouldn't be facing a special levy today,” he said during a Skype interview from Ottawa. “You'd have money in the bank, your buildings would be in better condition. No one would be in this situation."

Olscamp fears she’ll be forced to sell to cover the bill – and doesn’t know where she will go if that happens.

"I don't have that kind of money. I'm going to be put out of my place,” she said. “They're going to place a lien, sell my place, and recover the money.”

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