Condo owners stuck with $2.2M repair bill

A group of Edmonton condominium owners believe better provincial regulation could have prevented them from having to pay $2.2 million to fix problems they say were caused by the developer.
Condo board member Lynn Yakoweshen said each homeowner has spent between $28,000 to $40,000 on building repairs. (CBC)

Residents of a downtown Edmonton condominium believe better provincial regulations could have prevented them from having to pay $2.2 million to fix problems they say were caused by the developer.

The owners of decade-old Rossdale Court condominiums have spent the last four years fixing problems with pedways, balconies and window seals which are related to water leakage.

"It is pretty disheartening," said Lynn Yakoweshen with the Rossdale Court Condo Association.

"I bought in this building because it's a beautiful location, it's a wonderful neighbourhood, a great sense of community ... like kind of an isolated oasis, Unfortunately if you look around it hasn't been quite the oasis that I had hoped."

The owners of the building's 69 units have each spent between $28,000 to $40,000 on repairs, Yakoweshen said. The balconies needed restoration work and the building's exterior stucco had to be completely replaced.

Rossdale Court was built in 2001. (CBC)
"All of your savings are depleted," she said. "We're very loathe to open emails because you wonder, 'what now?'"

Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman blamed the provincial government for the situation. She said building codes are insufficient and fines too low to be a deterrent. She said the current one-year warranty period doesn't help homeowners.

"Most problems turn up at the five, six-year mark and there's no protection for that," she said.

The province plans to take measures which include increasing fines for building code offences but Blakeman said the province hasn't set a timeline for when those changes will come into effect. 

The Rossdale Court condo owners say they have had no luck suing the developer. Yakoweshen said the building was built under a company name that no longer exists.

"We have no legal recourse," she said.

Blair Hallet is the developer of Rossdale Court and Glenora Gates, another condominium now under repair because of water leakage problems.

Hallet could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A staff member at Tessco, where Hallet is listed as a director, said he now lives in British Columbia.