Houseguests for the winter
I'm one of the last original owners of an Eva Lake unit, which was one of the first employee-housing projects built in 1988.
For me it has been a blessing and a curse. I got into the real estate game early at the age of 22. Compared to now it was a good deal but it was still my life's savings at the time. It housed me in my ski bum days, it is where I started my family and it provided reasonably priced accommodation for dozens of tenants both good and bad.
The recent fire has unfortunately left many people homeless. The word is that the permits and repairs won't be complete before the snow flies and the building may remain tarped and vacant till spring.
I wonder if things would take that long for a municipal building?
Luckily Whistler is known for being generous in times of need and apparently there has been support for those left homeless. In fact my tenants will be staying with me as guests till this fiasco is over.
Unfortunately there is no consideration or safety net for owners. I am not looking for sympathy, as I am fortunate to be mortgage free, but I feel sorry for those who aren't. We will still be required to pay taxes and strata fees, which will probably increase due to insurance deductibles, and a raise in premiums.
I doubt many tenants or even owners had insurance. I didn't. I couldn't see the value in it since it was unfurnished. It's easy for others to say we should be insured, but I feel insurance is often a scam. They usually find loopholes or excuses not to pay and are quick to raise premiums and deductibles if you do.
I haven't done the math but I suspect 25 years of premiums would surpass my loss of rental income.
If you're a long-time local you may recall my rants over the settling foundation fiasco about 10 years ago. This situation cost us millions of dollars in engineering fees, administration lawyers and remediation. We settled out of court, which basically recouped our legal fees. Only two buildings were fixed — the third less severe was left to continue settling. This building was the one involved in the fire.
The fire department has been praised for doing a good job in saving the building. As a volunteer fire fighter in Birken I appreciate the training and skill involved. However, if I were the fire chief in this situation I would have happily let it burn to the ground.
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