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We knew when we bought this place that it was better than we could afford.

What costs more, $20,000 or $60,000?

Three bedrooms, two stories, multiple pets allowed, with a yard, several playgrounds and an indoor pool.

I hear there’s  even a sauna, although it’s been broken for years.

We knew there was a catch.

The reason our place was so cheap was because the place had been slowly falling down over the last 30 years. Some units (not ours) had mold. Some (not ours) had roofs caving in. The windows leak. The drains don’t drain.

In 2002, the owners were told by several different companies that the problems amounted to 2 million dollars in repairs… They voted to fix less than a quarter of the issues. When warned that the problems would snowball if ignored, they dismissed it as fear-mongering.

Estimated repair costs are now close to 6 million dollars. It would take 3 million just to get the place up to code. We knew this, coming in. It’s how we could afford it.

What we didn’t fully know, didn’t fully consider, was the sheer idiocy of human beings.

An owner has requested that the courts come in and intervene. If they do, and we don’t have a decent plan of action in place to remediate the issues, they’ll declare us a Leaky Condo, force us to cough up all 6 million immediately plus legal fees and such, or they will foreclose our homes. Today the strata council held a big meeting. We needed to make a decision. Did we want to…

  • Pay the 3 million dollars to fix the really urgent problems (leaky windows, mold, drainage problems, collapsing roofs etc) over 5 years… (about $4,000 a year per household)?
  • Or… did we want to fix all 6 million dollars worth of repairs in one big lump sum (as much as $60,000 per household)?

You’d think this would be a no-brainer.

But noooooooooooooo.

Asshats with the patience of two year olds were constantly interrupting the council’s presentation with “That’s bullshit!” and “I can’t afford $20,000!”

Oh yeah? Can you afford $60,000??

They wanted to know why THEIR unit wasn’t on the list of first year repairs, in front of the people whose units are uninhabitable.

They wanted to know why they had to pay when THEIR roof had already been fixed.

They wanted to know why the council was asking for money before the repairs were made.

They accused the council of trying to steal their money.

They wanted their units fixed now, and they wanted to know why the repairs weren’t being paid for by a magical money tree.

To be fair, there were rational people, who talked about our property values, and basic math. But mostly, in a crowd like that, you notice the morons. Like the weepy lady who said she didn’t dare vote at all because the council hadn’t made it clear whether this money would pay to fix her stairs. Or the guy who said “shut the fuck up!” to a weeping mother describing the black mold growing behind her son’s bed.

Ultimately, the question comes down to this:

What is more affordable, $20,000 spread over five years, or $60,000 at any given moment?

We needed 75% of people to answer this question correctly. There were 102 votes cast. 10 people abstained.

We needed 76 “yes” votes to pass the motion.

They counted, and recounted, and recounted, and recounted. Perfect Husband and I began to talk about declaring bankruptcy and showing up on my parents’ doorstep, because if the courts intervened, there is no way we could get a loan for a sum that large.

The votes were in. There were 77 votes in favour of not being morons.

Thank gawd only 24% of people are complete and utter idiots.

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