Victoria, BC Condo Reviews : 139 Clarence Street

139 Clarence Street, Victoria, BC - Clarence House

Clarence House
139 Clarence Street
Victoria, BC


Year Built:  
1972

Storeys:
13

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This building has been reviewed 5 times.

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Clarence House at 139 Clarence Street is a 48 unit condo complex. Featuring an indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, guest suite, bike storage and a gym.

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Reviews of 139 Clarence Street, Clarence House:

    Reviewer:
    Unregistered User
    Owned a unit in this building

    Reviewed on Mar 6 2015

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"Terrific Building in
James Bay"

I currently own a home in Clarence House. The past 8 years have been a struggle to get the forty plus years' old single-pane windows and siding replaced. In 2015, the final phase of renewal will be completed leaving Clarence House with a brand new envelope. The majority community had to make a Court Application to have this renewal finished and fortunately the BC Supreme Court agreed. Recent Councils have worked hard to upgrade and keep Clarence House in good repair. There is a plan for contingency contribution that will hopefully reduce the future need of levies to fund capital replacement. Clarence House is a solid concrete building built with the best of the best and it appears to be the intend of the next generation to ensure this continues. During the more difficult times batting for renewal, I looked elsewhere to buy. When I finished that search, I was only more convinced I was living in the right building and the battle for renewal was worth it. Clarence House has gorgeous, spacious suites that feel like a home, not a condo. The community is friendly and caring, despite the opinion of one or two individuals reviewing on this site who did not want to fix Clarence House. My hope is prospective purchasers are able to see beyond the emotion of a few individuals and come to a more balanced understanding of this building.

Unregistered User recommends this building for:
Retirees, Professionals, Young Couples

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    Reviewer:
    Tronhard
    Owned a unit in this building

    Reviewed on Feb 19 2015

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"Great building with
Remediation in the works"

There has been a lot of emotional talk about this building. When we looked to buy into it our real estate agent was very efficient at getting the facts and we examined the material she provided. We knew what we were getting into when we bought and we are very happy with where the building is going - and we live there still. I recommend bypassing all the emotional rhetoric, doing your own due diligence and coming to your own conclusions.

Tronhard recommends this building for:
Retirees, Families, Professionals, First Time Buyers, Young Couples

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    Reviewer:
    Unregistered User
    Owned a unit in this building

    Reviewed on Dec 30 2014

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"Avoid old buildings"

The BC government has ended condo loans and they were only for leaky condos. Older buildings are now all facing many expensive repairs because strata councils avoided raising condo fees and the law did not require large contingency funds. All these factors combine to make buying in a building such as this an exercise only for people flush with a lot of money. Over time, if many people with a lot of money buy in, it could be upgraded to compete with the newer buildings now underway or built in Victoria. Or they could just buy into newer, nicer buildings which don't need a ton of work. Right now, it's a money pit. If you are a regular person with a regular income, stay far away. The roof deck has been removed - no plans to replace it. The building has nice views but so do other buildings in Victoria. Suites are large - fine if you like housekeeping. The finishes are old; the building out of date.

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unregistered user on February 19 2015:
It is unfortunate that this individual, who is most likely a disgruntled resident who resented being told by the court that they should contribute to the required remediation of the building should offer such negative comment. Frankly these comments are biased, inaccurate and shoot the author and other owners in the foot by speading malicious propoganda. To consider the context of the writer's remarks, Clarence House has suffered because of the need to complete its remediation plan. The majority of owners wanted to invest to make sure the building is safe, secure and holds to the original intent of having a superior quality building. While half of the work was completed, those opposed were prepared to degrade the building to avoid making an investment for completion of the remediation plan, and in many cases were, I suspect, ill-advised by one or two people who had their own agendas. The group stonewalled work, reducing the values of apartments over time. Finally the majority of owners sought a court ruling and won a resounding legal victory to have the necessary repairs completed. Contributions to have this work done will be made by March 2nd, so potential owners can now face a future in the building with much more confidence and the expecation that values will rise with the completion of remediation. In fact this is a good time to buy as one can expect an appreciation of values in the future (as advised by realtors in their submissions). The building has a healthy contingency fund and such work as roof decking will be dealt with in due course once the major works have been completed. I believe Clarence House is an excellent building and a great place for people to live for several reasons: 1. It's location in James Bay is barely 200m from the community centre. With immediate access to public transport and barely 15min walk into the central harbour. It is in very close proximity to the coast and one can be on the coastal walkways with about 4 minutes' walk. It is in a gracious and very quiet neighbourhood - the main noise I hear in the summer is the clip-clop of the tourist carriages. 2. Vancouver Island sits very close to a major tectonic plate, and according to geoscientists is overdue for a level 9 movement similar to that which occurred in Japan. I would refer readers to look a the two documentaries aired on the Knowledge Network for further information. When we purchased this was a major consideration in choosing Clarence House as the building is of reinforced concrete construction. Many such buildings will be at risk because their foundations are limited to provide car parking. This is not the case with Clarence House - parking is discretely and securely kept in covered bays around the perimeter of the lot. It is of sufficient elevation to offer protection from a potential tsunami, another important consideration, and it is on good solid ground. 3. The apartment sizes are large - around 130sqm (1300sqft) - which by any standard is generous. While the individual may find this too irksom to clean, most people would be happy with the spacious, well-lit interiors, which will all have large double-glazed windows after remediation is completed. I suggest this comment speaks more to the writer's attitude than the apartment itself. Any decent realtor will do their due diligence and should come to the same conclusions as I have outlined: namely that the buidling is sound, will be improved and will offer a great investment for those wanting a quality home in a quality building, in one of the best suburbs in Victoria.

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    Reviewer:
    Unregistered User
    Visited a unit in this building

    Reviewed on May 21 2012

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"Clarence House at 139
Clarence Street"

I have been consistently involved with this building for over 5 years and know the building and tenants well. Clarence House has invested in extensive building envelope upgrading over the last few years, plus the original construction and building materials are of high quality. The parking lot is secured, and the building has a nice small indoor pool. Units are roomy, bright and comfortable, the views are outstanding. With only 4 units per floor, owners know each other well and have built a strong sense of community. I think this is a fantastic building for its spacious units, expansive views, friendly, helpful neighbours and quiet location in James Bay.

Unregistered User recommends this building for:
Retirees, Professionals

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    Reviewer:
    Unregistered User
    Visited a unit in this building

    Reviewed on Apr 6 2012

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"Clarence House - 139
Clarence Street"

The majority of the owners of this building are elderly long-term residents who have resisted spending any money on maintenance of the building. The building has declined in recent years, due to its age (40 years). Since there is little cash in the reserve funds, owners will be facing large expenses to bring the building up to standard. Don't purchase in this building unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money to upgrade the building's infrastructure. It is a shame that this building has been left to decline, as it is solidly built but it has not been appropriately maintained over the years.

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Comment on this Review:
unregistered user on May 14 2012:
How do you know this is true
unregistered user on May 14 2012:
Please check the facts and reprint
unregistered user on February 28 2014:
I know this to be true as I purchased a unit there. Upon reading the minutes and no mention of water ingress or any problems I made the offer only later to find out that the water ingress problems existed for multitude of years and council refused to indicate any problems in the minutes ~ as it may deter purchasers!! Yes some of the building has been remediated however not the entire building! why? As for the past 30++ years the owners have chosen not to approve any major maintenance costs or it seems admit there is a problem. Residents have lived in pools of water, mold, frozen windows in the winter with the melting ice (water) soaking the windowsills. So many things need to be upgraded in this building ~ what a shame the senior, original long term owners choose to let it go. It could have been a beautiful, cozy building. Don't go for the recent minutes ~ look back carefully. And what next the elevators?? Half a million ?? to replace
unregistered user on June 21 2014:
Most of the really elderly people are now gone. Although such incidents have happened, this is an exaggerated version of real events. A project to refurbish the cladding is in process. Everyone is aware that this has to happen; differences are simply in the timing of the project.
unregistered user on June 28 2014:
One half of the building has finally been done. It took years of Engineering reports stating the need for remediation before the threat of legal action finally got the worste of the problem fixed. Instead of this portion of remediation costing $8,000 by the time residents finally approved this portion it was $17,000!, how sensible was delaying the repair?? Now finishing the other half (basically the 01 and 04 suites) is in the hands of the courts. The nayers want more money to go towards more patching and the majority want it remediated now allowing this 50% of the residents to enjoy damp, mould free unit and ice / condensed free windows. They should enjoy the same comforts as the other units. Yes, the depreciation report states remediation " by 2018!!!" Not in however BY. However it also states it recommends yearly inspection by a professional envelope firm. What will this cost? Would it not be better to put these funds towards the remediation which would also lower the heating costs ~ another saving for everyone. Mind you if you want a great deal the units are selling well well below assessed value and consider requesting the expected $36,000 remediation cost in your offer! Mind you should the nayers win in court and the remediation is delayed will the $36k be $36k or if the economy picks up it could easily be significantly much higher!! Oh! Don't forget to be prepared for higher monthly maintenance fees to accommodate all those repairs that were neglected over the years. What a shame this was allowed to happen
unregistered user on July 23 2014:
The comments made here are generally accurate. There is no "exaggeration" of real events and there are plenty of elderly residents who continue to resist spending any money on maintenance. Two walls were repaired and now the same people are attempting to stall remediation of the other two walls. The decision is now left in the hands of the courts. Is it any wonder that units are so undervalued in this building and that most will not sell at any price? No one wants to tolerate the inconvenience of building wall repairs, but, after 42 years, it's about time that some updates were made to the exterior of the building.
unregistered user on December 18 2014:
And the Supreme Court responded with a positive outcome to have the remainder of the building remediated! Time for all owners to have the same benefits. Unfortunately not all the nayers are old and as new residents move in the nayers try and get them on their camp. Check more than 2 years of minutes, ask for maintenance reports over the last 10 years and you will find that CC the then president cancelled an approved motion to have the parking lighting repairs ~ save the money!! Fortunately the City of Victoria Electrical Inspector was called in and found the lighting to be very dangerous. He ordered a work order to repair or would take the next step. This is how the nayers took care of the building NADA. The depreciation report shows many items past their life expectancy and many more in need of updating over the next few years. Will these repairs have to end up in court also? It is time for the residents to stick together, accept repairs are necessary, do them and make CH again the building it should be. Steel and concrete, beautiful views, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
unregistered user on December 30 2014:
The above is a pack of lies. Careful analysis of the facts and documents show that this building has not at all suffered years of leaks other than on the recently remediated East side. In fact, the engineers' report of just three years ago stated that the building balances water with drying remarkably well. This is not a tightly knit community. This place is run by a bully as president with a bunch of wealthy people pushing through a repair that the engineers said was not necessary now even despite the pleas of elderly ladies with pensions who requested more time to put together the funds for a second assessment just a year after the first. A council member said to these ladies 'if you can't afford the repair, maybe you shouldn't live here'. There's your 'close community'. It is a total lie that 'elderly users resist spending money on maintenance'. The depreciation report stated that the building's West wall did not need work for another four years, yet the Council pushed it through. That shows that no buyer can take any comfort that a Depreciation report will ensure that they won't be hit with unexpected bills shortly after buying. This means that lenders cannot be sure that your condo will be secured financially, since you may be obligated to attach a new debt despite what the depreciation report shows. This current council is concealing the true facts of upcoming legal bills and refuses to put truthful statements in minutes. In fact, the council is comprised of several people who are eager to sell and are only trying to push through unneeded repairs in the mistaken impression that this will up their property values when in fact, after spending $60,000 over two years in repairs, the will never recover the expense. Whatever you do, do not buy here. I rue the day I did. It is a nightmare. A previous council who tried to push through unnecessary repairs was found to have spent almost $20000 without approval and was removed from office. There will be another huge bill from this council.
unregistered user on December 30 2014:
Not to mention that the depreciation report identifies many other needed repairs in the coming years. Do not buy into an old condo. Do not buy into this condo. Get an inspection and buy into a new condo, preferably one with a lot of people in case of assessments, but one which has put aside plenty of money in the contingency fund for repairs and which has amenities which are not all breaking down. You get no return on your investment in an old building; no tax breaks, nothing but a huge hole in your finances for paying tens of thousands of dollars to repair a building you may only live in for a few years. BC does not regulate councils or management companies enough. Better yet, rent a condo in a building for a few years; if you find the building to your liking, then buy but don't just jump in.
unregistered user on December 30 2014:
Such lies as I read the above. Mold? There was a thin line of mold on one woman's windowsill. There's your mold crisis. If she cleaned the dirt off her windowsill, then mold spores from outside couldn't land and grow but it was a line maybe a quarter inch wide and a foot or two long - hardly a 'mould issue'! The water they talk about is condensation - a problem every old building has. Again, documents filed with the court disprove all their claims of water ingress and mould. You do not want to live with these people or in a building run by them. By the way, I recognize the writing - it's council members who want to repair the building and then sell that are writing the above in hopes of painting themselves as the good guys and those who are trying to be sensible about expenditures as 'naysayers'. Do NOT be fooled.
unregistered user on December 30 2014:
Finally, I was told this condo had a bad reputation for awful councils before I bought. I'm an idiot - I should have listened. If someone tells you to avoid buying a condo in a particular building, listen and run.
unregistered user on January 15 2015:
And now the people who won the lawsuit are harassing the people who opposed the suit. If you want to live with horrid people, buy here.
unregistered user on February 19 2015:
It is disheartening to read the above review dated December 30, 2014. My husband and I have lived at Clarence House for many years and saddened that one person can taint a whole community so viciously. This IS a tight knit community and we enjoy amazing friendships made since moving here. Clarence House is like a family. Families sometimes have disagreements, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a family. Clarence House Strata Councils of recent years have worked hard to make Clarence House a good place to live for all residents. They have addressed years of neglect and were proactive in ensuring ALL residents live in dry, safe, warm environment by making an application to the BC Supreme Court to renew the remaining 50% of the building in 2015. Anyone who wishes the truth would be best to read Honourable Madam Justice Fitzpatrick’s Reasons for Judgment. Clarence House is a solid concrete building. Full renewal was identified in 2007. It has taken 7 years to finally complete this building. The majority of residents are grateful for those individuals who worked so hard on behalf of all the community, including the individuals who didn’t want Clarence House fixed. The anger being expressed by one individual who did not like the outcome does not negate the facts that Clarence House is indeed a wonderful community, great place to live and good investment.
unregistered user on February 21 2015:
This link to read the Judge's Reasons is below: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/15/00/2015BCSC0013.htm
unregistered user on February 26 2015:
The comments made on Dec 30, 2014 show a complete lack of the understanding of the Strata Property Act, which compels the owners of a building to provide maintenance and repairs to a building for the benefit of all residents equally. Since two walls had been repaired prior, it is reasonable to expect that the other two walls would be similarly repaired in a timely manner. And the residents on the unrepaired sides should not have to wait another 5 years for that to happen. And, since 42 years have passed since the building was built, it is reasonable to expect that those walls and windows would be updated on the unrepaired sides. The judge agreed entirely, granting the court order to proceed with those repairs, especially since over 60% of the owners approved the repairs, a clear majority in the democratic process. The writer of Dec 30, 2014 fails also to realize that home ownership comes with its expenses and this is one of those expenses. None of us are pleased that we need to come up with major $$$ to fund the repairs, but that is what home ownership is all about. And to continue to write such degrading reviews about Clarence House serves no useful purpose and only lowers property values. It is too bad that this writer did not "win" the court case; indeed the writers' actions served only to increase the legal costs and angst amongst owners. Please let go of the bad feelings and get on with the job at hand, that of repairing the two walls.
unregistered user on March 4 2015:
Clarence House is a "family" and a "tight-knit community"?? Usually only extremely dysfunctional families end up in court over repairs to the family home. The problems in CH originate from one man, the long-term bully who inherited his suite and who, for years, has refused to spend any money on repairs, unless those repairs benefit him directly. Building suffers; residents suffer; all held under the thumb of LTB. Why doesn't LTB move out, leaving the rest of the "family" in peace so that repairs can be completed without his disruptions?
unregistered user on February 18 2018:
Can someone please comment on whether LTB is still in the building? Also what repairs have been completed over the past two years and what repairs are planned for the next few years?

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