Plan, plan and plan some more

QUESTION: Is Stonewall Central a better name for the property?
UPDATE (click): 2012 Audited Financial Statements
UPDATE (click): 2013 Annual Meeting packet
UPDATE (click): 2013 Special Meeting packet

AUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS ANALYSIS 2009-2012 (click): A CPA analysis of SOHO Central Condominium Corporation's Audited Financial Statements

The Fantasy Vision

Does everyone remember this among the wonderful ads and brochures and how about the salespeople and what they told us. I hear such fantasies continue. So after watching and remembering, cry and then laugh at the truth that is being exposed.

And, if the above is not enough and you need elevated blood pressure, here is the project's brochure.

Many posts are still issues and need to be read once again. At this main hub of postings watch for new posts and updates. Please get involved by spreading the word as to the issues here. We must document all that is taking place. Many documents need retrieval and assistance is needed in getting them scanned and posted.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Greenfield's Twin Oaks next door

Greenfield's Twin Oaks next door

Is it true that a discount of 10% for new buyers is available but the discount denied to previous buyers?  I was told about this yesterday as I listened to the booming noise late at night to the early morning from the green field on Mayflower.  Such nice neighbors to allow such booming noise that directly hits the condominium towers.  Do they not realize what time it is?  Do they not care about those sleeping and wanting to be at rest?  Is there any concern for the Unit Owners?  Let us all think about that while we wait and travel the elevators struggling to get out of the building and upon returning to our units on either the one elevator somewhat functioning, another by appointment and the service elevator with buttons not lit.



Why mention Vietnam in this blog that is focused on Soho Central Condominium?  Posts on other condos in the Philippines and matters having to do with the Philippines in relation to the industry will continue to be posted but news about Vietnam just arrived.

For those from North America recall ads on travel and tours.  What countries are listed in all those brochures?  We used to comment how the Philippines was very seldom mentioned.  And now Vietnam always a stop in travel brochures is currently mentioned in the news.  What is the news now?

Property for sale to foreigners!

Dozens and dozens of conversations have taken place with us on what we referred to as a glut a few years ago and now talk about a bubble in the Philippine condominium industry with what we see as tears and rips with what has now been written about in the press as a burst to come soon.  Some think the burst has taken place.  No, the burst will truly be here when all those cranes stop and holes in the ground turn into mosquito pits.

And who will have brought the bubble bursting to the Philippines and all buyers?  All those building too much with too much wrong in the industry and too many unwilling to put themselves out front exposing the serious problems.

Now Vietnam opens up with real estate including houses while being a popular tourist stop.  It is such action that could burst the bubble in the Philippines.  And what will take place after the burst?  Many articles and pronouncements from the industry and political officials.  Action on fixing all the problems will always wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.  And how long am I told about how long to wait here?   What is that jest?  48 years?

Vietnam to allow foreign ownership

Vietnam, previous off-the-radar for foreign property buyers and investors, has approved legislation allowing limited ownership of property by foreigners from July 1, 2015.
The move could herald the start of more foreign ownership law changes throughout the region ahead of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC 2015) which comes into force in one-year from now.
The Vietnamese government’s aim is to inject action in what has been a broadly stagnant real estate sector whilst boosting economic growth at the same time.
The law will allow foreigners with a valid visa, as well as foreign companies and international organisations operating in Vietnam, to own houses and apartments. Previously, only foreigners married to Vietnamese nationals and those making contributions to the country were allowed to purchase property.
Foreigners will be allowed to own a maximum of 30 percent in any apartment building, or 250 houses per ward in the country. This 30 percent rule appears similar to Thailand where foreigners are permitted to own up to 49 percent of the space in any condominium in their own name.
On November 25, the Vietnam’s National Assembly passed the long-awaited amended Housing Law that addresses a number of issues including regulations on foreign ownership of properties in Vietnam, replacing the pilot scheme that expired in December 2013.
The new law, to take effect from July 1, 2015, removes many of the previous restrictions on foreign individual buyers.
CBRE Vietnam noted that all foreigners granted a visa to Vietnam will be allowed to buy residential properties. All foreign investment funds, banks, Vietnamese branches and representative offices of overseas companies are also eligible to buy.
Purchases of all types of residential property, including condominiums and landed property such as villa and townhouses, can be purchased.
CBRE confirmed there is no limit on the number of dwelling units a foreigner can buy, but the total number of dwelling units owned by foreigners must not exceed 30 percemt of the total units in one condominium complex, or not exceed 250 landed property units in one particular administrative (or the equivalent of) ward. Previously an eligible foreigner could buy only one condominium in Vietnam.
Properties owned by foreigners can be sub-leased, traded, inherited and collateralised, where previously the owner could only use the property occupying purposes.
CBRE Vietnam also confirmed the tenure allowed to foreign individuals buying homes is a 50-year leasehold with renewal possibility upon expiration. Foreign individuals married to Vietnamese citizens are entitled to freehold tenure.
CBRE Vietnam said: “The relaxation of foreign ownership restrictions is more significant than previously anticipated, and marks a strong step towards opening up the Vietnam real estate market to overseas investment.
“There are only two major restrictions imposed on foreigners, including a leasehold tenure of 50-years and a cap on the total number of units owned collectively by foreigners in one single condominium project or one administrative (or the equivalent of) ward.
“In addition, there is also no cap on the sizes of dwelling units or number of units a foreigner can buy, or additional tax.
“This recently passed Law makes the market more attractive to Vietnam-based expats seeking an investment in residential properties in Vietnam, and clears away the initial barriers to create a level playing field.”
Adding a note of caution, CBRE Vietnam said: “It should be noted that the implications may not be felt immediately, it will definitely benefit the already improving residential market. Generally, it will provide another boost to the strengthening of confidence and market sentiments, which is currently much needed for Vietnam real estate investment after it lost its lustre post 2008.
“This long awaited change in the Foreign Ownership Law will help create a more balanced, transparent and sustainable residential property market in Vietnam, and is expected to play a major role in correcting, to some extent, the above-mentioned issues, but the participation of the private sector players will also play a big role,” added Dung Duong, Head of Research Vietnam for CBRE.
Image: Ho Chi Minh City © PropertyGuru 2014
Andrew Batt, International Group Editor of PropertyGuru Group, wrote this story.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

IMPORTANT: Split-type Air Conditioners


IMPORTANT:  Split-type Air Conditioners

This had been written about previously and once again needs attention due to what has been experienced in one unit that was fully furnished by the builder/developers which included the split-type air conditioner.  Carefully check ceilings, walls and the outside hoses leading to the compressor on the balcony.

Do you see any stains where the hoses may be placed above the ceiling or behind the walls?  If so, there are possible condensation problems.  Are the hoses wrapped in plastic when coming out of a hole to the balcony and is there water filling that plastic wrap?

A split-type was removed with the material around the hose more like a sponge than insulation to prevent such water buildup from condensation.

The photo below also shows the condition behind the air conditioner mounted on the wall.  There was a metal plate that was removed, too.  What the photo shows is that no primer was painted on the drywall behind the metal plate.  The area immediately around the metal plate had primer though no final coat of paint.  The final coat of paint was placed around the air conditioner once installed.  This is not what I would have done or consider appropriate construction.

There is also a hole in the middle and when asked the technicians from the certified dealer said that it had no purpose and was a mistake.  Now is that not a Big Surprise!


Living in condominium units

Living in condominium units

By Rod Kapunan | Nov. 15, 2014 at 12:01am

"A condominium unit buyer in one of the country’s high-end builder-developer, St. Francis Shangri-La property   located along EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City, has complained that as a result of typhoon Glenda that hit Metro Manila last July 16, 2014, one of the glass window panels of her unit was shattered by the strong wind that reached the maximum velocity of 140 kilometers per hour.
 What irritated the unit buyer, identified as Ms. Rachael A. Dizon of Unit 12G Tower 1, is  it took the maintenance department of Shangri-La Properties some time to replace the shattered glass window panel, thus forcing her and her two children to temporarily vacate the place because of the danger posed by a make-shift plywood they covered with a mere tarpaulin.  This was a temporary covering and the floor to her unit got wet every time it rained.  
Although the glass window panel has finally been installed, the owner of said unit claims there was misrepresentation because the glass window panel that was installed was merely heat-strengthened and not a fully tempered glass as Shangri-La advertised.  Ms. Dizon could only surmise that the glass window panel broke at the height of the typhoon because of that.  Also, during the typhoon, the unit owned by Ms. Rinalisa Villacorta also had the floor in her guest room soak wet because rainwater coming probably from the roof leaked into the crevices of her wall.  The leak seeped all they way that practically deformed the lower end of the wall of Ms. Villarcorta’s unit.  At the height of the typhoon, the flooring near the windows was soaked wet, and it was discovered that the latches that were supposed to close tight the glass window panels gave way to the strong wind.  Her niece who was using the place complained about it, and nobody knows if management has acted on it. 
Shangri-La having established a good name and reputation in the condominium industry should live up to its name  by attending to the letter-complaints of its unit buyers.   Delay in attending to their complaints and shoddy maintenance could easily erode the reputation it has established and that could well spread to prospective buyers, especially at a time when the country is experiencing a glut in the construction of condominiums.
The most common problem encountered by condominium unit owners is the question of who should manage the condominium once the majority of the units are sold.   It is this aspect that developer/builders of condominiums have been trying to circumvent to avoid turning over the condominium building to the unit owners through their association.  Maybe the developer/builders of the condominiums have their valid reason to retain control of the management, operations and maintenance of the building on matters pertaining to security, elevator system, fire alarm and detection, etc., but whatever it is, such exclusive control and prerogative could no longer be legally sustained because the contract that was signed by the unit buyers is a contract for an absolute deed of sale, not a contract to rent.  
Hiring corporate lawyers of the Shangri-La properties whose brains have been atrophied by their mercenary alacrity to please their employer can never justify their novel idea of “a five (5) year irrevocable proxy” clause they attached in favor of the developer-builder because the Deed of Absolute Sale was paid for by the unit buyers.  Yes, the so-called “five (5)-year irrevocable” clause is a form of contract adhesion, but contract adhesion is only good when the conditions imposed do not violate any existing law.   The contract being an absolute deed of sale, automatically divests Shangri-La properties of whatever right it has to interfere in the collection, finances and affairs pertaining exclusively to the condominium unit owners’ association.  
It is for this why condominium unit buyers, like the homeowners in subdivisions, are allowed and in fact encouraged by law to form their respective associations because the owner of the property/subdivision or condominium no longer owns it.    The only remaining relations that the unit buyers have with the developer/builder of the condominium are those that pertain to warranties which are incorporated in the absolute deed of sale, and those warranties were added into the price they paid for the unit.  It is for that why unit owners stand as having the legal right to be represented in the board of the condominium unit owners’ association, which is usually done by the election of officers by the members. 
To allow that questionable 5-year irrevocable proxy clause to apply would be anomalous because the continued collection of whatever fee from the unit buyers by the developer-builder of the condominium could transform the contract of sale to one of rent, and the unit buyers reduced to mere tenants perpetually paying the developer/builder their monthly association dues it would not admit as rents paid by the tenants to a landlord. 
Once the sale of all the units has been completed or consummated, the developer-owner of the condominium could no longer participate in the affairs and activities of the board of the condominium unit owners’ association or much more for its appointed protégé, in this case their in-house counsel, to receive whatever remuneration from the monthly due/fees paid by the owner-members for their alleged services for the association. The developer/builder of condominiums cannot fry unit owners from their own lard. 
It is for this why every unit owner of the condominium has the right to attend in all the meetings of the association, to demand from the board the information about its activities and accounting of its expenses for the upkeep, maintenance and security of the building.  As said, it is only those aspects which are included as warranties by the develop-builder of the condominium can such relations exist, but it cannot make any additional, arbitrary or unilateral imposition.  Things can only be done through a negotiated agreement between the board representing the association and the management representing the developer-builder. 
Outside of the defined relations between the buyer and a seller, the buyer has the right to demand restitution and compensation for any violation of the warranties provided for in the absolute deed of sale.    If the developer-builders think they got the shorter end of the bargain, then they should have built instead a hotel or merely have each of those units rented, and rightly call the occupants tenants, but definitely they cannot have the best of both worlds.  The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board should know this by heart."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rental Units at Soho Central Condominium

Rental Units at Soho Central Condominium

I have asked and spoken to the situation that Unit Owners find themselves when renting their unit(s) here at Soho Central Condominium in Mandaluyong.  Since turnover in 2009 there have been numerous problems which at this point seem insurmountable.  How do you as Unit Owners feel about the deteriorating conditions?  What have you done to protect your investment?  What are your plans in the future?

Have you read the book by Armando Ang on real estate with warnings about the percentage of units rented in a condominium building and the percentage of those actually rented and how that impacts the value?  There are other warnings but this is a bottom line challenge by the author of "Guide to Homeownership."

BEWARE OF RENTALS: Investment decline
From Guide to Homeownership – Condominiums and Townhouses (chapter) by Armando Ang
Owners, be careful since your investment and for many your home may decline in value due to too many with plans to rent....
Page 372: “Condominiums with too many empty units for rent or for sale or rented out do not appreciate in value very much. It is axiomatic for lenders not finance mortgages for complexes with higher number of rental units. In fact, when a complex drops to less than 60 or 70 percent owner occupancy, lenders believe the values in the complex may start to decline. ”…
Page 373: “ A high ratio (renter) is a sign that the cost of the unit may not be worth the asking price. Rental revenue is very miniscule compared to the invested cost of the condo.”...
Page 373: “The ratio of tenant to owner should not be more than 25 percent.”…

We have no idea how many units are occupied by Unit Owners full time or part time and no idea how many are rented and how many are vacant being occupied one or a few times a year if that.  

The elevators and other serious issues and problems have caused renters to leave and others to say no interest.  What can be done to fix this building?

For Unit Owners renting and those not renting, your unit values would be of prime importance.  When will all Unit Owners attend the Annual or Special Meetings?  If you cannot attend appoint a proxy to vote in your place.  I have heard that some proxies were given a hard time or not allowed to vote.  If this is the case, let us know the details so this never happens again.  We need your attendance for quorum and for a vote that would hopefully be or nearly reach 100%.

There are notices on the requirement that a Unit Owner not be delinquent to vote.  This may be true for many issues before such meetings but one issue may be exempt such as voting for a management contract.  The Philippine Corporate Code says a majority of members with no restrictions as far as being delinquent for approving a management contract - 

Is Soho Central a condotel?  Websites with rent / sale ads:

and on and on ...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Balconies a Garbage Dump for Some Residents

Balconies a Garbage Dump for Some Residents

Here is a photo of a box thrown on to a balcony.  How many have garbage, cigarette butts and as seen on this blog the loads of garbage on the large balconies of the 4th floor Mayflower Tower?  Recently, we had two loads of water dumped on our extended balcony with only three units above as possible sources.  What did the management and security do?  They could not discover the culprits?

Welcome to the disaster zone.

MRT Strategy for Soho Central Condominium Elevator Travel

MRT Strategy for Soho Central Condominium Elevator Travel

Depending upon which way one is going and whether at the upper or lower floors with the middle getting shafted the most, statistically speaking, the MRT Strategy needs to be employed for the elevators.

Due to the elevators being packed and waiting for another, think MRT at Ayala when going north at rush hours.  It may be necessary to go south and then return going north due to the stream of packed cars.  So when planning your day around the elevators think strategy to get to the lobby or the reverse to upper floors.

We would like to hear from all Unit Owners (voting Members) and renters.  Yes, renters please tell us what your experiences are and your feelings on renting at Soho Central Condominium in Mandaluyong.

Management Contract - January 1, 2015

Management Contract - January 1, 2015

It is assumed that a management contract was established in 2009.  Since documents and records of the condominium corporation are not always available, it is unknown what the date of the contract was so January 1, 2015 will be the date to watch.  Unless a new management contract is established according to the Philippine corporate code, is it to be assumed that no contract will exist and Soho Central will be without a management operating under contract?

See previous message - 

What to bring in an elevator traveling kit?

What to bring in an elevator traveling kit?

Cell phone and snacks.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Elevator Status as of ~3PM Today

Elevator Status as of ~3PM Today

For all the Unit Owners who are legal Members of the condominium corporation whether you purchased pre-built, prior to turnover or after turnover, I know there are other problems with Soho Central Condominium that need serious attention but the elevators are an acute situation that are getting worse.

What was experienced in the lobby after the 30-minute journey to get on an elevator eventually heading down prior to our return at 3PM?  The current situation of only three elevators in operation.  Well, sort of, anyway.

Number 1 is out of service, Number 2 is operating as usual whatever that means, Number 3 is out of service, Number 4 only operates manually so not known who is on an upper floor waiting, Number 5 has a light with 41 meaning its new home until the mess is fixed, and Number 6 is the service elevator with unknown stops and down buttons that do not work from our experience.


So many complaints, so many complaints with the city, so much writing about the elevators and what has been done to give the Unit Owners as Members of the Soho Central Condominium Corporation the elevators expected?  Repairs, repairs and more repairs.  And, still no six (6) elevators fully functioning in a safe manner with full and complete government inspection with all proper certificates.  Oh, do not forget the repair needed to the entrances that were demolished.

Again, a plea for HELP!!!

Oh, why would anyone rent here?  Please let us know.  Were you told of the problems?







Some have asked about my posting and why none lately.  Well, I had other things to do and I could all day, every day write about the deteriorating conditions at Soho Central Condominium.  It is not just the elevators as far as their safety, maintenance and awful work done on repairing the entrances once some work had been done on two requiring the demolition of entrances on all floors, there are many other issues that just go on forever.

Yes, I have now had hundreds of conversations about this building and hundreds about other buildings and the endless problems.  What is going on and why were and are ads made that do not reflect reality?  Read this blog and other websites and you begin to understand the serious situation we have all suffered under.

Now, I was told why Elevator 1 was put out of service.  How many in this building have been stuck in the elevators?  How many have been in the elevators when they have dropped not just one floor but many?  How many have been in the elevators when the door opened and the floors inside and out did not match?  How many have experienced other problems with the elevators?

In 2009, the building was turned over to Unit Owners who are then Members of the Soho Central Condominium Corporation.  What did this mean?  What do the By-Laws and Master Deed mean?  What does the Condominium Act and Presidential Decree 957 and Valle Verde vs Africa mean?  Are they all just pieces of paper?  Hello, does anyone have an answer? Has anyone read these documents, fully understand what they mean and follow them?

There are two answers, Yes or No.