Armchair quarterback time: War zone in a condo
https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/surveillance-video-shows-brawls-vandalism-inside-beleaguered-saskatoon-condo-building-1.5360878This post is about a different type of crisis and disaster. From a prepping perspective, this is the deterioration that becomes the crisis.
I wish I could tell you that the videos and related stories were part of a movie set and plot, but they are not.
First the news link which is 4 days old.
To better understand the back story, watch both videos and also read the first related story on that news page titled “Living in a war zone….”
If you look at the footage of the exterior of the condo building, I can see how someone would have purchased a condo there 12 years ago, as was the case for Geoff Wilkie who was interviewed in the related article “Living in a war zone…”
The panned shot of the neighborhood in one of the videos shows a fairly clean area and there appears to be a church on the corner. It looks like a glimpse of a neighborhood in a typical small prairie city, who like Dog River in the fictional tv program Corner Gas, doesn’t appear to have a whole lot going on.
There is always the risk of the neighborhood deteriorating into unsafe living conditions. Regardless of whether we live in a condo or a detached home, or whether we own or rent, we all face the same risk of change to our neighborhoods and communities.
I have rented apartments and houses, and I have owned homes, so this is not to slam renters. I relate what I have witnessed first hand in urban and rural areas and after living in several provinces.
Absentee landlords are a big problem because they have no interest in the community, other than through renting their house(s) and the profits they make.
There are landlords with multiple rental properties who barely maintain them and who rent properties which are outright fire traps due to old and faulty wiring.
The problem is further compounded by the “guarantee of rent” provided through govt.-sponsored income assistance. The landlord no longer has to worry that his tenant(s) will lose a job or be laid off. The rent is paid in full every month like clockwork by the income assistance program and not the tenant.
There are those tenant(s) who are responsible people or parents and who require this assistance through no fault of their own. For many of them, it is a temporary situation. They are a boon to the community.
Unfortunately, there are others in these programs who have no desire to better themselves or at the least attempt to parent their children more responsibly instead of being preoccupied with their drugs of choice.
Their children roam the streets and start packing up with older youth who are gang or “wannabe” gang members. The crime goes up and before you know it, you have a war zone situation like the people in that condo.
I have owned a home in a neighborhood where there was a nice mix of people – young, old, single working and couples with and without children.
One day, I got off the bus and began my usual walk home. I glanced over and saw several young men that either should have been in school or working, who instead were hanging out in the front a house. This house was located several blocks away from where I lived.
After I saw them, I noted the deterioration on that first block. I hadn’t really noticed before, until I saw the loitering and attitude of the young men gathered at that one home.
I paid attention on subsequent walks to and from the bus stop and noted the lack of work traffic from that block in the morning. I also noted the party atmosphere that had set into certain homes in the first block in the evenings.
I keep my house in ready to sell condition. The for sale sign went up and it sold before it could appear on the MLS listings. I was lucky to have noticed the change and got out before others began the stampede out of the neighborhood.
For the people in the above condo story, what could they have done differently? To me, it looks like they waited way too long.
Fighting a condo board to change things when you already have let the raging bull into the barn is pointless. That condo building was supposed to be a owner occupied building only, no rentals. Rentals in a condo building and owners with multiple units don’t always bode well. As soon as the rentals started, Mr Wilkie should have baled.
How would you know the difference between “a bit of trouble” happening in your neighborhood and “wait a minute, this is turning into SHTF and it’s time to get out of Dodge and find a new home?”
Do you think you would be able to get out fast enough if all your other neighbors have come to the same realization?
Are there any ways to avoid or reduce the risk of buying or renting in a problem neighborhood?
What if, for some reason, you were unable to get out and find a new place to live? How would you survive in such a situation as portrayed in the video above?
I pay attention. Keep my home ready to sell. Review the MLS and private sales so I have a finger on the pulse of the real estate market at all times.