A freak wave snapped my board in two on the East coast. I was surprisingly unharmed, which isn't always the case after a session!

There is an owner in our condo complex that has not paid maintenance fees for ten years.  I thought that I had misheard when they told me this AFTER I purchased my property.  This would never happen in Canada, was my response.

In Canada, the bank would have foreclosed on the property OR the city would have forced payment of land/property taxes OR the other owners would not have tolerated it.

This owner is also the original developer of the property.  She made some very poor business decisions; in fact, she was unable to finish the development (there is a derelict building behind us that was meant to be the next phase).  We are certain that she has never paid property/land taxes and that she owes a substantial mortgage to the bank.  We are not the creditors at the top of the list, and we are owed more than 75,000 BDS (approximately $38,000 USD).

This time of year is lush and obscures the unfinished building behind Springcourt

I have been told, by more than one source, that if the banks were to foreclose on all the unrecoverable mortgages on the island, it would collapse the Barbadian economy.  Apparently, many had connections and were extended credit that should never have happened.  These nice people at the banks also did not chase the debt once it was going bad.

I was also told that earlier this year, Barbados got tough on landowners that were negligent in their payment of land tax – we are talking decades of non-payment.  They put over twenty properties up for auction and sold them – a couple owners showed up on the day with a cheque for their back taxes.

This represents Barbados - beautiful palm trees with derelict buildings in the background

But the part I cannot understand is why the other owners allowed this situation at Springcourt to continue year after year.  The answer: she is a nice woman.

Really?!  My definition of nice does not include sticking my neighbors with my share of the common expenses.

It is a phenomenon that I noticed in Ireland when I lived there.  When someone described a person that they liked, they started with “they are such a nice person.”  It was the most important attribute that they could have.  More important than being reliable, doing their job, and/or being trustworthy.

I like nice people and I like to be a nice person.  But what does that mean anyways?

Somewhere along the way being pleasant and friendly and even fun took precedence over being principled, ethical, and conscious of others.  Somehow people’s outward appearances in public have gained more weight than their actions when no one is looking.  Some time ago in the Bajan society, a person that addressed concerns was seen to rock the boat and not be a nice person, thereby letting those with influence do what they pleased.  Canadians tend to keep each other in line.

This woman and her lawyer keep telling us that she has no money.  As the Board Chair, I keep reiterating that this is not our concern, and the apartment should have been sold long ago if she could not meet her obligations.  [Although, one of her apartments is rented out for revenue almost constantly.]

It doesn’t mean I am without empathy for this woman’s situation and that I am not a nice person.  It does mean that one of my principles is to live in a place where everyone contributes to the common good.  In a condo corporation this is translated into maintenance fees.

We threatened to bar her and her guests from using the common areas (read: beautiful pool) and she lawyered up.  Apparently, one of the two units that she owns has been sold without our knowledge.  The lawyer that we hired last year to file liens against the properties neglected to do so, even though we paid for the service. So, we may have missed our chance to recover our debt.  But hey, I am told that he is a nice guy.

The green monkeys come visit us every day around 3pm when it gets cooler.