Neighbours, the building atmosphere, stress level, health, safety:
In my experience of living at Heritage Valley Estates for three years, I found neighbours in the building generally very unpleasant, as well as unwilling to follow condo corporation bylaws such as not smoking in hallways, elevators, underground parking, directly beside or under unit air conditioner air intakes, (common courtesy), etc. The building's "smoke-free" status isn't enforced, and in my experience the condo corporation board, management companies, City of Edmonton, and my landlord didn't want to do anything about the smoking issues.
Hate mail was shoved under my door consistently during my three years there (with racist symbols, mainly telling me to get out or to go back where I came from) my friends, family, and I were harassed, and even the (not white) professional movers I hired February 2017 were harassed. Our vehicles were vandalized, mail was stolen repeatedly, Christmas wreaths on my door were stolen (despite it being a "secure" building), among many other things (reported to the Edmonton Police Service).
What the building is like:
HVE (as it's called) is a nice building, better built than many multi unit dwellings in the area, is kept cleaner than most in the area, has amenities rooms such as a library (which I wasn't allowed to use), and a small pool (which I wasn't allowed to use), underground car wash, ample visitor parking compared to other multi unit dwellings in the area, so it could be a nice place to live if not for several truly nasty neighbours and the general attitude of ignoring the nastiness and promoting exclusion of certain tenants.
Room for improvement:
Posted signs state the building is under video surveillance, but EPS told me it isn't, so there wasn't any footage to be had re: acts of vandalism and so forth, so that's something that any reasonable person would want remedied.
The fire alarms in units and in common areas are so loud, they actually cause temporary hearing damage if you have normal hearing (and no, not just for me). You can't adjust the volume or turn it off, and there's just no reason it has to be THAT loud. Also, the strobe lights, as I understand it, could cause problems for people with disabilities like epilepsy or migraines. Newer buildings offer volume control.
The management companies (three in three years I was told), in my experience, didn't obey the law re: giving legal notice of entry, and let themselves into my rented unit several times to "look around" (no emergency), didn't bother to hook up the lobby buzzer to my phone in the three years I lived at HVE, and sent dozens of e-mails and notes telling me my vehicle was leaking oil (despite licensed mechanic's notes saying it wasn't), was "dirty", that the Christmas wreath on my door shouldn't be left up after the end of December, even though other residents left theirs up weeks into a new year, and so forth.
How would you do as a tenant:
If you're a WASP and don't have asthma around second-hand tobacco smoke (which also seeps in from other units), you'd probably enjoy living at HVE (if you can live by the strict no pets (including no visiting pets), no overnight visitors, and "building quiet time" during the night policies).
If you're not a WASP, then make sure you _know your rights_ under Alberta Landlord Tenant & Condo laws, video tape illegal entries and report them to Service Alberta, and document _everything_.
Am I being unfair or slanderous:
I'm familiar with Canada's Fair Comment guidelines, and I'm not being malicious, so I feel my comments have a legitimate place online.
I wish I'd found a "heads up" online about Heritage Valley Estates before I signed the first lease!
Review of my now former landlord:
I also wish I'd found something online about my now former landlord, who was unwilling to fix things while I lived in unit 210, like making sure the pipes under the kitchen sink didn't leak, who made excuses, didn't follow through, and wouldn't consent so I could (for example) hire a licensed electrician to make sure the overhead light in the kitchen wasn't going to make another light bulb explode or to fix wall plugs that shorted lamps and then wouldn't work. I kept emails and letters and voice/video recordings because the landlord consistently "forgot" what was said or agreed upon or claimed something was never discussed, and I found that very frustrating.
The rent was never late, I was a model tenant, but after I moved out and waited to be notified for a post move out inspection (which didn't happen with me) and waited in vain for the return of my damage deposit (which was more than one month's rent, which is illegal in Alberta), I was glad I had thought to take dozens of photos, videos, and have several credible witnesses to prove 210 was left in very good condition - better than when I moved in - so I could proceed with Civil Court paperwork. I also complained to Service Alberta.
On the plus side, 210 had a large kitchen (although the counter tops were dull, with wood edging, and were very hard to clean), and (when one particular neighbour wasn't using heavy duty power tools indoors or on the balcony (very noisy, and interfered with my wifi - as Shaw ISP can tell you), or using a vacuum cleaner at 5:30 a.m.-ish), it was quiet.
Balconies at HVE are the property of the condo corporation (so say the Bylaws), not of the unit owner, so bear that in mind when anyone says different.
Also, I find it really creepy that more than a decade after this building was constructed that at least some locks still haven't been changed, so the builders "master key" still allows whoever wants to access your home (with or without your permission), can.
I stand by my comments.