Tougher federal and state laws needed to protect condominium owners

Register homeowner associations with federal and state authorities, including consumer protection agencies? Put condo board members in jail for violating state ordinances? Randomly select unit owners to serve on their condo board? Don DeBat makes the case.

By Don DeBat

9-Jul-15 – The condominium lifestyle has been glorified as carefree, chic, and glamorous. However, condo ownership in Chicago and across the nation has problems, including steep community association maintenance fees, restrictions on day-to-day living, and limited personal freedoms.

These very real costs to the 67 million Americans living in association-governed communities may require consumer-targeted legislative changes and more proactivity by community association residents in the future, according to Sara Benson, co-author of Escaping Condo Jail, a new book that outlines the keys to navigating the risks and surviving the perils of association-governed living.

“Proactive involvement by owners and legislative solutions would protect consumers and their investments at the most sacred level – at the heart of their homes,” Benson said.

Here are three key recommendations, outlined in the book, that if put in force would free millions of home and condo owners from Condo Jail…

Owner involvement. Owners in individual condominium and homeowner associations should take proactive and affirmative steps to ensure owner involvement in the governance of their associations.
State consumer protection. The second solution would require states to amend existing condominium and homeowner association laws to require community association registration to protect consumers in terms of public safety and ordinance enforcement.

Federal consumer protection. The third and most logical solution involves steps at the federal level. This is the most powerful of the three solutions and if properly enacted, would offer the most consumer protection of all.

Benson offers specific details on three intriguing ideas to protect condo owners…

Preview…read entire article in Loop North News (Chicago)


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