By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities blog
After a mere 15 years, an Orange County judge reportedly declared that the Hamptons is “unfit for human habitation.”
This is a story that is repeating itself all over Florida and throughout the US. Condominiums and single family homes built at the turn of the century and during the real estate boom are literally falling apart.
Leaky roofs and windows. Foundation problems. Crumbling stucco. Warped vinyl siding. Rotting wood frame construction. Mold. Toxic drywall. Faulty plumbing and electrical systems.
You name it, it’s been in the news. Chances are you or someone you know has been adversely affected by shoddy or defective construction. And the problem is often complicated by common ownership, characteristic of homeowners and condominium associations.
It’s bad enough if your detached, single family home has these issues. That involves back and forth with the builder, who is not always cooperative in fixing problems that are supposed to be covered under warranty. If you didn’t buy directly from the builder, you may be entirely out of luck. But at least it is within your control to fix the problems, painful as it may be to your household budget.
If you own a condominium or townhouse, where the owners association is responsible for exterior maintenance, and there is confusion about plumbing and electrical components behind the walls, you are at the mercy of the homeowners or condo association to take action. Where common areas are concerned, the association must work with the developer, and must make the decision about if and when to file insurance claims or a civil lawsuit.
…you are at the mercy of the homeowners or condo association to take action.
On top of that, many condo owners defaulted on their (subprime) mortgages and moved into foreclosure Zombie-land. Of course, many stopped paying condo assessments. That made it impossible for the association to properly maintain already compromised infrastructure.
What if your Board is still controlled, at least in part, by the developer? What if the owner of your community management company is on the Board? Who will do the repairs? When will they be done? How much will it cost?
What if City (or County) code enforcement has hit your association with $4 million in fines, on top of over $70 million in needed repairs?
These are questions that come to mind when reading about the Hamptons condominiums at MetroWest – built in 2000 as apartments, converted to condominiums in 2004. After a mere 15 years, an Orange County judge reportedly declared that the Hamptons is “unfit for human habitation.”
One owner who happens to be a real estate appraiser says his unit is worth less than half what he paid at the time of purchase.
Tell me — what makes condos affordable and sustainable, if they begin to fall apart within a decade, and must be rebuilt at substantial cost to owners?
Orlando MetroWest condo complex faces millions in code-violation fines
Further reading, Hamptons at MetroWest (Orlando, FL)