By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Today, a ray of hope, seven years in the making.
You may recall Michelle Germano, the Virginia woman battling with Harborwalk Condo Association over unpaid assessments for her uninhabitable home, which was contaminated by Chinese drywall.
Last September, Germano’s struggle was covered by the Virgina Pilot. At the time, Harborwalk was suing the condo owner following a bankruptcy. The association’s lawsuit had made it impossible to arrange for a deed transfer to her lender. Because Germano still owned the condo following bankruptcy, the association continued to invoice her for monthly assessment fees.
In case you missed it, you can read the history here:
Last week the Virginia Pilot reported that Germano is finally rid of her condo nightmare. Congressman Mark Warner (D) of Virginia assisted in negotiating the deed in lieu transfer to the lender, this time with Harbor Walk Association’s approval.
Michelle Germano is peacefully renting a home in Norfolk, with no plans to purchase in the future. According to Germano, a lesson she has learned from her ordeal is to never give up. She plans to continue to fight for consumer protections for homeowners in association governed developments, and to warn consumers of toxic products manufactured in foreign countries such as China.
Now [Gernamo] hopes to take on laws that benefit homeowners associations over individual homeowners, namely rules that prohibited her from talking with the board about her situation before litigation. More broadly, she’s on a personal mission to fight toxic China-made goods, noting issues that have arisen beyond drywall, including pet food, flooring and plastics in children’s toys.
“The American people need some kind of protection from this,” she said, calling it biological warfare. “I want good to come out of this. You’ve got to keep in your heart that you’re not powerless.”
Readers should also take note of the fact that, when it comes to homeowners and condominium associations, expect no mercy from your board or your neighbors, regardless of your personal hardships. HOA boards face legal pressure to enforce the rules and collect your assessments no matter what – even if you can no longer live in your home.
As the HOA industry touts the benefits of protecting your property values, they seem to have forgotten the value of your health, your quality of life, and your rights.
Which values are more important to you?
Kudos to Michelle Germano for holding true to her own values, and inspiring others to do the same.