By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
The latest in the saga of Lynnhill Condominiums: a court ordered utilities to be restored after being shut off for 4 days. But that’s just a temporary reprieve, because a $1 million utility lien has not been paid.
Now State Senator C. Anthony Muse is calling for the Attorney General to investigate the condo association for possible financial wrongdoing. Muse and condo owners want to know what happened to all the money the condo association has been paid over the past decade. The Association has not even repaired units that were destroyed by fire in 2014.
According to the latest report, most residents have walked away from their condo units, many of them now living in homeless shelters. Although most were tenants, some owner-occupants will also have to move out of their now worthless condos.
Watch the WUSA9 video of one condo owner, a retired government worker, who has owned her unit for 14 years. Although she has always paid her condo fees faithfully, she now finds herself without a home of her own, and no money to purchase replacement housing. The interview is absolutely heartbreaking.
Lynnhill is a tragic example of everything that is wrong with housing policy in America. Lacking oversight, administrative support for property owners, and common-sense regulation, condominium associations are not well-suited to long-term, safe, high-quality affordable housing. All too often, condo associations owned by households with limited income struggle financially. They become easy targets for opportunists who exploit owners and tenants by collecting rent and assessments, without putting one thin dime back into maintenance, repair, or security for the housing community.
As the saying goes, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. Lynnhill is living proof that effective housing policy requires far more than good intentions. It requires a commitment to long-term housing stability for residents, rather than a systematic placement of limited-income households in sparsely-financed, poorly-managed housing. In the end, such housing is not truly affordable, and certainly a poor long-term investment for owners.
And, ironically, failing condo associations all over the U.S. are creating a problem they were meant to eliminate – homelessness.
Condo crisis: New calls for investigation
TEMPLE HILLS, MD (WUSA9) – A Maryland state senator is calling for the Maryland Attorney General to investigate whether mismanagement or theft may have played a role in the financial failure of a 219-unit condo complex that has left some residents homeless.
“All that money went somewhere,” said Sen. C. Anthony Muse.
Muse made his comments as Washington Gas restored service to the Lynnhill Condominiums on Good Hope Ave in Temple Hills Monday. PEPCO turned power back on Friday.
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