Florida condo association threatens foreclosure in dispute over $25 late fee. Condo owners, former managers say the board is out of control.
By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Condo residents and former community managers of Ventura Greens, West Palm Beach, FL, are the latest group to speak up about what they see as a “dictatorial” condo association.
According to a recent report in the Palm Beach Post, several condo owners and former managers say that most disputes are instigated by current condo board President Vic Bally. In their words, Bally “rules with an iron fist.”
Owners say that Ventura Greens has been through at least 8 management company changes in 11 years. Former managers quoted in the Post say they resigned or refused to renew their contracts, because they were unable to work with an unreasonable condo board, particularly one member by the name of Vic Bally.
At least the managers could walk away from their Jobs from Hell.
Condo owners cannot easily escape strict or selective enforcement of rules.
Condo enforcement: Pay $25 late fee or… lose your home?
LOCAL By Tony Doris – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 2:15 p.m. Friday, June 09, 2017
At Ventura Greens in West Palm Beach, residents resist strict enforcement of condo association rules
WEST PALM BEACH —
David Silva’s $340,000 condo faces foreclosure because of a $25 late fee.
Silva, a resident at Ventura Greens at Emerald Dunes since 2007, was having his bank make automatic payments of the monthly maintenance fee for his three-bedroom, 2½-bath townhouse on the outskirts of West Palm Beach just west of Florida’s Turnpike. But the 70-unit development changed property managers in 2014 without advance notice and his payment was never rerouted to the condo association, he said.
By the time he learned of the problem and sent a payment to the new property manager, the association had charged him a $25 late fee. While he disputed the fee, which he insisted was the association’s fault, the association tacked on late fees, attorney fees and interest charges — and in 2015, the association filed a foreclosure suit that threatens to take away his home.
More and more reports like this are reaching the media. But for every story you see on television or read about in the local paper, there are dozens of similar cases that go unreported.
Of course, there are a few simple reasons why most owners do not run to the media with their reports of unreasonable rule enforcement and malicious abuse.
First, an unhappy homeowner wants to be able to sell his property to the next unsuspecting buyer. It can be quite difficult to sell one’s home when your so-called “community” gets a bad reputation. Who would want to move into a place where you might be charged late fees for payments you made on time, or for leaving your trash can out a bit too long, or other minor or imagined violations?
And maybe the next buyer will be relatively meek and compliant, just the type of resident that goes along to get along in association-governed communities.
Second, an owner may be unable or unwilling to move or sell, for various personal reasons. But she fears that if she makes a big stink, she will simply invite further abusive violation notices, imposition of fines, and threats of foreclosure.
However, an increasing number of owners and residents are no longer willing to stand by and be bullied and victimized by their homeowner, condominium, or cooperative associations, including David Silva and Jeff Lanaghan of Ventura Greens.
Kudos to the few courageous and outspoken individuals who are willing and able to stand up for their rights, and, by extension, the rights of others in association-governed communities.