Former Lynnhill residents awarded $100K from utility companies for abrupt shutoff

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Nearly a year has passed since State Senator C. Anthony Muse called for an investigation into alleged mismanagement of funds at Lynnhill Condominiums. Last fall, residents were abruptly forced to find alternate housing after Pepco and Washington Gas Light Company shut off utilities to the housing complex.

No word from Maryland Attorney General’s (AG) office with regard to condo association mismanagement or misconduct, but the AG did order Pepco and Washington Gas to pay $100,000 to former residents who were left in the cold and dark last October 25th.

According to reports, utilities were restored four days later, but by that time, most residents (up to 116) had already relocated.

Former residents affected by the utility shut off are urged contact the Maryland Consumer Protection Division at the number listed in the NBC 4 news release below, to obtain their share of the cash award.

Both utility companies are well aware that it may be impossible to contact many of Lynnhill’s former residents. Perhaps this explains why investigators have noted a consistent pattern of the failure of both Pepco and Washington Gas to provide 14-day pre-shutoff notice to consumers. They know it takes almost a year for the state AG to investigate complaints.

Lynhnill Condominium continues to struggle with severe financial problems, with few remaining residents living in the poorly maintained community. Most recently, Lynhill was cited for multiple violations of fire safety codes.

Will the AG ever investigate Lynhill Condo Association for possible financial mismanagement?

After all, tenants claim they had been paying rent that was supposed to cover the cost of utilities. It was up to condo unit owners to pay the association dues on time, and a responsibility of the association to collect assessments.

Either the association collected assessments, but did not pay utility bills, or the association failed to collect assessments, because a large number of unit owners could not or would not pay the association.

As fewer and fewer units remain occupied at Lynnhill, it becomes impossible to collect sufficient money from owners and residents to take care of even the most basic maintenance.

For more details on Lynhill, see my previous post, reprinted below.

 

Lynnhill Condo Residents Receive $100K Settlement from Utility Companies After Power and Gas Cut With Little Notice

By Sophia Barnes

NBC 4 Washington

Pepco and Washington Gas Light Company will pay $100,000 to residents of Lynnhill Condominiums because the utility companies cut power and gas to the building after giving occupants only one day of notice before leaving them in the dark, the Maryland Attorney General’s office announced Tuesday.
More than 100 families who lived in the condos were forced to leave their homes after the utility companies stopped power and gas service Oct. 25, 2016.
The utility companies were required to give 14 days notice to each resident before cutting power to the 219 units, the Attorney’s office said in a release Tuesday.

Residents that lived at Lynnhill on Oct. 25, 2016 should contact the Maryland Consumer Protection Division by calling (410) 576-6569 to see if they are eligible for compensation.

Read more below.

Source: Lynnhill Condo Residents Receive $100K Settlement from Utility Companies After Power and Gas Cut With Little Notice – NBC4 Washington

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Lynnhill-Condo-Residents-Reieve-100K-Settlement-from-Utility-Companies-444023193.html#ixzz4sgH5Cru0

Follow us: @nbcwashington on Twitter | NBCWashington on Facebook

 

 

Lynnhill – Condo crisis: New calls for investigation

Originally posted November 4,2016 By Deborah Goonan

 

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.

PREVIOUS: Service ordered back on at Lynnhill Condominiums

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.

Read more, watch VIDEO:

http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/condo-crisis-new-calls-for-investigation/345160736


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