Florida HOAs dealing with hardship and damage following Hurricane Irma

Homeowners and residents are picking up the pieces after Irma barreled through the entire state of Florida. Damage is widespread throughout the Sunshine State.
Satellite image of unknown hurricane (pixabay.com free image)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

After Hurricane Irma: Singer Island condo condemned; people scramble

Julius Whigham II Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
6:16 p.m Friday, Sept. 15, 2017

A wall of a Singer Island apartment complex toppled to the ground during Hurricane Irma, leading the city to condemn the property and leaving 15 to 20 people who’d been paying modest rents there scrambling for housing in the storm’s aftermath.

The owner of the Singer Island Yacht Club is poised to make the rest of it come down as well. It has won the city’s approval to redevelop the Intracoastal Waterway site into an eight-story complex called Singer Island Gateway, a “premier, signature project replacing a dilapidated condominium,” records show.

Residents, who said they were paying $500 to $800 per month in rent, were given until 5 p.m. Friday to be out. Some said they had complained to managers about conditions at the property — just south of the east end of the Blue Heron Boulevard Bridge — before Irma left its imprint. Others said the city’s decision left them without a place to go.

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Older, run down condominiums tend to morph into low-rent housing. Buildings deteriorate for a decade or more, while remaining condo owners squeeze every last dollar from tenants. Eventually, the condo building falls apart at the seams – literally. Then the local government is forced to condemn the community.

If the housing project is well-located, real estate investors and developers move in for the kill. After remaining residents are moved out – mostly tenants in need of affordable housing – the site is demolished. Then a new, bigger housing project is built in its place. On Singer Island, new units will bring in much higher rents and sale prices, and will increase the property tax base, too. But some former residents will wind up homeless. 



Elderly, disabled with no power suffering in Century Village

Residents say they can’t get any help after five days without power (WPBF News 25)

Updated: 7:20 PM EDT Sep 14, 2017

Maggie Kneip is back and forth checking on her elderly neighbors, who are being cared for by their niece – trying desperately to keep the disabled couple cool.

“The refrigerator is empty, we don’t have a generator or anything, the water is hot because there’s no ice,” said Kneip, as the niece put another wet compress on her bedridden, listless aunt’s forehead.

In the next room, an uncle with diabetes and Alzheimers, lies on his side in the heat, one hand twitching.

The niece periodically plunges her aunt’s swollen feet in tepid water, trying to cool down her core temperature; the aunt’s nightgown soaked with sweat.

The power has been out since Sunday in this part of Century Village. Food has spoiled, elevators and lights don’t work, elderly residents watch restoration trucks in the distance, but up close, nerves are frayed and bodies are weary.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, in a senior community, the management company hasn’t come to knock on doors, see if anyone is alive, to help anybody, they don’t give a damn. They ought to be ashamed of themselves,” said resident Sharon Lederer.

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Low income condo communities for the elderly and disabled are among the most vulnerable to natural disasters. The infrastructure tends to be old. Replacement parts for mechanical systems are no longer available. Utility services are inefficient and functionally obsolete. Many of these communities lack an emergency management plan, and do not have back up generators. The extreme heat and humidity is particularly hazardous to residents of Century Village. 

Historical Photo of Hurricane Dennis (pixabay.com free image)

Large hole forces Brooksville residents out of their homes

News Channel 8 Reporter Jeff Patterson
By Jeff Patterson
Published: September 15, 2017, 5:53 pm Updated: September 15, 2017, 7:36 pm

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – In the Trillium subdivision in Brooksville, homeowner Bill Dallas is covered in sweat because he’s been working all day to move everything out of his house.

His home survived Hurricane Irma and he endured several nights without power, but now he is being forced to leave his house because a large hole has opened behind his home.

“Right after the storm, the day after,” he said.

Dallas believes an underground culvert that delivers storm water to a retention pond behind his home is to blame.

“I complained about this ten months ago to the manager of our HOA,” he said.

His neighbors are extremely concerned someone will think it’s a sinkhole and that will force property values down.

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Portions of Central Florida are known as “sinkhole alley.” Trilllum HOA, located in Hernando County, north of Tampa, has a history of sinkholes that goes back at least 5 years. The day after Irma passed through Hernando County, another huge hole opened up in Trillium, forcing owners of three homes to evacuate. The problem might be caused by a storm water management system that was unable to handle the high volume of water from Hurricane Irma. Or there might be naturally-occurring subsurface sinkholes. Sinkholes and soil erosion are common following heavy rainfall.

Pulte Homes plans to have one of their engineers diagnose the latest problem. But homeowners in Trillium HOA might be better off hiring a disinterested third party engineer, one that is not paid by Pulte Homes. 

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