By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Buyers and investors purchase condos, expecting that the association will maintain a safe and attractive property. Unfortunately, many condo owners find that their HOA doesn’t live up to their expectations.
Even worse, some condo HOAs put off major repairs and avoids renovations. In other cases, deferred maintenance or shoddy renovations result in safety hazards.
Check out this roundup of condominiums that aren’t aging well.
Balconies could collapse at any time
News 6 Orlando reports that Osceola County has warned residents of Spring Park Terraces that their condo balconies are unsafe. County inspectors say that steel posts supporting the balconies are corroded after years of exposure to moisture.
Surprisingly, the condos of Celebration are just 15 years old. But owners are now ordered to tear down and replace their balconies.
Other condos in Celebration, such as Town Center Condominium Association, have been engaged in lawsuits over structural damage and unsafe balconies.
Residents living at own risk after inspection finds corrosion at condo complex Engineer inspects steel columns at Spring Park Terraces at Celebration Condos By Troy Campbell – Reporter. November 14, 2018
Broken water line causes landslide
Anchorage Daily News reports that residents of Victoria Hills Condos were shocked to learn that their water supply line failed, causing a waterfall and landslide to damage a storage business at the bottom of the hillside.
Although some blame recent earthquakes and aftershocks as the cause of the broken water pipe, the condo association’s plumber told ADN that the pipes were very old. Geotechnical experts say that the weakened water line was less able to handle the stress of earthquakes a few weeks ago.
After a brief evacuation, residents of Victoria Hills were allowed back into their condos.
However, owners will now be on the hook for plumbing repairs, repairs to the Muldoon hillside, and reimbursement of damages caused to downhill properties in the path of the mudslide.
The report suggests that the landslide might have been prevented if the condo association had been proactive about replacing its old water supply lines.
‘It was caving in’: Broken water line triggers mudslide below Muldoon condos Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, Jan. 16, 2019
Dangerous voids, possibly sinkholes, form under foundation
According to a report in McDowell News, homeowners and residents of the lakeside Westwood Chateau condominiums were advised to evacuate on January 8, 2019. A resident alerted the condo association to some displaced bricks. That led to investigations by two structural engineers, who found large voids under the foundation of the 32-unit building.
Experts believe the voids could be sinkholes, possibly caused by water leaking from or breaching the dam in the adjacent lake.
City engineers will aid with investigation of the source of the sinkholes, but owners of the condo and adjacent lake are responsible for making repairs and taking the financial hit for structural damages.
UPDATE: Westwood Chateau under voluntary evacuation
By MIKE CONLEY firstname.lastname@example.org Jan 8, 2019
Local officials monitor situation at Westwood Chateau
By MIKE CONLEY email@example.com Jan 9, 2019
Weak floor joists lead to evacuation of tenants
Located just 5 miles from downtown Charleston, SC, WCIV reports that tenants of 19 units at Peninsula Condominiums on James Island were evacuated on Christmas Eve.
The condos were built circa 1998. It’s unclear why the floors in the affected units were sagging, but a structural engineer said the units were unsafe.
The condo association is in the process of shoring up the floors, and scheduling building safety inspections, before residents can return. Most of the evacuated residents are tenants.
Owners will pay for structural repairs, but that might translate into higher rent for tenants.
See WCIV video.
James Island condo tenants scramble after unsafe floors force them out for Christmas by Anne Emerson, WCIV, December 24th 2018
See also:Residents of James Island condos ordered to evacuate due to structural damage By Gregory Yee firstname.lastname@example.org Dec 21, 2018
A buyer beware message
Before purchasing a condo, or signing a lease, do some research on the condo association.
Check with the City or County for reports of building code violations. Talk to other residents, and ask about the quality of services they receive from the association.
If the building is older, ask the condo association when they replaced major components, such as the roof, water and sewer lines. Be sure to find out about the condition of common amenities, including swimming pools, manmade lakes, or sea walls.
If the condo association doesn’t offer straight answers to your questions, proceed with caution.