By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Most residents of common interest developments and community associations expect their HOAs to faithfully provide important services they were promised when they moved into their home.
But I’ve lost count of the number of homeowners and residents that reach out to me in frustration. They often tell me that their homeowners, condo, or co-op association is not keeping up with routine maintenance, and, even worse, their association is not making timely and proper repairs when necessary.
It’s a common complaint across the U.S.
Homeowners keep paying their HOA fees — and those fees keep rising. But homeowners get little or nothing in return for their hard-earned money. And it’s not just homeowners feeling the pinch. Tenants in HOA and condo properties also pay higher monthly rent to cover assessment and fee increases paid by owner/landlords.
All too often, an HOA is slow to respond, even when the health and safety of residents is at risk.
This week alone, IAC discovered three reports of residents dealing with safety hazards in their homes managed by condo and homeowners associations.
Balconies collapse in Massachusetts condo complex
At 18 Dale Street, Andover, Mass., a condominium housing complex built in 2006, residents were fortunate to escape injury when a third floor balcony suddenly pulled away from the side of the building.
According to report in the Eagle Tribune, the partial collapse prompted a quick response by the Fire Chief, Michael Mansfield. Upon closer inspection, every balcony in the entire condo complex was found to be ‘structurally deficient.’
All residents have been told to stay off their balconies, which have been cordoned off until they can be repaired or rebuilt as necessary. Interior windows and sliding doors that lead to the balconies or patios beneath them are now boarded up, to prevent injury due to imminent failure of those unsafe balconies.
At this point, condo owners don’t know the cause of the structural deficiencies. But I’ll bet many are wondering why no one — not even Andover’s Building Inspector — noticed safety hazards before last week’s near catastrophe.
Source (with photos):
Deck collapses at Andover condo complex By Paul Tennant, Eagle Tribune, Jan 24, 2019(Massachusetts)
Condo owners still can’t return home, 2 years after a fire
At the Grand Reserve Condominium in Tampa, homeowners are furious that their damaged units are still not livable, nearly two years after a devastating fire. In fact, one half of the condo building hasn’t even been touched, beyond boarding up the windows and doors.
Homeowner Georgette Khaziran tells ABC News, WFTS, that her side of the building seems ‘left to rot.’ Meanwhile, Khaziran keeps paying $350 per month condo fees, while paying for living expenses elsewhere.
According to reporter Isabel Rosales, the condo association changed management companies in November 2018. Work is finally underway on one side of Grand Reserve, but things are not progressing quickly enough for at least half of condo owners.
Hillsborough County isn’t setting any hard deadlines for the condo association to complete repairs and reconstruction of the gutted units.
So all homeowners can do is wait, putting their lives on hold, completely at the mercy of their condo association.
Bay area condo owner sick of paying $350 monthly fee for unit not repaired two years after fire
Posted: 5:13 PM, Jan 28, 2019 Updated: 7:03 PM, Jan 28, 2019
By: Isabel Rosales, ABC Action News (Tampa Bay, FL)
Failed retaining wall causing dangerous sinkhole
A family renting a home in the Emerald Hills subdivision, North Richland, Texas, has been waiting more than a year for the HOA to address earth movement in their back yard. Jennifer Grierson tells NBC5 (Dallas-Fort Worth) that she notified her landlord and the HOA about the problem last year. But since then, a large sinkhole has opened up in her backyard.
The Griersons had to install a chain link fence to protect the safety of their children and pets.
According to Samantha Chatman’s investigation, the HOA’s engineer traces the cause of the gaping hole to a failing retaining wall owned by the HOA. The wall borders a waterway which is eroding and undermining the wall at its base.
Estimated cost to repair: $200 – $300K, according to the report, a cost that would have to be shared by owners of 65 homes.
Emerald Hills HOA says it doesn’t have the money to fix the wall. They say they might have to take out a loan. But the longer the HOA waits to rebuild the retaining wall, the bigger the sinkhole gets.
Another problem: the HOA can’t find a contractor willing to take the job. And that’s not surprising. Unlike most city or county governments, small homeowners associations usually don’t have the budget to hire contractors to design and build major infrastructure. And construction companies with skilled labor and heavy equipment are too busy working on big contracts to bother with private, HOA-governed subdivisions.
No word on whether the county government will step in to assist the HOA.
Giant Sinkhole Causing Big Concerns For North Texas Family
The issue stems from the retaining wall, which is owned by the HOA
By Samantha Chatman, NBC 5 (Dallas-Fort Worth)
Published Jan 28, 2019 at 11:30 AM | Updated at 11:31 AM CST on Jan 28, 2019