What’s happening in HOAville this week? (July 20)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


This week: HOA homeowners deal with rattlesnakes; retirees face threat of losing their condos in a deconversion; developer builds condos just for Airbnb; townhouse owners plagued by clogged storm drains

Family says HOA cares more about attractive properties than safety of its residents (CA)

When home buyers shop around for their Dream Home, many are attracted to living in close to nature. But owning a property next to a conservation zone has its downsides.

For example, Darla and Chuck King of El Dorado Hills have had at least 29 encounters with rattlesnakes on their property. They’ve already installed a snake barrier at the bottom of their backyard fence.

But the snakes keep coming. So now they’d like to enclose their front yard with a similar barrier.

But the HOA says, ‘no’ because that’s against their architectural standards.

Snake removal experts call the El Dorado Hills area ‘snake alley.’ Unfortunately, the Kings may have to move if they want to get away from the rattlesnakes.

However, the question is, after seeing this report, who will be interested in buying their house?


HOA won’t let family terrorized by rattlesnakes build barrier around property
by Rob Malcolm | CBS Sacramento | July 18, 2019 at 10:34 pm

Retired homeowners often casualties of condo to apartment deconversion frenzy (FL, IL)

Retired condo owners in Florida continue their 4-year fight to save their home from forced condo termination. Deborah and Barry Berger, now in their 70s, bought their condo at Lansbrook in 2007, intending it would be the last time they’d have to move.

They took a large chunk of their retirement money, and paid top dollar for their place, too. But when the real estate market tanked a few months after they purchased their unit, investors swooped in an scooped up more than 80 percent of the vacant units in their condo community, turning them in to rentals.

Now the investors control the condo board.

The investor-controlled condo board wants to deconvert Lansbrook from condominiums to rental apartments. And the Bergers say their condo association has been trying every dirty trick in the book to get them and other condo owners to sell their units for pennies on the dollar.

Florida Legislature created the forced condo termination problem with a 2007 law that allows termination of the association if just 80% of unit owners agree to it — allowing the majority to force out the remaining owners.

Since then, Florida’s legislature has been tweaking the condo statute to try to “fix” the problem of abusive, forced condo termination, allowing investors to cash in at the expense of real owner-occupants.


How a billion-dollar company could use a Florida law to force these Tampa Bay seniors out of their condos
Condo owners in Palm Harbor’s Lansbrook Village say they have been harassed and bullied in attempts to make them sell.
By Susan Taylor Martin | Tampa Bay Times
Published July 12 Updated July 12


Owners get a break in Chicago?

Meanwhile, in Chicago, where a similar condo deconversion frenzy is underway, real estate developers Jon and Julian Mickelson bought up a majority of the distressed Bronzeville condominium complex earlier this year.

The investor-developers now reportedly own 174 of 240 units, just a few units shy of the 75% minimum threshold required to force a deconversion. (Note that Illinois condo statute has an even lower threshold than Florida.)

The Mickelson brothers’ plan was to force a deconversion at Woodland Park by the Lake, and turn all of the units into rentals. However, The Real Deal reports that Mickelsons have had a change of heart, after learning that the 40 owner-occupants they’d have to displace are senior citizens, with nowhere else to go.

So, for the time being, they’re holding off on their deconversion plans.


After buying bulk of Bronzeville condo complex, two brothers decide against deconversion
Julian and Jon Mickelson planned to force the sale of a Woodland Park complex — until they got to know the other owners
By Joe Ward |Research by Haru  Coryne | The Real Deal, Chicago
July 10, 2019 01:00PM

Condo apartments built specifically for Airbnb rentals (FL)

A real estate company, NGD Homesharing, is building condo apartments tailor made for short-term Airbnb style rentals. Natiivo homes, already up and running in Austin, plans on another new complex in Miami, expected to open in 2022.

The 650-unit complex will consist of more than 400 condo units for sale to buyers who want the option of earning money through hosting guests using platforms like Airbnb. The remainder of units, according to Miami Herald, will be traditional hotel rooms.

The creators of Natiivo saw a need to provide opportunities for condo and HOA-governed homeowners, who are often restricted by HOA rules from sharing their homes and offering their property as short-term rental.

It’s good to see that planners and developers are dedicating condo apartments for a specific purpose, rather than selling the units as traditional, owner-occupied homes to some buyers and as rental investments to other buyers.

Finally, as suggested in a 2017 IAC post, planners and developers have decided on a single use for multifamily housing, instead of allowing condominium projects to become hotbeds of conflict when owners in the same community use their properties for different purposes.

Who knows? Perhaps if buyers who want to earn cash with Airbnb have more options like Natiivo, they’ll be less like to buy into a residential condominium association, only to annoy their neighbors by ignoring short-term rental restrictions.

This new Miami apartment complex will make it easier for you to rent on Airbnb
JUNE 18, 2019 10:00 AM, UPDATED JUNE 18, 2019 03:14 PM

Bad storm drain maintenance in Virginia townhouse community

Several years ago, when IAC published an article on poorly-maintained retention ponds in HOA-governed communities, local news rarely reported on the problem.

Now reports like this one from Poquoson have become commonplace. It’s good to see that more homeowners are aware that the source of property flooding is often bad drainage. And many floods can be prevented with proactive maintenance of stormwater management systems.

The problem is, when drainage infrastructure is located on ‘private’ HOA, condo, or co-op property, the city, town, or county won’t maintain it. That’s up to each homeowners’ association.

And HOAs ignore or defer maintenance at their own risk, causing flooding headaches for their homeowners. ♦


Poquoson homeowners upset about drainage ditch backup
Sarah Hamrick said when it rains, especially when it rains hard, the ditches behind their homes flood because of debris buildup, and she said it’s getting worse.
Author: Niko Clemmons | 13 News Now
Published: 6:56 PM EDT July 16, 2019
Updated: 6:56 PM EDT July 16, 2019


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