Homeowners, tenants, and investors stuck with big HOA problems

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Debgoonan@icloud.com

 

When HOA-governed common interest communities are poorly managed, whether due to ignorance or malfeasance, homeowners, investors, and tenants pay the price.

 

NC condo owners face total loss if they cannot afford to fix Lady Marion Dam

Remember the January 2019 report about sinkholes forming under Westwood Chateau Condo complex? Owners were advised to evacuate for their own safety.

Following deeper investigation, thirty-two residents were forced to move out of their homes. They haven’t been able to return, due to the severe structural damage to their condo building.

The cause of the sinking: the failure of Lady Marion dam, which sits directly below several condo buildings. (Unbelievable but true — these condos were built right on top of a dam.)

But, here’s the kicker. The former developer of Westwood Chateau, G. Byron Phillips, had been receiving negative inspection reports from the Department of Environmental Quality, outlining deterioration of Marion dam, for 20 years.

Yes, that’s TWENTY YEARS.

Incredibly, according to one long-time condo owner interviewed by WLOS, Phillips assumed the condo board was receiving the same notices. But they weren’t.

That’s why the condo association says they never took action to maintain or fix the dam. They claim they didn’t know about potential hazards, until the condos started sinking.

To his credit, Phillips has so far paid all costs to drain the lake, a process that took three months. Other than the sinking condos, nothing remains at the site but a mud puddle and a crumbling dam.

Condo owners fear that the cost to fix their condo buildings and Marion Dam will exceed $1 million. If that’s the case, they’ll likely consider their homes a total loss, and the city of Marion will have to condemn the area.

Previous reports note that most of Westwood Chateau owners are retirees. Unfortunately, those who have lost their homes won’t be able to recover financially.

Source:

2 decades of reports show Marion dam needed repairs before condo complex sank
Kimberly King |WLOS13 | September 9, 2019


Birmingham area tenants suffer consequences of landlords, condo association, failing to pay water bill

Here’s common problem IAC often sees in condominium associations that are operated as de facto rental communities.

Most of the units at Woodside Condominiums are privately owned, then leased to tenants. As explained in a WBRC report, condo owners collect rent from tenants. The rent includes water utilities. The landlord owners are supposed to then pay their condo fees to Woodside Association.

The condo Treasurer then pays the water utility bill for the entire complex. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

Time for a reality check.

The condo owners continue to collect rent, but, according to condo Treasurer, Ethel Sizemore, they refuse to pay the condo fees. So the association doesn’t have the money to pay the water bill. She hasn’t paid a bill since May.

When the total tab for the water bill exceeded $136,000, Birmingham Water Works turned off the main supply to the complex. That left tenants without water to drink, bathe, wash clothes or dishes, for about 5 days.

The Water Works then agreed to turn the water back on, pending an agreement with the condo associations on a payment plan.

But water service restoration may only be temporary, since Sizemore admits she has no idea how the condo association will be able to make payments on their huge bill.

SO typical of older condo complexes without separate water meters for each unit.

Source:

Woodside Condominiums tenants in limbo as property grapples with $136,000 water bill
By WBRC Staff and Brittany Dionne | September 9, 2019 at 4:47 PM CDT – Updated September 10 at 5:09 AM


Owners, investors question future of their seaside, agricultural village (WA)

In the Seabright community in Point Roberts, Washington, near the Canadian border, there’s big trouble in paradise, according to one local newspaper.

Property buyers will note that Orca Shores LLC continues to sell lots and custom built waterside cottages, promising access to a full array of amenities: sports fields, a community center, horseshoe pits, heated swimming pool and hot tub, a greenhouse, produce pavilion, coffee house, and more.

But, according to All Point Bulletin, only seven cottages have been built in Seabright, and, of 59 lots, 33 are still owned by Orca Shores LLC. Unidentified investors tell local reporters that maintenance of the common areas isn’t satisfactory. They complain of gross mismanagement of the community.

Despite its outward appearance as a rural getaway for the well-to-do, Seabright is in deep financial trouble. Orca Shores is reportedly delinquent on its property taxes, and hasn’t been paying its vendors.

Key investors have ordered an audit of the developer’s financial records, to try and sort out the mess.

It appears that the Agrihood concept, clustered homes surrounding enclosed courtyards, hasn’t attracted enough interest to sustain the community and pay the bills.

Source:

Seabright development under stress
All Point Bulletin
August 30, 2019


Florida’s Lakeside Woodlands residents uneasy about 46 holes caused by underground caverns

In the Lakeside Woodlands community of Hudson, Pasco County Emergency Management, University of South Florida, and engineers hired by the homeowners association are investigating the cause of 36 depressions (shallow sinkholes) that have suddenly opened up in recent weeks.

Experts say that rain-soaked topsoil is collapsing into an underground cave system, discovered by divers 20 years ago.

Pasco County Emergency Management insists that no homes are in danger. However, they also made the decision to close a portion of Willowbrook Court in Lakeside Woodlands, due to the presence of a void beneath the road.

According to local reports, tourists have been exploring underground caves in the area since the 1970s. Yet hundreds of homes were built on top of the caverns, and, until recently, most owners had no idea what was beneath their homes.

Because the holes are located on private property, adjacent to an existing retention pond, the HOA bears the expense for investigation and fixing the problem. ♦

Sources:

Engineers explore options to fix, re-purpose holes in Hudson neighborhood
By Dan Matics, FOX 13 News
Posted Aug 21 2019 06:28PM EDT
Video Posted Aug 21 2019 05:36PM EDT

Number of holes grows to 36 in Pasco County neighborhood
By FOX 13 News staff
Posted Aug 22 2019 01:12PM EDT
Video Posted Aug 22 2019 05:09PM EDT
Updated Aug 22 2019 05:11PM EDT

Caves Beneath Pasco Community Known to Area Businesses, Cave Divers
By Sarah Blazonis Pasco County | Spectrum Bay News 9
PUBLISHED August 23, 2019 @9:00 PM