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HOA, condo, and co-op good news — for a change (Oct. 2019)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

debgoonan@icloud.com

Examples of resolutions to several vexing HOA problems: completion of major stucco repair project in FL; new sidewalk in AZ; flag dispute resolved in NC; affordable housing assistance in WY; city rethinks its trash bin pickup policy in IA.

 

FL: Once unlivable condos are livable again. It only took 11 years.

In the last IAC update on Metrowest, Orlando (June 2018), residents were still complaining about the slow process of repairing defective stucco and wood rot in Florida’s largest condominium community, the Hamptons.

Now, after eleven long years of litigation against its developers, and a lot of financial pain, the Orlando Sentinel reports that the residential community is livable again. All 59 buildings have been repaired, and Orlando’s code enforcement has agreed to reduce $3 million in fines down to $150,000, payable by next October.

Finally! A light at the end of the tunnel.

The Hamptons at Metrowest, Orlando, is a prime example of everything that can go wrong with an apartment to condo conversion. When the conversion began in 2000, construction companies applied a defective stucco veneer over wood-framed multifamily buildings. The shoddy construction resulted in water intrusion and wood rot.

But, even though the Hamptons Condo Association was awarded $20 million in a lawsuit against its former owners and developers, it proved to be insufficient to repair and replace exterior surfaces of 770 units.

The condo association was forced to issue special assessments to cover the gap, even though, at the same time, the board was struggling to collect condo fees from hundreds of foreclosed units.

An attorney for the condo association estimates that homeowners have paid more the $22 million to make things rights. Owners are currently repaying a $10 million loan.

When the real estate market was hot, buyers paid up to $250,000 for their units. According to a previous Orlando Sentinel reports, condo units were selling for less than $140,000 last year. Prices are still depressed this year — as low as $160,000 — but on the way up.

Source:

Once ‘unfit for human habitation,’ Orlando condo complex finishes repairing building defects
By CAROLINE GLENN | ORLANDO SENTINEL | OCT 17, 2019 | 2:36 PM


AZ: Gilbert parents happy about new sidewalk route to elementary school

Here’s more proof that, sometimes, a media spotlight on a community safety hazard can bring about positive change.

Parents of school children contacted ABC15 at the start of this school year, about the lack of a sidewalk on one side of Riggs Road and Higley Road in Gilbert. The problem: parents and children choosing to walk to school were forced to walk and push strollers of their younger children on rough terrain on their route to Riggs Elementary School.

There’s a bike lane on that side of the road, but parents complained to their HOA and the town of Gilbert, that it’s much too close to car traffic to be safe.

Last spring, parents began asking their HOA and the town of Gilbert to add a sidewalk to provide a safer route to school. But no one paid attention to their pleas until ABC15 highlighted the issue as part of their Operation Safe Roads series.

Within a few weeks of the August report, leaders from Gilbert and the HOA decided to work together, and today, there’s a brand new sidewalk creating a safe pedestrian route to the elementary school.

Source:

Gilbert neighborhood gets sidewalk on school route thanks to Operation Safe Roads
Posted: 6:00 PM, Oct 23, 2019
Updated: 7:11 PM, Oct 25, 2019
By: Megan Thompson | ABC15


NC HOA has change of heart on ‘Aurora Strong’ flag display — sort of

Last month, IAC featured the story of Leslie Kendra in a post entitled HOA rules vs. human compassion.

At that time, Porto Fino HOA (Wake Forest, NC) had fined homeowner Leslie Kendra hundreds of dollars for flying 2 flags on a flagpole in front of her home.

The HOA said the homeowner had failed to get approval before putting up the flags.

Earlier this year, her son, Clayton Parks, was killed in a mass shooting at the Henry Pratt facility in Aurora, IL, when a disgruntled worker opened fire at his place of employment. While she mourns the loss of her son, Kendra honors his memory by flying an American flag and an ‘Aurora Strong’ flag on that flagpole.

After Kendra’s story was featured by ABC News, the HOA reconsidered its stance on the matter.

The board first decided to approve the flags, but with conditions. Kendra would have to move the flagpole from the front yard to the side yard. And the homeowner would only be permitted to display the ‘Aurora Strong’ flag on the anniversary of the mass shooting.

Not exactly the most sensitive way to handle a free speech issue, especially under the circumstances.

Well, after a follow-up ABC News report on Porto Fino’s decision generated even more negative publicity for the community, the HOA changed its mind once again. Kendra can display the ‘Aurora Strong’ flag year round. But the HOA still wants the flagpole moved to the side yard.

Call it a partial win for the homeowner.

Source:

Mother of mass shooting victim wins partial victory vs. HOA over flag honoring son
By MEGHAN KENEALLY | ABC News
Oct 18, 2019, 6:12 PM ET


Jackson Hole and Teton County agree to assist owners of affordable townhomes with new roof project

In Wyoming, town and county officials plan to offer up to $1.29 million in low interest loans to a community association, so that owners in Melody Ranch Townhomes can afford to replace their aging roofs.

Melody Ranch is a Jackson/Teton County Affordable Housing community that consists of 6 fourplexes built in 1996 and 1998.

According to the agreement the county and town will split the cost of the loan 55%/45%. The local government plans to fund the loan through developer fees.

All 24 townhomes are governed by an HOA, which is in the process of approving a special assessment to cover the cost of repaying the loans.

As affordable housing units, the future sale price of each home is artificially limited to ensure they remain affordable to buyers in lower income ranges. That means that many of the unit owners cannot obtain home equity loans to come up with a lump sum needed to pay the HOA for its new roofs.

The local government decided to offer the low interest loans to all homeowners, in order to preserve more of their affordable housing stock.

Jackson’s Mayor supports a similar solution for its other affordable housing communities, according to the Jackson Hole Daily:

Mayor Pete Muldoon said the town and county should create a policy in case other homes in its 800-some portfolio of deed-restricted units have major maintenance problems in the future.

“I do think we need to have a policy at some point that will cover repairs to homes that are developed by private developers and sold to private owners,” Muldoon said. “I don’t think we should do it on an ad hoc basis.”

Source:

Town, county agree to $1.3M in loans for failing roofs
By Allie Gross | Jackson Hole Daily
Oct 25, 2019


Iowa City works with HOA to resolve trash bin controversy

Earlier this year, Iowa City residents were informed that the city would no longer pick up their trash in the the alleys behind their homes. That angered a lot of residents, because the planned community was not originally designed for curbside waste pick up.

The roads are quite narrow, and many residents were forced to drag their waste bins quite a long distance from the rear of their homes to the front. It was inconvenient and unsightly.

After the Peninsula Neighborhood Homeowners Association brought its concerns to Iowa City, there’s been a change of heart.

The city is now picking up trash and recycling in the alleys. The city had to create some curbside No Parking zones to allow the large waste management trucks to safely navigate the neighborhood. ♦

Source:

A garbage solution: Iowa City, Peninsula neighborhood resolve waste pickup dispute
City converts residents to using carts, but will still pick them up in alley
Lee Hermiston | The Gazette | Thu., October 24, 2019