HOA, condo & co-op news digest (Feb 3, 2020)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Property owners across the U.S. grapple with unexpected costs of maintaining their homes and their communities. Plus – homeowner surprised when HOA sells his half-million home at foreclosure.

California

HOA bills homeowners for clean up of abandoned homeless camp on common property

What a tragic story, and a sad commentary on the state of housing in California.

Homeless people camp out in a ravine, and no one in the nearby HOA-governed neighborhood seems to notice?

The HOA manager didn’t know the precise location of the boundaries of the community, assuming that the encampment was on city property, and not the HOA’s problem. Turns out the ravine is common property of the HOA.

After the homeless people were evicted several months ago, they left behind a huge mess of debris. The HOA is now responsible for clean up, to the tune of $20,000. So each property in the subdivision was specially assessed $300.

No one knows where the homeless people are now. But according to the reporter, children’s toys are among the debris left behind.

Source:

Castro Valley homeowners billed $300 for cleanup of nearby homeless encampment
By Tom Vacar | KTVU FOX 2
Published January 24

 


Colorado

Business owner bankrupt after fighting to keep his home, after HOA foreclosed, following a dispute over a $100 fine

Randy Eisenhart, owner of American Stone in Gypsum, says he had to declare bankruptcy to pay for attorney fees and legal judgments, all incurred while attempting to fight his HOA.

Eisenhart says, in 2016, the HOA sent him a bill for $110, to pay for a $100 fine for violating a rule about proper trash can placement. The homeowner disagreed with the fine, and refused to pay the bill.

Then, according to Eisenhart, he didn’t hear from the Chatfield Corners HOA until December 2017. That’s when he arrived home to find an eviction notice posted on the door of his half million dollar home on Grundel Way.

The HOA had placed a lien on his property, then sold his home a foreclosure sale to collect the money he owed.

The details are missing

In his interview with CBS4, the homeowner isn’t saying how much he owed the HOA, or how much money he’s spent on legal fees trying to keep his home. But it was enough to push him into bankruptcy.

There are a lot of questions that come to mind with this story. How did a $100 fine turn into a past due assessment? How much did the HOA charge for late fees and interest?

And, here’s a key question: how much did the HOA attorney tack on for legal fees?

Did the HOA provide adequate notice of the lien and its intent to foreclose? And how much did the buyer pay for Eisenhart’s home at the auction?

I have some unfortunate news for Mr. Eisenhart. The ‘fine print’ in virtually all HOA governing documents severely restrict property rights of homeowners, and hand way too much power to the Association, its board of directors, and its agents.

A home buyer in Colorado — or anywhere else in the U.S. — will be hard-pressed to find an HOA that does NOT have the right to fine its members, and foreclose on private property for any unpaid financial obligation to the HOA.

Source:

Coloradan Could Lose Home In HOA Fight: ‘Read The Fine Print’
By Matt Kroschel | CBS4 | February 2, 2020 at 7:55 pm

 


District of Columbia (Washington DC)

City’s water company warns victims of sewage flood: don’t flush ‘flushable’ wipes

Two days before Christmas, a massive sewage back up flooded basement level units at Penn Circle Condominiums on 27th Street SE.

The condo association’s plumber says the clog was not on their property — the city blames the clog on “flushable” wipes, which don’t break down, but tend to clump and block sewage pipes.

Residents are filing insurance claims with DC Water to reimburse them for the cost of the clean up done by the condo association.

Source:

7,000 gallons of raw sewage flood a DC condo building and DC Water blames wipes
Residents argue the clog did not happen on their property and are filing a claim.
Author: Delia Goncalves | WUSA9
Published: 5:54 AM EST January 28, 2020
Updated: 5:54 AM EST January 28, 2020

 


Florida

How will Jupiter homeowners pay for clean up of Jones Creek?

Jupiter River Estates neighborhood has no HOA to maintain the portion of Jones Creek that is privately owned.  Due to a number of factors, water quality is poor, and has been for years.

Frustrated residents say the creek is a ‘filthy quagmire’ that desperately needs to be cleaned up.

To restore water quality, many Jupiter River Estates homeowners are hoping set up a tax district to pay for restoration and future maintenance of the creek. So far, 70 out of 200 members have agreed to pay $400 per year toward the district.

Property owners are hoping the town of Jupiter will pick up the cost of thinning out mangroves as part of the project, at an estimated cost of $400,000. Town officials aren’t making any commitments at this point.

Two other communities along Jones creek, The Colony and Maple Isle, do have HOAs. But, not surprisingly, they haven’t maintained their segments of Jones Creek either.

Bottom line: in order to clean up the quagmire, all property owners along Jones Creek, as well as the Town of Jupiter, will have to coordinate their efforts from this point forward.

Source:

Jupiter’s Jones Creek is a filthy quagmire and neighbors desperately want it cleaned up – but that’s not so simple
By Sam Howard | Palm Beach Post
Posted Jan 24, 2020 at 3:50 PM

 


South Carolina

Owners of ocean front homes on Harbour Island face grim realities of beach erosion

Harbor Island probably seemed like paradise to owners who built homes in the 1980s. Beautiful water front views, and a planned community setting with golf and tennis to enjoy.

Then Hurricane Matthew slammed the eastern tip of Beaufort County in 2016, eroding the beach, and destroying several front row homes. Today, some of those homes have been demolished, and the land sold to the HOA.  A few homes are still standing, badly deteriorated, pummeled daily by high tides.

The owners of those homes are still embroiled in litigation, as insurers are refusing to pay to rebuild the homes.

Recent home buyers say their real estate agent showed them the house they purchased when the tide was low. But it didn’t take them long to find out how dangerously close the ocean surges toward their home at high tide.

A long history of beach erosion

Harbor Island homeowners have been aware of beach erosion for years. Some blame climate change. Others blame development of a nearby state park.

The Post and Courier reports that, in 2011, “86 percent of property owners voted against embarking on renourishment, which sucks sand off the ocean floor and deposits it back on a beach.”

Whatever the reasons for erosion, it’s nearly impossible to overcome the forces of nature.

A few owners have taken a proactive route, spending big bucks to move their homes farther inland on the small island. Others, who cannot afford such drastic measures, fear the Atlantic Ocean will take their homes within the next 5 or 10 years.

The HOA decided it’s not worth spending a fortune to replenish the beach for a few front row homeowners.

In hindsight, many people wonder why the local government ever chose to approve permits to build homes so darn close to the ocean.

Source:

As SC island homes fall into ocean, owners behind them wonder if they’re next
By Chloe Johnson cjohnson@postandcourier.com
Feb 1, 2020 Updated Feb 2, 2020. ♦