Money Troubles: HOA, condo & co-op news (Feb. 2020)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

A variety of common interest communities, governed by special districts and HOAs, face rapidly rising costs, despite a decline in service quality.

Who will pay for deferred maintenance and how much will it cost?


Three typical examples of older communities facing steep assessment increases


Dangerous structural decay

Owners of 446 units of American Beauty Village in the Rainbow Glen community, recently learned they must pay a $5,500 per unit “emergency special assessment.” Payable starting this month, in installments of at least $100, the money is earmarked to pay for replacement of rotting and sagging structural support beams, affecting at least 75% if the units.

The condominium complex, which was built in the 1980s, is managed by Bartlein & Co. Inc. Unit owners are demanding documentation of structural problems and the need for an “emergency” assessment.

Condo owners’ insurance policies generally don’t cover unexpected special assessments, unless repairs are the result of an accident, a fire, or a covered natural disaster. In this case, insurance companies are denying claims, because beam repairs are needed due to decades of deferred maintenance.


American Beauty homeowners seek answers to ‘emergency special assessment’
TAMMY MURGA, The Signal | JANUARY 31, 2020 7:37 PM


Catching up after no tax increases for 20+ years

El Dorado Hills Community Services District (EDHCSD) administers 26 Landscaping and Lighting Assessment Districts in California. Homeowners in 4 of those LLADs —Bass Lake A, Green Valley Hills, La Cresta and Oakridge — have not seen assessment increases for more than 20 years.

The money is used to maintain common neighborhood irrigation systems and landscape areas, street lights, fencing, entry monuments, parks, and open spaces.

In order to make up for a significant budget shortfall, property owners are now being asked to consider paying increased annual fees of $350, up considerably from the current $99 annual assessment. However, a majority of EDHCSD property owners must vote in favor of increasing payments.

So far, only a handful of homeowners are paying attention to the issue and attending district meetings to discuss financial options.


El Dorado Hills homeowners could face rising fees
By Sel Richard, Village Life


Funding the Underfunded reserve

A common interest community in Gardnerville, governed by Kingslane Owners Association, recently completed a new reserve study. The specialist’s report advised the board of directors that the HOA’s reserve account is only 20% funded.

California law requires common interest communities to maintain an adequate reserve account. Therefore, lot owners will have to pay $5,746 over the next five years to cover the shortfall in reserves.


Kingslane residents hit with additional assessment
News | February 7, 2020
Kurt Hildebrand |


Overflowing trash dumpsters due to suspension of services

In Jacksonville, residents of Les Chateau Condominiums endured more than 6 weeks of overflowing garbage dumpsters, when the association’s waste disposal service was stopped in January.

A representative from Advance Disposal told WJAX that the condo association had been overdue in paying for trash removal services.

Most of the units are rentals owned by non-residents of the community. No comment from the condo association or manager with regard to why disposal fees were past due.


Dumpsters at Arlington condo complex not emptied for weeks
Residents frustrated complaints were not answered
Emily Boyer, WJAX Morning assignment editor, backup traffic reporter
Published: January 29, 2020, 3:35 pmUpdated: January 29, 2020, 5:06 pm

Lousy buyout offers for owners impacted by sinkholes

Owners of 15 homes in a Hudson neighborhood, constructed in the 1980s, are getting a raw deal.

Their lots sit adjacent to a former retention pond, now riddled with dozens of sinkholes. Their homes sit on top of underground caves, which were not discovered until 2002.

The ground beneath their homes is so unstable that Pasco County officials have blocked off their street to all vehicle traffic. Engineers say that, because of the extensive underground cave network, it’s not practical or safe to attempt to repair the sinkholes.

A buyout seems to be the best option, but, even if grant applications are approved, homeowners won’t receive enough money to cover the cost of replacement housing.


Sinkhole buy-out deal “stinks,” say Hudson residents
Up to 15 property owners could be part of a grant application for sinkholes in Lakeside Woodlands neighborhood
By C.T. Bowen | Tampa Bay Times
Published Jan. 29



Another affordable housing bait and switch?

Just last year, Ke Kilohana was touted as one of Kakaako’s “affordable housing” condominium towers in Honolulu.

Howard Hughes Corporation developed the massive tower, setting aside 375 units for sale at “affordable” prices between $450,000 tp $500,000.

New residents eagerly competed for a condo at Ke Kilohana. And they raved about the convenient urban location and modern amenities.

What a difference a year makes.

Last month, unit owners discovered their condo fees are increasing by 50%, or about $200 per month. So much for the myth of government-imposed “affordable” housing.


A sharp increase in maintenance fees upsets residents of a Kakaako condo tower
The affordable housing condo Ke Kilohana is raising maintenance fees by 50 percent just eight months after the building opened in the first place.
January 28, 2020 at 6:59 PM HST – Updated January 28 at 6:59 PM

First-time homeowners handed the keys to new affordable housing towers in Kakaako
By Ashley Nagaoka | May 14, 2019 at 5:09 PM HST – Updated May 14 at 9:26 PM
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)


Mobile home lot rents increase, despite resident complaints

Despite homeowners’ objections, lot rents are increasing for more than 400 residents of Leisurewoods mobile home park, a gated 55+ community in Rockland managed by Hometown America.

Residents voiced some serious concerns to the Rockland Rent Control Board. They think a rent increase is unfair, because Leisurewood’s community management is not doing a good job of maintaining their community roads, driveways, or sidewalks.

In other words, homeowners actually expect good service for the lot rents they pay. Imagine that!

Although the homeowners had hoped the Rent Control Board would deny a rent increase, under the circumstances, their concerns fell on deaf ears.


Rockland: Residents at Leisurewoods Say Routine Maintenance is not Being Done



To incorporate or not to incorporate?

About 900 homeowners in the planned community of Massanutten are looking at alternatives to pay for road maintenance, public safety officers, and water and sewer utilities.

Home of the Massanutten Resort,the rural Virginia community offers an array of outdoor amenities to residents and visitors alike, including skiing, golfing, and water parks.

However, as the community matures, costs continue to increase for property owners. Owners in favor of incorporation say the HOA is unable to keep up with services. They also say the County isn’t very responsive to the concerns of Massanutten homeowners.

So a group called Massanutten Town Study Group (MTSG) thinks homeowners and residents should start funneling tax dollars for public services to their own town, rather than the county.

The possibility of incorporation has been discussed numerous times over the past 32 years, but, this year, at least 900 owners signed a petition in favor of incorporation.

Although the state Legislature won’t consider incorporation this year, MTSG has a growing base of support. The group plans to try again next year.

Meanwhile, non-residents — mostly owners of timeshare businesses — argue that it’s best to avoid incorporation.

They say they prefer to continue agreements with Rockingham County and VDOT to provide public services to their community. Non-residents also fear losing political clout.

Under incorporation, non-residents would not be allowed to vote for members of Massanutten town council.


For some, Massanutten town incorporation is not best option
By Hannah Hall |
Posted: Mon 8:52 PM, Jan 27, 2020  |
Updated: Mon 11:30 PM, Jan 27, 2020

Massanutten community members lobby for incorporation
Jamie McEachin | The Breeze
Dec 11, 2019 ♦

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