Condo owners to pay $145K special assessment to fund $5.2M renovation

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Imagine scraping together the down payment to buy a half-million dollar condo, only to be hit with a $145,000 special assessment a year later. That’s the nightmare for several homeowners in Pinnacle Condominium Association, a 36-unit, 8-building complex in San Rafael, originally constructed in 1980, managed by RealManage. According …

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In memory of L.A. Times columnist Donie Vanitzian, fierce advocate of homeowners

Vanitzian’s untimely death likely the result of domestic violence By Deborah Goonan, Independent American CommunitiesUpdated Jan. 7, 2018 12:41 p.m. It is with shock and sadness that I write today’s post. The L.A. Times reports that Donie Vanitzian, 67, died on December 28, 2017, from a single gunshot wound. Los Angeles police acknowledge a note …

FL condo owners sue for access to financial records, Association tied to FBI probe

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American CommuntiesThe Tallahassee Democrat reports that two condo owners, Anthony Dewees and Lynda Tiefel, are suing Adams Street Lofts Condominium Association. Dewees and Tiefel allege that the condo association’s board and management company have ignored or denied their requests for access to official records of the association. Florida statutes require association-governed communities …

Oregon lawsuit pits tenants against condo association, management

Families seeking $1.7 M in damages stemming from mold contamination By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   I have found that small news journals can be a rich source of information and in-depth coverage of local politics, community disputes, and lawsuits that evolve from dysfunction in association-governed housing. The following article from The Register-Guard highlights …

When is a flood zone not a flood zone? Riverstone owners sue HOA developer

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts continue in southeastern Texas. Now that waters have receded, clean up and damage assessment is well underway. Homeowners and residents wonder what went wrong. Yesterday, I wrote about widespread flooding in Cinco Ranch, which caused failure of a sewage treatment plant. Today's report from KTRK …

Majorca Isles settles for $11M from D.R. Horton

Settlement follows October 2016 judgment for $16.3 By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   According to the lawsuit that concluded in October 2016, Majorca Isles was approved as low to moderate income housing (up to 681 units) organized as individual condo associations with an umbrella Master Homeowners Association. Most of the mortgages were FHA insured. …

Think your HOA townhouse is convenient, maintenance free? Think again.

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities In some parts of the country, the real estate industry is marketing townhouses to first time homebuyers and retirees looking to downsize. Builders are also putting up townhouses in vacation destinations. Several times per month I hear from homebuyers that are considering buying a townhouse, because they do not …

HOA, Condo, Co-op Legislation updates (May 2017 – CA, MD, MO, NM)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities California In an effort to clearly define First Amendment rights in association-governed communities, SB 407 is making its way through Senate Committees. The bill would make it unlawful for an association-governed community to restrict a member's right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly on common property. The …

FL Legislature passes condo bill including criminal penalties

HB 1237 substituted for SB 1682, passes Senate unanimously. By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Updated 7:45 PM Despite strong opposition by indsutry trade group Community Associations Institute and at least one member of the Florida Bar, the Legislature in the Sunshine State managed to pass HB 1237 this afternoon. Reference: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/01237/?Tab=BillHistory The bill makes …

HOA legislation updates -March 2017 (MD, UT, CA )

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Maryland More powers for condo boards? SB 529 would grant additional power to condominium boards (councils) to amend Bylaws to allow common element restrictions for owners delinquent in payment of assessments. The Bylaw amendments would be voted on by a majority of board members, without any input from unit …