Condo living not so carefree for these owners

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Owning a condo is not as affordable and carefree as real estate brokers and developers promise. When you share walls, roofs, and financial liabilities with co-owners, you have limited control over how association property is maintained, whether or not it is adequately insured, or who will ultimately make …

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What can be done to improve HOA governance?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities There has been much online discussion about dysfunctional boards of association-governed communities. Homeowners complain that their board members operate in secret, they discourage participation of members, and resist providing access to official records. In some communities, the same handful of homeowners takes turns serving on the board, rotating officer …

Live in a condo? Don’t count on a working elevator

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities I communicate with a lot of people in the U.S. and Canada that own condos, and many of these residents are over the age of 55. They often tell me they purchased their condos to simplify their retirement years and live more affordably. Others purchased their condos as vacation …

Former Lynnhill residents awarded $100K from utility companies for abrupt shutoff

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Nearly a year has passed since State Senator C. Anthony Muse called for an investigation into alleged mismanagement of funds at Lynnhill Condominiums. Last fall, residents were abruptly forced to find alternate housing after Pepco and Washington Gas Light Company shut off utilities to the housing complex. No word …

Condo, Strata power struggles out of control in U.S. and Canada

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Anyone who follows reports of conflict and dysfunction in association-governed, corporate-managed, common interest communities begins to see recurring behavior patterns. It goes something like this: Most owners and residents in multifamily housing try to get along, but, inevitably, a few people living in such close quarters start to get …

DC leaders plan to tackle blighted condo

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities The latest media report of a rundown, nearly abandoned condominium comes from WJLA (ABC7) in Washington, DC. It has all the hallmarks of a condemned building: no utilities, broken windows, trash and debris piled up everywhere, abandoned cars, and a few stragglers and squatters still living in these horrid …

What is the root cause of HOA dysfunction?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   To solve any problem, it helps to identify its cause or causes. So as we attempt to tackle social and economic problems plaguing many of our association-governed, common interest communities, we need to look beyond the increasingly obvious abuse and HOA horror stories, and recognize that we have …

Memphis: Fox Hollow HOA becomes dumping grounds

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Think living in a townhouse homeowners association means you'll have a well maintained neighborhood? Think again. Fox Hollow HOA in Memphis, Tennessee, is so poorly maintained and neglected that a heap of trash and broken down junk welcomes residents and visitors to their community. The City has issued code …

Leaky condos, special assessments a pervasive problem worldwide

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Today's blog is for my Canadian readers, but also serves as a reminder to U.S. owners of Association Governed condominiums or cooperatives that the very same problems exist worldwide, wherever Common Interest Development is prevalent. The following article, written by a Canadian attorney, illustrates that point quite well. In …