Time to improve fire safety for condo residents

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities With multiple households living in close proximity, fire safety is more important than ever. But for more than a decade, the real estate industry has delayed action to improve fire safety for condo residents. Here it is, just halfway through the month of December, with  a half dozen reports …

Colorado homeowners seek answers after deadly gas explosion

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By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities The gas leak and explosion hit Heather Gardens, a 55+ senior  community of 3,800 residents, on November 16, 2018. One resident died in a ball of fire that destroyed her home. Another resident and a fire fighter were injured. Several homes in the vicinity were damaged from the explosion, smoke, …

Firefighters say newer homes burn faster than old homes

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By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Many home buyers prefer the modern features of a new home. They enjoy the comfort and convenience of extra bathrooms, kitchens with new cabinets and appliances, and energy-efficient features. But lately I’ve been seeing some disturbing reports about the quality of some modern building materials. Specifically, three widely used …

After the fire: a reality check for condo owners

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Multifamily housing may seem to provide a low-maintenance lifestyle, an a more affordable alternative to owning or leasing a detached single family home. But, in fact, attached housing can cost more to maintain and insure in the long run. Plus, attached walls and stacked housing units create increased risk …

This month’s roundup of HOA dysfunction (June 2018)

  Association-governed communities have important responsibilities, but many times, the HOA falls short of fulfilling its duties. By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities     Here’s a serious safety warning: make sure the pool service contractor for your HOA’s pool club knows how to safely handle and monitor those pool chemicals. A San Jose area …

Lawsuit brewing: SC family sustains injuries after jumping off of 3rd floor balcony to escape condo fire

Windsor Green condo complex sustained another major fire in 2013   By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Every week I read several reports of fires in multifamily housing, including condominiums. Sometimes, in addition to significant property damage that displaces residents, a fire results in fatalities or personal injuries. Windsor Green Condominium, Myrtle Beach, was …

Iowa condo owners begin recovery process after second major fire in less than a decade

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   The Urbandale Patch reports that a massive New Year’s Day fire has destroyed half of 36 units in a condominium apartment building. Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities. Property damages are substantial, however, as illustrated by this video. In addition to fire damage to approximately 18 units, …

Fire safety, property damage serious concerns for condo, apartment dwellers

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Multifamily housing such as apartments, stacked condominiums, and townhouses present numerous potential risks for property owners and residents. One of the most serious risks is the potential for property damage, personal injury, or even death due to a fire. Unfortunately, many older multifamily housing structures have not been …

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 …

Why aren’t Austin condos rebuilt yet, 2 years after fire?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Every month I read several reports about fires in condominiums. Unfortunately, they are fairly common. Damage from a fire can range from mildly disruptive to devastating, and some fires lead to serious injuries or fatalities. After the immediate crisis subsides, however, the process of repairing and rebuilding a …