Viriginia Beach community displays the mean side of beach condo living

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Ever dream of owning a condo by the beach, spending your Golden Years enjoying the sand and surf? What if you paid big money for your retirement dream home by the sea, but your access to the beach was blocked by a sand dune? And what if the condo …

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HOA, Condo, Co-op Legislative Highlights (October 2017)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities District of Columbia Effective April 2017, the Condominium Owner Bill of Rights and Responsibilities Amendment Act of 2016 provides some consumer-friendly provisions. First, the Act requires condominium associations to provide written notice to an owner who becomes delinquent on assessments. The notice must include a breakdown of all charges, and …

Will state bills finally bring accountability to Association-Governed communities?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Both Florida and Pennsylvania Legislatures are considering  bills to create accountability for association-governed communities. But the type of legislation differs vastly. Florida In Florida, the legislation under consideration will apply only to condominium and cooperative associations, but not to planned communities of single family homes. SB 1682 and companion …

HOA Legislation updates – March 2017 (CO and FL)

by Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Colorado Construction Defects debate heats up, but is compromise possible? A new compromise bill has been introduced in the House, in the hopes that Colorado legislators can finally address the state's highly controversial construction defect laws pertaining to common interest, association-governed communities. In past blogs, I have criticized the …

After nearly three years of legal battles, Florida condo owners find replacing their board a daunting task

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Whenever I read talking points from an industry trade group, Community Associations Institute (CAI), claiming that Association Governed Communities are "democratic" self- governance, I cringe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps in a perfect world. But most associations are far from perfection when it comes to conducting …

FHA publishes new rules following HOTMA

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Very interesting development! Not long ago, I wrote about Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), and what the policy might mean for the condominium industry and consumers alike. If you missed it, you can read about HOTMA here: https://independentamericancommunities.com/2016/07/29/new-federal-bill-hotma-h-r-3700-housing-opportunity-through-modernization-act/ and here: https://independentamericancommunities.com/2016/08/30/easing-fha-condo-certifications-and-the-collapsing-housing-market/ Well, it appears that the U.S. Department …

Dysfunction in Florida’s condominium regulatory agency

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities As the end of the calendar year approaches, owner-advocates are working on getting regulation of Association-Governed Communities in their respective states. One of the items on their Wish List: an official department or agency to take complaints and mediate or arbitrate disputes between property owners and their Associations. A …

FL condo managers get 5 years probation for conspiracy, theft

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities     Twice in one week, two different states, both involving significant Association-Governed Community theft by admitted criminals. Yesterday I wrote about Loretta Lock, Realtor/Broker and former HOA treasurer of Charleston Harbor Homes Association in Kansas City, MO, admitted to stealing more than $100,000 from her neighbors. But, instead …

FL HOA homeowner: “I’m not going to give my money to crooks!”

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   The latest report of a bully HOA board comes from homeowners in the Rivercrest HOA in the Tampa Bay area. Not long ago I passed along the report from WTSP news about the Lopez family, whose house was foreclosed over a single missed HOA dues payment of $150.   …

Why aren’t foreclosure “rescue” fraudsters held accountable?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Here's a well-written investigative report by the Center for Public Integrity. It features one particularly well-know attorney whose law firm made millions charging clients steep monthly fees to help them avoid foreclosure. The problem, according to state and federal regulators, including the FTC: Gennady Litvin engaged in a pattern …