Should homeowner associations have power to stop harassment and bullying?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   One of the hot legislative debates brewing for 2018 in Florida is whether or  not boards of homeowner, condominium, or cooperative associations should be held responsible for preventing or curtailing harassment or bullying behavior among members of their communities. The legislative proposal follows reports of incidents such as …

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Urban Condo life: you never know what you’ll see outside your window

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   From coast to coast, it’s one shocking report after another. It turns out high rise condo living does not guarantee your privacy nor great views. At El Cortez, a landmark condo tower in historic downtown San Diego, residents have reported a suspicious drone hovering outside, apparently peering into …

Nevada 9th Circuit: Super priority lien cannot extinguish Freddie Mac mortgage without consent

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Some opportunistic Nevada real estate investors and HOA foreclosure attorneys are likely displeased with a recent Opinion filed by Judge Kimberly J. Mueller in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mueller ruled that the Federal Foreclosure Bar overrides Nevada statute’s intent to extinguish a first mortgage as a …

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 …

Water Woes: HOA storm water, flood, erosion headaches

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Since the 1970s, local governments have allowed - usually required - private developers to incorporate storm water control systems into newly constructed subdivisions of all types and sizes. Ongoing maintenance of retention ponds, drainage basins and swales, canals, weirs, dams, culverts, and related infrastructure has been assigned to …

NY condo owners stuck paying for rebuild after fire allegedly caused by National Grid

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Five years ago, a gas leak caused an explosion and fire that leveled several units at 65 Feller Drive, Building U, Windbrooke Homes condominiums.  At the time, the New York Post reported that an employee of National Grid, a gas and electric utility company, was found to have …

Reality check: HOA managers face decline of their industry, like it or not

By Deborah A Goonan, Independent American Communities   How many times have we heard representatives from HOA industry trade groups utter the words, “Homeowner Associations are not going away?” But that, dear readers, is nothing more than wishful thinking. Let’s start with the facts. The construction industry is building fewer new HOA homes and condos …

Mandatory reading before buying in or signing a residential or commercial lease in a mixed-use or high density community.

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Higher density / mixed used communities, pros & cons A collection of articles and references citing pros and cons of increasing density and incorporating mixed land uses   Advantages promoted by the industry: Walkable communities Affordable lifestyles near urban amenities Reduces sprawl and conserves land and environmental resources …

Connecting the dots: Storm water, flood control, HOAs, and affordable housing

A trio of DESTRUCTIVE hurricanes have thrust the related issues of flood control and storm water management into the limelight   By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Regular readers of IAC know I emphasize the fact that financial burdens of storm water management and flood control systems are heaped upon property owners and residents …

Urban development: what is the appropriate limit on density?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Several readers have contacted me over the past several months, sharing concerns about overdevelopment of multifamily housing, mixed used urban development, and recently approved master planned communities. One reader from Virginia laments that vintage single family and row homes are being demolished to make room for much taller …