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 …

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 …

Condo owners oust board that tried to impose $6.4 million special assessment

  Sometimes, the underdog wins - at least in the short run. Following last week's Willamette Week report about a massive special assessment proposed at Westlake Village in Portland, Oregon, five new owners have been elected to the condo board. The new board intends to repeal the ousted board's previous approval of a $6.4 million …

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 …

Condo ownership is, at best, only temporarily affordable

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities As real estate prices start to climb, the industry is once again pushing low down payment home loans, luring first-time homebuyers with relatively inexpensive condominiums and townhouses. Buyer beware. In the previous two decades, when developers were building condos and selling apartment-to-condo conversions faster than they could build and …

Cooperative board says, according to rules, siblings cannot share bedroom

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Canadian cities such as Vancouver share a common problem with U.S. cities - a severe shortage of affordable housing. The typical young family with children simply cannot afford to buy - or even rent - the rare detached single family home in Vancouver. Densely packed housing such as condominiums …

Will FEMA help rebuild Florida’s waterfront condos?

Hurricane Irma floods condo in Jacksonville, waves destroy foundation Readers have been contacting me, wondering if FEMA will help homeowners, condominium, or cooperative associations rebuild after two major hurricanes (Harvey and Irma) have devastated communities in Florida, Southeast Texas, and portions of Louisiana. For example, what will become of River Oak Condominium and The Villas …

Florida HOAs dealing with hardship and damage following Hurricane Irma

Homeowners and residents are picking up the pieces after Irma barreled through the entire state of Florida. Damage is widespread throughout the Sunshine State. By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities After Hurricane Irma: Singer Island condo condemned; people scramble Julius Whigham II Palm Beach Post Staff Writer 6:16 p.m Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 A wall …

Spike in HOA foreclosures – implications for legislative change

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities The subject of foreclosure by association-governed communities is getting substantial attention in the past year or two, and that's a good thing. Investigative reports, such as the following article published by The Arizona Republic at azcetnral.com, serve to increase public awareness of risks for homeowners, as well as the …