January 2018 Condo Association News Roundup


We are now a full month into 2018, and 2017 is fading deep into the rear view mirror.  January brought bitter cold to much of the U.S., but that cold didn’t keep the Condo news from being interesting.  As we launch into the new year, we see a number of familiar stories surfacing.  Drama at the San Francisco Millennium tower continues – this time over a fire violation notice.  Short-term rental news includes a Nashville compromise.  And finally, Massachusetts has a big court case that protects Condo owners.  Enjoy the January 2018 Condo Association news roundup!  

Millennium Tower Homeowners Association Responds to City’s Violation Notice, Blames ‘Problem Owner’

Jaxon Van Derbeken, NBC Bay Area, 1/9/18

The Millennium Tower in San Francisco has seen another surge of drama over the past month and a half.  First, in December, as covered in the mailing list, an Owner alleged that there were noxious odors, which were identified to be coming from gaps in the walls.  Then, on January 5, the city of San Francisco issued a violation notice against the building due to “a breach in the fire and smoke barrier.” 

The Association responded to the violation noting that the Owner who has been most vocal about the odors and the alleged fire risk has been incredibly difficult to work with, limiting access to their unit when the Association wanted to send contractors or engineers in.  While these sorts of “he said, she said” issues are common in Condo Associations, they typically do not turn into multiple news stories from major outlets.  However, with all of the Millennium Tower drama, apparently even standard Condo Association silliness is worth writing articles!

Court: Condo owners can’t have their rights to sue developers for shoddy construction waived away in condo docs written by those developers

Adam G, Universal Hub, 1/19/18

Sorry, you waived your right to sue us when we established your Condo Association!

Construction defects are one of the biggest challenges for a new Condo community.  Whether a case like DR Horton or the Millennium Tower, it’s never good for Owners when they have to pick up the tab for poor construction.  Apparently in Massachusetts, some sneaky developers were trying to write language in the declarations and Bylaws (which Developers write) that would automatically waive any liability.  Such a practice seems absurd and unfair, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed.

The court ruled that such provisions did not sign away legal rights.  This in turn allows communities to sue if they feel they are facing a construction defect.  This decision is a good ruling and gives Owners more recourse in these unfortunately common situations.  

Some short-term rentals in Nashville will only operate for 3 more years

Briona Arradondo, WSMV Nashville, 1/25/18

Time is ticking down for some short term rentals.

Short-term rentals are one of the biggest issues in the housing industry.  Loved by some, hated by others, the battle has been ongoing for years.  We predictedincorrectly – their settling last year, but have more confidence in it this year.  In the latest, the city of Nashville came to a compromise to phase out short-term rentals in low-density housing over the next three years.  However, they will continue to allow short-term rentals in Condo or apartment environments.

Also interesting is that enforcement is highly dependent on the communities.  One city councilman noted that it will be up to residents to report to the city if they believe a property is being used ineffectively.  Whether or not this compromise will improve the situation remains to be seen.  

That’s all for the January 2018 Condo Association News! Did you know that you can get even more news articles by signing up for our mailing list?  Mailing list subscribers get monthly bonus news stories and analysis.  Join the list today!

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