March 2016 Condo Association News Roundup

Every month, I wonder if it’ll be a slow news month.  March continues 2016’s trend of both interesting and depressing condo association news.  Let’s get to the March 2016 Condo Association News!

 

New Illinois Condominium & HOA Report Reveals 50,000 Associations

Community Contributor, Chicago Tribune, March 3 2016

 

This article has me super geeked out because it provides a quantitative data dive into the Condo Association counts for Illinois.  While The Community Associations Institute, a fantastic and well-known organization, had approximately 18,250 Associations according to their records, the firm performing the study found that there were in fact more than 50,000 Associations with 600,000 units.  Some interesting facts the study found include:

  • 80% of the Associations were self-managed or managed by Developers
  • 45% of Associations were small Associations of seven to 24 units
  • 35% of Associations were two- to six-flat buildings

With 80% of Associations under 24 units, it shows just how many small and tiny Associations there are.  While those communities have less to manage, they also need to be more vigilant in terms of ensuring they have proper controls and active community involvement precisely because there’s less oversight.  It means that Owners and Board Members for these communities need to make sure they’re involved and managing their Community well – the implications for breaking bad are that much higher.

HarborView Towers condo association seeks bankruptcy

Sarah Meehan, Baltimore Sun, March 10 2016

An amazing looking property.   I hope they can resolve their challenges.
An amazing looking property. I hope they can resolve their challenges.

This bizarre story has been one of interest to me, and I’ve been following it as it really seems to be the ultimate in a Board failing their duties.  While the Board clearly was delinquent with regards to repairing the unit of the Owners who initiated the lawsuit, the size of the judgment is crippling against the Community – between a $1.2M arbitration award and a $600k judgment, spread among 249 units, is an average burden of $7,228 per unit in legal debts.  And remember, this followed $8M in renovations, so that Community’s reserves are most assuredly depleted, further confirmed by the filing of bankruptcy.

This is a horror story that all Owners should read and heed.  Your Board has a lot of power and responsibility, and their failure to do their job correctly can, in worst-case scenarios, result in financial burdens that are imposed upon you as part of the Association.  Make sure you’re involved and aware.

Multiple South Florida condos under state investigation for election fraud

ENRIQUE FLOR AND BRENDA MEDINA, Miami Herald, March 12 2016

Florida has 1.6 million Condos, and apparently they’ve got a rampant fraud problem.  There have been multiple reports of election fraud, including one election with a 115% turn out – most Associations can’t even get a quorum, let alone 115%!  Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Florida Condo fraud, which the article describes in extensive detail for those who want to be further horrified.

Two of the major drivers that spur this, per the article, are the lack of criminal penalties – while falsifying a signature is a third degree felony, good luck getting police or prosecutor resources put against them – and the fact that pursuing civil options is costly and rarely used.

What’s interesting about this story is it sounds like the fraud isn’t limited to just one candidate in an election, but rather many candidates all trying to cheat their way to the top.  This is taking breaking bad to a whole new level.  You have to wonder what life in these Condos is like for regular Owners.  Is there widespread apathy, or perhaps just resignation to the fact that their Board members are cheating?  Those Owners need to make sure their voices are heard, and put as much pressure on their Boards as possible to run their Associations in a fair and legal way.  If you like this article, there’s an accompanying op-ed that is also quite good.

That’s all for this month.  If you enjoy these roundups, email list subscribers get bonus content in the form of even more news stories.  You can subscribe by clicking here.  You’ll get weekly updates on published content as well as occasional bonus content, but you won’t get more than about half a dozen emails or so a month, and no spam.  


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