Monday, November 30, 2009

It's all in the family!

Hopefully you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. If the leftovers are still good and the out of town visitors are safely on their way back home, consider yourselves fortunate!

If you're like me, you try to keep discussions of work out of your family gatherings. However, with so many people living in common interest ownership communities around the country these days it's inevitable that someone sitting at your table lives in one and has a problem or knows someone who does. My holiday gathering was not immune to the issues plaguing many of you who read this blog.

My older brother lives in a homeowners' association in Indiana that denied his request to build an 8-foot high fortress-like enclosure around his lot; they weren't too crazy about his pool plans either. My sister lives in a Broward County condominium association that is struggling with delinquencies hovering near the 40% mark and further struggling with an unreasonable land lease on their recreational facilities. After paying the lessor each month, the association barely has enough left over for basic community maintenance. As a result, they have been unable to pursue any sort of beautification or improvement projects for years. She'd like to sell her unit and move but its current value is about $50,000 less than what she owes to the bank.

My parents live in a homeowners' association in Weston where they both have served on the board or a committee at one time or another and have seen firsthand how difficult it is to get people to attend the association meetings or even send in their proxies instead. A neighbor has been the subject of bank and association foreclosure actions for well over a year but the parties and parade of new cars in their driveway continues.

My mother-in-law lives in a "55 and Over" community that has its own constant challenges as to whether or not senior housing communities can be realistically maintained in this day and age. If you polled her community members about whether or not they are happy, there would certainly be no consensus about whether the current reserve levels were correct, management was efficient and the vendors used were the best and cheapest out there.

The only one quiet at the table was my baby brother; he and his wife rent an apartment

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