Condo Conversions Bring Structure Problems, Headaches for Owners | Real Estate

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Condo Conversions Bring Structure Problems, Headaches for Owners
Real Estate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  While condominium prices are on the rise in Jacksonville, many condo owners are battling over condo-conversion problems.

Numerous apartment complexes were converted into condos across Florida before the real-estate slump, and problems with some of those conversions are not hard to spot. 

PICTURES: Southside Condo Problems

At the Reserve at Pointe Meadows off Gate Parkway, there are support beams everywhere shoring up the property.

It's been three years since the apartment-turned-condo alerted residents to structural problems. In that time, dozens of residents faced new problems, including foreclosure and liens on their homes.

Many of the residents said today they are concerned but would not elaborate.

Michael Brightwood, who lives at The Boxwood at Baymeadows, another condo conversion project, knows just how they feel. "I had faith they would honor their agreement, and they would take care of the problems that were here."

Boxwood originally was built in the 1970s and in 2003 converted to condos. Brightwood said some of his neighbors had piping problems and there were structural problems, too.

The homeowners association sued the developer and settled, he said. "We're just glad it's all over with, and we are getting on with our lives now." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"We're just glad it's all over with, and we are getting on with our lives now." 

Brightwood said those who are in conversion projects with problems should hold onto hope for a resolution.

The homeowners association at the Reserve at Pointe Meadows sued Hardaway Construction which did the conversion. Hardaway declined to comment because of the lawsuit, but according to the homeowners association, it is in the middle of settlement talks. Its court date is March 2012.

"I think we are getting pretty good bang for our buck here," said Brightwood. 

While it was a hassle, he said, his condo community is pleased with the outcome, and if given a chance to buy another condo conversion, he said he would do it.     

Rogers Towers attorney Troy Smith said when it comes to special assessments, it is difficult for condo owners to avoid.

Smith said special assessments are usually necessary for capital improvements.

He said what is required of the Condo Association board are:

A special notice to all property owners.

Owners can voice their opposition

If the special assessment is approved Smith said condo owners must pay it.

""If they don't pay the association has a right to record a lien against the condo unit and ultimately sell it, just like a mortgage foreclosure to recoup the cost," said Smith.

One way to ease that financial burden is to get a line of credit with the bank where the association has a business relationship said Smith.

Smith said usually the developer's performance bond or General Liability insurance would cover major repairs, if the claims are within the legal time frame.                           

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