ANOTHER DEVELOPER SUES OWNERS, WHO DARED
TO COMPLAIN ABOUT EVER-INCREASING DUES!
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published September 24, 2010
It's really no wonder why no more retirees want to move into the new community associations in the former SUNSHINE STATE. Word gets around up North: Developers use retirees as cash cows, suck them dry and spit them out. And if these retirees dare to complain, because they can't afford the ever-increasing monthly assessments any longer, throw some frivolous lawsuits at them -- like SLAPP-suits. That will teach them to shut up and pay!
And all that with the blessing of our esteemed legislators who treat developers like an endangered species -- I guess some wouldn't be in office without the campaign funds from these developers.
Florida makes a lot of hoopla about protecting the elderly -- even touts a Department of Elder Affairs. But when it comes to protecting their financial welfare, these elderly folks, who moved here believing all the propaganda about caring about the elderly and the so-called 55+ communities, are finding out that they are left to fight for themselves.
Homeowners complaining about the injustice in these community associations are always told: "Shut up! You signed a contract. You knew what you were getting into!"
But these contracts aren't worth the paper they are written on. With a few strokes of a pen and a fee of $59.50 to the Clerk of the Court, a developer completely changes the basic foundation of this contract these retirees once signed.
How would you feel if you signed a contract when buying a home that said that the Class "B" membership will be converted to Class "A" membership (meaning turn-over from developer-control) latest fifteen (15) years from the date of filing of the Declaration -- but shortly before the turn-over date is reached, the developer unilaterally files an to this contract and plainly eliminates this important provision?
Would you be mad and feel betrayed? Wouldn't you scream "Bloody Murder," especially if the same developer continually raises your monthly assessments?
that happened to the residents
of the Kings Gate retirement community in
Believe me, I can surely understand that these homeowners are mad -- and aired their feelings in words and writing that might not have always been "politically correct." But in my opinion being "politically correct" stops when a developer abuses his power and strips retirees of their life-savings.
Developer Nathan Benderson -- Benderson Development Company LLC -- obviously wasn't too thrilled about the choice of some words used to describe him and his actions.
And he did what all the folks do when they don't want to hear how other people -- or their customers -- feel about their actions: He filed a because of allegedly slanderous statements made during the meeting.
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In the lawsuit Benderson and his company as the plaintiffs claim that their actions these folks are complaining about were absolutely in compliance with the proper exercise of their lawful business, trade and profession.
And I guess that is the big question: Can a developer unilaterally change the CC&Rs -- the contract the whole community association is based upon? Is unilaterally changing a contract lawful business?