It costs too much, say condo owners
“Most have already died, they just don’t know it yet.”

Article Courtesy of Boca Raton News

By Laura Biedron

Published June 9, 2009


Owners are currently struggling with debt from high maintenance costs because of delinquent assessments unpaid owners of foreclosed units.

What does that have to do with safety?

Governor Charlie Crist recently vetoed the condominium reform bill (SB 714 C) that, according to two South Florida legislators, will create much higher overall costs for continued condo living.

Higher maintenance costs equals less money for, even necessary, safety said State Senator Ted Deutch (D--Boca Raton), who spoke at a Delray Beach press conference last week. And the bill vetoed by Crist “would have taken a step forward in addressing the current financial issues and help alleviate financial pressure” on local condo owners who are already suffering, he said.

Specifically the bill would have extended the Crisis.

Charlotte Greenbarg, President of Broward Coalition of Condominium and Homeowners Community Organizations, said she is witnessing “10-20 percent foreclosure rates on properties with no foreclosure history, which will multiply” with the additional financial burden of these safety features, and then “we will really see a crisis.”

Greenbarg claimed the condo owners to be a “patient with an artery bleeding and the government not even giving a band-aid” that Deutch said would have helped. One third of the state population, 6-7 million people, reside in condos and will be affected by these laws claimed Miami Beach City Commissioner Jerry Libbin at the same press conference. He added condominiums are in “a death spiral, most have already died, they just don’t know it yet,”

“A perfect storm is brewing and it’s not out in the Atlantic. It’s right here in our community,” said State Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton). She added, “condo owners and their associations are about to collapse under the weight of a financial burden with no help in sight.”

Public Safety

Governor Crist wrote, “I am sensitive to the costs,” recognizing “these challenging economic times.” He added, “Public safety for residents and for the firefighters and emergency medical personnel who lay their lives on the line to provide services greatly outweigh all other considerations.”

State Representative Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach) noted that Governor Crist “is inconsistent in his methodology” and is leaving these condo owners “out in the cold.” Pafford said Crist’s veto “shocked” him, especially because of the (bill’s) support in both chambers.” The bill passed in the senate with no ‘nays’ and in the house with only two ‘nays.’

Representative Skidmore attributed the Governor’s veto to his “anticipation of a tragedy” and “the potential headlines” thereafter, if he supported the bill, she said. Senator Deutch resolved that to pay for these safety features, associations could “dip into reserves or do less maintenance.” He noted that with hurricane season around the corner it would not be wise to dip into reserves, therefore posing a threat to basic utilities and maintenance.

These residents are not looking for a bailout, said Senator Deutch. He clarified that they want “a stable and fair life with a quality that they have come to expect.” He wants to “stop funneling bad debt on these communities.” Senator Deutch said, “It is imperative that we bring all parties together to find solutions to the issues plaguing these communities.”

Senator Deutch and Representative Skidmore called upon Governor Crist to create a task force comprised of community association leaders and representatives, realtors, lenders, banking officials, and legislators to address condo issues in general.