Florida should not allow
billion-dollar real estate companies to
bully condo owners into selling their homes,
especially at unfair prices. But that’s
exactly what’s happening around the state
and in the Tampa Bay area thanks to a faulty
law. Legislators have tried to mitigate the
problem, but if they really care about
property rights and fundamental fairness
they have to do more.
The Hampton subdivision in the Lansbrook Village neighborhood in Palm Harbor. A large real estate company wants to turn the condo complex into rental apartments, which has upset several residents.
State law now requires
anyone looking to terminate a condo
association to explain why it would be good
public policy. When a hurricane demolishes a
complex, terminating a condo association
makes sense. Otherwise, the rubble could sit
there for years. But converting a perfectly
good condo complex to apartments does a lot
more to enrich developers than it does to
serve the public interest. The provision,
however, is too new to know whether it will
protect condo owners who don’t want to move.
If the public policy requirement fails to rein in bulk buyers, lawmakers should change the law again to ensure it is used only after catastrophes, not any time investors spot an opportunity to gobble up units at a low-ball price and make a few bucks. No one who owns a home and makes regular mortgage payments should get booted out solely so a real estate company can cash in.