Courtesy of Miami Citydebate.com
The Screaming Eagle
Posted June 30, 2005
Beach - At a recent Miami Beach
commission meeting two new condominium owners approached the legislative body
and expressed their disappointment in buying units at the Castle Condominiums.
One person purchased in March 05 of this year and the other closed in April 05
this year. This May 2005 the City forcible closed the condominium for life
Imagine how these people must feel. Both closed on their units and one or two
months later they were barred from living in their newly purchased units.
In the normal 30-day period from contract date to closing the following usually
real estate person introduces the buyer to a unit normally, they personally
inspects the unit and write a purchase contract.
the accepting of the offer, the buyer contacts a mortgage firm.
lending firm calls for a property inspection.
potential buyer meets with the condominium board and applies for permission to
mortgage now approved goes to the title agency for a legal review. The title
agency checks to see if any liens or holds are attached to the unit folio.
deal is ready to close.
Since the citations were on the building, not the particular unit, the buyer
appeared not to be alerted to the buildings violations.
This writer feels for the buyers. Someone should have known the building had
flaws that could have affected the new buyers.
the realtors have any knowledge that the building had potentially serious
problems and did they devolve these problems to the buyer?
the appraiser find out any information on visiting the common areas of the
building on their inspection?
the board of directors fail to disclose the violations during the screening
process? Were the violations skipped or were these faults belittled in
Administration and Commissioners take note.
This writer suggests that if the City, in giving any citations, Serious
Violations life threatening citations, would blanket a note on all unit
titles, the title companies certainly would be able to pick up these building
flaws in their searches. New buyers could be noticed and as well the potential
lenders. A red flag would be waving, warning all new purchasers that their
future peaceful residing and/or future financial (assessment) problems might be
I say financial, because any correcting of the serious problems would certainly
either reduce the organizations treasury, or raise the maintenance or even cause
a new special assessment to occur. These added monthly costs might be so high as
to stress the buyer monthly budget or even drive the buyer into foreclosure
later. Even if the new assessments were tolerable, these extra costs could
affect the future re-sale of the unit to another buyer.
Perhaps some of us longer term Beach residents will recall the days when Abe
Hirschfield owned the Castle as a hotel. We might recall that when he had a show
in the ballroom, the City sent in fire inspectors and closed the room during the
shows presentation. Hirschfield went bananas as the inspectors evacuated the
guests for serious electrical safety causes.
we also should recall the "Caroline Hotel" conversion fiasco. The then
condo/hotel conversion also had maintenance problems discovered before the
building was fully sold out. The developer had numerous units remaining and was
not forking over his units fees, shorting money needed to correct the
violations. Again this condominium was cited, the police and fire people
arrived, the doors were boarded up, and the act forced residents to move and be
evicted. Numerous owners were so financially burdened they were driven into
One only has to drive up Collins Avenue today and see the old Caroline being
rebuilt as the new developer/owner is creating the expansive Canyon Ranch
This writer firmly feels the City could provide a great service to its'
potential citizens, by adding a title notation to all units of condominiums,
whenever serious building violations are cited. Buyers would know
that costly repairs are in the future, and they, at that time, could either back
away from the contract or go ahead but with full knowledge that some financial
burden is around the corner.
In my years involved in real estate transactions, the lenders normally have a
questionnaire forwarded to the condominium boards. This form asks if any
violations, pending assessments or other pending financial changes are in the
future. Most reputable real estate brokerage agencies also have the seller fill
out a sellerís condition affricative or property disclosure form that is given
to the buyer and added to the contract. When no realtors are involved, many
times, disclosures are never provided.
to the wise, in buying any condominium, buyers should read the condominiums
documents completely, request a treasurers report, and during the screening
interview, bring your attorney or real estate agent and by all means - "ASK