CIC Info Bytes


CIC Info Bytes are frequent, succinct updates that provide educational and engagement opportunities to help your community thrive!  Subscribe to receive CIC Info Bytes updates by emailJoin us on Reddit at r/HOA.

ISSUE # 69

CIC Info Bytes 07/06/23

CIC Info Bytes are frequent, succinct updates providing educational and engagement opportunities that help your community thrive!  Please forward and share this newsletter with your peers, neighbors and colleagues so they can connect and joinOur goal is to curate content that provides a robust basis for contextual understanding to support practical takeaways for you and your association.  Please consider following us on Twitter and Reddit. 

READ the full newsletter with graphics in the embedded document below.

All issues of CIC Info Bytes are available online and indexed from the omnibox search.

Omnibox website search.  See upper-right hand corner of your screen!

Read the Full Newsletter

Pop open to full screen (upper right corner of document)

CIC Info Bytes Newsletter 07/06/23 - PRINT EDITION

THANK YOU to all our current and past supporters.  You’ve made it possible to continually enhance this newsletter and our free website and resources.


Condo Connection is a volunteer effort, begun nearly three years ago, that’s become a resource trusted by thousands of homeowners and a few brave professionals. 

If you’ve found value in Condo Connection, please support us:

This newsletter reaches hundreds of people.

Will you help us reach our goal of 10 subscribers in 2023?

As of right now, the City of Rochester has an order on the building deeming it unsafe. However, after the building's investigation, [the condominium association is] asking the City of Rochester to lift the order. Residents are unable to move back inside their units temporarily until the city labels the build safe.

The shoring of the building is only a short-term solution and Rochester Towers is still forming a long-term fix…

VIDEO: City of Rochester releases engineering report on Rochester Towers — Theodore Tollefson | KAALTV | 06/30/23

Rochester Towers is deeming the condominium safe — KIMT 3 | 06/28/23

Rochester Towers association wants residents to return for 'limited occupancy' — Jeff Kiger | Post-Bulletin | 06/28/23

Rochester Towers Engineering Report

VIEW prior coverage of Rochester Towers

UPDATE: Fred the tortoise will not be evicted from Ross Bridge home by HOA — Cheryl Hanna | Pet Rescue Report | 07/05/23

Neighbor calls police on 92-year-old woman over noises coming from her pond — Wes Stenzel | Yahoo! News | 07/03/23

We have to use weedkiller on our lawn? Fine.

Loud neighbors, what to do: I slipped a note under the door. Only later did I realize my mistake. — Pamela Gwyn Kripke | Slate | 06/25/23

…This development, which the company has described as “where freedom lives”, is for homeowners 55 and older. And not just any homeowners: “patriots” who will be required to fly the US flag on their properties, on a pole provided and maintained by the subdivision. Each 1776 community (Fankhauser plans on more) will also donate a home with no mortgage, free of cost, to a wounded veteran through the nonprofit Building Homes for Heroes…

…1776 Gastonia is part of an even newer type of neighborhood: one where community members presumably share ideals or interests…

The housing community that will require ‘patriots’ to fly the US flag — Victoria Bouloubasis | The Guardian | 07/03/23

Condo Connection has an entire page dedicated to freedom of expression.

Falmouth mother says she’s not taking down her Pride flags despite complaint — Gillian Graham | Portland Press Herald | 06/24/23

Letter to the editor: Falmouth condo community flag rule exists for a reason — Noreen Davidson | Portland Press Herald | 06/29/23

5 years of fuss: SC officials release report of common HOA complaints since 2018 — Winston Rogers | WACH | 06/27/23

South Carolina Homeowners Association Complaint Reports

Reassuring Words

The most helpful and informative media reports will offer insights on how associations and owners/buyers should approach the challenges that lie ahead. First off, they should point out that concerns over board member liability should never deter owners from volunteering to help the community they call home…Board members are shielded from liability under a community’s Directors and Officers insurance, which defends and protects them from lawsuits, in addition to the indemnification provisions of the articles of incorporation of their association and the laws governing not-for-profit corporations

Directors who act in a reasonable manner will be able to rest assured that their indemnity and insurance protections will shield them from liability. They will also be protected by the business judgment rule, which holds that directors have broad discretion in performing their duties absent a showing of mismanagement, fraud or breach of trust.

Instead of becoming overly preoccupied with unwarranted liability concerns, now is the time for condominium owners to do their part to help ensure their association is overseen by the very best directors.  Condominium associations need excellent boards of directors comprised of dedicated owners. 

Committed…to What?

What started as an inclusive nonprofit that granted homeowners an equal, if not equitable seat at the table, transformed decades ago into a business industry trade organization forced to abandon its c3 status for c4 recognition that could legally sponsor lobbying.  Condo Connection has one big ask for CAI: be honest about who you serve and start empowering homeowners.

This isn’t a black-or-white affair.  CAI has definitely accomplished some good deeds for homeowners, but the organization bears almost no resemblance to its origins.  CAI’s own publications tell the story.  Deborah Goonan and The HOA Primer, respectively, provide readers a fantastic summary of CAI’s transformation here and here

Intention and perseverance are swinging the pendulum toward homeowner-centric awareness and action.  After all, the 75 million people living in over 355,000 community associations who pay over $100 billion annual assessments deserve to be represented, don’t they?

Do you trust your Homeowners' Association Board? — Deborah Goonan |

Adventures in mismanagement and HOA ineffectiveness

HOA management company horror stories, the sequel

Lessons Learned From a Decade of Answering Your Real Estate Questions — Ronda Kaysen | NYT | 06/24/23

View past coverage:  1,  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.


Reducing emissions won’t be enough to reach international goals for limiting global warming, many climate experts say—it will also require removing billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air every year.

‘It was an accident’: the scientists who have turned humid air into renewable power — Ned Carter Miles | The Guardian | July 02, 2023


HOT: Just a week into summer, heat waves are causing a surge in electricity demand across the U.S. South, in part to power ACs. The startups say highly efficient ACs can help ease strain on the electric grid and help it withstand sizzling temperatures.

Companies such as Blue Frontier, Transaera and Montana Technologies are raising money from investors including industry giant Carrier Global and Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures to develop more efficient technologies. Many of those efforts focus on the humidity rather than the heat, using new materials like liquid salt to dry out the air.

The startups are rushing to capitalize on a wave of government regulation and incentives such as tax credits and rebates for high-efficiency products that are part of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act.

Electric vehicles require six times the mineral inputs of conventional cars, according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA estimated in a 2021 report that mineral demand for use in EVs and battery storage could grow 30 times by 2040.

The Race to Build a Better Air Conditioner — Amrith Ramkumar | WSJ | June 28, 2023

See Issue 68 for more aircon innovations.

The Cost of Net Zero

Countries with vast deposits of the ingredients essential to making electric vehicles are digging in and trying to take a bigger share of the expected EV boom.

In parts of Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, governments are restricting the export of raw minerals, demanding that miners build processing plants locally and looking to tighten control over foreign-operated mines. The steps are sometimes described as resource nationalism, and their increasing popularity is reshaping supply chains that underpin the shift toward cleaner forms of energy.

Mineral-Rich Developing Nations Demand Bigger Piece of the EV Pie — Jon Emont, Juan Forero, and Alexandra Wexler | WSJ | July 1, 2023


European Power Prices Go Below Zero Again as Solar Output Surges — Will Mathis | Bloomberg | July 4, 2023


The average worldwide temperature reached 17C (63F) on Monday, just above the previous record of 16.9C in August 2016, according to data from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The threshold only lasted a day. On Tuesday, the average temperature hit 17.2C.

The new highs illustrate the extremity of 2023’s summer in the northern hemisphere, and bring into focus the slow pace of global progress on curbing emissions.

Earth Keeps Breaking Temperature Records Due to Global Warming — Will Mathis and Aaron Clark | Bloomberg | July 4, 2023


Supercharging Nature to Suck Carbon From the Air — Ed Ballard | WSJ | June 22, 2023


PLASTIC is both a modern marvel and one of our most vexing climate catastrophies.

How worried should we be about what’s become known as “the plastic pollution crisis”? And what can be done about it? These questions lie at the heart of several recent books that take up what one author calls “the plastic trap.”

“Without plastic we’d have no modern medicine or gadgets or wire insulation to keep our homes from burning down,” that author, Matt Simon, writes in “A Poison Like No Other: How Microplastics Corrupted Our Planet and Our Bodies.” “But with plastic we’ve contaminated every corner of Earth.”

How Plastics Are Poisoning Us — Elizabeth Kolbert | The New Yorker | June 26, 2023

Housing Affordability & Homelessness

Local officials described the latest count, 75,518 people, as a disheartening sign that efforts to move Angelenos off the streets have not caught up with the rate at which families are losing their homes.

The number has ticked upward over the past several years, from 52,765 in 2018. (A count was not conducted in 2021.)

The Number of Homeless People in Los Angeles Increases by 9% — Jill Cowan | NYT | 06/29/23


Let's assume you have a mortgage. Your mortgage holder is not willing for you to take that risk, so they force you to have homeowner's insurance coverage.

There is another participant in this game of hot, risky potato, something called reinsurers.

So reinsurers are insurance companies who insure insurance companies. They passed on the hot potato to the reinsurer.

But lately this potato has just been getting too hot. The cost of reinsurance has skyrocketed in the past year or so, as much as 30, 40%. And that's partly why State Farm said it would stop writing new policies in California recently.

What happens when insurers can't get insurance? — Adrian Ma | NPR | 06/30/23


What to Do When Your Home-Insurance Policy Isn’t Renewed — Veronica Dagher | WSJ | 06/26/23


Florida high-rise condo owners feel financial pinch with rising assessments +insurance costs — Stassy Olmos | WFTS | 05/24/23

View ALL insurance coverage on our Insurance page.


The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, which handles the claims of insolvent insurers, plans to borrow $600 million of bonds, according to preliminary offering documents. It is the first time in three decades the agency has tapped the municipal bond market to help support insurance claims.

The bonds, which are being sold in multiple series through the Florida Insurance Assistance Interlocal Agency, are backed by a 1% emergency assessment levied by the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation, similar to a tax on a range of insurance policies. The average premium in the state is about $4,200 on a roughly $350,000 home, so the assessment translates to about $42 a year, Neal said.

Florida Sells Bonds to Backstop Its Homeowner's Insurance Industry — Nic Querolo | Bloomberg | 06/26/23 (Yahoo! Finance  Reprint)

Housing Market

These lawsuits are finally coming to a head after simmering for several years, and if the plaintiffs succeed, they could rewrite the rules of how agents get paid. The seller might no longer pay out both agents' commissions after the sale closes. Instead, a buyer would pay their agent directly. Proponents say these changes would increase competition among agents, dramatically lower commissions, and potentially save consumers as much as $20 billion to $30 billion a year. The defendants, led by the NAR, argue that the current setup actually favors consumers by providing broad access to an efficient real-estate market.

Despite the potentially earthshaking consequences, most local real-estate agents — who, to be fair, have more pressing short-term concerns — have largely ignored the cases. But if the plaintiffs prevail, these cases could radically reshape what buying and selling a home looks like, and they represent the biggest existential threat to the real-estate industry today.

Multibillion-dollar lawsuits could radically reshape how we buy and sell homes forever — James Rodriguez | Insider | 06/26/23

Built Environment

Two years after Surfside collapse, a bitter feud over the oceanfront land — Tim Craig | WaPo | 06/23/23


Multi-million dollar mess.

VIDEO: Millennium Tower residents complain of unpleasant byproduct of continued tilt

— Jaxon Van Derbeken and Jeremy Carroll | NBC Bay Area | 06/23/23

VIDEO: San Francisco’s Millennium Tower sewage issues — NBC Bay Area | 06/21/23


Values are expected to plunge 35% from the peak by the end of 2025 and take an additional 15 years or more to recover as hybrid and remote work reshape real estate, the London-based research firm reported Thursday. It’s a trend that mirrors the collapse of shopping malls as e-commerce grew.

“Demolitions and conversions of the worst assets may partially counteract the impact on valuation-based indices,” economist Kiran Raichura wrote. “But ultimately landlords will have to bear those costs, so the road ahead for office owners is set to be an arduous one.”

Major institutional investors, including Brookfield Corp. and Blackstone Inc., have already defaulted on some office buildings, choosing to stop loan payments rather than spend more on money-losing properties.

Office Owners Get Dire Warning: Rebound Unlikely Before 2040 — John Gittelsohn | Bloomberg | 06/22/23


Piles of regulations, or “kludge,” and a culture of “no” are limiting the ability to turn building blocks into something new.

American Cities Have a Conversion Problem, and It’s Not Just Offices — Emily Badger | NYT | 07/01/23

It’s Herbert Hoover’s fault: more on zoning in Issue 64 


The video below is an exquisite summary of office-to-residential conversions. 

With housing in short supply, developers are converting more empty offices into apartments. But not all buildings are candidates for reuse, even as more than one billion square feet of office space sits vacant across the U.S.

VIDEO: What It Takes to Convert a Multi-Million Dollar Office Into Housing


A co-operative housing project called U-lex @ Othello Square is planned for South Seattle on Martin Luther King Way Jr. South across the street from the Othello light rail station. The developer hopes to break ground on the 68-unit building this fall. Until now new co-op buildings have been unheard of in Seattle.  [The Belltown neighborhood (part of the Downtown Seattle Urban Center),  is home to a single co-op: Apex.  Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods include a smattering of co-ops.

Rare residential co-op project inches ahead in South Seattle — Marc Stiles | Puget Sound Business Journal | 06/26/23


Developers of this oddly sited behemoth want to move forward, but the City says “not so fast.”  See The Picture Says it All in Issue 64.

Renderings Revealed for 50-Story Skyscraper in Sunset District, San Francisco — Andrew Nelson | YIMBY | 07/04/23


DYNAMIC: MVRDV unveils The Canyon tower with "public ravine" in San Francisco — Ben Dreith | Dezeen | 06/26/23 

Condo Connection's financial coverage is indexed to our Dollar$ and $ense page dedicated to all things CIC finance.

— David Rovella | Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 06/27/23


That the US economy is expected to plunge into a recession later this year is perhaps the most anticipated downturn on record. The last two years have been a chronicle of a recession foretold. But global investors who had positioned their portfolios for the slowdown have been left twiddling their thumbs (and losing out) as the economy shows one sign of strength after another.

Waiting for this recession feels ever more like Waiting for Godot. When is it coming? Could it even — as Jonathan Levin suggests — be time to say openly that it’s been canceled?

It depends on whom you ask…

Recession Starts Looking Less Great, More 'Godot' — John Authers | Bloomberg | 06/27/23


MORE RATE HIKES.  It seems that US Federal Reserve officials struck a weak agreement to pause interest-rate increases in June, and in doing so all but committed to hike them again later this month to keep fighting stubborn inflation. 

The minutes from the Fed’s June 13-14 meeting show that while almost all officials deemed it “appropriate or acceptable” to keep rates unchanged last month, some would have supported a quarter-point increase instead. “It was a little surprising given that the decision was sold as unanimous from Fed officials,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. “There was a divergence of opinions, with some officials pretty clearly giving some reluctance for a one-month pause.” Officials supporting a hike in June cited tight labor markets and relatively few signs that inflation was slowing toward their 2% goal, according to the minutes. 

Some policymakers have expressed concern that core inflation, in particular, hasn’t budged much in the last six months. Whatever the disagreement among Fed officials, it’s fair to say the key takeaway is that more hikes are coming.

— David E. Rovella | Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 07/05/23

A slew of interesting data points.   Almost half of market participants in a Bloomberg survey expect at least two more rate hikes. That’s a remarkable shift for a market that was pricing in cuts in 2023 as recently as this month.  A soft landing now appears elusive, though the US may be stuck in a pre-recession limbo for the rest of the year. That’s probably why many investors see fixed-income outperforming commodities and stocks.

Bond Traders Are Heeding Powell's Pledge to Stay on Volcker Path — Mark Cudmore | Bloomberg | 06/25/23

Cashing In

US banks have found a way to replace some of the hundreds of billions of dollars in deposits that flooded out their doors early this year. But it's expensive, and not particularly sticky.

To shore up their books after a flurry of withdrawals by customers, midsize banks across the US have turned to a patchwork of other sources that demand significantly higher interest, typically around 5% or more. Regional banks borrowed billions more from the Federal Reserve, Federal Home Loan Bank system and — to an eye-popping degree — leaned on brokered deposits cobbled together by little-known intermediaries.

'Hot Money' Is Piling Up at Banks and It's Starting to Take a Toll — Jennifer Surane, Linly Lin and Mathieu Benhamou | Bloomberg  | 06/28/23

Cashing Out

One obvious solution to this problem is to turn those 4,000 banks into, say, 2,000 banks, or maybe 20 banks. That would make life easier for regulators and supervisors — fewer banks to keep track of — and also make each individual bank a bit bigger and more diversified and hopefully more robust…

The basic problem in banking is that competition is good but financial stability is also good, and they are kind of at odds with each other.

Lots of Banks Means Lots of Bank Mergers — Matt Levine | Bloomberg  | 07/05/23

The Day Ms. Coney Took on the Laurelwood HOA

— Jackson Jambalaya | 06/26/23

Jennifer Schooler Coney vs. Emary Walker and Laurelwood Home-Owner Association, Inc.


The first suit (in this series) came from unit owner Eileen Breitkreutz who was legally entitled to disclosure of financial records.  Her pro se defense was a mistake in this case and the appellate court ruled against her in a $395,000 judgment to recover the association’s legal fees.   Eileen filed bankruptcy.  

The tide turned in this latest (second) suit where the court ruled and ordered Boca View to allow the plaintiff’s representative to inspect the records:

After two separate orders from two separate judges, the Boca View Condominium Association’s governing board still has not allowed a condo owner’s personal representative to inspect financial records as requested nearly four years ago.  Attorneys for the unit owner, Eleanor Lepselter, are now asking the court to find the association in contempt and impose fines of $500 a day until it complies….

“To me, this is a fight that didn’t need to happen,” Tynan said. “There are laws about the records; that they’re supposed to share them. It’s open and shut. You’ve got to provide the accounting records. You might not like it, but you have to do it.”

Boca View records suit: Lawyers hurl accusations at each other — Ron Hurtibise | Sun-Sentinel | 03/24/23

As of May 24, Boca View has separately sued the plaintiff (Lepselter) in a new case 9:23-cv-80820.  Here’s the complaint.

Volunteers Are Not Employees

Online Threats

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the First Amendment imposes limits on laws that make it a crime to issue threats on the internet, saying that prosecutors must prove that a Colorado man who had sent disturbing messages to a singer-songwriter had acted recklessly in causing emotional harm.

“The state must show that the defendant consciously disregarded a substantial risk that his communications would be viewed as threatening violence,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for five justices in the 7-to-2 decision.

Justice Kagan acknowledged that “true threats,” like libel, incitement, obscenity and fighting words, are not protected by the First Amendment. But she said the risk of chilling protected speech warranted imposing an added burden on prosecutors.

“The speaker’s fear of mistaking whether a statement is a threat; his fear of the legal system getting that judgment wrong; his fear, in any event, of incurring legal costs — all those may lead him to swallow words that are in fact not true threats,” she wrote.

Supreme Court Puts First Amendment Limits on Laws Banning Online Threats — Adam Liptak | NYT | 06/27/23

Case 22-138: Counterman v. Colorado — Decided 06/28/23


Legislation Page

Please contact us if you’re aware of legislation to feature from YOUR state! 

+++ Have a question that you'd like to ask directly to your peers?  Ask YOUR listserv! +++

Homeowners | Volunteer Leaders | Managers & Management Companies | Vendors

Support Ukraine

A Note About Ukraine

The people of Ukraine are undergoing tremendous displacement from their homes coupled with loss of life, tragedy and suffering.  Considering the global landscape can help us gain perspective in our daily lives.  CIC Info Bytes readers expressed their support for Ukraine last year.  Please voice your own support!