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ISSUE # 70

CIC Info Bytes 07/20/23

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. 

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CIC Info Bytes Newsletter 07/20/23 - PRINT EDITION

For the Love of Money

The owner of a property management company for a large HOA community in Winter Springs has been arrested on embezzlement charges.

Investigators said Tammi Morrison [of Morrison Management LLC] stole nearly $600,000 of the HOA’s money in the short time she was in charge.

Owner of property management company accused of stealing nearly $600,000…

— Jeff Levkulich and Sarah Wilson | WFTV | July 05, 2023

Miami condo board member stole $20,000 while maintenance work went undone

— David J. Neal | Miami Herald (Reprint by Yahoo! News) | March 23, 2023

Our HOA company stole all our money — u/JoshATXSolutions | r/F*ckHOA | 2020

Multiple U.S. HOA management agents, board members arrested for fraud and theft

— Deborah Goonan | Independent American Communities | January 19, 2022

‘It’s unacceptable’: Homeowner says HOA used funds on private party for retiring manager — Jason Stoogenke | WSOCTV | July 14, 2023

When your neighbors become your overlords — Emily Stewart | Vox | April 20, 2023

Representatives of an engineering firm hired by the residents’ board at the Madison Condominium at 600 Roosevelt Blvd. in Falls Church found a steel beam that was completely corroded and they immediately call City Hall and City engineers condemned the building and the Falls Church Police Department and Office of Emergency Management supervised an evacuation of residents who are now in area hotels, a News-Press source close to the incident has reported.

The Madison, located at 600 Roosevelt Boulevard in Falls Church, has had concerned residents voice their worries for months about cracks and strain on the building.

According to News-Press sources, the F.C. Police confirmed that 12 units in the building needed to be vacated immediately…

Local Condominium Vacates Twelve Units Due to ‘Undue Strains’ — Josh Trupo | Falls Church News-Press | July 19, 2023

What is the root cause of HOA dysfunction? — Deborah Goonan | Independent American Communities | February 16, 2019

City staff say the delinquencies have been piling up for at least four years and were made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Portsmouth condo association owes more than $726K in utility payments — Michelle Wolf | WAVY | May 5, 2023

Hassle Free?!

Oceanfront high-rise condominium epitomizes hassle-free, luxurious seashore living

Police called on property owners after HOA increases monthly fees to $350 — Anna McAllister | CBS Miami | July 13, 2023

View past coverage:  1,  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.


Texas solar and wind are going to double by 2035, but if the state’s grid isn’t upgraded, then all that power is going to go to waste, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA’s analysis released this month, A Case Study of Transmission Limits on Renewables Growth in Texas, found that if Texas doesn’t expand ERCOT’s electrical transmission network, congestion and curtailments are going to rise. (ERCOT, or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, operates the state’s electrical grid.)

Texas solar and wind are setting records, and the state's grid can't handle it — Michelle Lewis | Electrek | July 13, 2023


The average global temperature breached 17C (63F) for the first time July 3 and remained above that level into this week, according to data from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

The extreme heat underscores the dangers of ever-increasing carbon emissions generated by burning fossil fuels. The threat from climate change is compounded this year by the El Niño weather phenomenon, which is set to push global temperatures even higher…

July Heatwave: The 10 Hottest Days Ever Put People and Livelihoods at Risk — Eamon Akil Farhat | Bloomberg | July 13, 2023


Read more about cementing our future in Issue #64…

A cement-free concrete, a first-of-its-kind innovation in the construction industry, was used in a commercial building project in Seattle in July 2023.

Construction company C-Crete Technologies claims that the concrete is an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional Portland cement and emits close to zero CO₂ during its manufacture and can also absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere over time…

Groundbreaking Cement-free Concrete Debuts in Seattle — Tasos Kokkinidis | Greek Reporter | July 15, 2023

Housing Affordability & Homelessness

Appeals court won’t reconsider ruling allowing homeless camping — Maxine Bernstein | The Seattle Times | 07/06/23


Issue #68 taught us the genesis of California’s homeless population.  Here’s Seattle’s:

Where are King County’s homeless residents from? — Anna Patrick | The Seattle Times | 07/06/23


This crisis of deferred maintenance puts things in perspective.

Nearly three-quarters — $60 billion — of the [NYCHA] repairs are needed immediately, the document shows. In 2017, the amount of work needed immediately was $31.8 billion.

NYCHA woes grow as repair bill soars to a whopping $78 billion, new audit finds — Nolan Hicks | AP News | 07/12/23


355 developments | 2,411 Buildings | 106,985,066 sqft

177,569 apartments | 360,970 residents

Infrastructure + Insurance

The sister of u/Simple-Feed9375 purchased a condo in 2022 and decided to remodel the place.  She hasn’t moved in yet and her unit has been assessed $6,000, then $8,000 and now $125,000 to pay for structural repairs.  r/HOA: Special Assessment fees

California senate committee addresses condominium insurance crisis — David Gotfredson | CBS8 | 03/07/23


Each condo owner has to pay for two policies. The individual policy, which covers the unit and the HOA’s master policy, which covers common areas.  The master policy is the problem. The premium has spiked almost 1,000%.

In total, 56 condo unit owners used to pay approximately $56,000 a year. Now, it’s more than half a million dollars.  Why is this happening?  8 On Your Side obtained the insurance proposal prepared for the condo. It shows the condo’s insurance broker went to carriers across the state.  They declined, declined, declined.  Citizens, Heritage and others noted an open construction defect lawsuit. In court, neighbors have claimed some buildings have a defect.

Multiple brokers tell 8 On Your Side that spells trouble to insurers. In a normal market, you’d have trouble getting a good deal. Now, it’s nearly impossible.  Only one company would take the risk:  Lloyd’s of London.  The policy only covers up to $2.5 million of damage per hurricane. It’s supposed to cover 56 units. That’s another reason residents are not happy…

Florida Condo Association’s property insurance spiked nearly 1,000% — Mahsa Saeidi | WFLA | 07/18/23


Farmers Insurance will stop offering its policies in Florida, including home, auto and umbrella policies, in a change that will force thousands of people to change their insurance provider.

The company said in a statement that its decision to get out of Florida was a business decision necessary to manage its risk exposure in the hurricane-prone state. Farmers serves 100,000 customers in Florida but said there will be no impact to customers who use Farmers’ owned subsidiaries like Foremost Signature and Bristol West…

Farmers Insurance pulls out of Florida, affecting 100,000 policyholders — Jordan Valinsky | CNN Business | 07/12/23


In a news release, AAA blamed inflation, excessive litigation and last year’s “catastrophic” hurricane season for what it calls an “unprecedented rise in reinsurance rates, which affects the company’s profitability…

“We are encouraged by the statutory changes that have recently taken effect and believe they will provide positive results. Those improvements will take some time to fully materialize and until they do, AAA, like all other providers in the state, are forced to make tough decisions to manage risk and catastrophe exposure. This includes issuing some non-renewals. The number of non-renewals accounts for a small percentage of our business,” company officials said in a statement…

Crisis continues: AAA Insurance set to drop ‘small percentage’ of Florida homeowners — Anthony Talcott and Aaron Farrar | News 4 JAX | 07/14/23


 As residents of condominiums across Florida struggle to adapt to a sweeping new law that increases building inspections and maintenance costs, Florida legislators have agreed to a series of changes aimed at ending confusion — but not the financial pain.

This bill is an effort to “provide more clarity, flexibility and transparency,” said Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, the sponsor of SB 154, which passed unanimously on Wednesday. The measure is a response to last year’s law that created the first statewide inspection program for aging condos in response to the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside in June 2021 that killed 98 people.

Last year’s legislation “went on in a rather blunt fashion,” Bradley said Wednesday, leaving many issues unresolved. She and others spent the summer conducting town hall meetings around the state to hear concerns from condo residents.

“We had people that were confused. They were angry, and they wanted answers,” she told the Senate. “We now have a bill that we can be proud of with a lot of input from a lot of people.”

Florida lawmakers aim to ease condo confusion, but money questions remain — Mary Ellen Klas | Tampa Bay Times | 04/12/23


Signs of life for Florida’s insurance market…

"State Farm plans to continue our substantial presence in the Florida insurance marketplace," the company said in a written statement to FOX Business. "Our current plans include a commitment to responsible growth so that we can maintain the financial strength to deliver on our promises to our customers."

State Farm's recommitment to The Sunshine State follows Farmers Insurance's move earlier in the week informing the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) that it would no longer offer Farmers-branded auto, home or umbrella policies in the state – impacting some 100,000 customers.

"I think [insurers are] going to wait through this hurricane season, and then I think they’re going to be willing to deploy more capital to Florida," governor Ron Desantis said. "So, knock on wood, we won’t have a big storm this summer. Then I think you’re going to start to see companies see an advantage."

State Farm doubles down on Florida after Farmers Insurance pulls back — Breck Dumas | FOX Business | 07/14/23

Built Environment

Nearly three-quarters — $60 billion — of the [NYCHA] repairs are needed immediately, the document shows. In 2017, the amount of work needed immediately was $31.8 billion.

NYCHA woes grow as repair bill soars to a whopping $78 billion, new audit finds — Nolan Hicks | AP News | 07/12/23


Empty storefronts dot the streets. Large “going out of business” signs hang in windows….

Diversify or die: San Francisco’s downtown is a wake-up call for other cities — Anne D’Innocenzio and Janie Har | AP News | 07/16/23

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

The consumer price index rose 3% last month from a year ago, the smallest advance in more than two years, according to data out Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Excluding food and energy, the core CPI — which economists view as the better indicator of underlying inflation — advanced 4.8%, also the lowest since 2021.  Both measures climbed 0.2% from May, less than economists expected.

US Inflation Hits Two-Year Low, Giving Hope for End to Fed Hikes — Augusta Saraiva | Bloomberg | 07/12/23


Fed Governor Christopher Waller said he expects the US central bank will need to raise interest rates [by 25bps] twice more this year to bring inflation down to its target…

However, he also said that more good data on prices could obviate the need for the second hike, pointing out that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish two more consumer price index reports between the Fed’s upcoming July 25-26 policy meeting and the next gathering in September. Good news from these reports could lead to the cessation of further hikes— Tiffany Tsoi | Bloomberg Five Things to Start Your Day | 07/14/23


Three Federal Reserve officials said yesterday that policymakers will need to raise interest rates further this year to bring inflation back to the central bank’s 2% goal. “We’ve made a lot of progress in monetary policy, the work that we need to do, over the last year,” Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision, Michael Barr, told a Bipartisan Policy Center meeting on Monday. “I would say we’re close, but we still have a bit of work to do.” Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 struggled to build on Monday’s modest gains after these remarks.  — Tiffany Tsoi | Bloomberg Five Things to Start Your Day | 07/11/23


Most economists expect the Federal Reserve to lift interest rates one more time next week as it ends a 16-month hiking cycle that has been the most aggressive fight against US inflation in 40 years.

The Federal Open Market Committee will raise rates a quarter point at its July 25-26 meeting to a range of 5.25% to 5.5%, the highest since 2001, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. With price pressures diminishing last month, almost all economists expect no change to rates at the September meeting and just one-fifth of the group predicts another hike by the November meeting.

Fed Seen Hiking Final Time to a 22-Year Peak in Economist Survey — Steve Matthews and Kyungjin Yoo | Bloomberg | 07/20/23

Cashing In

The failure to provide a substantive response to the inquiry as provided herein precludes the board from recovering attorney fees and costs in any subsequent litigation, administrative proceeding, or arbitration arising out of the inquiry.

Condominium board obligated to respond to inquiry sent by certified mail — Ryan Poliakoff | Florida Today | 07/17/23

In the article below (paywall cannot be removed), homeowners write in concerned about a blatant violation of Florida law that requires open meetings and expressly prohibits Board decisions via email.  Here are a few key points:

[Paywall] Residents angered that HOA board skipped meeting, made decision via email — Ryan Poliakoff | Palm Beach Post | 07/16/23

As this case dramatically illustrates, little good can come from highly contentious and prolonged litigation between community associations and their unit owners for all the parties involved. In the association setting, some disputes are bound to arise from time to time, but finding and adhering to equitable resolutions should be the goal for both sides.

Obstinately refusing to accept court decisions and continuing to pursue losing cases can lead to significant legal and financial liabilities for associations and unit owners, who are often surprised to learn they can be on the hook for the association’s legal fees as well as their own if they do not prevail. Owners in communities with highly litigious boards of directors would be well advised to consider moving in a different direction with new candidates for board seats who are more inclined to resolving disputes.

Boca condo offers case study in pitfalls of prolonged litigation for associations and owners — Michael Hyman | Miami Herald | 03/31/23

Despite a judge and a state arbitrator ruling that Boca View violated state law by denying access to the records, the condo association refuses to give up the legal battle that began more than four years ago:

Palm Beach County judge awards condo owner in fight with Boca View — Mike Diamond | The Palm Beach Post | 07/19/23

The court held that a jury should decide what the meaning of an ambiguous restrictive land covenant is absent extrinsic evidence conclusively demonstrating intent. If the question goes to a jury, the court requires the jury to strictly construe the ambiguity in a restrictive covenant against land use only if it is unable to resolve the ambiguity from extrinsic evidence through a preponderance of the evidence.

Justice G. Barry Anderson and Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea dissented. “[T]he fact that restrictive covenants may bind subsequent successors highlights the need for a rule of strict construction to appropriately uphold the right to use property freely,” stated Anderson. The dissent maintained that the court’s approach “provides minimal protection to property owners and does not adequately protect the right to free and unrestricted property use.” It also raised Roff’s worry about extended litigation. “Property rights inure not only to the wealthy and powerful, but also to the highly leveraged first-time owner of a townhouse in a modest neighborhood; the former is well-positioned to endlessly litigate ambiguous terminology under the formula proposed by the court, the latter not so much,” declared Anderson.

Justices remand homeowners association covenant case — Laura Brown | Minnesota Lawyer | 04/24/23

Condo boards not legally required to hire management companies — Howard Dakoff | Chicago Tribune | 03/26/23

Legislation Page

Flying flags on property "regardless of any local homeowners' association covenants…” and minimum age to drive a golf cart among laws in effect July 1

— Hillard Grossman | Islander News | 07/01/23


"At one time there was a discussion about a condo ombudsman, so people don't have to spend so much money in litigation, and there's no arbitration," Lucas explained. "I think it would be helpful to owners to not have to go through very costly lawsuits for issues that are clearly violations of the Act."

Condo Owners IL Condominium Property Act Needs Updating / Public News Service — Farah Siddiqi | Public News Service | 07/19/23


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

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