CIC Info Bytes


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ISSUE # 74

CIC Info Bytes 09/14/23

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 09/1423 - PRINT EDITION

Did you know?  CAI operates political action committees (PACs).  No need to guess who is donating…

If YOU act on advice that’s illegal or based on a fabrication, regardless of the source, your personal indemnity might hold up, but your association is in hot water.🧨

Champlain site builder said state requires loading dock near memorial. FDOT cries foul — Aaron Liebowitz | Miami Herald | September 1, 2023

Management Conundrum

Entropy is most commonly associated with a state of disorder, randomness, or uncertainty.

Inertia is the tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.


The Condominium Authority of Ontario, Canada exists to engage and empower Ontario's condominium communities.  What a fantastic mission!  It makes you wonder why organizations like CAI treat education and resources as commodities.


CMRAO, the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario published their 2022 Satisfaction Survey revealing that homeowners in Canada, just like in the United States, want more accountability from management companies.

Risk Management Considerations for Condo Association Boards — Patrick Wraight | Insurance Journal | April 3, 2023

Fraud ^5

A Tarpon Springs woman is back behind bars after she was accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from homeowners associations in the Tampa Bay area.

Jamie Fonville, 47, was arrested in June 2022 after she was accused of stealing over $228,000 from three HOAs while working as an accounting manager at First Choice Association Management. Her job duties included managing bank accounts for 58 organizations and issuing checks on their behalf, according to a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

On Tuesday, she was arrested by the sheriff’s office again after she was accused of pocketing over $521,000 in checks and credit card payments from 13 organizations, bringing the total alleged loss to over $750,000.

Most of the new charges against Fonville are for crimes that occurred before her June 2022 arrest, but a PCSO arrest report noted that she allegedly made at least two additional fraudulent payments less than two months later.

Pinellas accounting manager stole over $700,000 from HOAs, deputies say — Rachel Tucker | WFLA | September 6, 2023


The former president of a Miami condominium association has been arrested after police said he embezzled more than $32,000 for his own benefit.

Ben Dvir, 47, was arrested Wednesday on a grand theft charge, Miami-Dade Police officials said.

Dvir is the former president of the Blue Condominium Association at 601 Northeast 36th Street in Midtown, police said...

Ex-president of Miami condo association arrested for grand theft: Police — Jamie Guirola Tucker | NBC 6 | September 13, 2023

Surfside condo collapse investigators say pool deck construction 'deviated' from design requirements — Laura Romero | ABC News | September 7, 2023

“We have been making progress on a number of fronts,” said Glenn Bell, NIST’s associate lead for the Champlain Towers South investigation. “If we can continue on our current schedule, we expect our technical work to be substantially completed in late June of 2024 so that we can release our report with findings and recommendations in late June of 2025.”

NIST Provides Update on Investigation Into the Collapse of Champlain Towers South — NIST | September 7, 2023

SUMMARY: The Fargo City Commission granted a permit for a residential foster home within a Fargo HOA.  The HOA can still pursue this owner IF a covenant violation exists.  The most obvious example is operating a business where customers ingress and egress to and from the property.

Giselle Ishimwe plans to open a foster home in a far south Fargo neighborhood for adults with disabilities battling strokes, brain injuries and dementia. 

The Golden Valley Homeowners Association (HOA) says the facility goes against their HOA "covenant" and asked the city commissioners to overturn the permit that would allow Ishimwe to run a group home in a residential neighborhood. 

Commissioners, in a 3-2 decision, voted in favor of the 4-bedroom foster home. While commissioners all agreed that it was important to allow residents with disabilities options to live in neighborhoods instead of just in nursing homes, some felt that the decision was too rushed.

The commission’s job isn’t to follow HOA guidelines... “We are really trying to integrate disabled people into the community,” Preston said, noting that the city’s focus is to create neighborhoods for all that are a mix of various ages, incomes and abilities. This project is one step closer to that, she said.

HOA tries to stop foster home from moving into south Fargo neighborhood — Melissa Van Der Stad | INFORUM | September 6, 2023

An estimated 74 million home and condominium owners now live in properties governed by associations of their fellow residents. And to hear the Community Associations Institute tell it, the vast majority are pleased with how their boards run the show. But hold on a minute. Another survey, this one from HomeAdvisor, has found that 4 out of every 5 folks living with an association would just as soon live elsewhere. And even more say the rules and regulations are restrictive, if not downright oppressive. 

The striking differences between the two studies should stand as a stern warning to anyone thinking about buying a place run by a small, elected fraction of their fellow owners. If you don’t mind living under the potentially heavy hand of board members, fine. But if you value your freedom, perhaps you should look elsewhere.

In its 2020 survey of 1,500 residents, about 70% rated their overall experience of living in a community association as “good” or “very good,” and about 19% rated it as “neutral.” Not so with the HomeAdvisor study. Of the 1,000 folks polled, a third said their association had caused them “regular stress,” and 4 out of 5 admitted they’d rather live elsewhere.

Are homeowners’ associations beneficial? Depends who you ask — Lew Sichelman | Miami Herald | October 22, 2022

Dan Johnson was charged a cumulative $182,500 fine for a drapes violation by the homeowners association at Elizabeth Village.

“HOAs attract two kinds of people: those who really want to serve their own communities, and those who are only attracted to power,” Galvin says. “That makes them either mini-democracies or, more cynically, mini-totalitarian states run by people who have been given authority that they have never had in any area of their lives before — and probably for decent reasons.”

“Most people don’t realize how many emails, text messages and phone calls a board member gets,” Rosenfeld says. “Most people want to live their lives and not worry about the things that condominium associations have to worry about. “Somebody has to pay attention.”

Are relations between HOAs and residents getting worse? Here's why experts think so. — Michael Gordon | The Charlotte Observer | August 5, 2023

2022 Gallup Confidence in Institutions Poll

…In 2016, a couple living in St. Croix, who had bought a house in University City so their daughters could attend UNC Charlotte, were foreclosed upon by their HOA after they unknowingly fell behind on their dues by $204.75. The case eventually reached the state Supreme Court, which ruled in 2021 to uphold a Mecklenburg judge’s decision to return the home to its owners. By then, the house had been largely gutted, Galvin says, and required tens of thousands of dollars in repairs to be habitable.

NC Supreme Court Opinion 2021-NCSC-35 No. 77A19 — April 16, 2021

Superior Court: In re George, 264 N.C. App. at 47 | Appeals Court: COA18-611

Are relations between HOAs and residents getting worse? Here's why experts think so. — Michael Gordon | The Charlotte Observer | August 5, 2023

The trouble began in 2019, when Loeffler had new vinyl windows installed according to plans approved by the HOA for her community, the Yachtsman on Lake Wylie. Then, she contends, the association reneged on its approval, ordering her to replace her windows at her own expense to conform with most in the community. 

She refused. The HOA subsequently hit her with nearly $12,000 in fines — and put a lien on her house. Worried that the HOA would foreclose on her home, Loeffler sued.

This February, she won the first round in a court battle that isn’t over. A Mecklenburg County judge backed her claim that the HOA had approved the windows and ordered the association to pay her attorney fees, which the HOA has yet to do.

If you don’t have money to fight your HOA even if you follow the rules, you could be out of luck.

'They would have taken my house.' Charlotte woman wins first round in HOA court fight. — Ames Alexander | The Charlotte Observer | August 24, 2023

…Slette and Lawson’s complaint marks the latest development in a four-year-long legal battle between the county and HOA. In the summer of 2019, the county—represented by Timothy Graves, Preston Neal Carter, Melodie McQuade and Morgan Goodin—sued the HOA over a handful of new “No Parking” signs affixed to aspen trees along Aspen Lakes Drive. The county argued that the subdivision had used intimidation to try to privatize the public easement running parallel to the Big Wood River, as well as two public footpaths cutting between Aspen Lakes Drive and the river.

Williamson ruled in favor of the county the following summer, writing in August 2020 that the public could continue to park along Aspen Lakes Drive and use the public easements for fishing and other recreation. The dispute dragged on through early 2023, when Blaine County and the HOA finally reached a settlement agreement calling for two eight-space, 100-foot-long public parking lots to be built adjacent to the two pedestrian easements.

According to the agreement—which Williamson approved—one parking lot would be built at 194 Aspen Lakes Drive and the other between 149 and 153 Aspen Lakes Drive. The agreement also set several rules governing when and how the public can use the parking lots—even including sunrise and sunset times—and granted the Sheriff’s Office the authority to have anyone parked outside of the designated parking areas or parked after sundown towed…

…Judge orders talks between County, Flying Heart Ranch Owners’ Association — Emily Jones | Idaho Mountain Express | August 30, 2023

"According to the Singapore Statutes, the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act states that displaying any flag or national emblem that is not of Singapore in public is considered an offense," said the Stomper.

The penalty for the illegal display of foreign national emblems by an individual is a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

'It is a sore sight': Foreign flag hung outside Balestier condo balcony removed — Ong Su Mann | STOMP | September 2, 2023

From New York to California, cities are cracking down on short-term rentals with bans, license requirements or limits on how many people can offer their homes for stays of 30 days or less. Airbnb and property owners are fighting back in court, but their lawsuits so far have had little success…

Cities want more rules because they claim unregulated short-term rentals reduce the availability of affordable housing, boost local rents and create unnecessary risks for guests and neighbors.

Property owners are pushing back in court, arguing the regulations violate their constitutional rights. The new rules are being challenged by hosts across the country, including cases filed in Kansas City, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Fort Worth, Texas. These suits may take years to resolve…

Crackdown on Airbnb Hosts Spurs Lawsuits, Losses, Longer Stays — Teresa Xie | Bloomberg | September 1, 2023

For nearly a month, hundreds of residents living in a condominium complex in Orange have been forced to live without natural gas.

SoCalGas said it shut off gas access for the La Veta Monterey Condos on June 2 citing safety concerns after a gas leak was discovered on the premises. The complex houses 212 units with both owners and renters.

Because the leak was discovered on private property, utility officials said responsibility for repairs falls on the complex owners and the homeowners association.

Orange County condo residents forced to live without gas for weeks — Chip Yost and Vivian Chow | KTLA 5 | June 22, 2023 

View past coverage:  1,  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.


…There are three factors sparking this. One is a recognition that demand for electricity will soar in coming years, because of global growth and the fact that digital innovations such as AI need “a lot” of additional electricity. This creates, as Altman admits, “urgent demand for tons and tons of cheap, safe, clean energy at scale”.

Second, relying on fossil fuels to generate this electricity will exacerbate global warming — but renewable sources, such as wind and solar, cannot plug the gap without major breakthroughs in battery storage.

Third, the nuclear tech has changed. In the 20th century, this was generated in massive power plants that were costly and time-consuming to build. The cost of Britain’s planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, for example, has surged to £32bn, while the bill for America’s new Vogtle plants has doubled from $14bn to over $30bn…

Nuclear power’s future is being disrupted — Gillian Tett | Financial Times | August 31, 2023

The Cost of Net Zero

Even at temperatures approaching -30C, heat pumps outperform oil and gas heating systems, according to the research from Oxford University and the Regulatory Assistance Project thinktank.

Heat pumps twice as efficient as fossil fuel systems in cold weather, study finds — Fiona Harvey | The Guardian | September 11, 2023

Coming in from the cold: Heat pump efficiency at low temperatures — Duncan Gibb, et. al. | Joule | September 11, 2023


One of the first major industries to start selling climate-conscious products to its consumers may be one of the last to actually decarbonize.

Airlines have been offering customers dubious carbon offsets on their booking sites since at least 2005. This summer holiday season, many of the the same carriers have been replete with boasts that they’ll use revolutionary sustainable fuels to go green. As a growing number of bans, consumer complaints and lawsuits over the past year have demonstrated, those claims are bunk.

Aviation: The Industry's Path to Becoming Green Doesn't Exist… — David Fickling | Bloomberg | September 12, 2023


To hit its net zero targets, the world is relying on a controversial technology pioneered by the fossil fuel industry. It’s going to cost $4.5 trillion this decade.

Carbon Capture Technology Is Running Out of Time to Prove Itself — Stephen Stapczynski | Bloomberg | September 13, 2023


In an all-day investor event in June, Sawan laid out an updated strategy for the European oil major that included cutting costs and doubling down on profit drivers like oil and gas. As important was what he omitted: any mention of the company’s prior commitment to spend up to $100 million a year to build a pipeline of carbon credits, part of the firm’s promise to zero out its emissions by 2050.

Those goals for the offsets program have been retired, the company confirmed, along with the plan to harvest a whopping 120 million carbon credits annually by the end of the decade from projects that sequester carbon with trees, grasses or other natural resources, many of which Shell would develop itself. That would have accounted for about 10% of the company’s emissions. It hasn’t made public any new targets for developing offsets or specified how it now plans to deliver on its future climate commitments…

Europe's Biggest Oil Company Quietly Shelves a Radical Plan to Shrink Its Carbon Footprint — Alastair Marsh and Will Mathis | Bloomberg | August 30, 2023


…In a paper due to be published later this year, Ren’s team estimates ChatGPT gulps up 500 milliliters of water (close to what’s in a 16-ounce water bottle) every time you ask it a series of between 5 to 50 prompts or questions. The range varies depending on where its servers are located and the season. The estimate includes indirect water usage that the companies don’t measure — such as to cool power plants that supply the data centers with electricity…

Artificial intelligence technology behind ChatGPT was built in Iowa — with a lot of water

— Alastair Marsh and Will Mathis | Associated Press | August 30, 2023


The world needs to "rapidly accelerate action" on cutting heat-trapping emissions, warns a new report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Countries have an ever-shrinking window of time to stave off temperatures that would bring more dangerous heat waves, droughts and storms.

The warning comes ahead of major climate change negotiations among world leaders in early December at COP28, to be held in the United Arab Emirates. Countries use the annual summit to discuss their pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but so far, they're still falling short.

Climate scientists warn that the world needs to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Beyond that threshold, sea level rise threatens to inundate coastal cities, coral reefs could disappear almost entirely, and extreme weather events become even more common. Currently, the world is on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming…

The world is still falling short on limiting climate change, according to U.N. report — Lauren Sommer | NPR | September 9, 2023

Implementation must accelerate to increase ambition across all fronts… — UNFCCC | September 8, 2023


A recently published study shows that paper cups can be just as toxic as conventional plastic ones if they end up littered in our natural environment. Seemingly eco-friendly paper cups are coated with a thin layer of plastic to keep their contents from seeping into the paper, and this lining can emit toxic substances. “There are chemicals leaching out of these materials,” says lead author Bethanie Carney Almroth, an associate professor of environmental science at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden…

Sorry, Your Paper Coffee Cup Is a Toxic Nightmare — Sabrina Weiss | WIRED | September 1, 2023

Single-use take-away cups of paper are as toxic to aquatic midge larvae as plastic cups — Bethanie Carney Almroth, et al. | ScienceDirect | August 1, 2023


Could these strings be a better way to extract lithium?

Revolutionizing Lithium Production On A String — Guest Contributor | CleanTechnia | September 10, 2023


Experiments have shown that microwaving plastic baby food containers available on the shelves of U.S. stores can release huge numbers of plastic particles — in some cases, more than 2 billion nanoplastics and 4 million microplastics for every square cm of container.

Though the health effects of consuming micro- and nanoplastics remain unclear, the Nebraska team further found that three-quarters of cultured embryonic kidney cells had died after two days of being introduced to those same particles. A 2022 report from the World Health Organization recommended limiting exposure to such particles.

“It is really important to know how many micro- and nanoplastics we are taking in,” said Kazi Albab Hussain, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “When we eat specific foods, we are generally informed or have an idea about their caloric content, sugar levels, other nutrients. I believe it’s equally important that we are aware of the number of plastic particles present in our food.

“Just as we understand the impact of calories and nutrients on our health, knowing the extent of plastic particle ingestion is crucial in understanding the potential harm they may cause. Many studies, including ours, are demonstrating that the toxicity of micro- and nanoplastics is highly linked to the level of exposure.”...

Nebraska study finds billions of nanoplastics released when microwaving containers — Scott Schrage | Nebraska Today | July 21, 2023 

Housing Affordability & Homelessness

According to findings from an Indiana Land Use Task Force meeting Friday, nearly 80% of Hoosier households are being priced out of the housing market.

“The supply isn’t keeping up, and financing challenges with interest rates increasing continue to provide affordability challenges,” Fisher said.

“I think a lot of people would say we’re in a housing crisis right now,” Rick Wajda, the CEO of the Indiana Builders Association, said.

Wajda said the median new home price in Indiana is currently around $400,000, which means a household would need to earn at least $120,000 a year to afford a new home. That leaves roughly 2.1 million Hoosier households out of the market…

Nearly 80% of Indiana households priced out of current housing market — Hannah Adamson | FOX59 | September 8, 2023


…Baby boomers, who transformed society in so many ways, are now having a dramatic effect on homelessness. Higher numbers of elderly living on the street or in shelters add complications and expenses for hospitals and other crisis services. The humanitarian problem is becoming a public-policy crisis, paid for by taxpayers.

Aged people across the U.S. are homeless in growing numbers in part because the supersize baby boomer generation, which since the 1980s has contributed large numbers to the homeless population, is now old. But other factors have made elderly people increasingly vulnerable to homelessness, and the vast numbers of boomers are feeding the surge…

Why More Baby Boomers Are Sliding Into Homelessness — Shannon Najmabadi | WSJ | September 12, 2023

HUD Releases 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report — December 19, 2022


Even YIMBYs get things wrong:

YIMBYs are right that the US needs a major expansion of its housing supply. Unfortunately, eliminating restrictions on private housing development won’t do much to get us there…

…unrealistic expectations about how far cities can be changed for the better by “liberating supply,” due to a too-ready acceptance of models that try to adapt Econ 101 thinking to the sui generis problem of urban housing…

…in order to work as intended, upzoning needs to clear a high hurdle: it needs to result in the number of homes per plot of land expanding by more, proportionally, than land prices increase. If it doesn’t, then housing is unlikely to get any cheaper…

The Problem With YIMBY Economics — Seth Ackerman | Jacobin | September 1, 2023


…Nearly 1 in 10 U.S. homes were valued at $1 million or more in June, a share close to last summer's all-time high and up from a 12-month low in February, according to Redfin.

Of note: Washington's slice of million-dollar plus homes rose from more than 6% in June 2019 to about 16% in June 2023, Redfin's data shows…

One third of Seattle homes are worth at least $1 million — Christine Clarridge and Sami Sparber | Axios | August 29, 2023

Insurance Policy Crushing a Condominium

Infrastructure + Insurance

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…

VIDEO: Florida Condo Association’s property insurance spiked nearly 1,000% — Mahsa Saeidi | WFLA | July 18, 2023


…Douglas Heller, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, testified that the government should invest in tax-free incentives to strengthen homes to reduce risks and bring down costs.  "What we really need to be doing is putting our money upfront," Heller said. "If we protect homes with $1, we don't have to rebuild with emergency funds with $5, $6 and $7 after the fact."

The Senate committee's hearing on the property insurance market comes a day after Democratic senators, led by Warren, sent a letter urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Steven Seitz, director of Treasury's Federal Insurance Office, to collect comprehensive data about the impacts of climate change on the insurance industry.

Natural disasters led to roughly $130 billion in insured losses globally last year, according to Aon. Hurricane Ian, which caused severe flooding in Florida and Cuba in 2022, accounted for around $50 billion to $55 billion of that amount. The Sunshine State is currently recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Idalia, while the destructive Maui wildfires in August are estimated to cost Hawaii between $4 billion and $6 billion in economic losses, according to risk assessment firm Moody's.

Senators take up looming insurance crisis as policy issuers flee Florida and California — Chelsey Cox | CNBC | September 7, 2023

Global Insured Losses from Natural Disasters Exceeded $130 Billion in 2022, Driven by Second-Costliest Event on Record — Aon | January 25, 2023


As Hurricane Idalia leaves a path of Florida destruction behind, damaged homes and businesses will generate insurance claims and generate new concerns by policyholders that companies will increase rates or drop customers…

It's a cycle that currently has 14 insurance companies in liquidation and state-run Citizens, the insurance of last resort, now has 1.3 million policyholders who will likely see an average 12% increase in premiums beginning Nov. 1, which makes you wonder if lawmakers are doing enough to stabilize the insurance market where the average annual cost is $2,469, according to QuoteWizard…

Idalia's effect on rising insurance rates — Greg Fox | WESH2 | August 31, 2023

Growing concerns over Florida’s insurance rates after Hurricane IdaliaNBC News | September 1, 2023


In the aftermath of extreme weather events, major insurers are increasingly no longer offering coverage that homeowners in areas vulnerable to those disasters need most.

At least five large U.S. property insurers — including Allstate, American Family, Nationwide, Erie Insurance Group and Berkshire Hathaway — have told regulators that extreme weather patterns caused by climate change have led them to stop writing coverages in some regions, exclude protections from various weather events and raise monthly premiums and deductibles.

Major insurers say they will cut out damage caused by hurricanes, wind and hail from policies underwriting property along coastlines and in wildfire country, according to a voluntary survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a group of state officials who regulate rates and policy forms…

Insurance providers are also more willing to drop existing policies in some locales as they become more vulnerable to natural disasters. Most home insurance coverages are annual terms, so providers are not bound to them for more than one year.

Home insurers cut natural disasters from policies over climate risk — Jacob Bogage | The Washington Post | September 1, 2023


…“Major insurers say they will cut out damage caused by hurricanes, wind and hail from policies underwriting property along coastlines and in wildfire country, according to a voluntary survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a group of state officials who regulate rates and policy forms,” the Washington Post reported.

We are witnessing in real time the collision of foolish political policies, and a favored lobbying industry loathe to pay out on policies when disasters strike out of bankruptcy concerns. And in California with an “annual wildfire season,” this is a man-made disaster and very political…

Largest U.S. Insurance Companies Now Claim ‘Climate Change’ is Behind Ending Coverage — Katy Grimes | California Globe | September 5, 2023


Are insurers getting too much information from prediction companies?  Also see Property Insurers are watching your home with drones and satellites.

“Understand the old pennywise, pound foolish rule.  You may put yourself in a position where you cannot afford to rebuild because the coverage you have is insufficient”…

Inside the rising costs of homeowners insurance policies in CaliforniaABC10 News Northern California | August 30, 2023

The Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner says customers are reporting their rates have increased between 10 to 30 percent, and some even higher…

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready says the state still has a competitive marketplace with 125 homeowners’ insurance companies to pick from, but homeowners should expect to pay more for insurance…

Increase In Homeowner's Insurance Rates In Oklahoma — Chinh Doan | News9 | September 1, 2023


Even for Star Island, the most exclusive enclave in Miami, the bill is a shocker: $622,000.

That’s per year — for homeowners insurance.

Granted, that was a recent quote for a policy on one of the ultraluxe mansions on the Biscayne Bay island, where A-listers like Rick Ross, Ken Griffin and Alex Rodriguez own homes. But, only last year, the same policy cost $200,000…

Ultra Rich Pay $620,000 to Shield Mega Mansions From Disaster Risk — Felipe Marques and Devon Pendleton | Bloomberg | September 7, 2023


What does the captain of the Titanic and California’s Insurance Commissioner have in common? When California’s insurance industry steamed toward a looming “iceberg,” Ricardo Lara, California’s “Captain of insurance” was asleep. In May we struck the iceberg…

The sinking of California's insurance industry — Stacy Korsgaden | CalCoastNews | September 4, 2023


As efforts continued to sort out damage from Hurricane Idalia, regulators on Friday approved proposals by seven private insurers to pull as many as 202,000 policies from the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworksy signed orders approving the proposals by Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Co., Slide Insurance Co., Florida Peninsula Insurance Co., Monarch National Insurance Co., Safepoint Insurance Co., Loggerhead Reciprocal Interinsurance Exchange and Edison Insurance Co.

The proposals were filed in late July, and the companies will be able to start assuming policies from Citizens about Nov. 21…

Private homeowners insurance firms get OK to take up to 202,000 Citizens policies — News Service of Florida | Tampa Bay Times | September 5, 2023


The North Carolina Department of Insurance is contesting a 50.6% dwelling insurance rate increase proposed by the N.C. Rate Bureau. Dwelling insurance policies cover residences with no more than four units that are not occupied by owners, such as rental homes, or small apartment complexes.

Insurance commissioner Mike Causey said in an Aug. 31 news release that the commissioner is “Not in agreement with the Rate Bureau’s proposed increases filed.”...

NCDOI contests request to increase dwelling insurance by 50.6% — Mitchell Black | Asheville Citizen Times | September 5, 2023


Consumer advisory: Take action when home insurance is cancelled or costs surge — CFPB | August 30, 2023

Broken Housing Market

Housing Market

Roam, a real-estate company that launched Wednesday, is betting that it can popularize an obscure workaround. “Assumable loans” allow sellers to transfer their own mortgage loans to the buyer alongside the house.

In theory, the idea sounds great, at least for discouraged house hunters who can inherit a lower-rate loan. Sellers, in turn, might fetch higher prices for their houses.

But Roam’s vision faces an uphill battle. Loan assumptions haven’t gained much traction recently, even though rates are up. Many lenders are cool to the idea because for them it would mean more work for less money.

A 3% Mortgage Rate in a 7% World? This Startup Says It Can Do That — Ben Eisen | WSJ | September 13, 2023


More than four in five US homebuyers are factoring in climate risks when they shop for a new house, according to a new survey by real estate firm Zillow.

Some 83% of respondents said they weighed at least one climate risk such as floods, extreme temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes or droughts in their purchase plans, according to Zillow’s poll of almost 12,000 prospective buyers conducted between April and July 2023.

US Homebuyers Weigh Climate Risk in Picking a House, Zillow Says — Alexandre Tanzi | Bloomberg | September 5, 2023

More than 80% of home shoppers consider climate risks when looking for a new home — Zillow | September 5, 2023


Blame the Boomers:

Even as the Federal Reserve raised benchmark US interest rates at the fastest pace in decades and the average mortgage rate surged above 7%, the housing market has barely budged. It’s a dynamic that’s defied expectations, with many analysts blaming the so-called ‘lock-in’ effect — where inventory is squeezed by homeowners who are disincentivized from selling their house and taking on a new mortgage at a much higher cost.

Economists at Barclays Plc, however, are looking elsewhere to explain America’s weirdly resilient housing market. In a note titled “Blame the Boomers” they point the finger at the millions of aging Americans who are helping to push up demand for homes.

“The US housing sector is on the upswing again, even with mortgage rates at multi-decade highs,” Jonathan Millar, Barclays senior economist, writes in the research. “Although much has been attributed to shortages of existing properties and mortgage lock-in effects, we think strong demand is a symptom of the aging population.”

‘Blame the Boomers’ for Surging House Prices, Barclays Says — Tracy Alloway | Bloomberg | September 7, 2023


Next month, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about a case on whether the way CFPB is funded violates the appropriations clause of the Constitution. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that since funding for the CFPB is not appropriated directly from Congress and comes from the Federal Reserve, its funding mechanism is unconstitutional.

"Mortgage Lenders depend on a lot of exemptions and guidance that has been promulgated by the Bureau since its creation," John Coleman, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in Washington and a former Deputy General Counsel at the CFPB, told Newsweek.

"A ruling that those rules are void, such that they never had any legal effect, could cause a lot of uncertainty about what lenders obligations are going forward certainly, and also whether loans that were extended 5-10 years ago can be challenged as problematic for some reason," he added…

The Supreme Court Could Upend the Housing Market — Omar Mohammed | Newsweek | September 7, 2023

Built Environment

Elevator Expert on How to Move 10,000 People Up a 118-Floor Skyscraper | WSJ Pro Perfected


On June 9, 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 154 (SB 154), which seeks to address select issues from the Florida Condominium Act, SB 4D. All of these measures are intended to mitigate and prevent potentially devastating incidents, including building collapses. Condominium safety laws center around inspection requirements, mandatory reserves and more transparency for unit owners and prospective unit owners on information regarding the condition of the buildings.

Many community associations, unit owners, board members and their management companies find themselves continuing to seek solutions to pay for major restoration projects to address SB 154 and at the same time assess other necessary repairs. Oftentimes, these projects are becoming more complex and costly, and can become massive in scope. Further exacerbating financial stress for community associations are skyrocketing insurance premiums as well as a general increase in interest rates…

SB 154: Navigating condo association restoration projects — Kenneth Vasquez | South Florida Business Journal | September 11, 2023


A creative solution to declining infrastructure.

Members of the Arlington Heights Condominiums, located on 8th Road S. in the Arlington Mill neighborhood, plan to get the property redeveloped while ensuring every resident who wants to stay can.

First, a developer will build a new 6-story building on the property, into which all 111 existing condo residents can move. Then the existing units will be razed for new housing, which could include apartments for seniors…

A soup-to-nuts rehabilitation could cost $15 million, or roughly $150,000 per resident …his would price out a number of owners over the next decade. Those who sell would likely neither profit from the sale nor pocket enough to buy elsewhere in Arlington. Homes in the complex already have higher condo fees and sell for less than other nearby, newer units, according to a financial analysis prepared for residents.  So the association hired a developer, architect, contractor and land-use attorneys, and partnered with a bank, to wade through muddy legal waters and find a solution.

One year later, the team came up with the phased plan to build a new complex, move residents in and redevelop the rest of the property. Pitts says condo owners could spend $78,000 on condo fees and end up with new homes, a shared clubhouse and other amenities, compared to $150,000 just for rehabbed units…

How an Arlington Mill condo association plans to transform itself — on a budget — Lauren Gallow | ARLnow | November 1, 2022


The Lucayan Towers South board has submitted a proposal to the Grand Bahama Port Authority to transform the deteriorating 136 unit condominium.

Last month, the GBPA issued a “final notice” to the condominium association board, demanding it disclose a plan in 30 days to address purported code violations and safety hazards or have its certificate of occupancy revoked…

In 2019, The Tribune reported that the once premier institution showed severe neglect. Owners claimed someone on the board responsible for managing the building failed to ensure maintenance and proper financial accounting…One resident who spoke to The Tribune anonymously last month expressed disgust with the state of the building…

Lucayan Towers South board submit proposal to transform deteriorating condominium — Lauren Gallow | ARLnow | November 1, 2022


Just an ordinary condominium renovation.  Oh wait…

…Olson purchased the adjacent unit and added an elevator, a new sitting room, and a bedroom suite, more than doubling the condo’s size to a total of 2,400 square feet.

Jim Olson's recently renovated Seattle Condominium reflects his work — Lauren Gallow | AN Interior | November 1, 2022


“Unless you were magically able to jack the building up further,” he said, “we are still left with a significant tilt of the building.’’

If the tower does not right itself any further, the high-rise could be left permanently tilting 29 inches as measured at the northwest corner of the roof.

VIDEO: San Francisco's Millennium Tower stabilized, but still tilting — Jaxon Van Derbeken | NBC Bay Area | September 7, 2023


See Issue# 69 for an amazing video on conversionsNew York is facing twin real-estate crises: a massive amount of empty office space and almost no new housing construction.

The pandemic-induced shift to remote work caught many in the commercial real-estate industry off guard. But some developers and architects have used the opportunity to lean into a business model they'd been pursuing long before COVID-19: turning empty office buildings into housing.

They include the real-estate development and investment firm Vanbarton Group and the architecture firm Gensler. They're currently finishing up their transformation of 160 Water Street, a 1970s office tower in lower Manhattan that will become 586 apartments. This comes after Vanbarton worked with the architecture firm CetraRuddy to convert a similar building at 180 Water Street into 574 units back in 2017.

Architects are cutting big holes in the middle of skyscrapers and adding more floors to turn empty NYC offices into apartments

— Eliza Relman | Insider | September 10, 2023


Promulgating doom loops: return to office is going slowly in the Americas.

In the emerging post-pandemic era, most aspects of life have returned to normal. Moviegoers are flocking to cinemas, vacationers jammed airports for summer travel and kids are returning to classrooms.

The one thing that has remained stubbornly fraught: the world of work.  Three and a half years after millions of office-goers were sent home en masse, companies, employees and governments are still figuring out how to adapt to lasting changes to corporate life…

What the Return to Office Looks Like Globally — Matthew Boyle | Bloomberg | September 4, 2023 

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

You know the drill: Bad news for the economy turns out to be good for stocks, and good news becomes bad. It’s happening again, and it’s all thanks to inflation—or more to the point, worries about inflation.

This could be part of a generational shift in how markets operate. For most of the 20th century—aside from the Great Depression, World War II and the Vietnam War—stocks and bond yields moved in opposite directions. But today’s investors grew used to stocks and bond yields going in the same direction, as they did from 2000 to 2021.

In the past two years, the pattern has reverted to the old normal, as inflation concerns came to the fore…

The Generational Paradigm Shift Taking Over Markets — James Mackintosh | WSJ | September 6, 2023

European Central Bank hikes rates to record level, hints at possible peak — Jenni Reid | CNBC | September 14, 2023


The heat is on.  Time to pay the piper for gorging on low rates.

In the decade before the Covid-19 pandemic, governments, businesses and households became addicted to low interest rates, gorging on debt to fund everything from expensive new cars to crisis-fighting stimulus and leveraged buyouts.

That era was a product of the sluggish, low-inflation environment that prevailed after the 2007-09 global financial crisis, and now it is over. As investors have come to that realization in recent weeks, long-term bond yields have risen to 15-year highs. The Federal Reserve’s federal-funds rate averaged 0.5% from 2009 through 2021. Today it is between 5.25% and 5.5% and markets think it will be around 3.5% for the next decade…

Among the most exposed: taxpayers. Federal debt held by the public rocketed from 35% of gross domestic product at the end of 2007 to 93% in the first quarter of this year as Uncle Sam borrowed first to bail out banks, then to prop up growth, then to cut taxes, then cushion the economy from the pandemic, and now to support manufacturing.

Rates Are Up. We’re Just Starting to Feel the Heat.

— Greg Ip, Joe Pinsker, Will Parker, Walden Siew, Jennifer Willaims-Alvarez, Veronica Dagher and Telis Demos | WSJ | September 1, 2023


The federal budget deficit is expected to balloon to about $2 trillion for fiscal year 2023, roughly double what it was in the previous fiscal year, according to a government watchdog group.

The surge stems largely from a sharp decline in tax revenues, coupled with an increase in mandatory spending on Social Security, Medicare and interest payments, as well as in other areas. It follows a sharp drop in the budget shortfall in fiscal year 2022 after two years of giant deficits swollen by record government spending on Covid-19 pandemic relief measures.

Federal budget deficit expected to nearly double to around $2 trillion… — Tammi Luhby | CNN | September 6, 2023

Cashing In

…Many industry players view brokered deposits as a double-edged sword. They can be a quick and easy way for a bank to shore up its balance sheet. The deposits are typically much more expensive because banks have to pay higher interest rates to lure in those customers, along with other fees. Regulators and bankers say they are also a type of “hot” money that is prone to disappear when a bank hits a rough patch, since these yield-seeking customers don’t tend to be loyal…

Brokered deposits are what they sound like: A bank can go to a third-party broker such as Morgan Stanley or Fidelity to find customers to invest in the bank’s high-yielding certificates of deposit. That allows the bank to get big influxes of money at once, rather than customer by customer.

Brokered deposits remained a relatively small percentage of total deposits at these banks. But at some smaller regional banks, such as Associated Banc-Corp and Valley National Bancorp, brokered deposits accounted for more than 10% of domestic deposits, a level that can make regulators wary. The FDIC can charge higher insurance fees to banks that have high concentrations of brokered deposits…

Banks Load Up on $1.2 Trillion in Risky ‘Hot’ Deposits — Gina Herb | WSJ | September 12, 2023

Cashing Out

Municipal-bond investors are paying a greater premium than should be expected for the “pleasure of not being taxed,” a new study finds, often negating the bonds’ benefit.

In a perfectly priced world, a muni bond would pay interest equivalent to a Treasury bond minus the investors’ tax burden on the Treasury and adjusted for liquidity and credit quality of the issuing state or municipality.

But munis pay investors even less than that, according to the study, which appeared in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper in June. On average, the study found, the yield of the muni bonds was nearly 15 basis points, or 0.15 percentage point, lower than what would be explained by their favorable tax status…

Municipal-Bond Investors Pay a Hefty Price for Not Being Taxed — Daisy Maxey | WSJ | September 3, 2023 

…The law was passed, and a court date for Woodruff v. Elm Terrace Condominium Association was set, but the judicial process ended in mediation in May, when the case was settled. The association agreed to pay Woodruff $20,000, garage heaters had to be submetered, and the entire board of directors had to resign, among other stipulations…

…“I think the biggest overarching comment or advice that I would give is for folks to communicate," he said. "So many issues, especially in condo associations and other communities where people live in close quarters — communication early is just so key."

Fargo woman takes condo association to court over power bill for EV, inspires new law

— C.S. Hagen | Grand Forks Herald | September 5, 2023     [No Paywall Version]

HOA Q&A: What are the new requirements for structural inspections of condo buildings?

— S. Kyla Thomson | TCPalm | June 24, 2023

Association must keep unit keys under lock and key

— David M. Bendoff | Daily Herald | August 11, 2023

Condo legal expert aghast at this purported association trespass

— Ryan Poliakoff | The Palm Beach Post | January 27, 2023


Resident raises red flag in condo election, but is the concern legit?

— Ryan Poliakoff | The Palm Beach Post | January 18, 2023

VIDEO: Harrisburg homeowners win jury trial against Heatherstone HOA

— C.S. Hagen | WCNC Charlotte | September 5, 2023

Aziz v. Heatherstone | North Carolina COA22-819 | Aziz v. Heatherstone Opinion

In sum, we conclude “board meeting,” as defined by section 4090, subdivision (a), is an in-person gathering of a quorum of the directors of a homeowners association at the same time and in the same physical location for the purpose of talking about and taking action on items of association business. E-mail exchanges among directors on those items that occur before a board meeting and in which no action is taken on the items, such as those at issue in this case, do not constitute board meetings within the meaning of that provision. The trial court therefore correctly rejected appellants’ claims that the e-mail exchanges were board meetings that violated the OMA.

LNSU #1, LLC v. Alta Del Mar Coastal Collection Community Assn. — August 25, 2023

2023 Utah Bills HB146 and HB0099 amended 57-8-8.1(10) and 57-8a-218(18)

A rule may restrict a sex offender from accessing a protected area that is maintained, operated, or owned by the association, subject to the exceptions described in Subsection 77-27-21.7(3).

Utah bill passes restricting registered sex offenders at HOA pools, parks, playgrounds

— Wendy Halloran | KJZZ | February 14, 2023

He fought to keep an emotional support emu at his home — and won

— Olivia Diaz | Washington Post | September 5, 2023

Supreme Application

...The Michigan Supreme Court, in addressing this exact issue, held that awarding the fair market value of a property instead of the price obtained at a public tax foreclosure sale “would run  contrary  to  the  general  principle  that  just  compensation  is  measured  by  the  value  of  the property taken” and would “not only . . . [take] money away from the public” but would also allow  plaintiffs  to  “benefit  from  their  tax  delinquency.”   Rafaeli,  LLC  v.  Oakland  County, 952N.W.2d 434,  465–66  (Mich.  2020)...

Donald Freed v. Michelle Thomas, No. 21-1248 (6th Cir. 2023) — Justia

Legislation Page

Kentucky 23RS SB 120 relating to planned communities

Kentucky Planned Communities Act (Effective June 2023)

Kentucky’s Planned Community Act Goes Into Effect In June 2023

— Lake Cumberland Resort Independent | May 12, 2023

View newly effective CIC-specific statutory requirements on our Legislation Page. 

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