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 # 76

CIC Info Bytes 10/12/23

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 10/12/23 - PRINT EDITION


Dispute Resolution: A Detailed Conversation

Colorado HOA Homeowners' Rights Task Force Meeting

Active Shooter Webinar

Channel Conflict into Change

2023 Community Association Legislative Priorities Survey
2023 Community Association Legislative Priorities Survey



TAKE the 2023 Community Association Legislative Priorities Survey.



Better Data = Better Prioritization = Better Legislation = Better Communities

Trials and Tribulations of a Volunteer Director - Part I


AT the first meeting, a motion was made to simply cancel our long-standing HVAC maintenance contract.  The motion failed.  

THE NEXT meeting saw the same Board member bring a new motion: to have a handyman-equivalent service change out HVAC filters twice a year at a cost of approximately $120/unit.

THE EXISTING bi-annual service by licensed HVAC techs is ~$230/yr/unit.  Anyone who knows anything about HVAC knows that bulk rate is second to none.

Multiple Board members, failing to have a reasonable level of knowledge of the history and practice of HVAC service over the past 5+ years, have referred to HVAC-certified maintenance as “filter changes."  The following questions and comments topped it off: 

There’s an exterior service component for HVAC maintenance?

I don’t want YOU writing [a resolution] because it will benefit YOU and not ME.

This newsletter cannot unpack the entire situation, but can explore to what we owe the displeasure of this exchange with four salient points:

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editors,

I was inspired to write to you based on Larry Neppl's September 3rd op-ed follow-up to Erin Jordan's August 27th coverage of the Parkridge Owners Association special assessment to restore a retaining wall.

There is a wide-spread misconception amongst condominium homeowners that loss assessment coverage is a magic wand of sorts that will pay for special assessments resulting from deferred maintenance.  To the contrary, loss assessment coverage pays for amounts specially assessed to individual units based on a loss covered by a property's master insurance policy (for which the policy cannot cover the entire loss as an example).  With the exception of unique situations (e.g. a roof in disrepair must be replaced due to a covered loss such as a hail storm, etc.), property insurance policies provide no guarantees and/or relief for the burden of deferred maintenance.  Simultaneously, our nation has found itself in the middle of a property insurance crisis driven by climate change and a lack of housing affordability driving homeowners from relatively expensive metropolitan areas with less severe weather patterns to geographies beset by drought, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Insurance aside, many community association homeowners discover the unfortunate reality of years or even decades of lacking reserve contributions, lacking fiscal, governance and professional oversight, and mismanagement only after a special assessment.  The statutory framework supporting community associations and the entire industry servicing over $100B in annual assessments deserves nothing less than sea change toward homeowner-centric legislation and practices, respectively. 

Owners of the 454-unit 1970’s era Makaha Surfside condominium recently learned that $339,364.83 had been embezzled from their condo association.  This is the largest loss of its kind discovered in the state of Hawaii.

The scheme involved unauthorized payments to vendors based on fraudulent invoices for work that had not been performed, related to projects that may have been planned but remained “unexecuted,” according to the board’s letter.  The theft apparently went on over at least a couple of years, according to two people with knowledge of the situation…

Although the board attributed its discovery to a routine audit, the losses had not been uncovered during previous annual audits required by state law. Instead, the theft was discovered only after a few individual owners raised questions about what they believed were management and financial irregularities, according to several people familiar with the situation, including current and former owners.

They say questions raised were initially resisted by the board, and it was only through repeated and persistent questioning that the board finally agreed to undertake the audit that found one unauthorized payment, then another…

This Waianae Condo Development Has Lost Hundreds Of Thousands To Embezzlement — Ian Lind | Honolulu Civil Beat | October 10, 2023

Georgia homeowners battling against empty HOA promises

HOAs are supposed to protect your home but some homeowners feel like hostages instead — Rebecca Lindstrom | 11Alive | April 16, 2018

Village at Towne Lake Covenants


These homeowners believe their association has acted out of pettiness.

Subject to certain exclusions, Texas Property Code (TPC) 202.007 specifically prohibits community associations from regulations that, among other things, conserve water, but does not restrict a property owners’ association from regulating yard and landscape maintenance if the restrictions or requirements do not restrict or prohibit turf or landscaping design that promotes water conservation.

BUT San Antonio Municode (as just one of many examples) adds:

(8)Dedicatory instruments.

a. A dedicatory instrument may not require the installation of an irrigation system

b. A dedicatory instrument may not require turfgrass to be planted or irrigated


…In a statement, ACMI told 13 Investigates it "the notice we sent to the homeowner was not properly worded…

"On occasion, someone will fly a very large flag of this sort, and those are discouraged," ACMI said in a statement. "The basic intent is to minimize displays that may, in some way, create a nuisance to the community, homeowners nearby to the display, or in some manner, impact upon property values nearby to the display."

VIDEO: Tomball homeowners fly 'Defund the HOA' flag after 'petty' notice — Kevin Ozebek and Sarah Rafique | KTRK ABC 13 | October 2, 2023

The law is on your side if your HOA demands green grass during drought — Alex Trevino | CBS Austin | August 24, 2023

Somi Ekwealor, who is Black, and Jenna Ekwealor, who is multi-ethnic white and Latina, say their homeowners association, Charter Pointe, accused them of violating an association rule because they hung a Black Lives Matter flag by their front door.  The Ekwealors allege that no such rule existed, but that afterward, the association then wrote a new rule aimed at them…

They were excited to move to Boise. Now they're suing their HOA for discrimination — Nick Rosenberger | Idaho Statesman | October 09, 2023

Ekwealor v Hubble Homes and Charter Pointe Neighborhood Association | September 15, 2023

Waukesha Horizon West Condominium Homes Association owners who had to be evacuated from their building after a threat of collapse are now suing the building's insurer.  The 27 homeowners have brought a $17 million lawsuit against Travelers Insurance for failing to pay claims.

They were evacuated from the Horizon West building in December. They say Travelers hasn't denied or accepted their claims, and they're in limbo.  For the past four months, the financial struggles of Beth and Scott Hastreiter have been mounting….

Waukesha Horizon West condo lawsuit, $17M sought after collapse threat — Ashley Sears | FOX6 | April 19, 2022

It seems like the policy is a bit at odds with itself.”  The attorney for Traveler’s struggles to handle the hypothetical posed by the Court.

“It sounds like a direct physical loss if you can no longer live in your home.”  ZING!

This case gets to the heart of “what’s an all perils policy?”  There’s an ordinance / law exclusion in the policy.  Appellants contend that it runs contrary to public policy to have such an exclusion.  Partially illusory coverage?  Listen to more 7th Circuit oral arguments.

Moreover, individual H06 policies for these owners generally aren’t covering loss of use because the circumstances causing the evacuation were not due to lack of habitability of individual units, but due to common elements.


As TMJ4 News reported extensively at the time, 70 people living across 49 units were all abruptly forced to move from the Horizon West Condominiums in Waukesha back in December.

A judge ruled against the residents who lived in a Waukesha condominium building facing the threat of collapse, displacing them from their homes.  Judge Adelman agreed to the insurance company's motion to dismiss homeowners' case, according to court documents.

Homeowners wanted money from the company per their insurance policies; the insurance company argued coverage did not apply at the time… 

Residents say they'd rather see the building get fixed instead of demolished. But documents show the building's contractor says, "The repairs to the building far exceed the value of the building as it is now".

Meanwhile, the homeowners are being sued by the City of Waukesha to demolish the building, an order they say they cannot afford.

Judge sides with insurance company in Waukesha condo lawsuit — Jackson Danbeck | TMJ4 | November 18, 2022

…The process of tearing down a condemned condominium building in Waukesha is beginning this week.  The city said crews are arriving at the site for asbestos abatement and to prepare the building for demolition.  The city forced residents to evacuate the Horizon West condominiums in 2021 over fears it could collapse.

Process begins this week to raze Waukesha condominiums — Amy Fleury | WISN | September 26, 2023

50% increase in quarterlies. Is that normal? — u/Zealousideal-Log-406 | Reddit r/HOA | October 3, 2023

HOA Keeps Raising Fees - Next Steps? r/HOA — u/BearTerrapin | Reddit r/HOA | October 4, 2023

Navigating Restoration

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.

The best maintained properties are finding it difficult to avoid challenges connected to escalating costs or finding extra funds for the unexpected, which is resulting in potential special assessments and/or increases in the operating budgets.

The Florida Development Services Group at Colliers estimates that 1.5 million condos operated by 28,000 associations throughout Florida will be affected by SB 154. In addition, with potential environmental shifts and natural catastrophes like hurricanes and storms, community associations have much to face. There are accessible options to facilitate an association’s major repair or restoration project, such as tapping reserves, implementing upfront special assessments and bank financing….

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

“Owners should contact their property managers to ensure that they are managing the owner’s unit is compliance with all governing document provisions, including managing the termination of Red Cross leases within the 60-day limit.”

Owner Carl Hu believes that the West Maui tourism reopening has pitted owners who are getting reimbursed by FEMA against owners who don’t want evacuees living there.

Owners at large Maui hotel-condo say they’re being forced to evict wildfire evacuees — Mahealani Richardson | Hawaii News Now | Octobre 3, 2023

Plattsmouth owners raise HOA oversight concerns after mowing fees paid to developer — Mike McKnight | WOWT 6 news | June 14, 2023

Post from Peter Yang on X | September 27, 2023

Given Singapore's high density, a signal must be sent that disputing neighbors cannot resort to threatening each other with choppers."

Chopper-wielding man jailed for threatening to kill condominium neighbors over noise dispute

— Lydia Lam | CNA | October 04, 2023

Past coverage:  1,  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 & 20. 


A plastic drop-off program embraced by 12,000 retail locations and more than 500 brands in the US has been putting packaging into landfills. 

US Store-Drop Off Plastic Recycling Often Ends Up in Landfills — K Onah Ha | Bloomberg | September 29, 2023


How much of the environment will humans plunder to power our electric dreams?

$67 Billion of Rare Minerals Is Buried Under One of the World’s Biggest Carbon Sinks — Vipal Monga | WSJ| September 28, 2023


In August, researchers in China published a study describing their development of a synthetic sponge that makes short work of microscopic plastic debris. In tests, the researchers show that when a specially prepared plastic-filled solution is pushed through one of their sponges, the sponge can remove both microplastics and even smaller nanoplastics from the liquid. These particles typically become trapped in the sponge’s many pores. Though the sponges’ effectiveness varied in experiments, in part depending on the concentration of plastic and the acidity and saltiness of the liquid, optimal conditions allowed the researchers to remove as much as 90 percent of the microplastics. They tried it in everything from tap water and seawater to—why not—soup from a local takeaway…

Sponging Up Plastic Pollution — Chris Baraniuk | Hakai Magazine | October 05, 2023

Housing Affordability & Homelessness

Can NYC Ease Housing Costs With 'City of Yes' Proposal? — Kriston Capps and Sarah Holder | Bloomberg CityLab | October 3, 2023


In a significant policy change, Fannie Mae has announced that, starting from the weekend after November 18, 2023, it will accept 5% down payments for owner-occupied 2-, 3-, and 4-unit homes. This marks a departure from the previous multifamily financing requirement of 15-25% down payments for duplexes, triplexes, and four-plexes…

The maximum loan amount allowed for these 2-4 unit properties is set at $1,396,800, ensuring that larger and more expensive properties can be purchased with flexibility. Additionally, the elimination of the FHA self-sufficiency test for 3-4 unit properties means that buyers will face fewer hurdles when seeking pre-approval for these types of multifamily homes.

Fannie Mae Introduces 5% Down Payment Option for Multifamily Homes — Aleksandra Kadzielawski | The Mortgage Reports | October 5, 2023


This research has six key findings:

The Decline of Condominium Construction in Colorado: Addressing Litigation Reform to Alleviate the Housing Affordability Crisis

— Peter LiFari | Common Sense Institute | September 20, 2023


…Trading to a smaller home has never been just about spending less money. People move to smaller homes to make their lives easier, to be closer to family members or to eliminate maintenance tasks as they age. But with mortgage rates pushing 8%, a meager supply of smaller homes for sale and steep prices for the few that are on the market, the math doesn’t work in many retirees’ favor.

The number of homes for sale that measure 750 to 1,750 square feet—the range downsizers tend to prefer—dropped 41% since 2019, and prices for these homes are 50% higher than they were before Covid, said Hannah Jones, senior economic research analyst at 

Downsizing is costliest for those who still have mortgages on their current homes, and are locked into low rates. For them, a smaller home might translate into bigger monthly home payments, further stretching the budget of people on a fixed income.  “It’s far more costly to downsize today than it was in 2019 before Covid,” said Rick Sharga, founder and chief executive of CJ Patrick Co., a real estate consulting firm…

Downsizing Your Home Isn't the Money Move It Used to Be — Veronica Dagher | WSJ | October 10, 2023


…In 2019 we had mild inflation and a low unemployment rate, but the average 30-year fixed mortgage was a little bit south of 4%. In 2023, even if inflation is heading back to target, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is nearly 8%.

And the question is why. Why does cool inflation and a low unemployment rate come with such a higher price tag in 2023 than it did in 2019. Obviously one possible story has to do with fiscal expansion, and how much more high-multiplier domestic investment we're getting out of policy. That's not a slam dunk story, but it could obviously be part of it.

If the Fed can achieve the soft landing -- sustainably low inflation and a low unemployment rate -- then that will obviously be an accomplishment that many thought could not be done. But the rate picture shows that we haven't just gone back to how it was four years ago…

—  Joe Weisenthal | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | October 5, 2023

Monthly Mortgage Payment Chart by Michael McDonough

More than 100,000 new homes in Seattle, 35,000 in Bellevue. Another 11,000 in Federal Way.  That’s the level of development King County communities need to accommodate over the next 20 years as the region continues to grow, according to estimates recently approved by the Metropolitan King County Council that will set the stage for growth in the region. Nearly every corner of the county needs thousands of new houses, condos and apartments. 

The figures rely on state projections and reflect the number of housing units each city should plan for by 2044. They underscore that the housing shortage stretches far beyond Seattle, from Bothell to SeaTac and Kent to North Bend and beyond.

But the region needs more than just high-cost market-rate housing to address the shortage.

More than a third of the 309,000 new homes needed across King County in the next 20 years need to be affordable to people making 30% of area median income or less, just $37,000 for a family of three. 

Thousands of new homes needed across King County — Heidi Groover | The Seattle Times | October 2, 2023

Insurance Policy Crushing a Condominium

Infrastructure + Insurance

The Insurance Bubble   |   First Street Foundation's 9th National Report: The Insurance Issue — First Street Foundation | September 29, 2023

Ann Bonilla is frustrated. It’s been almost a year and she still can’t use her condo at Dolphin Way on Bonita Beach. Up and down Hickory Boulevard tall metal fences keep residents out as work continues to repair all the severe damage caused by Hurricane Ian.

There are shortages of workers, back orders of parts, tangles with insurance companies, slow permitting and more that keep delaying work and forcing residents to stay away from their homes. Many are snowbirds who just didn’t come down this past year. But others are full time residents that are forced to pay rent somewhere else, while also paying HOA fees, taxes, insurance and high assessments on the condos they can’t live in...

“Most of our amenities were not insured for flood like the swimming pool, tennis court, landscaping,” he explained. “Even the parking lots. If it is not attached to the building, it is not insured for flood.”

As repairs are made, workers have been uncovering other damage that they didn’t realize had happened. That means new work order quotes, more permitting and more money needed for repairs…

Hurricane Ian - One Year later: Bonita condo owners face steep bills, no access to units — Andrea Stetson | Naples Daily News | September 30, 2023


Hundreds of thousands of policyholders are getting letters from the state-backed insurance company asking them to switch to private insurance companies by November.

“We are now the largest property insurer in the state. We are attempting to get back to our role as the state’s insurer of last resort,” Michael Peltier, spokesperson for Citizens Property Insurance.  According to Peltier, the insurance group has around 1.4 million policies, yet he estimates only 500,000 of those are qualified to be insured by them.

“If you see a letter from citizens in the mail, or you see it in your email, please open it,” pleaded Peltier.  You’ll receive one of two letters:

One will let you know you are being forced to take a private insurance company because their company offers a policy that is not more than 20 percent higher than the cost of your current policy with citizens.

The other letter will give you the option to stay with citizens or sign on with a private company if the cost of the policy is more than 20 percent of your current policy.

Citizens Insurance rolls out new wave of depopulation letters, more expected soon — Victoria De Cardenas | WPEC | September 28, 2023


"Florida property remains an important part of our Progressive Home business, and we have no plans to leave the state. However, we have been working collaboratively with state officials and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to implement changes that allow us to rebalance our exposure while continuing to serve Florida homeowners…

"We’ve been able to identify a current property carrier, Loggerhead Reciprocal Interinsurance Exchange, in which we have entered into an agreement to offer replacement policies to affected policyholders of our rebalancing decision subject to their underwriting and financial standards.

Progressive to send non-renewals to some Florida policyholders — Chelsea Robinson | WESH2 | October 5, 2023


…The surging numbers of last-resort policyholders, who by their nature tend to be higher risk, raise the possibility that a plan will need to be bailed out when the next big hurricane or wildfire strikes. Depending on the state, that would impose an added cost on insurers, policyholders or taxpayers. 

Even in states where the last-resort plan offers fairly comprehensive home-insurance coverage, such as Citizens in Florida, the risk of an additional charge levied on insurers, policyholders or taxpayers can be a significant downside. Floridians with Citizens policies could get hit with a surcharge of up to 45% of their premiums if the plan is wiped out by a big storm…

Homeowners Flock to Last-Resort Insurance Policies — Jean Eaglesham | WSJ | October 04, 2023


…Reinsurance costs have gone up tremendously. All these insurance companies have to buy from reinsurance companies and there's only three or four main ones in the world. 

When reinsurers say, "Well, this year costs are going up 60%," what happens is the insurers have to pass that on to the policyholders. Now policyholders have an increase in their premiums because the reinsurers are experiencing disasters all around the world. 

It's not sustainable to just charge Northern California, where there's increased risk. The reinsurer basically spreads the risk. Everybody will end up paying for it.

Colorado Insurance: Why It's Getting so Expensive for Homeowners — Dan Latu | Insider | October 5, 2023

Broken Housing Market

Housing Market

…today, at a time when mortgage rates are hitting 22-years highs, tens of millions of people are truly living the American Dream – owning a mortgage-free house. The number of such homes rose by almost 1 million in 2022 alone…

Have You Paid Off Your US Home Mortgage? How Americans Are Impacted By Debt — Alexandre Tanzi | Bloomberg | September 28, 2023


1) Closing Costs,  2) Mortgage Rate Buy-Down and 3) Repairs

Three Things Home Buyers Can Ask for Now — Veronica Dagher | WSJ | October 08, 2023

Built Environment

With work finally over on the so-called fix of the Millennium Tower, residents are now saddled with a $6.8 million bill out of an estimated $20 million in cost overruns on the long delayed and troubled retrofit project.

The ambitious project was originally billed as costing $100 million, relying on 52 piles sunk to bedrock to bolster the tower on two sides last fall...

In an accounting sent along with the bill, the tower association said that after homeowners were compensated for lost property value, the association was allotted $150 million to pay for securing the high-rise to bedrock, pay for legal bills, restore reserves and account for other expected costs.  But the association told residents in the letter the $150 million sum was still not enough, given all the project’s many setbacks and headaches...

VIDEO: Millennium Tower residents billed $6.8 million for fix overruns — Jaxon Van Derbeken | NBC Bay Area | September 29, 2023


CRE (commercial real estate) hasn’t bottomed yet…

Office prices in the US will only rebound after a severe collapse, according to about two-thirds of the 919 respondents surveyed by Bloomberg. An even greater majority says that US commercial real estate prices won’t hit bottom until the second half of 2024 or later. Commercial property values are getting hit hard by the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes, and pain from higher interest rates can take years to filter through to owners of the US commercial real estate, which Morgan Stanley values at $11 trillion in total. “It tends to be a slow reckoning for US real estate when rates change,” Barclays analyst Lea Overby said.

Five Things to Start Your Day — Kristine Aquino | Bloomberg | October 02, 2023


Last week, the old shell of the sugar refinery was opened for the first time since its closure in 2004. The smokestack still bears the name of the Havemeyer family, who established the business in the early 19th century, when the sugar crop was still being harvested by enslaved people. They moved to Brooklyn in 1858 and the building on the site now dates from 1882. By the mid-20th century, Domino was the largest and most productive sugar refinery in the world...

...The 2,800 rental apartments of the $2.5bn Domino development will transform the nature and the shape of Williamsburg. Its developers, Two Trees, effectively single-handedly transformed Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a small cluster of streets about a mile west along the riverside, preserving and conserving the old industrial quarter’s meaty buildings and making it one of New York’s more desirable and photogenic neighbourhoods...

How the Domino refinery went from sugar to skyscrapers — Edwin Heathcote | Financial Times| October 06, 2023


All about mass timber.  It will be the tallest, but not as voluminous as this.

Western Australia may soon be home to the world’s tallest wooden building, after authorities in Perth green-lit plans for a 191.2-meter-tall (627-foot) “hybrid” tower constructed using mass timber.

The developers say 42% of the proposed tower will be constructed from timber, with the columns and core made of reinforced concrete.

If completed, the high-rise will surpass the world’s tallest timber-concrete hybrid building, the Ascent tower in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which stands at 25 stories or 86 meters (284 feet), according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The proposed structure, located on Charles Street in South Perth, will also be taller than the forthcoming hybrid timber Atlassian Headquarters in Sydney, which is poised to claim the record from Ascent but is yet to be completed.

World's tallest wooden tower to be built in Australia — Tara Subramaniam | CNN | October 04, 2023


Ultra-luxury Dubai skyscraper will have oasis-inspired retreats — Neha Tandon Sharma | Luxurylaunches | October 04, 2023


Neom releases renders of Zaha Hadid Architects' crystalline skyscraper — Tom Ravenscroft | Dezeen | October 05, 2023

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

“In no other country does the government routinely incapacitate itself for the sake of political stunts”...

…For the parts of the economy that matter for making the recession call — above all the labor market — lags are longer, typically 18 to 24 months.

That means the full force of the Fed's hikes — 525 basis points since early 2022 — won't be felt until the end of this year or early 2024. When that happens, it will provide a fresh impetus for stocks and housing to turn down. It’s premature to say the economy has weathered that storm.

6 Reasons Why a US Recession Is Likely — and Coming Soon — Anna Wong and Tom Orlik | Bloomberg | October 1, 2023

Companies are trimming their budgets for merit raises next year, a sign of belt-tightening that could surprise some employees who had enjoyed two straight years of increases.

US employers surveyed by Aon Plc, which compiles compensation data on more than 5,500 employers, said merit raises will average about 3.7% across all industries next year, down from 3.9% this year, as companies rein in labor budgets and inflation eases from last year’s highs. A separate survey from workplace consultant Mercer found a similar trend, with merit-based salaries seen rising 3.5% next year, down from 3.9% in 2023…

Workers: Don't Expect the Same Pay Raise You Got Last Year — Matthew Boyle | Bloomberg | October 2, 2023


State Street Bets on Fed 'Dramatically' Cutting Rates Next Year — Alice Atkins | Bloomberg | October 3, 2023

Cashing In

A $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 would have grown to $64,844 between Jan. 1, 2003, and Dec. 30, 2022 — a 9.8% return, according to research from JPMorgan Asset Management.

Now is the time to 'think long term' when investing, advisor says. This chart helps explain why — Lorie Konish | CNBC | October 9, 2023


It's a Good Time to Buy Bonds. Just Know What You're Getting Into. — Oyin Adedoyin | WSJ | October 2, 2023


Yet yields have been inducing anxiety lately. For well over a month, the speedy ascent of yields for longer-term Treasury debt and a bond market sell-off have been knocking the stock market for a loop.

Still, some financial experts say there’s nothing wrong with buying longer-term Treasurys for the person who wants to keep putting their cash to work. Of course, they need to understand the risks and rewards for bonds when interest rates rise and fall.

Treasury yields are climbing: '...such an attractive opportunity for fixed-income investments' — Andrew Keshner | MarketWatch | October 8, 2023


In the U.S. Treasury market, the bedrock of the global financial system, 10-year bond yields have shot up to 16-year highs. In Germany, they touched their highest since the 2011 euro zone debt crisis. Even in Japan, where official rates are still below 0%, bond yields are back at levels seen in 2013.

Because government borrowing costs influence everything from mortgage rates for homeowners to loan rates for corporates, there's plenty of reason for angst.

Here's a look at why the bond rout matters…

Why a rout in government bonds is worrying — Yoruk Bahceli, Karin Strohecker and Dhara Ranasinghe | Reuters | October3, 2023

Cashing Out


Banks are stuck.  THIS is a picture of interest rate risk.  PLEASE understand this risk BEFORE investing in long-term bonds (including US Treasuries).

The surge in rates caught lenders off guard and the ensuing turmoil led to a wave of regional bank collapses in March… 

While unrealized losses may concern investors, they aren’t an issue for the typical bank customer…

Bank of America Interest Rate Blunder Hurts Moynihan Growth Pledge — Katherine Doherty | Bloomberg | Octobre 09, 2023


…This time the vigilantes won’t get far in Congress. Of $6.4 trillion in projected federal outlays in fiscal 2024, only $1.85 trillion is neither mandatory nor net interest. Of that, about half is defense—a vexing category to trim, even in peacetime. Making draconian cuts to what is left would cause a public outcry and still wouldn’t be enough.

Tax hikes could make more of a dent. The left-leaning Center for American Progress points out that, if taxes as a share of the U.S. economy were to rise to just the average among developed economies, the budget would take in $26 trillion more in revenue over the coming decade, based on CBO projections. That is unrealistic, though. 

So are the CBO’s projections: They see average interest rates reversing and no recessions. Adding just a percentage point to their assumed rate would contribute about $3.5 trillion to federal debt by 2033, according to Wall Street Journal calculations…

America’s Debt Problem Is Too Big for the Bond Vigilantes — Spencer Jakob | WSJ | September 30, 2023



Bloomberg reported losses on Treasury bond with maturities of 10 years or more had notched 46% since March 2020, while the 30-year bond had plunged 53%. 

The collapse in Treasury bonds now ranks among the worst market crashes in history — Filip De Mott | Insider | October 05, 2023


Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen tries to calm markets amid historic US bond collapse — Aruni Soni  Insider | October 09, 2023


BlackRock Inc. and Columbia Threadneedle Investments are among firms favoring notes due in roughly one to five years as Treasuries head for a record third straight annual decline, led by losses in longer maturities. Those tenors in particular have been buffeted by a resilient economy and the government’s swelling borrowing needs.

Deepening Bond Rout Has BlackRock, Columbia Favoring Short End - Bloomberg — Liz Capo McCormick &Michael Mackenzie | Bloomberg | October 07, 2023

Stifling Dissent

Miami-Dade Case# 2019-005650-CA-01: EL DORADO TOWERS CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC. VS LUZ MARINA MONTOYA ET AL - was eventually dismissed for lack of prosecution.

…A successful defamation suit in Florida must prove that the person negligently communicated false statements that hurt the victim’s reputation and caused damage. Slander is spoken defamation; libel is written. If it concerns a public official, the standard for winning a lawsuit is higher — the official has to prove the speaker had actual malice, either by knowingly spreading falsehoods, or showing reckless disregard for the truth. Association board members are not considered public officials, in the eyes of the law.

University of Florida constitutional law Professor Lyrissa Lidsky says that although winning a defamation lawsuit is difficult, filing one is easy. That enables association boards to use the law as a weapon, she said.

“You can cause a lot of pain with a lawsuit,” Lidsky said, “and defamation law lends itself to inflicting that kind of pain.”...

In the 2019 case noted above, Judge Abby Cynamon noted that condo critics don’t have the protections a person would have when criticizing a mayor or some other public figure. There is no case law in Florida that holds “a condo board member can be considered a public or semi-public figure,” the judge wrote.

Condo Wars: Boards can use defamation laws to stifle dissent — Brittany Wallman | Sun Sentinel | September 27, 2023

Boca View Is Still At It

The latest case is 50-2023-CA-011843-XXXX-MB - Owens v. Boca View.  Why?  The association has failed to act reasonably to approve interior unit alterations for years.

When Congress enacts legislation, a law, it's telling an agency how to do its business. But Congress couldn't possibly include all of the fine details, the fine-grained instruction necessary for agencies to conduct their business. So the doctrine relates to how agencies fill that void in an ambiguous statute. They look at the statute, and they promulgate rules. And they say, this is what we understand Congress to have told us to do. And when a court is confronted with that interpretation, the Chevron doctrine says that it should defer to the agency so long as the agency's interpretation of the statute is reasonable. That's a very deferential standard, and it has been in place, as you note, for a long time, since 1984…

…There's a movement, a part of the conservative movement, that wants to make government smaller, and they view that - this rule as empowering the government to go beyond what Congress has intended. But I would submit to you that the reality is that government needs this sort of flexibility and that when Justice Stevens wrote the decision in 1984, what he was recognizing was, one, that the agencies have a lot of expertise and that if you don't like what the agencies are doing, you vote for a different president. So the people making the decision are accountable to the American people through elections…

The Supreme Court will hear a case that could overturn a 40-year-old legal doctrine — Ayesha Rascoe and Andrew Mergen | NPR | October 08, 2023

Farmers’ App. Vol. II p. 116 (emphasis added). Though it appears that the condominium association may have failed to fulfill its obligations under the Declaration, we conclude that it is of no moment. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment to West Bend.


…The Schoen plaintiff appears to have initially filed the complaint after that board of managers imposed a license fee and additional monthly common charges after changes to existing structures in the backyard, which a predecessor in interest had initially erected, were made. After the unit owner filed suit, the board then counterclaimed for more permanent changes to the space itself, and for an injunction requiring the removal of the structures there.

…Because the structures were initially built in the backyard by the predecessor in interest, and because the condominium did not counterclaim for their removal for seven years after the completion of the initial enclosure, the Schoen plaintiff argued that the counterclaims should be barred by RPAPL §2001...

…Since plaintiff does not own the land where the structure is constructed, RPAPL 2001(2) is not applicable to the action. That plaintiff, as a unit owner, holds an undivided interest in the backyard as a limited common element is of no moment given that she gained her right of access to that portion of the property for her exclusive use by an affirmative easement. 

Supreme Court of New York: Schoen vs. Board of Managers of 255 Hudson Condominium

RPAPL 2001 Does Not Serve As Time-Bar to Condominium Board Requesting That Unit Owner Remove Structures From Outdoor Space

— Andrew B. Freedland and Deborah Koplovitz | Herrick | September 07, 2023

According to the Miramar, FL  municipal code:

(a)The city is hereby declared a bird sanctuary.

(b)It shall be unlawful to hunt, wound, molest, injure, or kill any bird in the lands embracing the city.

(c)It shall be unlawful to capture, except for the preservation of the health and welfare of the public, for resale or private use, any bird in the city.

Florida homeowners association face fine after drugged geese drown — Bob D’Angelo | Cox Media Group | December 11, 2021

Nominally, the suit is about a trivial sliver of land behind two lavish apartment buildings near East 79th Street....

In its lawsuit, the co-op board is arguing that it should be the rightful owner of the pit through a doctrine called adverse possession, in which a party can make a legal claim to a property after 10 continuous years of undisputed use. While the property is legally owned by Mr. Spitzer’s neighboring rental building, 985 Fifth Avenue, the co-op claims that it has routinely and openly used the roughly six-foot-deep niche to store construction supplies and has never been asked to stop.

“I don’t believe there’s ever been an adverse possession case filed with these stakes, by people of this stature,” said Adam Leitman Bailey, a lawyer representing the co-op.

Eliot Spitzer and an Elite Co-op Board Fight Over a Ditch — Stefanos Chen | NYT | February 3, 2023

Shameful Advocacy

🤯  It’s an arrogant message to say the least.  The only people directly responsible for making laws are elected legislators.  CAI and its 46 chapters spend in excess of $1MM annually lobbying state legislators.  Becker & Poliakoff is perhaps the most active and most infamous lobby-friendly law firm.

For decades, the law firm representing the collapsed Champlain Towers South has waged a successful lobbying campaign against condominium safety measures. Now, the Becker firm is at the center of discussions about how to make condos safer.

The irony is not lost on those who’ve observed the 48-year history of the Fort Lauderdale firm formerly known as Becker & Poliakoff.

“A lot of stuff I tried to propose, the No. 1 group that would fight me was Becker & Poliakoff,” said former state Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, who focused on condo legal reforms when he served in the Legislature. “That was my nemesis.”...

Becker & Poliakoff law firm the 'nemesis' of condo safety reformers — Brittany Wallman, et al. | Sun Sentinel | September 28, 2023

Richardson | Ober Law Firm Post on Twitter

"We had one of the most ambitious projects in regard to attaining more accountability and transparency for the HOA and the residents who live in these communities," said state Rep. Juan Carlos Porras, who sponsored HB 919.

"At the moment there is nothing higher than a misdemeanor, in the original bill we did have some felony charges but with certain conversations was the appropriate consequence at the time," he said.

According to Porras, the bill faced many obstacles at the state's Senate. He said that some legislators from Central and North Florida did not seem familiar with the gravity of the of HOA and condo board corruption in their areas.

"There are two very important parts of the bill that were approved. One of them is the criminal penalties for election tampering and any sort of interfering that comes with an election," said Porras.

“I think there’s a lack of an understanding of the topic of HOAs and condo fraud.”

Florida law known as the "Homeowners' Association Bill of Rights" takes effect — Ivan Taylor & CBS Miami Team | CBS Miami | October 03, 2023

In Pratik Pandharipande vs. FSD Corporation, a Vanderbilt University anesthesiologist claims the HOA in his DeKalb County lake resort community tried to retroactively take away his right to rent his home.

The HOA, which won its case both in a trial court and in an appeals court, says short-term vacation rentals were never allowed to begin with.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has not ruled specifically on short-term rentals. The Pandharipande case will test how far the court is willing to go either to exempt short-term rentals from residential use restrictions and amendments or to affirm an HOA's ability to prohibit them.  At stake is the question of what "residential" even means.

As HOAs and homeowners spar over Airbnb rules, Tennessee Supreme Court will weigh in — Daniel Dassow | Knoxville News-Sentinel | 09/27/23

Appeal: Pratik Pandharipande, MD. v. FSD Corporation - M2020-01174-COA-R3-CV

Tennessee Supreme Court To Hear Oral Arguments For February Docket In Nashville


…Per Florida law, the HOA approved the request to install the line, but then rescinded it.

The location of the clothesline -- the perfect, sunny spot in Wuetcher's backyard -- is visible from the road, which the HOA does not like.

"In February of 2019, I got a violation letter saying, 'You didn't do what you were supposed to do. We can see it from the street. You have to move it,'" Denise recalled.

From then on, she was fined $100 a day.  Records show the fines accumulated up to the maximum allowed, $2,500.

Venice homeowners association fines resident $2,500 over legally-protected clothesline — Corey Beckman | FOX13 Tampa Bay | May 08, 2020


Legislation Page

“We’ve leaned heavily into what’s already being done in our neighboring states when creating this bill. Currently, a homeowner’s association can prohibit a homeowner from installing energy improvement equipment, such as solar panels and EV chargers, even if the local government allows for them,” Puri said during committee testimony on Oct. 5.

HOAs could not block rooftop solar, home EV charging - even clothes lines - under new bill — Sheri McWhirter | MLive | October 10, 2023

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