CIC Info Bytes


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ISSUE # 78

CIC Info Bytes 11/09/23

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 11/09/23 - PRINT EDITION
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

VIDEO: How Homeowners Associations Took Over American Neighborhoods — Charlotte Morabito et al. | CNBC| October 30, 2023

In some states, it's 'nearly impossible' to buy a home that isn't part of a homeowners association, expert says — Charlotte Morabito | CNBC | October 31, 2023


Perfect is the enemy of good.   >>> Good enough is the enemy of humanity. Blackberry Movie 

Trials and Tribulations of a Volunteer Director - Part III


THAT was the response to a statement made during a recent board meeting that decisions creating standing operational and/or governance changes belong in a policy or resolution.  Let’s unpack a bit…

FIRST: Why would any leader of any organization disregard the value and necessity of written policy-making?  Even if your organization keeps a decision ledger, such ledger and the official meeting minutes are not policy documents.  Neither members nor any other party should be expected to scrutinize years of prior decisions to identify would-be policy-making.

SECOND: policies, procedures and resolutions exist in community association governance for the same reason they exist in all other types of organizations: to codify and emphasize standing governance and operational procedures.  Every business and government operates based on a hierarchical set of governance.  

WHY do you need even more written governance?  Because the standards and procedures of an organization are rarely governed by statute and often absent from the declaration, bylaws and/or rules and regulations.  Policies, procedures and resolutions codify exactly what, when, where, who and how action should occur to establish direction for governance, operations and support functions.  Formal, written expressions provide for preservation of continuity and consistency as Board composition changes over time and allow for examination by members (owners) which is a critical aspect of transparent governance.

Duly adopted policies, procedures and resolutions are governing documents. The difference between these and other types of governing documents is the ease with which they can be created, updated and rescinded.  All properly adopted governance is binding on the Board until rescinded.  The Board does not possess the authority to create a policy, procedure, resolution, or rule that contradicts the bylaws, the declaration (CC&Rs) or the articles of incorporation.  

Clear and concise policies, procedures and resolutions will help your community avoid on-the-fly decision-making / reinventing the wheel.  Proactive policy-making directly contributes to leading your community with consistency, empathy, honesty, integrity and transparency.   View examples on our Policies, Procedures and Resolutions page. 

Governance Hierarchy Pyramid

…White said the law surrounding notification is a big area where small legal changes could make a difference…

"The law says you've got to serve somebody. You've got to. If you're suing somebody, you've got to make sure that they've gotten notice," White said. "The thought that someone could just casually move forward at someone's home over $1,400 debt without turning over heaven and earth to make sure that they knew just seems wrong to me."

The lawsuit White filed on Rogers' behalf does state that someone from the Pitt County Sheriff's Office did try twice to deliver a notice of the hearing in-person last September, but they were 'unsuccessful.'

NC homeowner claims her house was foreclosed and sold by HOA without her knowing — Samantha Kummerer | WTVD | November 21, 2022


$1,335 became $2,329 and then… foreclosure.

According to a complaint obtained by, Justine Wikenson has had a challenging payment history over the past several months and the Canyon Isles Homeowners Association has had enough. After warnings from Canyon Isles HOA attorneys, a lien of foreclosure was filed for the outstanding amount of $2,328.94. That includes quarterly fees of roughly $1,335, interest at 18-percent, attorney, and filing fees…

Canyon Isles HOA Forecloses On Homeowner Over $2,300 — Litigation Desk | Boca News Now | November 07, 2023

Nearly a year after a massive fire that displaced dozens of people and destroyed much of the Limelight Condominiums in Ketchum, plans to rebuild the structure—this time, with increased safety measures, such as fire sprinklers—have been approved by the city.

…The fire marshal’s February report states that the grill’s gas hose was likely not completely connected to a propane tank—a simple mistake, according to the report—which caused fuel to leak and ignite when the grill was lit in the early evening of Sept. 3.

The grill was on a balcony of a second-floor apartment. First the balcony, then the rest of the unit were quickly consumed by the fire as the couple living in the unit ran outside and called 911. The fire broke out at about 6:30 p.m. in the upper “A” building of the condominium complex at 2107 Warm Springs Road, between Ketchum and the Warm Springs base of Bald Mountain….

Limelight Condominiums to be rebuilt after fire — Andrew Guckes | Idaho Mountain Express | August 04, 2023

Some residents of an income-controlled HOA in Denver are bristling over the fact their HOA management company has been charging them $35 to send them certified letters notifying them of potential fines for HOA rule violations. The management company, RowCal, has also been charging residents $75 for certified letters notifying them they are behind on payments.

Last year, the Colorado legislature passed the HOA Accountability and Transparency Act which was an attempt to improve communications between HOAs, their management companies and residents. It was signed into law in June 2022 and required HOAs and their management companies to notify residents of various issues via certified mail and other means. The law did not specify who should pay for those certified letters, but Rep. Naquetta Ricks (D- Arapahoe County), a primary sponsor of the bill, said the assumption was that mailing costs would be picked up by HOAs and their management companies using dues already paid by residents.

When RowCal did not respond to the CBS News Colorado queries, the news station sent RowCal a certified letter to their Minnesota office. The cost of that certified letter was $5.01- far less than the $35 and $75. they have been charging for sending certified mail.

"They should not be inflating the cost of the letters," said Ricks."Do not do this- it is exploitative of the homeowner."

HOA management company charging residents for certified mailings: "Do not do this" said Colorado lawmaker — Brian Maass | CBS Colorado | November 1, 2023

Colorado Voices: Common Interest Communities — Rocky Mountain PBS | November 24, 2022

A group of Le Parc Condominium owners wants Delaware’s common interest community ombudsman to monitor the complex's upcoming board election, fearing the homeowners association board will block residents from voting.

Condo owners said that during a recent Le Parc Homeowners Association board meeting, residents were told that only owners who are up to date on condo association dues and assessments are eligible to vote in the Nov. 28 HOA election.

The over 30-year-old condo complex has dealt with decades of structural defects and water damage, prompting the HOA to regularly raise assessments and fees and pursue other repercussions against unit owners to secure financing and pay for the repairs.

These actions have put the volunteer board at odds with other residents – who in turn refuse to pay the increased charges – and prolonged a stalemate between the association and owners on permanently addressing the issues plaguing Le Parc.

Why these condo owners want state ombudsman monitoring their HOA board election — Amanda Fries | Delaware News Journal | November 02, 2023

New Castle County measure will help prevent disasters like Florida condo collapse — Amanda Fries | Delaware News Journal | August 28, 2023

Preventing a condo calamity in New Castle County — Mike Phillips | WDEL | August 21, 2023

New Castle County, DE - Ordinance # 23-094

Municode - New Castle County, CE - Chapter 6 - Building Code

Municode - New Castle County, DE - Sec 40.27.450 - Condominiums

Disputes Can’t Keep Going This Way

Matt Hinojos is a simple guy. He works 40 hours a week and just wants a comfortable life…

“I live in a condo building, with [a] board and management company. My work schedule changed and I asked for a ‘reasonable accommodation’ to use the condo gym when I got off work. Instead of accommodating me as the law requires, for months, the board ignored my repeated, written requests.”...

Hinojos has spent thousands in attorney fees in a frustrating battle to secure his rights as a disabled man to get access to health care facilities supposedly provided by the place he lives.

The Utah State Labor Commission has ruled in his favor, asserting the HOA did not reasonably accommodate him due to his disability. But the judge denied the reimbursement of his attorney’s fees. The denial was appealed three different times to no avail.

A brief has been filed with the Utah State Court of Appeals on behalf of Hinojos, who said he is pursuing the issue because he worries there will be more victims, especially people with disabilities.

Although his access has since been granted to use the workout facilities, Hinojos is pursuing financial compensation for the money he has had to spend in his battle.

“This has been a multiyear nightmare. It has drained my finances and I feel the existing system rewards the bad behavior of HOA boards and management companies. It actually victimizes further the disabled victim.” 

What happens when Utahns and HOAs disagree? This man says protections are needed — Amy Joi O’Donoghue | Deseret News | November 29, 2022

Case# 209910403 - Order of Dismissal - Arlington Homeowners Association & Hinojos

California Needs Stronger Laws for Homeowner Association Dispute Resolution — Robert M. Cohen | The Recorder | September 13, 2023

Read the article for free here courtesy of digital distribution by the author. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Diagram - HOA United

…disputes spawned by the inherent tension created when homeowners’ rights and expectations clash with their associations’ ruling boards that, due to weak state oversight and regulation, operate with near autonomy.

In Florida, homeowners can be forced to pay for years of litigation to exercise their rights to see their community’s financial records. Their demands for annual meetings and open elections, required by the state’s Condominium Act, can fall on deaf ears. Legal challenges must be heard in nonbinding arbitration, and favorable rulings can trigger costly appeals.

A South Florida Sun Sentinel investigation found a broken way of living that can leave whistleblowers unheard, give unchecked power to untrained volunteers, and create an environment that sometimes decays into violent clashes between neighbors…

Condo Wars Part III: Disputes explode into violence, arson — and even murder — Ron Hurtibise | Sun Sentinel | November 1, 2023

VIDEO: Orlando neighborhood’s homeowners’ association fees could balloon nearly 300% — Louis Bloden | WKMG | October 26, 2023

…“At present, there is substantial debate, diversity of thought, and confusion among CPAs relative to...assessment accounting, especially those assessments designated for future repairs and replacements of common property,” wrote Picker. “Each CPA who serves homeowners’ associations must interpret this new revenue standard and apply it based on his or her judgment and experience. No consensus exists amongst CPAs as to how this accounting guidance should be applied to homeowners’ associations.”...

Hancock HOA fields complaints about reserve fund, late fees — Steven Dahlman | North Loop News | November 07, 2023

Connor Stalions Story Now Includes Vacuums, HOA Drama — Ryan Phillips | The BIG Lead | November 07, 2023

Coverage:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, & 22.


The biggest manufacturers of wind turbines and solar panels are facing their most serious financial challenges in years even as deployments of clean energy head for an annual record.

About 500 gigawatts of renewable generation capacity will be added this year, according to the International Energy Agency, and at least $1 billion a day is being spent on new solar additions alone. Yet companies in the sector are being squeezed by volatile costs, snarled projects, high interest rates and — in the solar sector — a rush to add new capacity that’s overwhelmed demand.

Solar and Wind Power Firms Are Struggling Even as Renewable Energy Booms — Bloomberg | October 31, 2023

Orsted Takes $4 Billion Hit on Abandoned US Wind Projects — Priscila Azevedo Rocha and Christian Wienberg | Bloomberg | October 31, 2023

The Cost of Net Zero

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has pledged — along with other governors — to quadruple the number of electric heat pumps in U.S. homes by 2030, calling them "almost a miraculous solution" in the fight against climate change.

New building codes that would have required most new buildings in Washington state — both commercial and residential — to use electric heat pumps were shelved a few months before they were set to take effect in July.

Officials feared the mandates could be overturned in court after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April that a Berkeley, California, ordinance banning natural gas infrastructure in new buildings conflicted with federal energy rules.

Instead, the new options being considered would require a level of energy efficiency that would be "pretty hard to achieve without heat pumps," Deepa Sivarajan of Climate Solutions, a nonprofit focused on clean energy adoption, told Axios…

Heat pump rules in Washington state hit a hurdle — Melissa Santos | Axios Seattle | October 31, 2023


...The decision to cancel the project followed an update from NuScale this year regarding the cost of building the reactors, which had soared to $9.3 billion from $5.3 billion because of rising interest rates and inflation… 

NuScale Power, a company in Portland, Ore., said it lacked enough subscribers to advance the Carbon-Free Power Project, which had been expected to deliver six of the company’s 77-megawatt reactors. Although more than two dozen utilities had signed up to buy electricity from the reactors, which would be in Idaho, that number fell short of what NuScale said it needed to move forward.

NuScale had needed to triple the number of customers for the Carbon-Free Power Project by February. The company, which also has an agreement to deliver its technology to Romania, told investors that it would repurpose materials developed for the Carbon-Free Power Project for other customers.

Nuclear Energy Project in Idaho Is Canceled — Ivan Penn and Brad Plumer | NYT | November 08, 2023


Environment, jobs, politics, and more.  Electric vehicles are reshaping the world:

Global Electric Car (EV) Market to Reshape Economies, Political Alliances — Melissa Santos | Bloomberg | November 07, 2023


Three Democratic members of Congress introduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2023, a sweeping bill to reduce plastic production and hold companies financially responsible for their pollution. Previous iterations of the legislation were introduced in 2020 and 2021, but this year’s version includes stronger protections for communities that live near petrochemical facilities, more stringent targets for companies to reduce their plastic production, and stricter regulations against toxic chemicals used in plastic products.

Like the bill’s earlier versions, Break Free 2023 would establish a nationwide policy of “extended producer responsibility,” or EPR. Under this policy, plastic companies would pay membership fees to a centralized organization that’s responsible for meeting targets around post-consumer recycled content and source reduction — reducing the production of plastic. The bill also retains proposals to ban certain single-use plastic products, implement a national system offering people deposits for recycling their beverage bottles, increase post-consumer recycled content in plastic bottles, and place a moratorium on new or expanded petrochemical facilities, pending a federal review of their health and environmental impacts.

The new bill, however, sets more specific targets for source reduction. By 2032, it would require plastic producers to reduce the amount of plastic they make by 25 percent — by weight, as well as the number of plastic items — and then halve it by 2050, in line with nation-leading requirements set in California last year. The bill would also phase out a list of “problematic and unnecessary” types of plastic and plastic additives, including polyvinyl chloride, a kind of plastic whose main ingredient is a human carcinogen, and ingredients added to help plastics break down whose health effects are poorly understood…

Democrats Release ‘Most Comprehensive Plan Ever’ to Address Plastics Problem — Joseph Winters | Gizmodo | October 27, 2023


Plastic waste ‘spiraling out of control’ across Africa, analysis shows — Karen McVeigh | The Guardian | November 08, 2023


Rumpke Corporate Communications Manager Molly Yeager says the average American creates about five pounds of trash a day.

"I don't think many people realize how much trash they produce on a daily basis because they don't carry it all with you. You do some at home, some at work, some at school, some while you're out eating at a restaurant. You don't realize how much trash you might produce on a daily basis," Yeager said.

Rumpke and Hefty are launching a new program in the Tri-State in which many items that couldn't be recycled can get a second life. Yeager says it's all because of a little orange bag.  Rumpke announced its customers can now recycle items that previously had to be thrown away, including things like foam egg cartons or candy wrappers…

VIDEO: How Rumpke is able to recycle plastics previously unable to be recycled — Christian Hauser | WKRC | October 27, 2023


As petrochemical companies continue to inundate the world with cheap plastic products and packaging — much of which is designed to be used once and then thrown away — they’ve been heavily promoting one solution called “chemical recycling.” 

This catch-all term refers to processes and technologies that break plastics into their molecular building blocks and turn them into new products. In theory, chemical recycling is a promising way to deal with so-called “hard-to-recycle” plastics like wrappers and bags, which can’t be recycled using conventional methods.

But a new report from the nonprofits Beyond Plastics and the International Pollutants Elimination Network, or IPEN, says chemical recycling is a “dangerous deception” that will only exacerbate pollution and environmental injustice while failing to address the plastics crisis…

A new report calls chemical recycling a 'dangerous deception'; a former plastic lobbyist agrees — Joseph Winters | Grist | November 1, 2023



When a microbe was found munching on a plastic bottle in a rubbish dump, it promised a recycling revolution. Now scientists are attempting to turbocharge those powers in a bid to solve our waste crisis. But will it work?...

‘We are just getting started’: the plastic-eating bacteria that could change the world — Stephen Buranyi | The Guardian | November 03, 2023

PODCAST: ‘We are just getting started’: plastic-eating bacteria that could change the world


More than one-third of the food produced in the U.S. is never eaten. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it generates tons of methane that hastens climate change. That’s why more than 50 local officials signed onto a letter Tuesday calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to help municipal governments cut food waste in their communities.

Tackling food waste is a daunting challenge that the U.S. has taken on before. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA set a goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030, but the country has made little progress, said Claudia Fabiano, who works on food waste management for the EPA.

Researchers say the EPA reports provide sorely needed information. One report found that 58% of methane emissions from landfills come from food waste, a major issue because methane is responsible for about a quarter of global warming and has significantly more warming potential than carbon dioxide...

Americans are still putting way too much food into landfills. Local officials seek EPA's help — Melina Walling | AP News | October 31, 2023

From Field to Bin: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste Management Pathways — US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) | 2023

Housing Affordability & Homelessness

Residential building has tumbled as costs soar, while sluggish bureaucracies and increasingly stringent energy-efficiency regulations add to the headwinds. With housing already tight, the situation threatens to weigh on growth and further stoke political tensions as shortages squeeze more and more voters…

EU Housing Crisis Is Intensifying Across Germany, France and Sweden — Laura Malsch and Niclas Rolander | Bloomberg | November 1, 2023


Instead of focusing on boosting demand, the U.S. should focus on zoning reform and building more homes, with a focus on density, he stressed.

“The challenge is, it’s tough — we all know we need more housing, we all know it’s a supply problem,” he said, “but the challenge is it’s very difficult to fix from a federal-level perspective.” Neighborhoods are zoned based on land use, as well as how on many units can be built on a single plot of land. Zoning regulations in many areas have historically limited builders from constructing more dense housing, such as apartments or townhomes. 

“So at the local government level, we have to find ways to make it easier to build more housing, and that doesn’t necessarily mean to build more single family homes further out,” Fleming said. “That means to create more density.”

One economist on what we get wrong about solving the affordable-housing crisis — Aarthi Swaminathan | MarketWatch | October 26, 2023


Fourplexes, multiunit dwellings that are relatively rare in Canada — a country where detached homes dominate residential streets — appear set to become more prominent in major cities. The lure of federal cash to build housing is causing many municipalities to bend staunch zoning rules that once prohibited fourplexes.

“We want cities to increase their ambition on housing, and through federal funding we are incentivizing that change,” Sean Fraser, the housing minister, said this week in a post on X, the platform once known as Twitter.

Mr. Fraser has been touring Canada to announce agreements with cities made under the Housing Accelerator Fund, a $4 billion program that should, according to the government, “unlock new housing supply through innovative approaches.”

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the government-owned mortgage insurer, has even provided something of a cheat sheet for cities to increase the odds of success for their applications to the fund. In addition to sweeping aside rules that banned higher-density housing like fourplexes, its strategies include loosening parking requirements and easing development charges for builders of affordable housing…

CANADA: Lured by Federal Dollars, Canadian Cities Rethink Zoning — Vjosa ISai | NYT | October 28, 2023


California is suffering from one of the country's most severe housing crises, fueled by a chronic shortage of places to live. The Golden State is now home to a third of the country's unhoused population as lower- and middle-income residents struggle to afford homes all over the state. 

After repeatedly promising to tackle the crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed more than 50 housing bills this month. Pro-housing advocates say the patchwork of fixes is something of a mixed bag, but overall, it's a strong move toward lifting burdensome regulations that make building unnecessarily costly or impossible…

California just legalized affordable housing in church parking lots and coastal cities — and it could help solve the state's crisis

— Eliza Relman | Insider | October 22, 2023


New data from the U.S. Census shows that around 820,000 people moved out of California and 550,000 out of New York in 2022. They join more than 8 million Americans who moved states in 2022.

Why it matters: The rising cost of living is pushing people out of expensive coastal areas, and the trend doesn't look likely to change in coming years: four in ten Californians and and three in ten New Yorkers say they're considering moving out of state…

Mapped: Where Americans moved in 2022 — Erin Davis | Axios | October 28, 2023

Population drain persists in big cities — Sami Sparber | Axios | January 31, 2023

Top 10 Moves Between States in 2022 - Axios

Data: U.S. Census American Community Survey; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

VIDEO: Influx of multi-family properties could slow down rent acceleration —CNBC Last Call | October 23, 2023


Rents Are Falling in Some US Cities, Thanks to New Apartment Construction — Michael Sasso | Bloomberg | November 06, 2023


Algorithms and other big data have changed the way many landlords do business. In the past, landlords would often make deep cuts to rents when the market started to head south, but algorithms showed them that wasn’t always necessary. Many building owners also once believed keeping their apartment buildings as full as possible was the best way to maximize profits. 

Algorithmic pricing systems, by contrast, calculated that some landlords could earn more money by pushing up rents, even if that brought about higher vacancy rates…

Two lawsuits, one against RealPage and one against Yardi, allege that the pricing systems enable an exchange of confidential pricing information to set rents across buildings and markets. That reduces much of the natural competition that might exist if landlords didn’t outsource their pricing decisions to software, the complaints allege…

Thanks to Big Data, Landlords Know How to Squeeze the Most Out of Renters — Alex Halverson | WSJ | November 2, 2023


Rhino is one of a growing number of companies selling what it calls a “security deposit alternative.” The companies—which include LeaseLock and Jetty—offer the chance for tenants who can’t afford security deposits to instead pay monthly fees. 

However, its offerings bear little resemblance to security deposits—which are refundable—and it in fact advises clients that it is not a security deposit. It also does not insure the renter, only the landlord. An agreement that renters must sign says, in all-caps: “The surety program described in this agreement is for the benefit of your landlord only. It does not cover you. The premium, taxes and fees you pay are not a security deposit and will not be refunded to you [emphasis Motherboard’s].”

How Landlord Tech Is Squeezing Renters Who Can't Afford Security Deposits — Roshan Abraham | Vice | October 23, 2023

Infrastructure + Insurance

…For most people, private insurance is their primary source of security against the vast array of (un)known risks that threaten to upturn their lives. Even if you live outside the US and don't rely on private health insurers, you still need to purchase private insurance for your car, home, income, and life. Beyond that, there are extensive types of commercial insurance that underwrite finance, business, logistics, infrastructure, government, and everything else in society.

But the industry we depend upon as a bulwark against an uncertain world is also increasingly designed to screw us over. Instead of using new technologies like artificial intelligence to calculate a customer's precise risk and determine a fair rate for them to pay, insurers are innovating all kinds of new ways to undermine our security and juice their profits — all under the guise of convenience and objective-risk science….

Insurance companies have discovered devious new ways to rip you off — Jathan Sadowski | Insider | October 23, 2023


Citizens depopulation would quadruple insurance costs absent a response…

“The bad news is it’s about 4.3 times what I was quoted from Citizens,” Bryant said.

The premium for the same level of coverage from Slide was $14,684, compared to $3,403 from Citizens.

“Why would anyone choose that unless you weren’t catching your mail? You weren’t paying attention to your mail?” Bryant said.

Under Citizen’s depopulation program, Slide would become Bryant's default choice.  That’s unless he went online and filled out a form to opt out before November 6…

Citizens Insurance customer says depopulation notice contained 430% rate increase — Adam Walser | WFTS Tampa Bay | October 31, 2023


The four companies — Merastar Insurance Co., Unitrin Auto and Home Insurance Co., Unitrin Direct Property and Casualty Co. and Kemper Independence Insurance Co. — each cited a nationwide restructuring decision from their parent company Kemper Corp., according to a document filed jointly this month with the California Department of Insurance.

None of the companies is a major player in the state’s homeowners insurance market, as together they make up less than 1% of the homeowners insurance market share. The largest of the four subsidiaries is Kemper Independence Insurance Co., which holds about 33,200 homeowners and dwelling fire policies in California.

“Considering the modest market share, we do not expect this withdrawal will create any market availability issues,” the filing stated for all companies…

Four more home insurance brands leave California — Clare Fonstein | San Francisco Chronicle | October 30, 2023


Across the US, the wealthy are reshaping landscapes battered by hurricanes, fires and other disasters at a time when such calamities are expected to grow in force and frequency. About 3.6 million Americans are exposed annually to floods, and that could double by 2050 as the population grows in at-risk places, according to one study last year.

Buyers and developers with the resources to build fortress-like properties that can survive extreme weather have swooped into Fort Myers Beach, showing how hurricanes often don't deter those who can afford the cost of adapting. This form of climate-driven gentrification — occurring near areas of natural beauty like national parks and pristine white-sand beaches — is displacing people who lived or vacationed there for generations but can’t afford to rebuild or pay rising rents…

Ravaged Florida Town Becomes a Magnet for Risk-Taking Homebuyers — Michael Smith and Prashant Gopal | Bloomberg | October 30, 2023

After the Storm, Fort Myers Beach is Being Remade

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved policy forms filed by at least eight property insurers that limit the amount the carriers will pay to replace undamaged materials to create a matching, uniform appearance after repairs, state records show.

The so-called “matching requirement” has been a hot-button issue in Florida’s property market, where two-thirds of the premium for homeowners policies that cover wind damage is paid to Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state’s carrier of last resort, according to market share data. Olympus Insurance Co. filed suit against OIR in 2021 after regulators disapproved a policy form that would have limited payouts for matching materials.

Since then, OIR has approved policy forms submitted by Monarch National Insurance Co., Universal North America Insurance Co., Florida Peninsula Insurance Co., Century National Insurance Co., Edison Insurance Co., Kin Insurance Network, Spinnaker Insurance Co. and American Integrity Insurance Co. of Florida. All of them cap the amount the carriers will pay to match materials to 1% of the limit of the policy to replacement of the primary structure. American Integrity was among the first carrier’s to win approval, getting OIR’s nod on Dec. 6, 2022.

This endorsement approved for Century National Insurance Co. is typical: “The total limit of liability for Coverage A is 1% of the Coverage A limit of liability for repairs or replacements of any undamaged part of the building or its components solely to match repairs made to damage as a result of a covered loss.”

Florida statute 626.9744 states that property insurers “unless otherwise provided in the policy” must make “reasonable repairs” or replace undamaged items in adjoining areas if replaced items “do not match in quality, color, or size.”

Policyholder advocates say the law protects homeowners by ensuring their property is restored to its previous, and presumably matching, condition. Insurers, on the other hand, say the matching requirement is also used by unscrupulous contractors to drive up costs.

Fla. Insurers Imposing New Limits on Amounts Spent to Match Appearance — Jim Sams | Claims Journal | October 23, 2023

Housing Market

Home buyers and sellers face the prospect of major changes to how much and in what way they pay their real-estate agents, following Tuesday’s historic verdict against the National Association of Realtors and large residential brokerages. 

Those changes could range from minor tweaks to the commission system to a more radical restructuring of the residential real-estate industry, such as more people buying homes without using agents or buyers paying their agents by the hour. 

A federal jury in Missouri found NAR and large brokerages conspired to keep costs artificially high and awarded $1.8 billion in damages, which could be tripled to more than $5 billion under antitrust rules…

The Way You Pay to Buy or Sell a Home Is About to Change — Nicole Friedman and Laura Kusisto | WSJ | November 01, 2023

How the cost of homebuying and selling will change after landmark court loss over real estate commissions

— Cheryl Winokur Munk | CNBC | November 07, 2023


Bob Goldberg has stepped down as CEO of the National Association of Realtors, the trade association announced Thursday, just two days after a Missouri federal jury hit NAR with a $1.8 billion antitrust verdict and amid concerns about alleged sexual harassment patterns within the association.— Lauren Berg | Law360

National Association of Realtors CEO steps down, days after real estate group found liable for conspiring to inflate rates 

— Anna Bahney | CNN Business | November 02, 2023


David Siegel went to work for an affiliate of Guaranteed Rate in 2021 and got a signing bonus of more than $100,000. Interest rates were super low, and mortgage bankers were raking in cash.

Now that business has dried up, the mortgage company wants its money back. He said it fired him one month shy of the date when it could no longer ask for the bonus back, then demanded the money. Guaranteed Rate and its affiliates are also telling hundreds of other former employees that they have to return their signing bonuses, people familiar with the matter said.

“It seems like they realize they aren’t making money in their mortgage business, so the way to get income is to claw back the payments,” said Siegel, who is based in New Jersey.

The Mortgage Market Is So Bad Lenders Want Ex-Employees to Give Back Their Bonuses — Ben Eisen and Andrew Ackerman | WSJ | October 28, 2023


The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($726,200 or less) decreased to 7.61% from 7.86%, with points falling to 0.69 from 0.73 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment.

"Last week's decrease in rates was driven by the U.S. Treasury's issuance update, the Fed striking a dovish tone in the November FOMC statement, and data indicating a slower job market," said Joel Kan, vice president and deputy chief economist at the MBA.

Applications to refinance a home loan increased 2% for the week and were 7% lower than the same week one year ago. Mortgage rates are pretty close to where they were at this time last year, so there is not a lot of incentive to refinance. Most homeowners refinanced two years ago when rates were hovering near record lows. The vast majority of current homeowners carry mortgages with rates below 4%.

Applications for a mortgage to purchase a home rose 3% for the week but were 20% lower than the same week a year ago. The decline in interest rates is still not enough to offset sky-high home prices, which are still rising due to the very low supply of houses for sale…

Mortgage rates plunge and demand finally inches back — Diana Olick | CNBC | November 08, 2023


It sometimes feels as if the US housing market is in a never-ending affordability crisis, with prices continually rising and inventory shrinking. The reasons have ranged from anemic construction to student loan debt to investors buying up starter homes. But even as the pandemic pushed values up faster than ever, cheap mortgages kept buyers in the game. Now a whole new affordability crisis is beginning. And this time, there’s no obvious way out.

The Federal Reserve bank’s aggressive tightening since last year has driven the interest rate on a 30-year mortgage close to 8%, the highest point in almost a quarter century, adding some $1,100 to the monthly payment on a $400,000 loan. That might be manageable if higher rates led to lower prices. But the impact on supply is even more drastic because of the so-called lock-in effect: Homeowners are unwilling to let go of cheap mortgages they got when rates were scraping bottom. This has resulted in the least affordable housing market since the 1980s, with sales approaching record lows…

The US Housing Market Has Become an Impossible Mess — Patrick Clark and Prashant Gopal | Bloomberg | November 2, 2023

Built Environment

As cities across the US continue to struggle with climbing office vacancies and unaffordable rents, the White House released a new plan to help property owners convert empty offices into apartment units.

By opening up significant financing resources to office-to-residential conversions, as well as by providing technical assistance, the Biden administration aims to make it easier for these challenging rehab projects to advance — with an eye toward both sustainability and affordability. 

The White House goal is to make conversions viable financially for more office buildings that have potential.

To Speed Office Conversions to Housing, Biden Unlocks Funding Resources — Kriston Capps | Bloomberg | October 27, 2023

These 13 Seattle-area office buildings are completely empty — Alex Halverson | Puget Sound Business Journal | November 2, 2023


After struggling in the wake of the Covid pandemic, downtowns across America are turning a corner. Even though workers have been slow to return and office vacancy remains high, residents have surged back and visitors and tourists have helped to fill much of the gap.

Those are the key takeaways of a new study of 26 of America’s largest downtowns by Paul Levy and his team at Philadelphia’s Center City District. It tracks downtown recovery patterns from the second quarter of 2019 before the pandemic struck to the second quarter of 2023. Using detailed cell phone tracking data from, it charts downtown activity patterns for three key groups: non-resident workers who commute to work in downtown, residents who live downtown and visitors who travel downtown to enjoy cultural and entertainment amenities.

Despite Remote Work, Downtown Nashville Is Thriving for Residents and Visitors — Richard Florida | Bloomberg | October 31, 2023

REPORT: DOWNTOWNS REBOUND — Center City District | October 2023


For decades, downtown office districts across the U.S. powered local economies, generating commerce, tax revenue and an aggregation of ambition, talent and disposable income. Many cities riddled with half-empty office buildings hope to survive the new remote-work era without bulldozing swaths of downtown and starting from scratch.

Experts say American downtowns instead face the biggest urban makeover in 50 years. Even optimists estimate it will take years and cost billions to complete the large-scale changes to usher central-city office districts into a new role—busy neighborhoods where people live, work, raise families and find entertainment.

“The bottom line is we need to reinvent downtowns around the country,” said Jacob Frey, the 42-year-old mayor of Minneapolis. “It’s about having more people in the core of downtown doing something other than just working. It’s about having fun.”...

America’s Downtowns Are Empty. Fixing Them Will Be Expensive. — Konrad Putzier | WSJ | October 21, 2023

VIDEO: How San Francisco Plans to Save Its Downtown — Alexander Hotz | WSJ | September 26, 2023


…Over its 121-year history, the Flatiron Building became as identified with Manhattan as the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building.

Since 2019, though, the building’s upper floors have been empty after Macmillan vacated, and now, scaffolding envelops the Flatiron while workers repair its facade. For years, the previous ownership group could not agree on how to renovate the building, leading to a court-mandated sale earlier this year.

The building’s future as housing began to take shape this week when the Brodsky Organization, a residential developer, bought a stake in the 22-story, triangular-shaped tower on Fifth Avenue. Brodsky will lead the conversion, carving out units — either for sale as condominiums or as rentals — from the notoriously awkward space…

The Flatiron Building Will Be Converted Into Condos — Matthew Haag | NYT | October 26, 2023


Located near the Sydney Opera House in downtown Sydney, the 49-storey skyscraper was entirely retrofitted and reclad.

According to 3XN, 65 per cent of the original structure – beams, columns and slabs – was retained alongside 95 per cent of the original core.

Alongside this original structure, the studios added a series of angular extensions that created five shifted volumes, which doubled the building's floor.

The building was wrapped in a facade with an external sunshade that blocks 30 per cent of solar radiance…

Retrofitted Sydney skyscraper named Best Tall Building Worldwide — Tom Ravenscroft | Dezeen | October 30, 2023


Architecture studio BIG has announced the completion of The Spiral, the studio's first supertall skyscraper and first commercial high-rise in New York City that features a "ziggurat silhouette".

It reaches 1,031 feet (314 metres) into the sky, making it a super tall skyscraper, which is a skyscraper between 300 meters (984 feet) and 600 meters (1,968 feet) tall. Located along the High Line, the 66-storey building gets its moniker from a series of stepped terraces wrapped around its exterior…

BIG's first supertall skyscraper reaches completion in New York — Ellen Eberhardt | Dezeen | October 24, 2023

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

Caveats about how `the economy is not the stock market' aside, investor sentiment right now is conspicuously jarring with the consumer resilience that has repeatedly surprised everyone this year. The combination of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 plunging to the lowest levels since May, and the seven biggest tech companies shedding $200 billion of their market value may be due to the more idiosyncratic reason of a less-than-stellar earnings season thus far. But it doesn't exactly fit seamlessly with a picture of roaring growth either, does it?

As always, all roads lead back to the bond market, and the Federal Reserve. As Oanda's Edward Moya pointed out, "The stock market isn’t ready to rally until bond yields are sharply lower, which probably won’t happen until we see inflation a lot closer to the Fed’s target.” And the reality is, that the inflation target will likely remain out of reach until economic growth pulls back from this summer's feverish pace.

— Kristine Aquino | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | October 27, 2023


Investment Mistakes to avoid:

Investment Mistakes to Avoid Right Now — Suzanne Wooley et al. | Bloomberg | October 18, 2023

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted the US central bank may now be finished with the most aggressive tightening cycle in four decades, a dovish pivot that has been cheered by global markets.

“The question we’re asking is: Should we hike more?” Powell told reporters yesterday after the Fed held off on raising interest rates for a second consecutive policy meeting. “Slowing down is giving us, I think, a better sense of how much more we need to do, if we need to do more.”  

“Inflation remains well above our long-term goal of 2%.”

— David Goodman | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | November 2, 2023


The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of underlying inflation accelerated to a four-month high in September and consumer spending picked up, keeping the door open to another interest-rate hike in the months ahead.

The core personal consumption expenditures price index, which strips out the volatile food and energy components, rose 0.3% in September, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis report out Friday. Inflation-adjusted consumer spending jumped 0.4% last month.

Resilient household demand paired with a pickup in inflation underscores momentum heading into the fourth quarter. While economists generally expect consumer spending to slow in the coming months, Fed officials have warned that strong data could lead them to keep tightening.

US Core PCE Prices Jump Most in Four Months as Spending Picks Up — Reade Pickert | Bloomberg | October 27, 2023


Last Time US Yields Rose So Much the Economy Tanked Twice — Ye Xie and Michael Mackenzie | Bloomberg | October 24, 2023

Treasury Bonds Market: 10-Year Yield Tops 5% for First Time Since 2007 — Garfield Reynolds, Ruth Carson, and James Hirai | Bloomberg | October 23, 2023

Bloomberg Weekend Reading 10/28/23


There’s a good reason why investors are amazed that something hasn’t broken in the economy yet: The last time US government bond yields climbed so far, so fast, the nation plunged into back-to-back recessions.

The 10-year Treasury yield — a key baseline for the cost of money across the financial system — has jumped more than four full percentage points over the past three years, briefly pushing it this week over 5% for the first time since 2007. It’s the biggest increase since the run up in the early 1980s, when Paul Volcker’s efforts to slay inflation pushed the 10-year yield to nearly 16%.

The Last Time US Yields Rose So Much, It Sank the Economy Twice — Ye Xie and Michael Mackenzie | Bloomberg | October 24, 2023

Holding steady: world central bank policymakers are holding rates steady.

Cashing In

For four decades, patient savers able to grit their teeth through bubbles, crashes and geopolitical upheaval won the money game. But the formula of building a nest egg by rebalancing a standard mix of stocks and bonds isn’t going to work nearly as well as it has.

Your ‘Set It and Forget It’ 401(k) Made You Rich. No More. — Spencer Jakab | WSJ | October 25, 2023

Cashing Out

US officials will seek to limit access to Federal Home Loan Banks after failing lenders turned to the $1.3 trillion system in desperate bids to survive March’s regional banking bloodbath.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency will try to push FHLBs back to their roots in housing finance, and away from serving as lenders of last resort to troubled banks, according to a report published Tuesday. The plans would ratchet up federal oversight, and seek to direct banks toward the Federal Reserve’s discount window in times of extreme stress.

Banks borrow hundreds of billions of dollars from the government-chartered FHLBs each year to fulfill short-term funding needs. The practice came under scrutiny after the FHLBs, which have implied backing from the government, lent heavily to Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank as they careened toward failure.

Among the major changes, the FHFA, which oversees FHLBs, will propose a rule to force many banks to hold 10% of their assets in mortgage loans to maintain access to the system. The regulator is also exploring new guardrails for lending money to troubled institutions and tougher stress tests.

US Weighs New FHLB Limits After March Banking Crisis Brought Scrutiny — Austin Weinstein | Bloomberg | November 07, 2023


Although a stronger economy is good news generally, the Fed right now needs a cooler economy to bring down inflation.

That means the Fed may need to continue keeping rates high for a while longer, given that inflation still remains above the Fed's inflation target of 2%.

Bond markets are being hit hard — and it's likely to impact you — David Gura | NPR | October 24, 2023


Also see Cashing Out from Issue# 73.

The share of American young adults who said they could cover a $400 emergency expense with cash or equivalent dropped for the third quarter in a row, according to a survey out Thursday.

Overall a smaller percentage of Americans said they would be able to pay an unexpected bill, but Gen Z adults in particular are showing higher financial stress as they face the return of student loan payments and higher prices.

The share of this age cohort who say they’d have the cash to cover an unexpected expense dropped to 28%, down 11 percentage points from the first quarter of this year, according to a poll conducted by decision intelligence company Morning Consult for Bloomberg News. 

Gen Z’s Cash Cushion Shrinks After US Summer of Splurge — Marien Lopez-Medina and Alexandre Tanzi | Bloomberg | November 2, 2023


US households tapped their credit cards more in the third quarter, boosting economic growth. But millennials and people with student debt and auto loans are falling further behind on payments. Balances are now $154 billion higher than they were a year ago, the largest annual increase since data-tracking began in 1999, a New York Fed report said.

US Consumers Keep Tapping Credit Even as More Fall Behind on Payments — Jonnelle Marte | Bloomberg | November 7, 2023

A23A0868: WILLIS v. WATER EDGE HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION INC (2023) — Georgia Court of Appeals | October 24, 2023

VIDEO: Herndon resident upset with HOA’s electric vehicle charging station restrictions — Adam Tuss | NBC4 | November 2, 2023

…The lack of a clear training path for the vast majority of judges in the U.S. undoubtedly increases the likelihood they'll stray into troubled waters, said David J. Sachar, director of the Center for Judicial Ethics at the National Center for State Courts. A former prosecutor, state court judge and executive director of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, Sachar told Law360 that the transition from attorney to judge is difficult.

"Most of the time we're elected or appointed as judges, and one day you're a lawyer practicing probate law, and the next day you're on the bench," Sachar said. In some states, he added, "you could be appointed to the bench, and you're handling cases you've never seen. We have this really important piece of our republic, and yet we don't have a solid training system for preparation."

Sachar, who oversaw the removal of about 20 judges from office while leading Arkansas' judicial discipline commission, said better training for state judges wouldn't necessarily prevent "outliers" from abusing their position, but it would likely aid others with good intentions who simply become overwhelmed.

"The vast majority of the judges I know are honorable people who work hard, and they got there by ascending to a level in their own profession," he said. "Training is an arm of an ethical judiciary. It hurts confidence when you walk into a courtroom and the judge doesn't appear to know what they're doing."

Sachar said the National Center for State Courts — a nongovernmental organization with a roughly $100 million annual budget — offers judicial training and consulting to help "span the gap" created by the "huge difference state to state" in assistance for judges. With state courts facing the overwhelming bulk of cases filed nationwide in addition to budget constraints, just the timely resolution of cases can be problematic for judges, he said.

"Over 98.5% of all cases in America are filed in the state court, not federal court," Sachar said, referencing data from 2012 to 2021. "That's shocking to some people. And while statistics show that the federal judiciary is about 6% of the federal budget, state judiciaries tend to be a lower percentage of state budgets."

Is The State Court System Setting Judges Up To Fail? — Roise Manins | Law360 | October 27, 2023

Condo board failed to document rental ban and now unwanted neighbors are moving in — Ryan Poliakoff | The Palm Beach Post | November 05, 2023

Legislation Page

State lawmakers told a group of frustrated Suncoast residents recently they will consider legislation this session that could rein in abusive homeowner associations.

At a town hall meeting in Osprey, two of Sarasota County’s representatives, Republicans Fiona McFarland and James Buchanan, listened to about 50 residents share experiences they characterized as HOAs running amok -- assessing arbitrary fines, trespassing, hiding financial data and embezzling funds.

“I can’t find a single person who’s happy with their HOA,” McFarland said at the meeting at Pine View School. She promised to consider any proposed legislation to regulate HOAs and their officers. “This has been illuminating for me,” she said…

Lawmakers vow to consider bills to improve HOA transparency, accountability

— Jim DeLa | WWSB | November 3, 2023


Up until now, homeowners associations throughout Arizona have been able to set the rules for parking in their neighborhood, even public parking. But a new law that was passed in April declared that HOAs can’t regulate parking on public streets if their ordinances were passed in 2015 or later. However, for those communities who have parking rules on the books before Dec. 31, 2014, they can vote on whether to keep them or ditch them.

New Arizona law gets rid of certain parking rules in HOA communities

— Mickaela Castillo | AZ Family | November 08, 2023

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