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 # 80

CIC Info Bytes 12/11/23

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

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

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

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

Read the Full Newsletter

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

CIC Info Bytes Newsletter 12/11/23 - PRINT EDITION

One State + One Statute = Better Governance


Don't throw caution to the wind because you want to "win at all costs."

 Every smart fighter needs to know when to step into the ring and when to call a timeout. There's a time for muscle and there's a time for finesse 

and outsmarting -- instead of outpowering -- your opponent.


Colorado DORA HOA Homeowners' Rights' Task Force — October 24, 2023

Colorado DORA HOA Homeowners' Rights' Task Force — November 21, 2023

Colorado DORA Notifications

Hawaii Planned Community Association Oversight Task Force

Condo Task Force Facing Deadline May Punt To State Auditor Instead

— Stewart Yerton | Honolulu Civil Beat | December 04, 2023

Hawaii Condominium Educational Curriculum

Act 149 Relating to Board Members – Requires the Real Estate Commission to 

develop a curriculum for leadership training to be made available to board members 

of a condominium association and submit a progress report to the Legislature.

ALL Hawai Real Estate Commission Agendas and Minutes

Hawaii Condominium Review Committee Minutes

— Hawaii Real Estate Commission | July 21, 2023

First Street Climate Abandonment Areas Webinar

Trials and Tribulations of a Volunteer Director - Part V


WHATEVER the case may be, running the proverbial red light will result in less than optimal outcomes for everyone involvedWHAT SHOULD you do?

Get Help!

File # 23-1133 Resolution R-4: Resolution Urging the Florida Legislature to Identify Available Funding Sources that Could be Used to Create a Grant Program or Low Interest Loan Program or Both, for Condominium and Cooperative Associations and Economically Vulnerable Condominium and Cooperative Unit Owners to Defray the Costs of Deferred Maintenance and Repairs Arising Out of Milestone Inspections and Structural Integrity Reserve Studies…

City of Fort Lauderdale Commission Regular Meeting — City of Fort Lauderdale | November 21, 2023

Signs scream warnings.  Rooms and balconies held up by tension rods.  See-through rotting walls…

VIDEO: Condo owners in good standing fear eviction in Pembroke Pines — Larry Seward | CBS Miami | September 15, 2023

VIDEO: More residents ordered to leave: 3rd Pembroke Pines condo building deemed unsafe — Heather Walker | NBC6 | August 16, 2023


Fort Lauderdale, Florida: 

Tuesday marks the final day for residents of the Majestic Isle Condominium to move out after the building was deemed unsafe. The move has left 55 residents questioning what comes next.

The decision to force residents out came after an engineering report highlighted the building’s poor condition. Concerns about sagging floors and termite damage have led to fears over the safety of the residents...

...The owners of the building are now required to come up with a plan to make the building safe, and a fence will soon surround the building. It is unclear when residents will be able to return, as nobody from the condo’s homeowner’s association attended the commission meeting.

Final day to move out for North Bay Village condo residents after building deemed unsafe — Samantha Sosa and Carolina Borges | WSVN | April 25, 2023


Sea Isle City, New Jersey:

Jose Pereira, 43, of Philadelphia, was trapped beneath the 8th-floor balcony when it collapsed onto the 7th-floor balcony at the south tower of the Spinnaker Condominium Complex off 36th Street and the Boardwalk. Pereira was pinned down.

VIDEO: Worker killed in balcony collapse at Sea Isle City condo building — Nikki Dementri and Ross Dimattei, et al. |  CBS Philadelphia | February 26, 2023

Worker killed in balcony collapse at Sea Isle City condo building

Residents of the condemned Horizon West Condominiums in Waukesha are now on the hook to pay for the building's demolition. A federal appellate court judge ruled Nov. 17 that their insurance will not cover the cost…

Horizon West condo owners lose lawsuit against Travelers Insurance — Emily Pofahl | WISN | November 22, 2023

When  Travelers  failed  to  supply  coverage  on  the  claim,  the  Association  sued  Travelers. On Travelers’ motion, the district court dismissed the suit, concluding that all losses  occurred  outside  of  the  policy  period  or  fell  within  one  of  the  policy’s  many  exclusions.  We  agree  and  affirm.  Though  mindful  of  the  emotional  and  financial hardships  this  litigation  and  the  events  underlying  it  have  caused  the  Association’s  members,  we  must  give  effect  to  the  policy’s  plain  terms,  which,  as  the  district  court  correctly held, do not supply coverage for the claimed losses…

7th Circuit Appellate Court Ruling — November 17, 2023

Private Government, Public Authority: An Economist’s Look at Homeowners Associations

Florida - Community Association Hot Topics + The Hammocks Explored

Florida AG Katherine Fernandez Rundle on Community Association Concerns

Dedicated Coverage: Florida Community Association Concerns

VIDEO: Facing South Florida for Dec. 3: The Florida HOA Crisis — Elliott Rodriguez | CBS Miami | December 03, 2023

Private Government and Public Authority - An Economist’s Look at Homeowners Associations

Private Government and Public Authority - An Economist’s Look at Homeowners Associations 

Rage Against Assessments (AKA “Fees”)

Residents of the Meadowlark Lakes & Villas homeowners’ association rejected a 4-1/2% annual fee hike after a contentious annual meeting. Residents say the proposal comes on the heels of another large fee increase.

…Moore said the 4-1/2% increase wasn’t as much as it sounded. “For a single home, you’re going to pay $4.22 a month more, and, for a paired home, you will pay $3.50 more. That is the cost of a meal at McDonald’s or a pumpkin latte at Starbucks.”...

…The homeowners’ association said after the decision that it will begin the process of cutting back on certain services including mowing, edging, and mulching.

VIDEO: Homeowners in Plainfield reject fee hike in contentious meeting — Adam Pinsker | WISH | October 10, 2023

VIDEO: Homeowners association fees rising across Colorado, expert says — KKTV | November 30, 2023

Mary Ann Mathis gets by on social security so even a small increase in her HOA fee impacts her budget.

"I did not get informed by the dues increase," Mathis said. "All i got was a bill in the mail."

The annual bill for homes in the Dover neighborhood in Converse where Mary Ann lives went up from $288 to $317, a 10% jump, and an increase Mathis finds hard to justify when the community pool is not maintained well and weeds grow tall in yards and common areas…

…As for Mary Ann Mathis, she took a close look at her HOA covenants and right there she found a clause stating fee increase are limited to 5% per year, but she says she couldn't get through to her HOA board members to object.

VIDEO: Homeowners fight rising homeowners association fees and you can too — Jaie Avila | WOAI | December 07, 2023

Rage Against Assessments ("Fees")

After staying with family for a time after the floods, the couple began living out of their primary bedroom and laundry room. They have a folding table set up in their closet as a makeshift office and their laundry room now doubles as a kitchen.

The Argyroses are worried about rebuilding their home because there’s no guarantee that another flood won’t occur, Josie Argyros said, and if they wanted to sell their home, it would be difficult to find a buyer. "We’re just stuck,” she said.  

...Attorney Patel said it is not uncommon for a homeowner association to fall short of meeting its responsibilities laid out in the covenants, conditions and restrictions.  

“Some people look at the HOA as, ‘Oh, this is a professional group, and it's their job to do everything the CC&R says,’” Patel said. “But the reality is the entire process is being pushed forward and run by volunteer homeowners.”

“Homeowner associations are only as responsible as the homeowners make sure they are,” Patel said. 

A Phoenix couple's home flooded twice. They say it's the HOA's fault. Now they're in court — Eryka Forquer | AZ Central | June 06, 2023

Last year, when the Colorado legislature passed a bill aimed at protecting residents in disputes with their homeowners associations, lawmakers had one key goal in mind: reducing the number of foreclosures filed by HOAs.

So far, the reform appears to have had its intended effect. An analysis of state court data by Rocky Mountain PBS and ProPublica shows that HOAs filed 47 foreclosure cases in the nearly six months between Aug. 10, when the law took effect, and the end of January. That’s a significant drop from the same period for the previous four years, when an average of 281 cases per year were filed.

During the 10 weeks between the reform bill’s signing and its implementation, HOAs appear to have been in a rush to start foreclosure motions, filing 151 cases, compared to an average of 98 cases per year in the same 10-week period for the previous four years.

Are Colorado’s Efforts to Curb HOA Foreclosures Working? — Brittany Freeman and Sophie Chou | Rocky Mountain PBS + ProPublica | 03/11/2023

Finda Koroma has lived in her spacious brick four-bedroom home in Mesquite since 2005. She bought one of the first homes built in The Hills at Tealwood neighborhood.

The 68-year-old home health nurse from Sierra Leone has been renovating the house, bit by bit, every time she’s scraped together enough money to pay the contractor. Her plan was to sell the house to fund her retirement.

Instead, she’s facing eviction after her homeowner’s association board — some of her neighbors — voted to foreclose on her house and sold it to recoup a $3,542.64 debt.

An account summary submitted by the HOA shows that much of the debt Koroma owed didn’t come from missed payments, but from penalties for missing and late payments. That includes interest on the debt, about $400 in late fees, and another $1,900 for legal and other costs, including the costs of filing the application to foreclose on her…

…Drew Siegel, a lawyer who represents Summit Residential Services, said his client bought the house at auction knowing nothing about her, and that his client has a right to force her to leave.

“Now, Summit owns the house. And I know she's upset about it, but my guy is just an innocent purchaser at the foreclosure sale and owns the house and needs to get her out so he can sell it or lease it,” said Siegel.

After Koroma appealed the eviction, Summit Residential Services filed a second lawsuit. The company is suing Koroma for over $25,000 in rent for the months she’s been living in the house after it was sold. In an interview, Merrill said case law clearly entitles his client to the money…

She owed her Mesquite HOA $3,500. Now, she's losing the home she owned for 18 years — Christopher Connelly | KERA News | November 21, 2023

The government’s white paper aimed at regulating condominiums is a step in the right direction but not enough to address the myriad of problems, according to the Malta Development Association (MDA).

The proposed law offers better and much-needed regulation of the increasingly complicated relationships of owners and administrators in managing the common part of their buildings, but many other issues they face are yet to be addressed by the proposed law, the Condominium and Building Management Section (CBMS) told Times of Malta…

…In many condominiums, administrators often quit or are removed and fail to hand over finances, documents and other relevant items to the new administrator, essentially halting the common-parts management.

In other cases, the new administrator starts the finances from scratch without asking for a handover from their predecessor, while ignoring the previous contractual and financial obligations.

These occurrences are not covered in the white paper and need to be regulated, the CBMS said.

Developers are unimpressed with a condominium white paper — Mark Laurence Zammit | Times of Malta | November 22, 2023

Reforming the Condominium Act: A White Paper — Gov’t of Malta | October 25, 2023

Millions of dollars are feared gone after a property management company closed its doors in Collier County.

The money belongs to more than two dozens of homeowners and condominium associations.

Their claims are the foundation of a lawsuit filed against their property management company American Property Management Services…


This appeal is dismissed for failing to pay the required filing fee or to submit an order from the lower tribunal adjudging appellant insolvent for purposes of appeal, as earlier directed by this court. This court's August 11, 2023, order is withdrawn. However, any motion for rehearing or reinstatement must be filed by an attorney licensed in Florida, along with a notice of appearance if the attorney is not already a counsel of record in this appeal.

Homeowners, condo associations file suit against property management company over funds — Rachel Cox-Rosen | WINK News | January  19, 2022


Fort Collins, Colorado: A property management bankruptcy leads to lawsuits.

Property-management firm faces lawsuits over HOA management agreements — Ken Amundson | BizWest Journals | November 20, 2023

Sophisticated cyber criminals managed to steal $3,300 from a Key Biscayne condo association, but it could have been much worse.

"We made a careless mistake, but we got lucky," said Botanica condo president Matt Bramson. "It's regrettable, and nobody's happy about it, but in the big scheme of things, getting back the big chunk of the money" was a blessing.

Key Biscayne Police, led by Detective Fernando Carvajal, along with federal partners and critical bank procedures, led to the recovery of $101,665.57 after a "phishing" scam didn't quite go the way as thieves planned…

Stolen condo association funds recovered with minimum loss… — Hillard Grossman | Islander News | April 26, 2023

Fraud Cuts Both Ways

Fla. Court Upholds $304K Atty Fee For HOA Member's Fraud — Tracey Read | Law36 | December 04, 2023


[Sharon Gordon], the former treasurer of the Lava Bluff Homeowner's Association in Hurricane has pleaded guilty to two federal charges [wire fraud and making false statements on a tax return]  in an embezzlement scheme of HOA funds.

…Gordon embezzled approximately over $232,000 from four Lava Bluff HOA bank accounts between 2016 and March 2022.  Prosecutors said she abused her position of power to divert the money and then underreported her personal income to the IRS.

"In execution of the scheme, Gordon diverted the funds electronically by transferring them directly to her personal account, writing checks to herself and her boyfriend and forging other board members’ signatures, depositing checks representing HOA member fees directly into her personal accounts, writing checks to casinos from HOA accounts, and withdrawing cash from HOA accounts."

Utah HOA treasurer pleads guilty to embezzlement after FOX 13 investigation — Adam Herberts | FOX 13 | November 02, 2023

Crisfield supports condo association's request for state funds to combat erosion — Bay to Bay News | November 20, 2023

Some Colorado HOAs have started moving the needle, while state legislators prod others into water-wise landscapes; plus, a history of how we arrived at a certain idea of landscape perfection.

Replacing Kentucky bluegrass and other cool-weather grasses with native grasses and other less-thirsty species will not solve all of Colorado’s water problems. Nearly 90% of water in Colorado goes to agriculture. Only 7% of the state’s water gets used within towns and cities, and roughly half of that goes to outdoor use for lawns, gardens and other urban landscaping.

So, why does it matter? For one thing, it’s very expensive, and politically fraught, for cities to develop new water sources, usually from distant locations. Treating that water to potable standards is expensive, too. Water used indoors, which is largely contained in pipes, can be recycled. Water engineers calculate that 85% of water used for outdoor landscapes is lost because of evaporation and other causes.

All of this has water providers looking to focus on water devoted to discretionary outdoor use in road medians, business parks, homes and common areas. Experts say this transition to less water-demanding landscapes in urban areas will take many years…

How bluegrass lawns became the default for homeowners associations — Allen Best | Aspen Journalism | November 21, 2023

The statement below says it all: a Board that wants owners seen, not heard:

“The board will endeavor to keep owners updated on the process, but again, this property was acquired with the intent and understanding that it could be utilized for development purposes,” the board’s statement said. “It is not a matter for which membership approval is required, but rather falls under the board of directors’ authority.”

Residents of Fairfield Harbour ask for voices to be heard ... — Caramia Valentin | Sun Journal | November 24, 2023

So Much Violence

Xuming Li, a former University of South Florida chemistry Ph.D. student, was caught on camera crouching down in front of his neighbor’s door, filling a syringe with liquid, and injecting it into the crack beneath the door.

Tampa man accused of injecting ‘chemical agent’ into neighbor’s home to be deported — Caramia Valentin | WFLA | November 24, 2023

…Garden City’s attorney, Charles Wadams, said the dispute is a civil matter. Garden City is not a party to it, doesn’t have an interest in it and does not take a position about interpreting the plat notes, other than saying they “are arguably in conflict.”

“Therefore, Garden City does not currently plan on pursuing any claim to establish public ownership of the pathway,” Wadams said in a statement shared via Garden City. “Parties interested in pursuing the civil dispute are entitled to consult with a private attorney regarding any legal recourse.”

The subdivision is in Garden City, but the access connects to Boise’s greenbelt, according to Garden City. A spokesperson with the city of Boise said that Plantation HOA owns the property and that private property owners can gate or close off access on their private property as they choose.

“Without a public access easement in place, the city cannot require that the property owner provide public access to the Greenbelt at that location,” the Boise spokesperson said…

HOA to close path for Boise River Greenbelt access, concerning bike advocates — Carolyn Komatsoulis | Idaho Press | November 21, 2023

Coverage: 1,  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 


With winter looming, it’s time to brace yourself for those big heating bills. The impact on your wallet can vary depending on where you live, but a recent study may tell you how your city stacks up against others when it comes to cold-weather costs.

The study, by HVAC Gnome, an online service connecting users with HVAC specialists, ranked the 500 largest U.S. cities on heating expenses based on average income relative to each city’s electricity and heating fuel costs, local energy-efficiency metrics, and factors that could inflate costs including weather, average home size and the share of homes built before 2000 (typically less efficient). Data was gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Energy, Green Building Information Gateway, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Redfin, among other sources.

A swath of Midwestern cities landed atop the list, perhaps not surprising given the region’s chilly climate. Springfield, Mo., was found most expensive to heat, followed by cities in Ohio, Missouri, Michigan and Kansas. Springfield’s energy costs (second highest in the study) and poor energy-efficiency metrics (tied for last) were leading reasons for its rank…

Which Cities Have the Most Expensive Heating Bills? — Michael Kolomatsky | NYT | November 23, 2023

2023's Most Expensive Cities to Heat a Home in Winter — Richie Bernardo | HVAC Gnome | November 24, 2023


Heat pumps are ubiquitous in the form of air conditioners. Scientists just invented one that avoids harmful refrigerant gasses.

The use of environmentally damaging gasses in air conditioners and refrigerators could become redundant if a new kind of heat pump lives up to its promise. A prototype, described in a study published last week in Science, uses electric fields and a special ceramic instead of alternately vaporizing a refrigerant fluid and condensing it with a compressor to warm or cool air.

The technology combines a number of existing techniques and has “superlative performance,” says Neil Mathur, a materials scientist at the University of Cambridge, UK...

Air-Conditioning Discovery Eliminates Harmful Gases — Davide Castelvecchi & Nature magazine | Scientific American | November 24, 2023


How many phone charges does an AI-generated image take? — Wes Davis | The Verge | December 04, 2023

The Cost of Net Zero

An October report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation found that, after accounting for all of the hidden costs involved in owning an EV, that price becomes much more significant than an internal combustion engine vehicle. 

The foundation is a conservative think tank that according to 2012 tax filings was funded predominantly by Exxon Mobil, Chevron and the Koch brothers. The organization, according to the New York Times, has been attempting for years to promote fossil fuels while inciting a pullback in America's transition to renewable energy. 

The group's report adds up the costs of government subsidies, charging equipment and the added strain on the electric grid, claiming that the "true cost of fueling an EV would equate to an EV owner paying $17.33 per gallon of gasoline." …

Study determines the astronomical true cost of electric vehicle ownership — Ian Krietzberg | TheStreet | November 24, 2023

OVERCHARGED EXPECTATIONS: Unmasking the True Cost of Electric Vehicles


New Washington state rules promoting heat pumps face pushback — Melissa Santos | Axios | December 04, 2023

How to get money to install a heat pump in Washington state — Melissa Santos | Axios | December 05, 2023


To borrow a tired advertising mantra, there’s never been a better time to buy an electric vehicle, at least in the US. The American market now has more than 50 unique models to choose from, over double the options two years ago. As production volumes for battery-powered cars catch up with demand, there’s also a glut of supply. EV inventories in the US are up fivefold over the past 12 months, according to digital listing platform CarGurus…

…Amid rising interest rates and steady inflation, pricing has been a major hurdle for EV adoption in the US. In June, almost two-thirds of US car shoppers surveyed by JD Power said they were “overall likely” to buy an electric car, but many couldn’t find one in their price range. As recently as October, the average listing price for an EV on CarGurus was 28% higher than that of a gas-burning vehicle. 

…But the EV premium is already starting to slip, a trend Tesla Inc. set off by steadily slashing prices on its two most popular models this year. Ford followed suit, wacking up to $10,000 off the sticker price of the F-150 Lightning pickup truck. On CarGurus, average prices are down over the past 12 months for Toyota’s bZ4X (-10.3%), the Kia Niro EV (-8.6%) and the Chevrolet Bolt EUV (-6.4%), among others…

EV Discounts Are Everywhere, If You Know Which Cars to Buy — Kyle Stock | Bloomberg | November 27, 2023

EV Adoption in the United States as of October 2023


'It feels like I'm not crazy.' Gardeners aren't surprised as USDA updates key map — Julia Simon | NPR | November 17, 2023


Plastic is a material of possibilities. It can hold groceries and take photographs; it constitutes ski coats and desk chairs and toothbrushes and suitcases. It can do all these things with the same basic building block—polymers, which are hefty strings of molecules. Whether a polymer becomes a rigid suitcase or a thin sheet of Saran wrap depends on the type of polymer, the chemicals that are added, and the way it’s cooked up into the final product.

This diversity is what makes plastic so cool and versatile and successful. But that success is one of the reasons we’re now facing a massive plastic pollution crisis. We rely so heavily on plastic that the current amount on the planet weighs more than all land and sea animals put together. Microplastics have been found in human blood and breastmilk, Antarctic snow, and rain. Of the thousands of chemicals added to plastics, about one-third of them remain poorly understood. And the wide range of components in plastic—the diversity that makes it such a useful material—is also what makes it really hard to recycle, contributing to the plastic pollution crisis we’re in today, says Costas Velis, an international expert on the circular economy of plastic…

Plastic is here to stay. Is sustainable plastic possible? — Anna Gibbs | Slate | November 24, 2023


A deadly fungus threatens to wipe out the Cavendish, whose best hope may be genetic modification…

For 40 years, farmers, scientists and major producers in the industry have watched with growing anxiety as the fungus García-Bastidas saw, Fusarium odoratissimum, or Tropical Race 4, marched through banana plantations in Southeast Asia. In 2013, García-Bastidas reported finding it for the first time outside that region, in Jordan. Soon it spilled into the banana fields of Africa.

Fusarium is naturally occurring and typically spreads when contaminated soil hitches a ride on clothing, shoes or vehicles. In a banana field it burrows into the soil and attacks through the roots, quickly invading a plant’s vascular system and choking off the flow of water and nutrients, rotting it from the inside long before bananas appear. Slice open the corm—the bulblike appendage under the soil from which the pseudostem grows—and the infected plant material resembles the brittle embers left after a campfire. And there are no treatments for this. No preventatives, no cures. Even after chewing through every plant, TR4 remains in the soil, ruining the fields for future production…

World’s Banana Supply Under Threat From Fusarium Fungus — Andrew Zaleski | Bloomberg | November 27, 2023


Someday, if future forms of intelligent life look for evidence of human existence in the 20th and 21st centuries, they should have an easy time finding us in the geologic record. Just look for the plastic.

Between 1950 and 2021, humanity produced about 11 billion metric tons of virgin plastic — that’s the weight of 110,000 U.S. aircraft carriers. Only about 2 billion tons of this is still in use. The rest — some 8.7 billion tons — is waste: 71 percent has ended up in landfills or somewhere else in the environment, including the ocean; 12 percent has been recycled; 17 percent has been incinerated. At the rate we’re going, global plastic waste will rise 60 percent by 2050.

But now comes hope that it’s possible to stop the accumulation: Last year, more than 175 countries agreed to develop a legally binding international treaty to end plastic pollution by 2040. And new research demonstrates that it is actually possible: with a combination of nine policies, countries could reduce annual plastic waste by more than 87 percent…

Opinion | How to end plastic pollution on Earth for good — Tatiana Schlossberg | The Washington Post | November 27, 2023

Global annual rate of mismanaged waste - Washington Post

Follow-up from Issue# 67: The Secret Life of Plastic Recycling:

After 20 years of operation, a national online recycling directory for plastic bags and plastic films has been taken offline, six months after an ABC News investigation.

The Film Drop-Off Directory, once found at, previously directed the public to more than 18,000 store drop-off locations around the country, where they could bring used plastic bags and film to be recycled. Visitors to the site today are greeted with a message informing them that "the resource is no longer available."...

Plastic recycling directory ends, citing lack of 'real commitment from industry'

— Evan Simon | ABC News | December 04, 2023


“Cigarette butts aren’t just litter; they’re a toxic ticking time bomb for our environment,” said Sy, the head of global public policy and strategy at GGTC. “All of these contaminate the water and pose a threat to aquatic life, including marine animals which may ingest the same. We also see this happening on land when birds mistake cigarette butts for food.”

‘Toxic ticking time bomb’: plastic pollution from cigarettes costs US$26 billion a year…

— Holly Chik | South China Morning Post | December 04, 2023


World leaders at the annual United Nations climate talks have battled for years over whether they should “phase out” fossil fuels like coal or just phase them “down.”

Now, another phrase has taken center stage at this year’s summit in Dubai: Should countries agree to end the use of “unabated” fossil fuels?

That peculiar word choice might allow nations to continue to burn coal, natural gas or oil as long as they trap and bury the resulting carbon dioxide, and stop the gas from heating the planet…

Can Carbon Capture Live Up to the Hype?

— Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich | NYT | December 06, 2023


COP28 in the house.  Que greenwashing.  Also see Issue #’s 68 and 66.

In the inevitable crescendo of hype and greenwashing that’s coming our way, we’ll doubtless hear a lot about industrial carbon capture technologies that attempt to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The COP 28 host country, the United Arab Emirates, the world’s largest oil companies and even programs in the U.S. Department of Energy are working hard to push this stuff.

Don’t be fooled. It’s mostly a distraction from what we really need to do right now: phase out fossil fuels and deploy more effective climate solutions.

Don't Fall for Big Oil's Carbon Capture Deceptions

— Jonathan Foley | Scientific American | December 04, 2023


WOWSERS: “...please, help me, show me a roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuels that will allow for sustainable socio-economic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.”...

Climate summit leader defends controversial comments at COP28…

— Jonathan Foley | CNN | December 04, 2023


Countries promise clean energy boost at COP28 to push out fossil fuels

— Kate Abnett, Valerie Volcovici and David Stanway | Reuters | December 02, 2023


More than 70,000 politicians, diplomats, campaigners, financiers and business leaders will fly to Dubai to talk about arresting the world’s slide toward environmental catastrophe.

The need for progress has never been more urgent: 2023 will almost certainly be the hottest year on record, greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and promises to cut pollution remain insufficient to take the risk of unmanageable warming off the table. At the same time, rapid inflation and global instability – including wars in Ukraine and Gaza – have scrambled the politics and economics of the energy transition.

"This is a very sobering, even somber moment as world leaders gather," said Rachel Cleetus, policy director with the climate program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Massachusetts. "That said, there's a real opportunity in the climate space to secure some wins."

What Are the Biggest Fights at COP28 Climate Summit?

— Jess Shankleman, Laura Millan, and Jennifer A Dlouhy | Bloomberg | 11/27/23

Bloomberg Green

Housing Affordability & Homelessness

Single-family zoning dominates even the densest US cities. Townhomes, apartment buildings, and even duplexes are illegal to build in vast swaths of urban residential neighborhoods that are instead reserved for lower-density detached houses. About 75% of residentially-zoned land prohibits anything but single-family homes.

Large majorities say they support policies that would facilitate more — and denser — housing, according to a Pew Research survey conducted in September and published last week. The survey asked respondents about 10 different pro-housing policies. The most popular included streamlining the permitting process; legalizing apartments in commercial areas and near transit; allowing basements, garages, and attics to be turned into accessory dwelling units; and allowing student housing and affordable homes on property owned by non-profits, including churches. The least popular policy — which got 49% support — involved allowing smaller home lot sizes.

Most American cities and states make the building approval process excruciatingly slow, and don't allow the kind of density these policies would promote...

The vast majority of Americans support housing policies that are widely illegal — Eliza Relma | Insider | December 09, 2023


New Legislation Proposes to Take Wall Street Out of the Housing Market — Ronda Kaysen | NYT | December 06, 2023


The Biden administration pushed to save homeowners thousands of dollars in closing costs on certain mortgages, part of a broad effort to slash fees and save Americans money. Objections from an obscure industry and from lawmakers helped kill the plan…

Most everyone who has a mortgage has come into contact with title insurance. Fannie and Freddie generally require it on the loans they purchase from lenders. The policy, known as “lenders’ title insurance,” typically costs the borrower around 0.5% of their loan amount, so it could cost about $1,500 for a $300,000 mortgage.  

Under the planned pilot program, Fannie would have covered those costs itself for a relatively small number of mortgage refinancings offered by seven or eight lenders. The pilot could have expanded over time to cover more lenders and other types of mortgages, according to people familiar with its development. 

Critics in the title and settlement industry, which employs about 155,000 people according to industry estimates, objected. Hundreds of members of an industry trade group met with and wrote to lawmakers and to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie…

Washington Quietly Scrapped a Plan to Save Homeowners Thousands of Dollars — Andrew Ackerman | WSJ | November 22, 2023


ADUs collide with views!  This story from San Diego, California:

“It’s going to be even higher than what you see, they don’t even have the roof on yet,” said Wahlstrom.

“I mean, this is not a granny flat. They could’ve built a 600-square foot, half the size,” said Wahlstrom. “But to build something that is so large and obstructing, you know. Our neighbors here had a lovely view of Black Mountain, and that view will be completely gone.” 

The ADU under construction on Calle de Rosas was approved and permitted by the City of San Diego. It fits within the 30-foot height limit and 4-foot setback requirements. 

Neighbors frustrated by two-story ADU blocking their views in Rancho Peñasquitos — Brian White | CBS 8 | December 04, 2023


Residents at a 55 and older park in Dade City, Florida were hit with an unexpected $3,557 bill with little explanation…

The community website urges potential residents to “elevate their life” by joining The Highlands at Scotland Yard, showing a well-manicured, 55 and above gated community featuring two swimming pools, walking trails, a fire pit and a community center nestled next to a lush public golf course just south of Dade City.

But many residents of the mobile home community, who own their homes but pay rent for their lots, aren’t so sure their life has been improved since the community’s new owner, Legacy Communities, arrived. Management sent out notices in August that they owe Legacy an additional $3,557.44 for unspecified “capital improvements.”

The increases at the Dade City community are similar to cost increases mandated by Legacy in other mobile home communities in Florida and Ohio. In Ohio, the concerns about the company’s practices brought a critical letter to Legacy from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown last December…

Florida seniors face eviction over mobile home community assessment dispute — Barbara Behrendt | Tampa Bay Times | November 24, 2023


New York City just unveiled its newest effort, which will hand 15 homeowners up to $395,000 to build an additional apartment. This could mean an extra unit in a garage, basement, or attic, or a tiny home in the backyard. The idea is to boost housing density in a city in desperate need of new housing.

New Yorkers can apply online for the funding, but high-income residents aren't eligible — the income limit for a family of four is $232,980, the New York Times reported. And the ADUs that are built will have a limit on rent: a one-bedroom can't be rented for more than $2,600.

New York City will pay homeowners up to $395,000 to build an extra dwelling in their garage or basement to help ease the housing shortage

— Eliza Relman | Insider | November 24, 2023

Infrastructure + Insurance

Homeowners in Castle Rock's Latigo neighborhood made their voices heard in a meeting over the Homeowner's Association board's new budget proposal. 

We expect to know on Monday whether the community will move forward with their latest budget proposal or if they'll have to go back to the drawing board. Saturday's meeting saw homeowners asking questions like, "why did this happen?" "Am I double insured?" And "what would happen if the HOA defaults on this policy?"

…Earlier this month, residents vetoed a budget proposal that would have increased their monthly HOA dues from $300 to $820.

…The reason why: a 600% increase in the community's insurance premium, that its broker attributes to recent devastating wildfires eroding the reinsurance market.

Colorado homeowners left with more questions than answers: skyrocketing HOA insurance — Olivia Young | CBS | December 03, 2023


Colorado Springs, Colorado: a 74% assessment increase driven by a 700% insurance premium increase:

Heim’s neighborhood doesn’t have a pool, recreation building, or park. They do have shared roofs, sidewalks, and garage space.

Heim’s HOA is managed by Dorman Association Management. President Rudy Thompson gave 11 News The Belleville’s HOA monthly dues for the past five years:

11 News asked, “Why the big jump in 2024?” Thompson says, insurance costs for that HOA are going up almost 700%, from $17,000 in 2023 to $135,000 in 2024.

VIDEO: HOA fees pushing Colorado woman to move, management points to insurance costs — Melissa Henry | KKTV | December 01, 2023


It's not just rural mountain communities in Colorado that have to worry about wildfire risk anymore, and insurance companies know that. 

The ability to live so close to nature and open spaces is a big part of why people choose to live in Douglas County. But it's also the reason the county is in the top 10 in the country with the most properties vulnerable to insurance correction due to fire risk.

Homeowners in Castle Rock's Latigo Community were shocked to learn their monthly HOA fees would soon increase from $300 to over $800.

…Nine out of the top 10 most costly wildfires have happened since 2017. Some, like the Marshall fire, were in urban areas previously believed by insurers to be lower risk.

VIDEO: Fire-related insurance challenges to blame for high HOA fees in Colorado, says insurance division — Olivia Young | CBS | December 04, 2023


A state House Republican has filed a proposal that could lead to more homeowners in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties being eligible for coverage from the Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

The bill, filed by Rep. Jim Mooney of Islamorada, would allow homes in Miami-Dade and Monroe with "replacement costs" up to $1.5 million to qualify for Citizens coverage. Under current law, homes in Miami-Dade and Monroe with replacement costs up to $1 million can qualify - while homes in all other counties face a $700,000 cap…

Miami-Dade, Monroe homeowner's insurance changes proposed — CBS Miami Team | CBS Miami | November 24, 2023


Climate change has been identified as a primary factor driving increasingly expensive insured losses and insurance premiums alike.  View our Insurance page.

Opinion: Climate change is the missing link in Florida's property insurance crisis — Kate Stein | Miami Herald | December 06, 2023


'We do not have insurance. We have an insurance bill': Condos hit with 563% rate increase

Marbella Condominium Association

For Baker and many other Florida condo owners, the very concept of insurance - to ease worries during times of distress - seems lost, especially after the 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside and the two-punch combo of the 2022 hurricane season: Ian and Nicole.

The latter storms just over a year ago pounded a seawall outside the Marbella Condominiums, then destroyed a pool and deck area. And the Surfside disaster, which killed 98 people, shined a light on structural safety, delayed maintenance and the need for the state to enact more strict regulations to prevent future collapses. 

As bad as all of that was, for Baker, the real disaster arrived in December 2022: the property insurance bill for Marbella, where he serves on the condo association’s board.  

For the 24-unit building at 3343 S. Atlantic Ave., property insurance jumped from $40,534 for 2022 to nearly $269,000 – a 563% increase. And Rob Lasch, another Marbella board member, said he’s expecting another increase when the policy offer arrives, which could be any day now. 

And the increase came in spite of a history of Marbella, which was built in 2007, never having filed a claim, Lasch and Baker said. There was no claim filed for the $2 million damage on the condo’s ocean-facing deck. 

“Nothing got paid out for the damage outside because it was the seawall, and nobody was insuring the seawalls,” Lasch said. 

So Marbella residents are getting hit hard on both sides of the hurricane. They’re having to come up with the full amount to fix the damage, while also bearing the burden of increased rates....

Marbella is relatively new, built 15 years ago under strict building codes. As a result, it stands on 42 pylons that are 40 feet long and reach down to the hard core beneath the sand, Smith said...

And Smith said the deductible for any disaster is $1 million.

That leads Baker to question what the insurance is actually covering...

As a result of both sides of the property insurance problem – high rates and being awarded no claims for the damage, Marbella condo owners have each paid approximately $64,000 in HOA fees and assessments in 2023, said board President Jim Smith...

Baker said: “People who moved down here on fixed incomes and bought themselves their final place now find themselves with an impossible bill.” ...

Right next door, at 3333 S. Atlantic Ave., the 109-unit Grand Coquina Condo, went from paying $207,000 for property insurance in 2022 to $680,000 for 2023, a 228% increase, said Jeff Sussman, the association’s treasurer.

That amounted to a $2,331 additional assessment per unit this year, while Sussman projects another assessment of between $3,000 and $6,000 per unit will be required in 2024...

Daytona Beach Shores condo owners: 563% insurance increase 'theft' — Mark Harper | Daytona Beach News-Journal| November 30, 2023

…Condo residents in Daytona Beach Shores face 500% property insurance hike — Chris Lindsay | FOX 35 Orlando | December 07, 2023

Daytona Beach Shores condo owners: 563% insurance increase 'theft'

Everything is relative: The 43% increase from 2019 to 2022 to insure a 6-unit Chicago condominium is a drop in the bucket compared to 40% to 500%+ year-over-year insurance premium increases happening in community associations across the country. 

…"You might get mad at the insurance company for raising your premiums," said Mark Pauly of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, "but they're doing that either because they already have suffered substantial losses in their homeowners business or they're trying to protect against having that happen in the future."...

While economists I spoke with were worried about the effects of these rising costs, they didn't necessarily think homeowners insurance would be what tipped the scales to send the broader economy into a recession — $74 billion may seem sizable, but it represents only about 0.4% of total consumer spending in 2022…

"The broader economy is probably going to be fine," Quinlan said. "What I do worry about is on a microeconomic basis."  The biggest threat, economists said, is to three groups: people on fixed incomes, people in older homes, and people in high-risk areas…

The hidden expense that's sucking $74 billion out of the economy — Bartie Scott | Insider | November 30, 2023

Housing Market

New data from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies showing that a growing number of people in their 60s, 70s and 80s are still paying their mortgages.

And the amount of mortgage debt they’re carrying has grown, too. It used to be that by the time most people reached 80, their house was paid off. In 1989, just 3% of homeowners over 80 still had a mortgage. Today? It’s nearly a third.

“And the balance on those mortgages is much higher, even when you adjust for inflation,” said Jennifer Molinsky at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.  She said a big reason so many older people still have a mortgage today is that a lot of them refinanced in the last decade or so to take advantage of low interest rates…

More older people are still paying off mortgages — Samantha Fields | Marketplace | November 30, 2023


Of all the expenses involved in owning a home, perhaps the most challenging one comes right at the beginning — amassing the down payment. And it’s only getting harder. According to a new report from, the national median down payment rose to nearly 15 percent of purchase price, or $30,400, during the third quarter of 2023, up from about 12.5 percent, or $23,300, during the third quarter of 2021.

Higher home prices inflate down payments, but there are other explanations. One is a competitive market in which buyers have bulked up their down payments to gain an edge in bidding wars. Rising mortgage rates have also prompted buyers to offer more cash up front and borrow less, thus saving on mortgage payments. Finally, increased personal savings during the pandemic years have left buyers with more cash on hand.

The rates at which down payments have changed vary by region, according to the report…

Down Payments Are Going Up — Michael Kolomatsky | NYT | November 30, 2023


It's "a market-maker sale" for the recently opened Infinity Shore Club Residences project, the developer says…

Luxury Seattle condo project cuts prices 20% for next handful of buyers — Marc Stiles | Puget Sound Business Journal | November 27, 2023

Built Environment

The Definitive Guide to Balcony Designs

— Feargus O'Sullivan | Bloomberg CityLab | October 29, 2023


In the 1870s, a striking change was occurring in the residential habits of London’s elite. After centuries of living close to the ground in houses, Charles Dickens Jr. (son of the famous writer) observed that wealthy residents were starting “to avail themselves of the continental experience … and to adopt the foreign fashion of living in flats.” 

…In time, mansion blocks grew more elaborate, with grand staircases and separate service entrances. They also reached then-unprecedented heights. Queen Anne’s Mansions, built in 1873, might lay claim to being London first skyscraper: The huge building rose to 14 stories and was served by London’s first residential hydraulic elevator; residents had servants included in their rent and access to their own theater. Queen Victoria apparently complained that the structure was spoiling her view from Buckingham Palace. An 1894 building act limiting heights within 100 yards of a royal park may have been a direct response to the affront. It was demolished in 1973…

…By World War I, the mansion block concept was on the wane, only to enjoy a resurgence in the 1930s. Enormous apartment complexes for prosperous tenants were built between the wars, notably Pimlico’s Dolphin Square, home to an estimated 3,000 people in 1,300 units with access to gardens, a basement pool, creche, beauty parlor and underground parkin

…By the time World War II saw a second ebbing of the type, mansion blocks had established a pattern in which most Londoners would be apartment dwellers. The form had proliferated during a period in which many insisted — falsely — that the English had an aversion to living in flats. As Templin points out, many of London’s terraced houses had long been subdivided, with single-family houses the exception (and those were often rented out room by room as boarding houses).

The Design History of London's Mansion Block Apartment Buildings — Robert Bevan | Bloomberg CityLab  | November 19, 2023

Mansion Flat Depiction by Bloomberg CityLab

…You will be able to see (and likely hear) the marketplace from most points in the complex, and the 11,000 residents in the six residential buildings above will provide a built-in customer base for the greengrocer, butcher, baker, pharmacist and gym down below. This is not a mall for window shopping, but for everyday urban life — heavy on the food and entertainment, light on the fast-fashion retail…

Toronto Megaproject 'The Well' Is Canada's Answer to Hudson Yards — Alexandra Lange | Bloomberg CityLab | November 13, 2023

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

Workers in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County will soon be making at least $16 an hour, a dollar more than they do now, as the state joins 21 others in lifting the minimum wage.

Increases are set to take effect Jan. 1 from Rhode Island to Nebraska to California, according to payroll processor ADP. Washington state will require employers to pay $16.28 an hour, the nation’s highest minimum wage at the state level. 

Wages are rising after a year in which labor unions have amped up pressure on employers to pay more, with US auto workers winning new gains after a strike and United Parcel Service Inc. significantly increasing pay to avoid a walkout. In many states, meanwhile, legislators have boosted minimum wage levels as inflation has fueled big increases in living expenses…

NYC Workers Get a Raise to $16 an Hour Minimum Wage — Kelsey Butler | Bloomberg | December 05, 2023

US Minimum Wages by State - Bloomberg

While the headlines on US inflation are trending positive, that’s cold comfort for many Americans who need to shell out $119.27 to buy the same goods and services they could afford with $100 four years ago, before the pandemic. Grocery prices have risen 25% since January 2020, as has the cost of electricity. Rents are roughly 20% higher. And while many Americans made solid wage gains in what is still a robust job market, the progress hasn’t kept up with everyday expenses like the cost of gas, let alone a car to put it in. The price surge since 2020 has helped explain why many Americans continue to register dissatisfaction with the economy and why the Federal Reserve is extra keen to finish off inflation and get it back down to its 2% target. New data indicate things are on track for the central bank in the soft landing department with the economy finally simmering down. Consumer spending, inflation and the labor market all cooled in recent weeks, reinforcing forecasts central bankers are done raising interest rates.  — Victoria Cavaliere and Ian Fisher | Bloomberg Weekend Reading | December 02, 2023 

Inflation Depiction by Bloomberg

As of the time I'm typing this, the 10-year yield is below 4.3%.

Obviously the view continues to harden that the rate hiking cycle is over, and the only debate left is when they will cut rates. The speech by Fed Governor Waller yesterday was widely seen as dovish, with markets pricing in cuts even sooner. Then Ackman, who nailed the top of the cycle, said he expects cuts in Q1. So you can just watch the new views forming in real time…  — Joe Wiesenthal | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | November 29, 2023 

Cashing In

For all the bad things supposedly raining down on Wall Street, it’s shaping up to be a big year for stock bulls who simply sat tight and refused the temptation to outsmart the market.

In fact, buying and holding equities has trounced 22 technical strategies used by traders to navigate their ups and downs. The sit-still plan has paid off handsomely after the S&P 500 touched its 2023 low on Jan. 5 only to climb steadily to its highest point on Friday…

Stock Faithful Ride $7 Trillion Rally as Market Timing Backfires — Lu Wang and Emily Graffeo | Bloomberg | December 08, 2023

Buy & Hold Wins (Again) - Chart by Bloomberg

Cashing Out

In general, bonds add little or no value to the portfolio of ordinary long-term investors

Nearly three years into the worst crash in the modern history of the U.S. bond market, ordinary investors hardly need to be told that bonds are far less "safe" and "secure" than many financial experts have claimed.

But bold new academic research, drawing on financial history going back to the 1890s, goes even further than that…

Dump your bonds, this new research says — Brett Arends | Morningstar | November 25, 2023

Illinois’ condominium statute is fairly precise.  Washington State statutes (and those of other states) provide more flexibility by including partners and trustees.

765 ILCS 605/2(g):  "Unit Owner" means the person or persons whose estates or interests, individually or collectively, aggregate fee simple absolute ownership of a unit, or, in the case of a leasehold condominium, the lessee or lessees of a unit whose leasehold ownership of the unit expires simultaneously with the lease described in item (x) of this Section.

765 ILCS 605/18(a)(1): The election from among the unit owners of a board of managers, the number of persons constituting such board, and that the terms of at least one-third of the members of the board shall expire annually and that all members of the board shall be elected at large; 

if there are multiple owners of a single unit, only one of the multiple owners shall be eligible to serve as a member of the board at any one time. 

A declaration first submitting property to the provisions of this Act, in accordance with Section 3 after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, or an amendment to the condominium instruments adopted in accordance with Section 27 after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, may provide that a majority of the board of managers, or such lesser number as may be specified in the declaration, must be comprised of unit owners occupying their unit as their primary residence; provided that the condominium instruments may not require that more than a majority of the board shall be comprised of unit owners who occupy their unit as their principal residence;

…There are many condominium declarations that provide that the spouse of an owner of a unit can serve on the board. However, this is contrary to Section 18(a)(1) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. That section of the Act provides that the board members are elected from "among the unit owners." As such, the spouse of the unit owner who is not on the deed to the unit, and not an owner, is not eligible to serve on the board….

Board members must be listed on the deed to serve

— David M. Bendoff | Daily Herald | October 27, 2023

Foundations Training - Condominium Authority of Ontario

Tweet by the Condominium Authority of Ontario

Seems Like Bullying

…the substantial, sudden cost increases at 2033 Calais Drive also reflect the tactic of investors taking over condo boards and making spending decisions with limited input from other owners who must also foot the bills. Condo associations in Florida have broad latitude to make financial decisions under a “business judgment rule” that protects directors from liability, as long as they can show a reasonable basis for their spending, said Roberto Blanch, a South Florida condo lawyer.

“There is this gray area, I think — let’s call it this wiggle room — that might be enough to let them get away with some unsubstantiated or some uncorroborated increases,” Blanch said. “The board can always get away with saying, ‘We’re just spitballing here.’ ”

At Fiorda’s building, a new board controlled by Stonemason and its leader, Gustaf Arnoldsson, passed a 2023 operating budget of more than $271,000, up from about $66,000 in 2022, according to a document Fiorda provided to the Herald.

The proposed spending includes increases in legal fees from around $800 to $20,000, management fees from $4,800 to $9,600 and, most significantly, reserve fund contributions from $5,800 to $150,000.


At 8125 Crespi Boulevard, Sipiwe Anderson, a fashion model and member of Miami Beach’s Black Affairs Advisory Committee, was removed as president of her four-unit building’s condo board and hit with a series of special assessments after a Texas man purchased the three units above hers early last year. 

Anderson, who lives in the canal-front property with her husband and two children, is now being told to pay $169,000 for her share of repairs between 2022 and 2024, including a total of $100,000 made in quarterly payments this year, records show. The assessments are for upgrades including $150,000 for concrete restoration, $150,000 for seawall repairs, $50,000 for balcony and railing improvements and $50,000 for the dock…

'Seems like bullying to me': Investors took over their condo boards. Costs skyrocketed — Aaron Leibowitz | Miami Herald | June 15, 2023


A 206-unit Chicago condo building has hit the market expecting to fetch more than $40 million with plans for deconversion to rental apartments.

Hampden Green Condominiums in Lincoln Park on the market for deconversion — Wendell Hutson | Chicago Business Journal | November 16, 2023


Work is underway on 118 West 13th Street, a seven-story residential conversion in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village Historic District. Designed by BKSK Architects and developed by Slate Property Group, which acquired the property for $22.85 million and is partnering with private equity firm Avenue Realty Capital, the project will create eight condominium units spread across 34,000 square feet. The structure was originally built in 1931 and formerly served as the 175-room Eugene Lang College dormitory for The New School, once touted as the most expensive college dorm in the United States. The project is located on an interior lot between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

Condominium Conversion Begins at 118 West 13th Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan

— Michael Young and Matt Pruznick | New York YIMBY | October 05, 2023

These homeowners are protected by Florida statutes containing specific “bulk owner” protections.  Such language is 

WHO: Owners @ Sandpiper Village (Piper Village West, Inc.)

WHERE: 3901 36th Court, West Palm Beach, FL 33407

CASE#: 50-2022-CA-004827-XXXX-MB


ORDER: 502022CA004827XXXXMB_80 - Final Order - 090123

§718.117(3) OPTIONAL TERMINATION. — The condominium form of ownership may be terminated for all or a portion of the condominium property pursuant to a plan of termination meeting the requirements of this section and approved by the division. Before a residential association submits a plan to the division, the plan must be approved by at least 80 percent of the total voting interests of the condominium. However, if 5 percent or more of the total voting interests of the condominium have rejected the plan of termination by negative vote or by providing written objections, the plan of termination may not proceed.

(3)(c)(3)For their respective units, all unit owners other than the bulk owner must be compensated at least 100 percent of the fair market value of their units. The fair market value shall be determined as of a date that is no earlier than 90 days before the date that the plan of termination is recorded and shall be determined by an independent appraiser selected by the termination trustee. For a person whose unit was granted homestead exemption status by the applicable county property appraiser, or was an owner-occupied operating business, as of the date that the plan of termination is recorded and who is current in payment of both assessments and other monetary obligations to the association as of the date the plan of termination is recorded, the fair market value shall be at least the original purchase price paid for the unit.

The central issue before the Court is whether §718.117, Fla. Stat., of the Florida Condominium Act retroactively applies to the Amended Declaration. Stated differently, the parties seek to determine whether their termination plan was validly implemented in accordance with Article 16 of the Amended Declaration or whether it is controlled by the aforesaid statute.


Bulk buyers are investors who purchase multiple units in a condominium. When they own enough units, they can install their own board members and control the condominium. Sometimes, bulk buyers want to own all the units in a property.  But how they go about doing this is key.

In the case of Sandpiper Village, both residents and investors are uneasy co-owners in the 69-unit condo that dates to the 1970s.  In 2017, Piper Ventures paid $3.9 million for a bulk purchase of units. Today, Piper Ventures owns 63 units.

The Holland & Knight lawyers said the Sandpiper matter is a sign of the times as older properties along the coast attract investors wishing to get a toehold in the state's sizzling real estate market.

Sandpiper Village condo might still be terminated by Piper Ventures, but it's also likely that the independent owners would be a large enough bloc to stop the move if the vote follows the 5% state law, Zimmerman said…

West Palm condo residents win fight against bulk buyer making low-ball offers. — Alexandra Clough | The Palm Beach Post | November 05, 2023

Records typically do not include emails EXCEPT for emails evidencing official decisions, e.g. unanimous consent votes outside of a meeting, etc.; HOWEVER, decisions in specific states such as Florida are turning that idea on its head.  Board of Director E-mails as Official Records Revisited discusses Docket # 2021-012740 - In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement, James Hanseman where the Director of Florida's DBPR concluded:

…board member to board member emails are official records of the association even if they are transmitted on a board member’s personal device. The Director reasoned that emails are a form of “writing” as the term is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ED. 2019), and since F.S. 718.111(12)(a)18 included as official records “all other written records of the association,” emails are considered official records.

Records Page

Short answer: probably.  

Longer answer: it depends on your statutes and your governing documents and case law in your state.

Even if you find that the board does not have the authority to mandate these inspections, you must decide whether you are willing to fight it, said Andrew Lieb, a New York lawyer who handles real estate litigation. Complying with the inspections will likely save you thousands of dollars on a potentially expensive and lengthy legal battle. You could also use the situation as fuel for your own campaign for the board, or that of a like-minded neighbor.

My Home Community Is Forcing Inspections. Can They Do That? — Jill Terreri Ramos | NYT | December 02, 2023

A Colorado attorney has been temporarily suspended after he used "sham" case law citations produced by the artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT in a motion and lied to a judge that an intern produced the errors, according to a state disciplinary ruling.

Zachariah C. Crabill was suspended Nov. 22 for at least 90 days, with the remainder of his 366-day suspension stayed upon completion of a two-year probation period, according to an opinion issued by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge.

"Before a hearing on the motion, Crabill discovered that the cases from ChatGPT were either incorrect or fictitious. But Crabill did not alert the court to the sham cases at the hearing. Nor did he withdraw the motion," according to the disciplinary opinion. "When the judge expressed concerns about the accuracy of the cases, Crabill falsely attributed the mistakes to a legal intern."...

Colo. Atty Suspended For Using 'Sham' ChatGPT Case Law

— Thy Vo | Law360 | November 27, 2023

Attorney Misconduct

The California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions (CJEO) invites public comment on a draft formal opinion addressing how judicial officers should respond to attorney misconduct.

For Public Comment: Judicial Response to Attorney Misconduct — Merrill Balassone | California Courts Newsroom | December 04, 2023

Aldea Glen HOA

Residents who brought HOA concerns to Lacey council elect new board — Rolf Boone | The Olympian | November 22, 2023

Skeletons in the Closet Yard

The only Halloween legend bigger than the recycled Facebook posts warning about cannabis-infused Halloween candy is Skelly, Home Depot’s 12-foot-tall skeleton. The $300 piece of ghoulish decor has dominated suburban yards, social media, and local news across the country since the hardware store chain released it in 2020. But every hero must have an enemy, and Skelly’s greatest nemesis is the local homeowners association (HOA).

The “12 Foot Skeleton Owners Group” on Facebook has 268,000 members and a healthy feed of posts with topics like how to use guy wires to erect your Skelly and photos of HOA complaints that Skelly’s humans have received…

The Home Depot 12-foot-tall skeleton’s nemesis: HOAs — Molly Libergall and Matty Merritt | Morning Brew | October 27, 2023

The Bozeman City Commission approved a model for future homeowners association covenants…  The hope is that homeowners associations will adopt covenant language that aligns with the city’s long-term goals concerning sustainability, safety and other issues.

HOA covenant model language approved in Bozeman — Michael Santoscoy | KECI NBC Montana | November 22, 2023

Model HOA Covenants call for the establishment of model Homeowners' Association Covenants that encourage water conservation, neighborhood and community connectivity, accessory dwelling units, childcare, drought-tolerant landscaping, composting, local food, recycling, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

Bozeman City Commission Agenda - November 21, 2023

Resolution 5555 Adoption of Model Homeowner Association (HOA) Covenants

City of Bozeman Model Covenants

City of Bozeman Survey Feedback for Model Covenants


Greeley, Colorado’s final free workshop about HOAs is presented by Altitude Community Law (a notorious firm in Colorado): 

“Silent Documents — What Authority Do We Have?” @ 5:30 p.m. Thursday, December 7 at the Greeley Family FunPlex, 1501 65th Ave.

Pre-registration is required, a city news release states. To register, contact the Community Development Office at (970) 350-9780 or

The 2023 series included two other workshops in March and September. The other workshops were “Board Member Basics: HOA 101” and “The Necessary Evils: Collections, Foreclosures and Covenant Enforcement.”

Video recordings available here.

City of Greeley to host final homeowners association workshop of 2023 — Trevor Reid | Greeley Tribune | December 02, 2023

North Carolina is one of many states that does not statutorily prescribe reconciliation.

Mo Money, Mo Problems? No Biggie for a Homeowner's Association, Right? — Adam Beaudoin and Matthew Jones | Ward and Smith | October 4, 2023

Surplus Funds Page

“It’s out of control.” After a workshop on condo fraud and corruption ended on Friday, dozens of residents of high-rises throughout South Florida swarmed the podium. They wanted to tell their tale of woe about their condo board to either State Sen. Jason Pizzo or Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney John Perikles.

Both Pizzo and Perikles listened patiently at the Aventura event but they didn’t sugarcoat the situation during the two-hour panel discussion. All leverage remains with boards, the laws remain vague and weak, and the agency in charge of protecting condo residents is worse than toothless – it’s apathetic, they said…

…Perikles, as the head of the economics crime unit, built the case against board members in the Hammocks in Kendall. Prosecutors allege more than $2 million was stolen from residents. He also oversaw the grand jury that wrote a scathing report on condominium corruption.

But the seasoned prosecutor said large law firms who represent condo boards have a huge sway in Tallahassee and any reform is still an uphill battle. “There seems to be a lot of resistance out there,” he said...

Condo reform gaining steam in Tallahassee — John Pacenti | WLRN | November 13, 2023


I live in a homeowners’ association in Pembroke Pines regulated by the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). I have made numerous complaints to that agency. Even when you’re correct, the state does nothing. DBPR is 100% ineffective. My HOA has a $12 million budget; not once in 15 years have we been given a certified financial audit. DBPR told me that no law requires audits to be certified.

Florida’s inability to regulate HOAs creates the perfect storm for the grifters. Legislators have proposed better regulation of HOAs with more protection for homeowners, but the lobbyists made it useless. Instead, legislators have mandated enormous reserves by HOAs, creating a new financial problem. As a society, if we can’t protect our elderly, we are nothing.

Letter to the Editor: Woefully inept state oversight of HOAs — Ed Griesmeyer | Sun Sentinel | December 02, 2023


2024 Florida Senate Bill 278 in focus.  Service providers (management companies in this case) will be paid one way or another.  Services come at a cost.

…At first glance, SB 278 doesn’t sound controversial.

“An association may not charge a fee for the preparation… of an estoppel certificate,” the bill states.  An estoppel certificate is a document prepared during the sale of a home. Basically, a snapshot of the fees a seller may still owe to the homeowners association.

Pursuant to Florida law, sellers who live in associations must get the document so that buyers, who’d be liable for the fees, are not caught off guard.

“It’s the first time ever such a bill has ever been filed,” said Mark Anderson, the executive director of Chief Executive Officers of Management Companies (CEOMC), a group that represents associations. “This bill would eliminate their right to be paid for this very critical service that they’re providing.”

Anderson said it typically costs around $300 to prepare the document.  Currently, community associations charge sellers and buyers for the work but, SB 278 bans that.  Mark says if sellers and buyers aren’t paying for estoppel certificates, the cost will get passed down to all the neighbors.

Could a new bill increase costs for Floridians living in HOAs? — Mahsa Saeidi | CBS Miami | December 08, 2023


Reference Legislative Backfire (Issue#78).  Paying for certified letters is hot.  Services come at a cost.

State lawmaker calls HOA charges "excessive" following CBS News Colorado investigation


North Carolina House Select Committee for HOAs

(1)(a) A homeowners' association may not enter into, amend, or enforce a covenant, condition, or restriction in such a way that imposes more onerous restrictions on the types of use of a member's real property than those restrictions that existed when the member acquired the member's interest in the real property, unless the member who owns the affected real property expressly agrees in writing at the time of the adoption or amendment of the covenant, condition, or restriction…

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

Homeowners | Volunteer Leaders | Managers & Management Companies | Vendors