News from Florida

FLORIDA – Poinciana residents challenge developer in election dispute

CCFJ.NET:  Poinciana residents challenge developer in election dispute

Article Courtesy of The  Orlando Sentinel

By Ryan Gillespie and Beth Kassab

Published June 23, 2017

POINCIANA — A dispute over who should control Poinciana, which says it has the largest homeowners association in Florida, could hinge on a strip of pine woods dotted with soggy marshland on the eastern shore of Lake Marion.

At stake is control over a 44-year-old community with more than 50,000 residents, about the size of Apopka.

A homeowner is challenging whether Avatar, the developer of the community of 26,000 homes, can cast thousands of votes in the HOA elections based on its ownership of hundreds of parcels of land. Much of it is undeveloped and, in some cases such as the property along Lake Marion, marshy and potentially off-limits for new construction.

Avatar contends it can cast one vote for every developed lot it owns and additional votes for homes the company says it could eventually build.

Martin Negron, who ran for the HOA board during the annual election in February, said he lost because Avatar improperly used such pieces of land to cast more votes and elect the company’s favored candidates. He said Avatar, also known as AV Homes, wants to maintain its hold over the massive community that straddles Polk and Osceola counties between Haines City and Kissimmee.

“The reason to get on the board is so we can vote on behalf of the residents, not the developer,” said Negron, a retired warehouse worker from New York who has lived in Poinciana for about 10 years. “They don’t want anyone that is going to ruffle their feathers.”

The association maintains his complaint “is based on a fundamental misunderstanding [of] Poinciana’s governing documents,” said Orlando attorney Tom Slaten, who represents the HOA.  Read more:

FLORIDA – HOA could foreclose on home over unpainted mailbox

WTSP.COM:  HOA could foreclose on home over unpainted mailbox
By Kendra Conlon, WTSP
June 23, 2017

Tampa Bay Sarasota – Paint your mailbox, pay a $1,000 fine or we’ll foreclose on your house.

That’s the message a Wesley Chapel homeowners’ association is sending to homeowner Joe DeVirde.

The problem is DiVerde says he didn’t get the notice, until it was too late.  Now, an address mix-up and some chipping paint could cost him his home.

“Basically what this comes down to is my mailbox,” says DiVerde.  Diverde never imagined his mailbox could cause so many problems.

“It’s pretty insane. It’s unreal,” says DiVerde.

Associa, the property management company for Seven Oaks subdivision, believed his mailbox needed painting and sent out a warning notice last August.

It would’ve been an easy fix, but the letter went to DiVerde’s ex-girlfriend, who hasn’t lived there in years.  Read more:

FLORIDA – Good law goes after condo abuses

Miami Herald:  Good law goes after condo abuses
May 2, 2017

For years, too many condominium associations and their management companies have acted as if they were dictatorships.

That soon will stop. By a vote in the Florida Legislature, many of the abuses in which these association managers engaged just became criminal offenses, thanks to a bill passed in the state Senate on Monday. The only thing missing now is the governor’s signature.

That’s great news for the state’s condo dwellers, especially those enduring abusive association management. They now have some recourse, and the law is on their side.  Read more:

FLORIDA – Florida owners enraged with last minute change to proposed law in Tallahassee

CCFJ.NET:  Florida owners enraged with last minute change to proposed law in Tallahassee

Article Courtesy of The El Nuevo Herald

By Brenda Medina

Published April 26, 2017

Florida owners enraged with last minute change to proposed law in Tallahassee

In a last-minute change to the proposed Florida condo law reforms, lawmakers leading the project eliminated criminal penalties for association managers who refuse to hand over documents to which the owners are entitled.

The move sparked the ire of some condominium owners and activists who believe that sanctioning should be the most important part of the reforms.

“We return to the same and consider it a lack of respect, after we were hopeful that we would finally have the law on our side to fight against fraud and corruption,” said Maryin Vargas, owner of a Miami apartment and leader Of the Reform Florida group. “That punishment would be the first step.”

At least in the Senate the change is not definitive, since the proposal will be discussed in a last legislative committee, that of Regulations, on Tuesday at 2 pm. The House proposal was approved with similar changes last week and will now be voted on in plenary. Read more:

FLORIDA – Riverview neighbors upset about abandoned home owned by HOA

ABC Action News:  Riverview neighbors upset about abandoned home owned by HOA
By Clifton French
April 5, 2017

RIVERVIEW, Fla. – Neighbors in a Riverview neighborhood are raising major concerns about an abandoned home that’s owned by their homeowner’s association.

Neighbors say the property at 13522 Fladgate Mark Drive has been vacant for years, but 4 months ago the South Fork of Hillsborough County III HOA purchased the home, according to the property appraiser’s website.

The outside of the home has several broken windows, mildew and other stains on the walls, and a dead and weed infested lawn among other problems.

The inside of the home is covered in splattered food, feces and clothes. Vandals have destroyed many rooms. One wall was almost completely bashed in.  Read more: