FLORIDA – Condo owners face financial losses under receivers’ watch

CCFJ.NET:  Condo owners face financial losses under receivers’ watch

Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald

By Enrique Flor and Brenda Medina

Published March 24, 2016

Rodolfo Rodríguez believed he had made a good investment for his retirement when he bought a condo in Miami at a bargain price after the real estate crisis.

The 74-year-old taxi driver fixed up the apartment he bought for $20,000 in August 2011 and rented it to a family for $800 a month.

But there were hidden troubles at the Tropical Point condominium on Northwest 15th Street and 15th Avenue. Like many other Miami-Dade condominiums, its owners’ association faced grave financial problems in the wake of the crisis. Its funds were shrinking as some owners defaulted on their mortgages and stopped paying the monthly maintenance fees.

And the board of directors had accepted a suggestion by the company hired to collect the fees owed, APG Partners LLC, to ask a judge in a Miami-Dade civil court to appoint a receiver who would help to fix the financial problems. Rodríguez and other owners, including some former members of the board, now say the receiver and companies linked to her became “their worst nightmare.” Tropical Point is one of many Miami-Dade condos whose directors went to court to request the appointment of a receiver to help them regain their financial stability. In theory, the receivers take over units that are vacant or have defaulted on their mortgages, rent them and pass the income to the owners’ association to make up for the owners who are not paying their maintenance fees. In exchange, the receiver is allowed to pocket a set percentage of the rent.

During the 18 months that Caridad Alina Ortega, the receiver appointed by Judge José Rodríguez, was in charge of Tropical Point, some of the owners paid thousands of dollars for maintenance and their debts, as well as special assessments. But conditions never improved, according to the testimony of several residents of the complex, which also faced a lien by the city of Miami. The electricity and water bills were not paid, and elevators and fire alarm and sprinklers were not repaired.

Barely one month after her appointment, Ortega put a lien on Rodríguez’s unit for allegedly falling behind on payments of a special assessment to repair the elevator and fix up his apartment. The bill totaled $3,754, including late fees.

Rodríguez said he had just finished paying about $500 on his debt for maintenance fees, and had no more money.  Read more:

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