Author Archives: Beanie
Article Courtesy of The Daily Business Review
By Michael L. Hyman
Published September 28, 2018
While recreational amenities such as pools and hot tubs significantly add to the appeal of condominium and homeowners association communities, they also come with major liability risks that must be mitigated by the use of effective safety and maintenance measures. The recent $7.5 million verdict for a St. Petersburg, Florida, condominium resident to compensate him for the injuries that he sustained in his community’s hot tub is a telling example of the potential ramifications that can result when any defects in the working condition of these amenities are not properly addressed.
In 2008, Ehab Mina was about to step into the hot tub at the Boca Ciega Resort & Marina Condominium when he became startled to see that it was partially drained. The problem in the hot tub caused the 44-year-old to slip, and he badly injured his right shoulder and spine.
Mina required multiple surgeries, and he was ultimately forced to sell his boat-building business as a result of his injuries. He filed suit against the association and its property management company, Condos by Sirata Inc., alleging that the hot tub should have had a posted warning and adequate lighting in the evening hours.
The attorneys for the condominium association responded by arguing that the half-empty hot tub was an obvious condition, but the jury found the association and its management company to be jointly liable. It awarded a $7.56 million verdict to Mina.
For the unit owners, this verdict could present significant financial repercussions, especially if the association and management company general liability insurance policies’ limits are insufficient to cover the entire amount of the verdict. In that event, the association will be compelled to pass a special assessment, and its insurance premiums are likely to rise, leading to a substantial financial burden for all of the owners.
The expensive lesson for the association in this case is an important one for all Florida community associations and their property managers. Associations must apply reasonable vigilance in maintaining and inspecting all community recreational amenities. An association’s obligations include regularly scheduled periodic inspections followed by performing all of the necessary maintenance and replacement procedures to ensure that all amenities and equipment are kept in safe working condition. In addition, user weight and size restrictions, or limitations on the hours during which amenities may be used, could also help to potentially limit legal liability should an injury occur. Read more:
CCFJ.NET: Debts Pile Up in Poinciana Villages HOA
|Article Courtesy of The Ledger
By Mike Ferguson
Published September 22, 2018
POINCIANA — More than 10 percent of the homeowners who make up the Association of Poinciana Villages are delinquent with association dues and the homeowners say they’re not sure where to go from here.
The Association of Poinciana Villages (APV) is a homeowners’ association of about 27,000 homes that spans parts of Polk and Osceola counties. According to a spokeswoman for APV, more than 3,000 accounts are delinquent.
Residents have until Jan. 15 each year to pay at least the monthly amount of $23 or the annual amount of $276 — an increase of $24 from the previous year. If those are not paid, they’re sent to collections, which residents say creates enormous debts. Often, they’re unable to find who to pay.
Carlos Pastor said that his debt now stands at more than $3,500. Pastor said he was sent a letter by APV that his outstanding dues had been passed on to collections and was charged about $300 for the letter to be sent.
Pastor said he tried to pay the outstanding balance, but the HOA wouldn’t accept it. He claims to have tried to pay the collections company, McCabe Law Group, via mail, but it claimed to have never received the payment. Pastor said he had lived at his home since 2000 without ever being late until 2016.
“I just want to pay it,” Pastor said. “It’s crazy. I don’t mind living in an HOA but do something for me. I want to get this thing settled, but c’mon, be fair.”
Residents say the HOA used to give a 90-day grace period. Tabatha Bucci said her child had medical issues between January 2017 and last summer, which forced her to run back and forth between Nemours in Orlando and home.
In April of that year, she tried to pay the $63 and $5 for a late fee that she owed for the prior three months but was sent a letter obtained by The Ledger that showed the $68 deducted from $657 in assessments. In addition to the then-annual $252 fee, she was charged $375 in attorney’s fees to prepare a lien against the property and a debt verification letter among other charges. Read more:
By Greg Allen
SACRAMENTO – The state Assembly today approved a bill by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to rein in election abuses in California’s more than 55,000 homeowner associations (HOA). Senate Bill 1265 now heads back to the Senate for a concurrence vote before being sent to Governor Brown.
“Today’s Assembly approval sends a clear signal that the Legislature recognizes not only the critical role HOA boards play, but the impact they have on millions of Californians’ homes and pocketbooks,” said Sen. Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Housing and Transportation Committee. “By adding safeguards to the system, SB 1265 will restore fairness and integrity to the board election process and end abuses in communities where boardmembers are more interested in maintaining power than faithfully following the association’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions.” Read more:
Article Courtesy of Channel 8 — Las Vegas Now
By George Knapp and Matt Adams
Published August 19, 2018
Former construction company owner Leon Benzer will serve 12 more years in federal prison for crimes that were first reported by the I-Team.
Las Vegas has seen a lot of political corruption cases, but never something this big.
Forty defendants were sentenced. Most of them pleaded guilty, Leon Benzer, the ringleader, was the last to be sentenced, and in the front row of the courtroom Friday were the two investigators who started the ball rolling — a Metro detective and a former FBI agent. They wanted to be there for the end. Read more: