guest blog by Deborah Goonan
This is the fate of a 1970s motel, converted to condos in 2003. By 2010, this low-rent condo hotel was in Receivership. Almost all of these units are leased to tenants, but apparently the Association is not putting the assessments to work, or dealing with a vacancy problem.
The condo complex has been reportedly plagued by drug trafficking, especially heroin, and was the scene of three murders in 2014. Residents say they fear for their safety.
According to reports, Blossom Park Owners Association has racked up $175,000 in code violations from Orange County. The staircases were recently deemed unsafe, and 2nd and 3rd floor residents had to be relocated until repairs can be made. Elevators are also inoperable. Some residents have moved to the first floor, but if repairs are not made to the seven buildings soon, the remaining residents may face eviction.
Where is all the money going? Obviously the owners are collecting rent from tenants (listed on Realtor.com for about $600-$650/month), and at least one resident was interviewed, stating that she pays $200 per month for maintenance fees. And the attorney receiver states there will be a special assessment to cover the cost of needed repairs and payment of fines.
This is just one example of condo blight in Florida. The question is why does the state of Florida keep allowing condo conversions? What was the logic behind approval of Blossom Park in 2003? Did Orange County really think that an old broken down motel would become an affordable haven for some lucky owners? Or did they count on 350 separate landlords screening their tenants and keeping their units maintained? Clearly, it isn’t working. Orange County has been working with Blossom Park for almost 5 years, and conditions have not improved.