Category Archives: discrimination

Child Discrimination in HOAs Illegal!

guest blog by Dave Russell (community association manager)
Last week Minnetonka residents of a condo complex won a massive settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit contending that a ban on playing in the grass illegally discriminated against families with children.The settlement agreement, announced last Friday, by U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, means that the Greenbrier Village Homeowners’ Association Inc. and Gassen Company Inc. must establish a new nondiscrimination policy and pay a $10,000 penalty to the federal government and $100,000 to six families.  We all know well who is going to foot the bill for this one. Don’t we?
Just days after the Minnetonka settlement another HOA in California was making headlines for smacking homeowners with $50 fines for basically the same thing.  It appears that the Agave and Saguaro HOA in Chula Vista , California prohibits a number of kid-friendly activities in their development. This HOA prohibits their resident children from riding skateboards, bicycles, roller-skates or anything with ‘wheels’ on their driveways, common areas, sidewalks or streets. So what gives with these kooky rules?
Well the reporters down at ABC 10 News went to Prescott Management (the management company for Agave and Saguaro HOA) to ask that very question. The HOA manager claimed that some of those rules were for the ‘safety of children.’  Are these ‘safety concerns’ really legitimate?
While I completely understand the need for kids to be able to play in their communities, what happens if something goes terribly wrong? Hypothetically, let’s say this HOA changes their rules and a child gets mowed down by a car in the driveway. Whose fault is it? Well that’s the question the parents attorneys will be asking.
The argument can easily be made that the HOA should have adopted rules restricting children from playing in dangerous areas, such as driveways. One has to remember, attorneys are always searching for the deepest pockets when it comes to lawsuits and settlements. Unfortunately, those deep pockets always belong to the HOA and their insurance carriers.
HOAs and community managers seem to be in a real pickle here. If you restrict child-friendly activities, even if they may be dangerous, the HOA could be sued for a fair housing violation. If you don’t have safety rules in place, and a child gets hurt, the HOA still gets sued if something goes ‘terribly wrong.’ When it’s all said and done, and dust settles from the lawsuits,  it’s the homeowners who will foot the bill once again. Well, don’t they always?
So what’s the solution to this seemingly new legal issue of Children vs. HOA’s? A large part of this problem was actually created by the developers themselves, who poorly designed these communities, and without children in mind. Very rarely do you see a developer put in a kid-friendly area where kids can just be kids. And for some reason if the developer does build a kid-friendly area, it’s always across a busy road like the development in the Minnesota case.  It’s all about jamming in as many units into one confined space as possible for profit.
There’s no doubt we’ll be seeing a magnitude of new lawsuits from homeowners and federal agencies like Fair Housing. These lawsuits are going to cost homeowners billions of dollars and make HOA insurance premiums skyrocket!  In my opinion, the best solution to this newly found problem is to stop building these damn liabilities!
If you ever needed another reason not to buy into an HOA……make sure that you add this one to the top of your list!

High stakes $120m lawsuit over condo termination blocked by rival

guest blog by Deborah Goonan
Here is the flip side of the coin in the chaotic world of Florida’s optional condo terminations.

Owners of roughly 30-year old, 48-unit, Tropicana Condominium in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, decided they’d like to take advantage of the hot real estate market, and offer their condo for sale to the highest bidder.Back in 2013, a majority of Voting Members of the Association approved an amendment to the declaration, allowing for termination with 80% approval, bringing their documents in line with FL Statute 718.117, which became law in 2007.

Several Florida attorneys have gone on record touting the potential benefits of the Optional Termination provisions — later dubbed by many critics as “eminent domain for condos” — as a means for owners of older condo buildings located on high-value land parcels to “cash out” by terminating the association and selling to a willing developer. (see link to a blog below that appeared in the Sun Sentinel a few years ago)

Reportedly, the Association received one offer of $100 million. With the attractive offer on the table, the Association was easily able to obtain more than 80% of the vote. However, five units had recently been sold to new owners representing 10% of the condominium association. These five owners objected to the termination and filed suit against Tropicana Condo Association to block the termination. As you may recall from previous blogs, Florida statute maintains that 10% of members of an Association can challenge a termination approved by at least 80% of members.

So who are the “hold out” owners of these five condos? Tropicana Board members allege (in a $120 million counter suit) that they are straw buyers with ties to Manuel Grosskopf and Edgardo Defortuna, wealthy real estate moguls currently developing a 52-story Ritz-Carlton condo tower directly adjacent to the Tropicana. The Tropicana is only 9 stories, but if sold to another developer, the building would be razed and another new high-rise condo would be constructed in its place, effectively blocking ocean views for many of the Ritz-Carlton’s multi-million dollar units.

In this case, instead of wealthy investors staging a hostile takeover and kicking out owners at a substantial financial loss, we have what appears to be a small band of rogue buyers thwarting a termination to prevent a condominium sale to a rival developer!

How is that for the irony of unintended consequences?

This One Will Absolutely Fry Your Brain!

Here’s an HOA in Central Florida that will fine you ten thousand bucks if you post a negative online review about the community. And that money has to be paid within ten days.

Not only that, but this fascist HOA leader claims to own all copyrights of all material posted by his Windemere Cay Homeowners Association.

From what store are these idiots buying their supplies of Stupid Juice?

(careful, but this link may actually fry your brain.)