South Florida condo owners battle forced sales in court

Some developers are using a 2007 amendment to terminate condominium status of complexes
August 07, 2014 03:45PM

Via Lugano in Baynton Beach

A law initially intended to expedite the rebuilding of hurricane-damaged condos has condominium owners and developers battling in court over forced sales.

Many developers of recession era buildings are stuck with buildings composed of apartments they own and condos owned by individuals. That arrangement makes it difficult for the developers of some 163 building complexes across South Florida to make changes to common areas, roofs, and pools. 

And to combat the problem, some developers are using a 2007 amendment to terminate complexes’ condo statuses. But that means owners are facing major loses on the sale of their property.

“This is a nightmare,” Baynton Beach condo owner Ileana Paan told the Wall Street Journal. “It has emotionally debilitated me. I get so angry. How could I lose this place? It’s mine, for crying out loud.”

Paan and 12 other owners at Via Lugano, a 364-unit condo building, recently sued their building’s developer to stop the termination process.

Now, Florida lawmakers are considering changes to the law.

“I think something has to be done for the [condo owners] who must leave their property involuntarily but owe more than it is worth,” said George Moraitis Jr., a state representative from Fort Lauderdale. “But it’s hard when you start trying to mitigate the market.” [WSJ]Christopher Cameron