Owners at a Jacksonville condo complex are stressed because they were recently told they need to pay up to $13,000 for improvements by this summer.
Mike Distefano and Sandy Sherman have been living at their Rose Creek Condo in Lakewood for 13 years now. A recent special assessment has them worried they might have to find a new place to live.
The Board of Directors recently approved a special assessment for almost half a million dollars which means some units will have to pay almost $13,000 by June 30.
Residents have questions they say they can’t get answered like what exactly the money is going toward.
“We get it’s going for structural repairs, what structural repairs, I don’t know,” Sandy Sherman said. “They’re saying because of the new law, that’s what has to be done. But you know, the problem is that we wouldn’t be in this position now with all these structural repairs needing to be done if they were doing their due diligence, for the last 20 years, 30 years.”
News4JAX took a walk around the complex with Distefano and Sherman to see what was not being maintained on the property. There was a tarp that’s been on the roof of a condo building for months now, they said. There were also issues with a roof buckling from water redirected by a gutter and other general issues with wood rotting and things falling apart.
Another issue residents have concerns about is the clubhouse. They said the doors had been locked for 20 years. So, that’s 20 years they haven’t been able to access basic amenities on the property.
The Florida Condo Safety Act Bill that stemmed from the deadly June 2021 collapse of the Surfside Condos in South Florida is now requiring more regular inspections for older condo buildings. It’s also requiring condo associations to better maintain their financial reserves.
Barry Ansbacher, an attorney who specializes in condominium and real estate law, said condo owners are not at risk of being priced out of a place they’ve lived for decades.
Ansbacher said the financial ramifications of the Florida Condo Safety Act for condo owners is a double-edged sword.
“For people who are buying into a condominium, they will have the assurance that the association and their managers are taking care of the property. So, on the positive side, things won’t get deferred and put off,” he said. “On the other side, the cost will be reflective of what it takes to do that, so they will go up.”
If residents at Rose Creek can’t afford to pay the special assessment, Ansbacher said they run the risk of being foreclosed on.
“People can and do lose their homes over that,” he said.
News4JAX reached out to the association president for the condo community to find out more about the costs but they did not immediately respond.