Wednesday, November 22, 2017

CondoGate: Is there a Scandal in your Community Association? - Realty Times

CondoGate: Is there a Scandal in your Community Association? - Realty Times

Attorney Benny Kass weighs in on a matter that people ask me about frequently.

Condos out, apartments in | Articles | News | OakPark.com

Condos out, apartments in | Articles | News | OakPark.com

"It was a golden age for condo conversions in the Chicago area in the 1980s and 90s, but the financial crash of 2008, changing demographics and a hot market for rental units has sent the pendulum swinging in the other direction. The real estate trend is now toward condo deconversions or bulk sales – where condo buildings are being converted back into rentals – also is taking place in Oak Park."

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And in addition to a stronger market for rentals, the trend toward deconversion is driven by the failure of condo associations:  "The challenge we see now on the condo side are non-functioning condo associations," he said, adding that they often "don't have the money to pay for the work that's needed." Hess said CIC is in the early stages of determining whether to establish a fund to lend to these troubled condo associations."
Another interviewee, an attorney, pointed out other problems:  "Planek said tenants are steering away from condos in favor of rentals for a number of reasons: high taxes and assessments; increased desire for mobility; and lack of interest in being involved in condo associations."

Monday, November 20, 2017

Saudi Arabia Just Announced Plans to Build a Mega City That Will Cost $500 Billion - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia Just Announced Plans to Build a Mega City That Will Cost $500 Billion - Bloomberg:



"Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to build a new city on the Red Sea coast, promising a lifestyle not available in today’s Saudi Arabia as he seeks to remake the kingdom in a time of dwindling resources. The prince said the city project, to be called “NEOM,” will operate independently from the “existing governmental framework” with investors consulted at every step during development. The project will be backed by more than $500 billion from the Saudi government, its sovereign wealth fund and local and international investors, according to a statement released on Tuesday at an international business conference in Riyadh."

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The Saudi government is trying to diversity their economy as they plan for a post-oil world. They are using a $2 trillion (!) sovereign wealth fund to get involved in many investments, including infrastructure projects all over the world. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Local HOA finds large sum of unclaimed money, 10 News Find...

Local HOA finds large sum of unclaimed money, 10 News Find...:

"A Blacksburg homeowners association that has more than 100 members recently discovered it had a six-figure paycheck it never knew about."

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It seems that a previous treasurer from ten years ago put stocks and CDs in a safe deposit box, then left, and nobody knew about it.

Fire, death leads to Bay Pointe HOA tussle in Mason with Rentz Management

Fire, death leads to Bay Pointe HOA tussle in Mason with Rentz Management:

I won't try to summarize this saga, but it is an awful story. A more accurate headline is in USA Today: "Phoenix condo owners fight $15,000 plus HOA assessments--and win."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Remunicipalisation of Water Services in Paris, France - futurepolicy.org

The Remunicipalisation of Water Services in Paris, France - futurepolicy.org:



"On 24 November 2008, against exponentially rising water prices, a severe lack of transparency, and poor accountability, the City Council of Paris decided not to renew its municipal water supply contracts with the private companies Veolia and Suez (two of the French powerhouses in global water services), instead remunicipalising water to be under public control.  The production and supply of Paris’ water was unified under the public entity Eau de Paris, which assumed operations of the whole system from 2010 onwards. Despite the major financial, labour and logistical challenges that the city faced, the transition was managed on time with no difference in terms of service to the end user and impressive financial savings for the people of Paris, and surplus profits have been reinvested for the further development of the city’s water infrastructure. This policy has shown that remunicipalisation of water services can be successful on a grand scale."

Monday, November 13, 2017

Phoenix Landmark condo owners fight HOA assessments — and win

Phoenix Landmark condo owners fight HOA assessments — and win: "The HOA assessment for a new HVAC system would have cost each of them at least $15,000 per condo. Many other owners in the 236-condo high-rise said the same thing as Hardaway: They could not afford the assessment, and it could cost them their home."

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They got a judge to overturn the assessment, but this isn't over. Apparently the work still needs to be done. There is an ongoing issue of what work, how much, and how to pay for it. But it is yet another example of huge special assessments that seem to be more and more common.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Op-Ed: New York Needs a New Deal - News | Planetizen

Op-Ed: New York Needs a New Deal - News | Planetizen

From water mains to public buildings, much of the infrastructure in use in the city today is 60-80 years old, Chaban explains. New York would need to spend $47 billion just to reach a state of good repair across the board, he writes, noting that "any major expansion or sweeping modernization would cost billions more."
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The whole country is in a similar situation, especially every big city. We have two infrastructure crises--one is public and the other is private. The crisis of public infrastructure is well-documented, and people are trying to find ways to solve it. But there is a little-known crisis of private infrastructure. Some of that private infrastructure is in HOAs and condo associations, where there isn't enough money to repair or replace it. There are also some big privatized pieces of infrastructure, such as toll highways, bridges, and many other systems. They are in the hands of private corporations that, in most cases, leased it for 75-99 years. And when it starts to go bad, these corporations don't want to pay for it. They want to sell off their lease or go bankrupt. All this private infrastructure has to be maintained and eventually rebuilt. It seems to me that this crisis of private infrastructure is not being thought about or planned for.