Monday, November 28, 2005

Our Continental superiors leave the homeless to die in the streets?
People walk past as a homeless person takes cover from the cold on a Paris sidewalk November 28, 2005, as six homeless have died in France since the arrival of winter temperatures.
Mais non! This cannot be! First the riots in the suburbs, and now homeless corpses frozen to the sidewalk. I thought we boorish, selfish Americans were supposed to be taking instructions in social policy from Les Francais. And their enlightened approach was to be the core of the policies of the European Union, wasn't it?
Residents Put Gates On Road
Fred Pilot sent this link to a story of an HOA that decided to fort up by building the Black Gates of Mordor at the entrance, but unfortunately didn't actually, technically, uh...own the street they tried to close. Oops.

WESLEY CHAPEL -- In their effort to privatize their streets, Grand Oaks residents have built a new gatehouse and installed black metal gates at the subdivision's entrance on County Road 54. But, according to Pasco County, Grand Oaks' streets remain public and can't be gated. "They can put up the structures. They can't close the gates," said Richard Sliz, real estate manager for Pasco County, which officially owns Grand Oaks' streets. Grand Oaks is one of a handful of Pasco communities trying to remove their streets from the public domain.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

How Condops Differ From Condops - New York Times
You learn something new every day. Nancy Levy just provided me with this neologism: "condops." Check it out.

Arthur I. Weinstein, a Manhattan lawyer who is vice president of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, said that while the term condop was originally coined to describe a legal combination of co-op and condo, the term now seems to have morphed into a way of describing - usually for marketing purposes - a relatively unusual type of co-op. When the term condop is used in the legal sense, Mr. Weinstein said, it describes a building (or a complex of buildings) that is part co-op and part condo. Usually, the entire residential portion of the building (which contains co-op apartments) is legally one condo unit, while the commercial and professional spaces are owned as one or more additional condo units, he said.

Owners paying price at condos without financial reserves

Fred Pilot sent this in. I think inability to pay for major repairs will soon become a big issue for many condos and HOAs. Here's an example. People don't want to pay today for somebody else's room ten years down the road. The article lays that out clearly. Then the inevitable big ticket repair comes along, and it's special assessment time to the tune of about five digits.

But note the incredible comment from Florida's condobudsman Virgil Rizzo, to wit: "I'm against reserves, it puts money into coffers that directors can [illegally] get into," said Virgil Rizzo, the state condo ombudsman. I think that attitude is fairly widespread, but it is a bit strong coming from the condo ombudsman, I think. Distrust of the BOD is yet another reason people vote against assessments that are high enough to maintain adequate reserves. And I suppose all those folks will be quoting Rizzo at the next annual meeting. But look: if Rizzo believes we can't trust directors to handle reserves that are intended for common area repair, and if taking care of the common area is their main function (as it is), then it seems to me he should be working to abolish condos instead of taking a job that is intended to make them work better--shouldn't he? Because what is saying is that we can't trust volunteer directors to carry out their most basic responsiblity (property maintenance), and the only way to fix that problem is to deprive the corporation of a sinking fund. They would just operate on a hand-to-mouth basis, because the directors can't be trusted with anything more than that. That to me is the clear implication of his statement. Any comments on that?