Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Yahoo News: After Surfside, aging condos called time bombs

Mentions me and some of the other things that are being said on this issue.

Are Chicago condos safe from structural failure?

This is a panel discussion on the state of play for Chicago condos. I am one of the three guests.

Climate change could cost condos billions--and they aren't ready for it.

This is the piece by me that has attracted quite a bit of attention. It's great that the news media are covering the issue of condo associations and the challenges they face with property maintenance, but it's awful that it took this tragedy to make that happen. I hope state and federal legislators enact laws that put in place the right kind of oversight. I will writing more about that but it would include:

1. Making developers establish large reserve funds and set assessments at the proper level, as determined by independent experts on reserve requirements.

2. Mandatory reserve studies and updates every three years.

3. Publishing reserve studies on a government web site

4. Publishing on government and industry web sites of a rating -- what percent funded is the association's reserve account, when compared with the reserve study.

5. Free training for all association members, directors, and officers--at public expense.

This is a start. There is more that I will talk about later.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Aging condos are a ticking time bomb

This article has some quotes by me and also one of the best international scholars on this subject, Prof. Amnon Lehavi of IDC Herzliya Law School in Israel. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Private Metropolis -- now available!

 Dennis Judd, Alba Alexander, and I have a new edited book out from University of Minnesota Press. It is Private Metropolis: The Eclipse of Local Democratic Governance. It is available now from Amazon or from the publisher. Here's a summary from the publisher:

"Examines the complex ecology of quasi-public and privatized institutions that mobilize and administer many of the political, administrative, and fiscal resources of today’s metropolitan regions: In recent decades metropolitan regions in the United States have witnessed the rise of multitudes of “shadow governments” that often supersede or replace functions traditionally associated with municipalities and other local governments inherited from the urban past. The essays in Private Metropolis grapple with the difficult and timely questions that arise from this new ecology of governance, provoking a long-overdue debate about the future of urban governance."

Monday, May 24, 2021

Australia’s first private ‘city’ to get 10,000 apartments | ArchitectureAU

Australia’s first private ‘city’ to get 10,000 apartments | ArchitectureAU
"Developer Greater Springfield Land Corporation has unveiled a plan to build 10,000 apartments in south-east Queensland’s Greater Springfield, the first privately developed, self-proclaimed ‘city’ in Australia.

The apartment precinct, planned and designed by Woods Bagot and Place Design Group, will be a $6 billion undertaking over 15 years. Chairman of the Greater Springfield Land Corporation, Malaysian-born Maha Sinnathamby, along with business partner Bob Sharpless, purchased the 2,860-hectare parcel of land that is now Greater Springfield for $7.6 million in 1992. Sinnathamby then spent years lobbying the Queensland state government to support his proposal for a city, which he envisioned as an alternative to the Brisbane CBD, to be built on the site. Planning permission for the project required an act of parliament and in 1997, the enabling legislation, the Local Government (Springfield Zoning) Act passed with the support of all 89 MPs of the Queensland parliament."


82-year-old woman to lose her Inglewood home after owing $38K in HOA fees | KTLA

82-year-old woman to lose her Inglewood home after owing $38K in HOA fees | KTLA

Monday, March 15, 2021

Florida's feral hogs: a pervasive pest – but a profitable one for some | Environment | The Guardian

Florida's feral hogs: a pervasive pest – but a profitable one for some | Environment | The Guardian
Florida's large private communities are getting visitors: feral hogs.
"Florida’s plight is especially severe because the state’s current housing boom, spurred by the pandemic, is rapidly turning the once rural stretches between Tampa and Orlando into a single conurbation. The same goes for the creeping inland sprawl in the rest of the state: wetlands, pine forests and vestigial orange groves that were recently hog habitats have become densely populated housing developments, strings of red-roofed tract homes and retirement communities. The majority of Florida’s new exurban residents, seniors in particular, are living closer to hogs than ever before. “The new houses go up, and the hogs leave for a while, but they always come back,” Pompi says. He mentions the communes for adults over 55 in central Florida like The Villages, the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the US from 2010-2017, and its smaller counterpart, Solivita, a planned community inhabited by 6,000 baby boomers – Xanadu for the “active adult”.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Should Condominium Associations Be Permitted to Invest Operating & Reserve Funds? SB 1490 Says Yes! | CALL - Powered by

Should Condominium Associations Be Permitted to Invest Operating & Reserve Funds? SB 1490 Says Yes! | CALL - Powered by
"For years there have been significant legal constraints on a condominium association’s ability to use reserve funds. In addition to the statutory requirement to obtain membership approval for non-designated reserve usage, the prevailing school of thought was that association funds could not be invested since investments can and do fail. A newly filed bill by Senator Jason Pizzo, SB 1490, could create a significant change in terms of an association’s ability to invest the community’s operating and reserve funds in depositories other than a traditional bank or savings and loan. The bill provides as follows: “Unless otherwise prohibited in the declaration, and in accordance with s. 718.112(2)(f), an association, including a multicondominium association, may invest any funds in one or any combination of investment products described in this subsection.”
Wow. I think this bill is a terrible idea. Lawyers and managers are always trying to convince condo boards that they need to have adequate reserves. The temptation to under-reserve and spare owners higher assessments is strong and ever-present. Now this bill would add the temptation to try to make the money by riskier investments with potentially higher return than CDs. If they lose the reserves in the stock market, then where does the money come from to replace the roof? Answer: the owners' pockets, in the form of a special assessment that many owners might not be able to pay. And that can lead to foreclosures. So I think SB 1490 is a bad idea!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Gave Out VIP Vaccines to rich people in planned communities

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Gave Out VIP Vaccines
"But even as McPherson struggled to get an appointment, DeSantis funneled 3,000 extra doses to seniors residing in two targeted zip codes within Lakewood Ranch, a well-off residential community near Bradenton developed by the Uihlein family. The clan’s members include GOP and DeSantis megadonor Richard Uihlein, who gave $900,000 to the governor’s re-election effort in 2018 and 2019, according to the Florida Division of Elections. The Uihleins own Lakewood Ranch’s parent company Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, whose CEO Rex Jensen got a call from DeSantis about delivering the goods, as first reported by The Bradenton Herald. (A spokesperson for Schroeder-Manatee told the Sun-Sentinel Richard Uihlein was not himself a shareholder in the company.) Jensen then contacted Republican Manatee County Commission Chairwoman Vanessa Baugh to help set up the pop-up vaccine site, and she gave the final word on who would get the shots, according to local media reports. She even provided a VIP list to county staff that included herself, some of her friends, and Jensen."
DeSantis is expected to be a presidential candidate in 2024. He is after the Trump vote, and his loutish, cynical behavior will probably help him with the Republican Party's brainwashed, gubmint-hating, QAnon loving base.