Security 1 SM

Two subjects are sure to get any HOA meeting roiling — money and security.  If there’s a special assessment or dues increase, the next HOA meeting will be attended as if Elvis would be in the building. Similarly, security topics will set the assembled on high-murmur even long after the meeting is done.

Cash and fear … all that’s missing is a little sex.

(more…)

Gold Crest Original - Small

When buying into a high-rise for the first time, there are things you don’t necessarily think about as ground dwellers. Sure there’s the same ol’ “location, location, location” hoo-ha, but for example, while neighborhood matters, actual neighbors matter in a high-rise … what’s the vibe of a building? That’s an individual choice that I can’t help you with.

But there are directions I can point you in to get you started in evaluating your first high-rise.

(more…)

When buyers select a single-family home, one of their criteria is of course, price, but there are other measurements of a successful home.  Yes, to an extent, location is dictated by costs, but the personality of a neighborhood isn’t.

There are blocks that regularly socialize and those where anonymity is expected.  A lot of single-family buyers’ criteria revolves around children … schools, playmates, etc., but never having been in that bubble, I’ll not comment on its subtleties except to acknowledge its existence. For the vast majority of buyers in the condo world, children are either gone, not arrived, or never will.

But once you decide to live in a communal environment, where your only “fence” is your front door, “neighborhood” becomes more nuanced. Because not only is neighborhood the area surrounding the building, it’s the area inside the building.  Let’s take a look at three condos, each with around 1,150 square feet, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms … and all steps from the Katy Trail.

(more…)

67739371-10

You might expect to pay a cover fee to attend an open house at a property of this caliber. The art alone is worthy of exhibit. And together with  perfectly selected fixtures and finishes, 1717 Arts Plaza, unit 2208 strikes a masterful balance between the warmth of home and the aloofness of a gallery. The combination is purposeful and stunning.

“It’s very livable, though still museum-like,” said Realtor David Griffin. “It’s just very thoughtfully designed.”

With museum-smooth walls and impressive 11-foot ceilings, the design intent of this space is clear: art lives here. “The owner of this unit is an art collector,” said Griffin. “I think the floor plan, finish-out, and amenities of this particular home are perfect for those with artistic interests. It’s perfectly set for that purpose.”

(more…)

Source: Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

Source: Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

Hiring outside professionals to assess the systems and structure of a condominium is often scoffed at by HOAs because of the expense.  It’s as shortsighted as complaining about the cost of toothpaste. Condominiums are larger and definitely more complex than single-family homes. It’s negligent not to have plans in place that understand the current condition of the overall building coupled with a plan for regular maintenance that stretches out as far as the longest-lived components.

It’s also critical that reserve studies are performed by outsiders.  HOAs and management companies may either lack the expertise required or want to soft-pedal the truth to avoid uncomfortable conversations with residents.  We are generally “shoot the messenger” kind of people.

Another reason for using an outsider can be managing companies that also have their own staff contracted to perform repairs.  If they’re the ones doing the capital reserve studies, isn’t that a whopping conflict of interest? Didn’t Fair Park teach us that competitive bidding is best?

(more…)

Edgemere on the Parkway 1

Just last month we reported on a lawsuit involving Preston Tower and now it’s been uncovered that another Pink Wall condominium is reeling from at least three lawsuits filed by recent buyers against their HOA, the prior owners, and managing agent Intercity Investments (also named in the Preston Tower suit and a third that was settled out of court also in Pink Wall turf).  Edgemere on the Parkway is located at the corner of Northwest Highway and Edgemere Road. It comprises two 10-unit buildings at 8505 and 8511 Edgemere that were built in 2004, making it 13 years old.

All three plaintiffs (Bartlett Family Trust, Lawrence and Brenda Weprin, and Syann Singleton) make essentially the same claims.  Each purchased their units in 2014-2015 and almost immediately began experiencing frequent ceiling and window leaks that stained walls and ceilings.  In addition, raw sewage was backing up into at least one of the second flood units.

(more…)

Preston Tower - Small

About a week ago I wrote about a lawsuit filed by an owner at Preston Tower against the HOA and Intercity Investments (ICI).  The case came about after a catastrophic flood in the building resulting from a blown water booster pump on the penthouse level that sent water cascading throughout the building.

It was decided by the HOA and their management company that the costs to repair damages to individual units was to be passed on to individual’s homeowner’s policies instead of making a large claim against the building’s blanket insurance policy.  Court documents show an email from the building’s insurance company to the HOA board and Intercity Investments suggesting the move to avoid paying the building’s $25,000 deductible.

See this partial email from Rod Medlin of Scarbrough-Medlin Insurance:

(more…)

Preston Tower - Small

Do homeowners’ associations (HOAs) have the ability or right to hold their buildings blameless when an accident occurs that the building is admittedly responsible for?  At first blush, I’d have thought that they were on the hook.  After all, part of what homeowners pay in HOA dues goes towards funding large insurance policies for just such occurrences.  I’d have also thought they couldn’t scamper away because if the same damage were caused by a neighbor, it would be the neighbor who paid to repair any damages. Why would an HOA be any different?

We may well get a good indication of this legal construct soon.  A case has been winding its way through the Dallas courts for over a year involving Preston Tower and one of their owners.

(more…)