Dear condo owner: Move out now

Article and Video Courtesy of CBS News

Reporter Vicente Arenas

Published September 25, 2014

 Watch VIDEO

In Florida, condominium owners are outraged about a state law they say undercuts their property rights.

Stephanie Krasowski spends almost every night looking for ways to save her home. She's not in foreclosure or financial distress, but she still may be forced to sell her condo by the end of this month, reports CBS News correspondent Vicente Arenas. 

When she received a letter saying she was going to have to leave her condo, she was perplexed.

"A law is allowing a big company to come in and just take it from me," Krasowski said.

It's called a condo termination; a 2007 Florida law allows condominium complexes to be converted to rental apartments if 80 percent of the owners vote for the change.

It was meant to help when complexes were devastated by natural disasters or abandoned to blight.


But since the real estate bust, so-called bulk buyers have bought blocks of bargain priced units -- giving them power to force owners to sell.

That is what's happening at Krasowski's complex, Madison Oaks.

A New York company purchased 207 of the 250 units here -- more than 80 percent.

They voted to convert the building and told Krasowski she had to sell for less than half the $163,000 she paid.

Statewide, 235 complexes have been terminated since 2007. That's more than 17,000 individual condos

While a lot of others have given up, Krasowski said she's still fighting for her condo because what's happening to her simply doesn't seem right.

State representative Carl Zimmerman has a bill pending that would change the law he agrees is unconstitutional.

"It's one thing to see a great investment, but to literally steal their property and to kick them out of their own home -- that's nothing but thievery," Zimmerman said. 

The company that bought the Madison Oaks units declined requests for an interview but said in an email that the "partnership is not seeking to infringe on anyone else's legal rights, only to pursue a course it has a legal contractual right to."

In addition, the company said it had "suggested to the unit owners different ways to reach reasonable solutions."

Krasowski said this has been a "nightmare" and is asking a court to stop the sale, but so far there's been no answer. She said she's not sure she will be able to keep her home.