Article and Video Courtesy of
MY FOX Channel 13 -- TAMPA
Published March 26, 2009
TAMPA - Some homeowners in the Tampa Bay area are
being forced to pay for their neighbors.
Already struggling to pay mortgages, they also have
to pick up the slack in association fees. The boards of many homeowners
and condo associations are increasing membership fees, in order to make up
for dollars lost by homeowners delinquent in paying their dues.
Rampart Properties in Tampa is one of
many management groups facing this challenge. Vice President
Kelly Moran says many communities are in crisis.
"Job loss, people losing their
jobs, and the first thing they're not going to pay is an HOA
or a condo fee," Moran told FOX 13, describing the
problem as widespread.
Rampart owns Chelsea Meadows in Land
O' Lakes. Moran says the property is in disrepair because
few homeowners are able to keep up with rising association
fees. Moran says the
condo association is $89,000 dollars in the hole. The board president says
only 30 of 120 units are paying monthly fees. Adding to the problem, 37
units are also in foreclosure.
Homeowner Edwin Rodriguez and his wife
bought in Chelsea Meadows in 2006. The couple has a newborn baby and
feels with so many eyesores and maintenance oversights, why should
they pay? When he looks around the property, Rodriguez wonders why
his condo fees have more than doubled to $270 a month. He says the
board hasn't kept its end of the deal.
haven't seen maintenance or a lawn company in this particular area
for months. If not close to a year," Rodriguez said.
admits it has suspended most services. Landscaping is seldom. The
pool is in complete disrepair.
they stop paying, obviously things can't get done and it's a vicious
cycle," Condo Association President Danon Noga said. "If they
stop paying, the more things can't get done and the property starts to
look in shambles."
says property management groups nationwide are increasing rates
because of increasing delinquency taking place in all types of
communities. Homeowners at Rampart's high-end Island Place on
Harbour Island in Tampa are being asked to pay more too. Moran
sympathizes with struggling families, but says they have agreed to
look out for the best interests of the neighborhood.
part of living in a community," Moran said. "It's communal
Meadows will be getting some TLC pretty soon. Some of the vendors
who service the community will be donating their time to help clean
it up on May 2.