By Ryan Yousefi
Amid the growing financial strain of a massive surprise expense and neglected maintenance, residents of a Coral Springs community are voicing their concerns and desperately seeking a fair resolution from its association.
A band of 26 unit owners at the University Club Condominiums at 1365 Northwest 94th Way are speaking out after residents received notification that the condo association, Southeast Condo Management, had instituted a special assessment fee of $14,400 per unit due to be paid off through monthly payments of $1,200 over the next year.
According to unit owners, payments for the assessment fee are mandatory and come in addition to a $400 monthly maintenance fee they already pay, creating a nearly $20,000 cumulative bill for the year, just in upkeep costs.
Wendy King, a resident and unit owner at University Club for the past two years, is leading the charge as the voice of her fellow unit owners’ concerns about the community’s pressing issues, including what she says is a burdensome special assessment fee for a complex that has long been complained by homeowners as being in deteriorating condition.
Joined by fellow residents, King wants to draw attention to what University Club unit owners call an unreasonable financial strain and apparent neglect of essential maintenance by the condo association.
Frustrated and concerned over how the association could pop such a large surprise special assessment fee on unit owners, King shares that owners have been given a jarring ultimatum – pay up, or get out. But if unit owners wish to sell, they’ll still be required to pay the assessment fee in full before any sale is complete.
“The board stated that the Special Assessment of $364,000 is necessary to pay for repairs to an assortment of things, such as roof replacement, painting, mailbox replacement, 40-year inspection repairs, trees, irrigation, and sod,” King tells Coral Springs Talk.
“Residents are shocked by the super-high special assessment. Several of us have commented that we have lived in condos most of our lives. Assessments are part of the deal, but we have never seen an assessment of more than a couple thousand dollars.”
In addition to the eye-popping assessment price tag, King says unit owners are in the dark as to what exactly the issues are with the roof, assumed to be the biggest issue of what the association has deemed urgent improvements to be made.
“They have not stated why the roof needs to be replaced,” King says. “I’m not sure if it is just that it is too old or what.”
King says a chief building official assigned to the Univesity Club’s case told her the property owner was initially charged for failing to submit the 40-Year Building Safety Reports by September 2022; however, in March 2023, they finally submitted the reports, leading to the closure of the building code case.
The official also explained to King that the engineer’s report highlighted structural and electrical life safety issues, indicating the need for repairs, and provided the property owner with 180 days from the report to complete the necessary repairs.
Currently, no permits have been obtained for the repairs. However, the official told King that there is still sufficient time (approximately six months) for the property owner to comply and avoid any liens, thus, explaining the sudden rush by the association to conduct repairs and pass on the urgent costs to the unit owners.
King tells Coral Springs Talk that her attempt to communicate with Southeast Condo Management to discuss the repairs, financial concerns, and alternative solutions has been met with a stiff arm, adding that they’ve not only refused suggestions but won’t even meet with unit owners to provide answers for weeks.
“We asked the condo association to meet with us to discuss either them taking out a loan to cover the assessment costs or at least give us more time to pay,” King said.
“But they simply replied with a message refusing to meet with us until after July 26 and refusing to talk about alternative solutions.”
Coral Springs Talk has reached out for comment from Southeast Condo Management but has not received any communication as of this writing.
King says unit owners know work needs to be done. Still, they simply wish to be involved in decision-making that will cost some that own multiple units over $30,000 this year, an untenable amount of money during one of the worst economic times many have ever lived through.
King also points out the fact that the association has seemingly squandered its normal maintenance fees and refuses to use any reserves to pay for what it is calling urgent repairs.
“We are all understanding that the building needs repairs, and we want those repairs to be made so we are safe and in compliance with the city,” King said.
“We are just confused as to how the condo management company has failed to save hardly any money in reserves to pay for these foreseeable expenses.”
Describing the current condition of the University Club condos, King highlighted several specific issues, including loose bricks, a neglected pool full of debris, rusted mailboxes, malfunctioning doors, peeling paint, and overall untidiness.
“There are loose bricks on the stairs and walkways that create the danger of falls. Despite paying for the regular pool maintenance, the pool is usually full of debris.”
When questioned about the association’s transparency in allocating funds, Wendy King remarked, “I do not feel like the association has been transparent,” King said.
“Even though each of the 26 unit owners has been paying $400 per month toward maintenance, there does not seem to be routine maintenance happening, and it does not seem like they’ve been setting money aside in reserves as they should.”
In terms of collective action, King shares that she has tracked down 10 of the 26 homeowners that the association’s decision will impact, and they are all on board with fighting back to the point that they’ve planned a protest that will likely be held outside the office of Southeast Condo Management on University Drive.
Regarding legal avenues unit owners can take, King said the group has already begun exploring their options, including contacting multiple city commissioners for advice.
“Our concerns and copies of all correspondence with the condo association have been forwarded to the city attorney and Commissioner Nancy Metayer [Bowen] [who] is very on board with trying to help us.”
In proposing alternative plans, King conveyed that unit owners are willing to work on a solution that both gets the work done and provides them with more time to pay the sum.
She said the most palatable solution would be for the association, not individual owners, to take out a bank loan to pay for the work outlined in the Special Assessment. They also suggested the association give them three years to pay off the $14,400 rather than one year.
“The association did not save any money towards the 40-year inspection, even though since the Surfside tragedy, it has been well known that these inspections are important and required.”
“I don’t want my family to become homeless; likewise, I don’t want my elderly or disabled neighbors to end up homeless either.”
- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiple outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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