Florida condominium owners in danger of losing their homes are making a final desperate plea, hoping that Gov. Rick Scott will intervene.
These owners are not in foreclosure, nor are they behind on their mortgages. Instead they are being threatened by a group of developers, Madison Oaks Partners, who are using a Florida state law originally designed to protect homeowners from natural disaster, to terminate the condominium agreement and force them to sell their units.
The developers seek to convert the Tampa area complex into more lucrative rental apartments. They could take over the complex at a board meeting Sept. 5.
"The governor needs to step in and halt these forced terminations immediately. We don't have much time," said Stephanie Krasowski, one of the remaining owners at the Madison Oaks complex. Krasowski, who like others, bought her unit at the peak of the last housing boom, has led the fight against the developers, starting a group that now represents more than 1,000 Florida condominium owners.
A Florida law used to require that 100 percent of owners approve termination of a condominium agreement, but an amendment to that law in 2007 dropped that to 80 percent. It did stipulate, however, that if 10 percent of owners disapproved, the termination could not move forward. The ranks of owners in protest have dwindled, and while developers say they can move ahead, Krasowski claims it would be unfair if they do.