ORLANDO, Fla. — Nearly one year after flooding from Hurricane Ian, dozens of condo owners say they are still waiting for their homes to be repaired. And those repairs could come at a very high price.
Juan Marmol says because his condo is on the second floor, he sustained minimal damage.
But he says some of his neighbors with first-floor condos, which were flooded, are having to find other places to live while they wait for their condos to be repaired.
He says some condo owners are living in their cars.
But Marmol is still facing major costs from the repairs. That’s because Dockside’s HOA Board of Directors is assessing all condo owners, even those without damage, a damage assessment fee to cover the overall cost of repairing the damaged first-floor units.
Dockside had to take out a loan of more than 18 million dollars to pay the repair costs. Marmol’s total assessment is $128,338.12, and will have to be paid over the course of 12 years – adding $891.24 to his monthly HOA fees.
“I won’t be able to afford the special assessment because I don’t have thirteen-hundred dollars to pay for the special assessment and the HOA fees,” said Marmol. “So within three months, I guess I’m going to lose my unit.”
Marmol is now leading an effort with his fellow condo owners to fight the repair assessments with an attempted recall of HOA board members and potential legal action. He says this is worse than living through the hurricane itself.
“What we’re dealing with now - the storm was flooding, it was disastrous – but this is horrible,” said Marmol.
“The board of directors is performing their duties in reconstructing the condominium units as they should following a loss of this magnitude,” said Michael Laster, Senior Vice President with Access Management, the company that manages Dockside at Ventura. “We wanted to remind everyone that the damages caused by Hurricane Ian were unavoidable and significant which is why the special assessment was necessary.”
Laster says the needed repairs extend well beyond the interiors of the condos, and required the acquisition of an 18-million dollar loan, which with a 10.5% interest rate will end up costing 30 million dollars.
“We maintain a positive outlook, that Merlin Law Group, SFR Services and the team of experts representing Dockside at Ventura will successfully recover the necessary funds to repay the outstanding loan,” said Laster. “This settlement or judgement will lead to the discontinuation of the special assessment that was recently passed by the board of directors.”
For now, condo owners are expected to begin paying the monthly assessments beginning Oct. 1.