Understanding the Surge in HOA Fees at Lakewood Park Condos
Residents of Lakewood Park Condos in Altamonte Springs, Florida, are grappling with a staggering reality: a nearly 100% increase in their Homeowners Association (HOA) fees. This development has sparked a mix of frustration, confusion, and concern among homeowners. In this post, we will dive deep into this situation, explore the intricacies of HOA fee increases in Florida, and discuss the proactive measures taken by Stone Building Solutions to address this challenge.
The Eye of the Storm: Lakewood Park’s HOA Fee Increase
The decision by the Lakewood Park Condominium Association to nearly double the HOA fees left many residents reeling. The increase, amounting to a 93.53% hike, means owners of the smallest units will now pay $712.93 per month, while those with the largest units face fees of $1,017.19 per month. This dramatic rise has not only strained the budgets of homeowners but also raised concerns among residents about potential rent hikes or even displacement.
The Whirlpool of Concerns: Residents’ Reactions
The spike in fees has elicited a range of reactions. Homeowner Hannah Lucero expressed disbelief and frustration, suspecting mismanagement of funds. Residents like Mario Catalfamo fear the economic impact, noting that many may struggle to cope with the increase in an already challenging economy. A common thread among these concerns is the uncertainty and hardship this hike could bring to the community.
The Legal Landscape: Florida HOA’s Authority on Fee Increases
Florida law, notably, does not impose strict limits on HOA fee increases. Instead, the process generally aligns with annual budget planning and is subject to a board vote. However, there’s a provision under Florida Statute 718.112(2)(a) that allows homeowners to request a substitute budget if assessments increase by more than 115%. This requires a petition by 10% of the owners within 21 days of the budget’s imposition. Despite these provisions, the increase at Lakewood Park stayed just below this threshold, leaving residents with limited recourse.
The Role of Stone Building Solutions: A Path Forward
Stone Building Solutions’ Structural Integrity Reserve Study provided a detailed projection of Replacement Cost amounts over several years. It offered a clear picture of future financial needs related to maintenance and repairs. The decision to adjust the 2024 budget, leading to the HOA fee increase, was made independently by the Board, who used the data from the study as a basis for their financial planning.
Recognizing the complexity of interpreting such data, Stone Building Solutions has proactively engaged in educating the Board and the community. They have taken the initiative to explain the nuances of the reserve study, helping everyone involved understand what the projected figures mean in the context of long-term financial planning. Their efforts are aimed at ensuring that the homeowners and the Board are well-informed and can make decisions that are in the best interest of the community.
The Silver Lining: Community Engagement and Education
While the fee increase has been a source of distress, it also serves as a catalyst for greater community involvement and awareness. Residents are encouraged to attend meetings and engage with the Board to understand the financial decisions being made. Stone Building Solutions’ initiative to conduct a Special Webinar on pooled funding is a step towards empowering homeowners with knowledge and involvement in future financial planning.
Steering Through Uncharted Waters
The situation at Lakewood Park Condos serves as a reminder of the complexities and responsibilities inherent in condominium living. While the fee increase is a significant burden for many, it also highlights the importance of proactive community engagement and informed decision-making. As residents navigate these challenging times, the collective effort towards understanding, communication, and collaboration will be key in charting a sustainable path forward for the community.
The residents of Lakewood Park are not alone in facing such challenges. Across Florida, communities are adapting to changing financial landscapes. By staying informed, involved, and united, residents can better manage these changes and work towards a harmonious and financially stable living environment.