Nobody wants to end up embroiled in a lengthy legal battle. Yet sometimes it happens, as some condo owners and one condominium association have learned.
In a community in East Lake, Florida, a contentious disagreement between a handful of unit owners, the condo association and a billionaire real estate company is heading towards its fifth year in the court system, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times. The most recent development? A counterclaim filed by the unit owners.
Terminating a condominium association
The story involves a community known as Lansbrook Village. A real estate company - the Carroll Organization - has reportedly been scooping up condos in Lansbrook Village for many years. By 2015, the company owned 500 of the 774 total units. According to the report, the Carroll Organization's goal is to ultimately turn every condo in Lansbrook Village into a rental unit. To do so, they would have to abide by shifting state laws that allow for the termination of a condominium association.
Back in 2015 the Lansbrook Village condo association amended its rules, allowing for the condo association to be terminated if 80% of owners agreed to it, rather than needing approval from everyone. At the time a handful of condo unit owners challenged the amendment, and in response the association sued. That case is still in the courts, and with recent developments.
Condo unit owners file a counterclaim
In summer of 2019, a couple of those condo unit owners filed a counterclaim. They are arguing the condo association is essentially operating on behalf of a for-profit corporation. They also say the association's decisions have eliminated any price-setting fair market in the event the unit owners ultimately have to sell.
As you can see, these types of cases can become quite complex. Because of that, it is important for any involved party to have an effective legal strategy.