Clearwater, Florida -- Palm Harbor condo owners being forced to sell their units at a price determined by a multimillion dollar corporation are fighting back. They were in court on Monday, taking steps to try to prevent the forced sale.
This is all happening because of a loophole created by the Legislature that allows a group of investors who buy 80 percent the units in a condo complex to force a sale of everyone else in the complex, even if those owners don't want to sell. Additionally, the investors in the corporation can buy the condos at a so-called "fair market" price, which for many people is below what they actually paid for their homes.
Stephanie Krasowski, who owns a condo at Madison Oakes in Palm Harbor says, "This affects anybody in Florida, and people who own condos out of the state who are unaware of what the bulk buyers are trying to do, by eliminating and terminating the condo associations.
That's why Krasowski and other owners of the Madison Oakes condominiums in Palm Harbor were in court Monday, as lawyers for their side argued that a lawsuit should be able to proceed to halt the sale.
However, the courtroom was packed with condo owners from other complexes across the state, like Bob Dominick, who owns a condo in Boynton Beach
According to Dominick, "I stand to lose not only a lot of money, but be left without a condo and a mortgage for something that doesn't exist anymore. It doesn't seem right and it goes against everything the American Dream is supposed to stand for."
The judge will make a decision in about week on whether the lawsuit can proceed. Meanwhile, corporation trying to kick out the owners at Madison Oaks has offered a confidential settlement in order to stop the lawsuit.
The Legislature, which failed to close the loophole this year, is likely to have the issue come up again in the 2015 session.