It appears as if the foreclosure crisis is coming to a close. You made it through. You survived. You were one of the few that paid the mortgage payments each month, paid your taxes, paid your assessments, paid your insurance and you were nothing short of a model unit owner. Sorry…….you still have to go. A developer wants your property.
Florida Statute 718.117 provides for termination of a condominium. The statute was amended in 2007 to now allow 80% of the owners to agree to terminate by agreeing to a “plan of termination.” As long as no more than 10% of the owners oppose the plan of termination, the condominium will in fact, cease to exist as a condominium. So, once the developer owns 80% of all of the units, preventing a termination of the condominium is very difficult. But that’s not the worst part.
The question becomes…..so what does the developer have to pay me if he wants my unit? The answer is, the fair market value of the unit as determined by an appraiser selected by the association or…the value as determined by the county property appraiser. Now, we all know that the county property appraiser’s numbers are typically less than what the property is worth. But, that’s not the problem either.
Let’s say that you purchased your unit a few years ago, when prices were high. Let’s say you paid $200,000.00 and still owe $180,000.00 to the bank. The fair market value of your property is now only $120,000.00 so you are upside down. The developer can force you to accept $120,000.00 as payment in full. This would go directly to your mortgage company. But, even after paying the $120,000.00 to the bank, you will still owe them $60,000.00. You now lost your home and still owe the bank a lot of money.
That is the current state of the law in Florida. It shouldn’t surprise you though. Statute after statute protects the developers, whether it’s taking away warranties from HOAs or allowing developers to retain control over communities, this state is developer friendly to the extreme.