Month: July 2008
Electronic equipment has become woven into the American way of life. Consumer electronics companies inundate us with commercials for the latest and greatest computers for our laps and desks, TVs for our homes, and MP3 players for our ears. And for each new product release, one or more of these items become outdated or obsolete. As a result, we are storing or discarding obsolete or unwanted electronic products at increasing rates.
In an already difficult condominium market, Fannie Mae, the largest provider of financing for U.S. home loans, has adopted new underwriting guidelines that have since resulted in an increase in mortgage application rejections. The revised rules are a response to rising loan delinquencies and defaults. But the new policies also reflect long-standing concerns about the need for lenders to assess the financial strength of community associations, as well as the credit profiles of the prospective members borrowing money to purchase homes in condominium buildings.
Facts: A member had lived in her community until she had to move into a nursing home after her husband's death. To qualify for Medicaid and to finance her care, she rented out her home, in violation of her community's restriction against renting. The member died and the association sued her estate, arguing that the rental ban was needed to protect property values within the community.
Facts: A cell phone company wanted to build a tower near an association community. When the association found out about this proposal, it filed an objection with the city. The association board then negotiated with the company. After the negotiations, the tower was built 150 feet from the location originally proposed, and the color and type of tower were changed. The company also agreed to pay the association an initial payment of $7,500 and $400 per month for the duration of the 20-year lease.
Facts: A community's common areas included parcels of land used as a parking lot and a tennis court. A town's assessor valued the common areas in excess of $100,000 by comparing their square footage to other home values in the community. In effect, the tax assessor, assuming the best use of these lands would be to build homes, assessed them at a far higher value than at their previous assessment.