Friday, August 12 2022

‘I had to trust they would take care of it’: Condo owner still awaiting repairs from HOA An Osceola County condo owner said a bedroom in her unit was stripped down to the studs, after a water leak her lawyer says she legally can’t fix. (Karla Ray, WFTV.com/WFTV)

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — An Osceola County condo owner says a bedroom in his unit was stripped to the studs, after a water leak his lawyer says he legally can’t fix .

This piece was sealed and unusable for over 600 days, causing the woman’s insurance company to drop her coverage. His lawyer says the Georgetown Condominium Association in Celebration did not step up, even though an engineer’s report showed the damage came from the building envelope.

According to statements from the community, the window frames and the building envelope are the responsibility of the association, which means that the owner cannot repair the damage even if he had the means to do so.

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Yvonne Morales-Cruz’s guest room has been sealed with a plastic seal for about 20 months. Inside it has been stripped and treated against mold, after water leaked from the ceiling, walls and along the window frame.

“I had to trust that they would take care of it, but months went by, months went by and I didn’t see any type of intervention,” Morales-Cruz said.

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The damage caused Citizens Insurance to drop the homeowner’s policy last year, and now, in the last month, the twin bedroom in its neighboring unit has the same problem.

“You trust the association, that’s why you pay your dues,” Morales-Cruz said.

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Morales-Cruz’s attorney warned Georgetown at Celebration, arguing that the association “violates its own statement and Florida law” by “disregarding its obligations to maintain, repair and replace areas of the ‘building envelope and other common elements’.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as this, where an association comes in, they do some caulking, they finally take out an entire drywall and just leave a rotting wooden frame exposed for years,” said the lawyer Nicolette Kramer.

Kramer points out that this is as much a health issue as it is a safety issue. Morales-Cruz’s husband is bedridden in hospice care at home.

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“I believe the association knows, the council knows, that they are responsible for the common elements, which include the wall, the siding framing, the stucco on the exterior, but especially the window framing,” Kramer said.

Now that similar issues have occurred around two of the property’s window frames, the owner says she is concerned about the integrity of the building itself.

“I didn’t expect something like this,” Morales-Cruz said.

We have contacted the attorney representing the Georgetown at Celebration condo association by phone and email, but are still awaiting a response.

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