Condos Sold Without Owners’ Permission For 1/3 Their Value

Imagine that you’ve recently purchased a condo for $100,000. The complex where it’s located is about 90% rented, and 10% owner-occupied. The complex’s owner struggles, and the whole neighborhood goes up for sale in a foreclosure auction. The new owners dissolve the condo association, since they own all of the rentals, or 90% of the homes in the complex. This gives the owners permission to sell the entire complex at once, including what used to be condos. Your proceeds from having your home sold out from under you: $33,000. You still owe the rest of your mortgage, but have nowhere to live. Condo owners in Reading, Pennsylvania experienced this nightmare recently, and there is no legal way out for them.

It was a shock to the owners, who thought that they, you know, owned their homes. The huge discrepancy between what homeowners received from the sale and the appraised value of their homes in the complex may be due to the different ways that a condominium is valued compared to a similarly sized unit in an apartment building. An individual condo is different from one out of 108 apartments. But only 1/3 the value? “[The company] really screwed her on this by not offering full market value with a legal industry appraisal and credible comparable condos,” the appraiser one homeowner hired told AOL Real Estate.

Former homeowners have retained lawyers, contacted their government representatives, and have even contacted the media. Nothing changes how this situation was all 100% legal. Very rare, yes, and just a little bit evil, but entirely legal.

This Is Crazy’: Company Snatches Condos From Owners [AOL] (Thanks, Misteebluz!)


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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    I can’t even fathom how something like this could be legal. Did the new owners retain legal services from Bunk of America’s mortgage foreclosure department?

    • Derek Balling says:

      Why wouldn’t it be legal? A condo association is, essentially, a corporation. In this case, the new owners had (via owning the rentals) 90% of the “voting stock” of the condo association and could vote to dissolve it.

      Make sure your condo association charter requires 100% agreement in order to be dissolve. That’s what’s it takes.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Show how it is that dissolving the condo association changes the ownership.

        • Minze says:

          It doesn’t. the sale changed ownership. If you read the article: Under Section 3220 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, when a condominium is dissolved, the condo association can put the entire condominium up for sale, regardless of who owns the individual units. So in acquiring control of the condo association, Water Polo I also gained the right to sell Fusco’s home.

    • FatLynn says:

      It looks like this is the problem right here:

      “Under Section 3220 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, when a condominium is dissolved, the condo association can put the entire condominium up for sale, regardless of who owns the individual units. So in acquiring control of the condo association, Water Polo I also gained the right to sell Fusco’s home.”

      • Lyn Torden says:

        If the condo association is dissolved, how can it sell the condos? Something is wrong here. This section contradicts other laws.

        • euroae says:

          Doesn’t say anything about condo association being dissolved:

          “Under Section 3220 of the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, when a CONDOMINIUM is dissolved, the condo association can put the entire condominium up for sale,”

    • Jawaka says:

      Where does it say that BoA had anything to do with this?

  2. hymie! says:

    Wow … I can not only forcibly sell somebody’s home out from under them, but I get to decide what the “fair market” value is? Where do I sign up, and how can I apply this to my stalker who lives across the street from me?

    On a more serious note, wasn’t there a Robert Heinlein story that touched on this concept? Your property taxes were based on your self-appraisal of the property, but that same appraisal gave anybody the right to buy your house from you at that price?

    • Charles Edward Winthrop III, Esquire, Investigator of the Unknown Music says:

      Number of the Beast, when they were in Beulahland. And honestly, the way he laid it out makes sense.

  3. Rebecca K-S says:

    How can that be legal? That’s nuts.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      If I had to guess (IANAL, but I am a CPA) is that when you purchased a condo, you really didn’t purchase that condo physically, but a minority share in the condo building itself. Ideally, if there were 100 units, there would be 100 owners each owning 1% of the building (which was probably a partnership or LLC if I had to guess)

      What happened is the new owner bought all those rentals and suddenly had majority control of the LLC and decided to sell the assets and wind the LLC down. And minority owners can’t stop that…

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Hm. That doesn’t jive with my understanding from my brief stint in condo ownership.

        • FatLynn says:

          In my building, nobody owns parking, but they own liens that give them the right to use their parking space. I imagine a developer could write something similar for the condo itself, but you’d think the bank would say “no way” before issuing the mortgage.

          • edman007 says:

            This brings up a good point, if they really lost that much and they bought it with a morgage then the owners can just choose to walk away from the morgage and give the bank the lien that just dropped in value. If they do that then the bank is on the hook for it.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I think the owner owns 100% of the units until each one is individually sold. Maaning, bought condos are owned and receive 1% of the vote. Any un-purchased condos are rentals and owned by the person who paid for the building to go up in the fisrt place. He decided to sell the entire complex at a loss.

      • hymie! says:

        What you’re describing is a “Co-op”, not a condo.

      • who? says:

        No. In a condo, you own 100% of your unit, plus a share of the common area.

        This law is totally a Pennsylvania thing. My dad owned a condo in Colorado that had a (really, really good) offer from a developer to buy the whole building. They needed 100% of the owners to agree, or it couldn’t happen. In their 35 unit building, they had 2 holdouts. It didn’t happen.

        • justhypatia says:

          I don’t know exactly how common they are but there are actually several condos that are co-ops in my area. (Not Pennsylvania) Instead of just owning a unit, you jointly own the building.

          Most of them tend to be much small buildings but it all depends on how the condo corporation was set up.

      • bbb111 says:

        “you really didn’t purchase that condo physically, but a minority share in the condo building itself. ”

        That would be a co-op in which the share grants the right to live in a unit in the building, but the share owner doesn’t actually own the unit. Unless something unusual happens, the “owner” of a co-op would not see any difference compared to a condo. These were once common in New York, but I don’t think they are done much anymore.

  4. Howie411 says:

    I always wondered how this worked. My wife (prior to us being married) lived in an Apt. they were all turned into Condos and they started selling them, she bought one, then the market started to go bad, so they decided to convert them back to Apts. Maybe I dont have the whole story but she tells me they bought it back from her for less then she paid (not even a year prior). I would definitely not have sold for less then I paid + fees.

    • Difdi says:

      Exactly. What could they have done to her if she held out for what she paid?

      Cut off her utilities? Illegal. Evicted her from property she owned? Even more illegal.

      Whined about it? Very likely.

  5. Polish Engineer says:

    It’s stuff like this that would make me terrified to purchase anything that isn’t freestanding.

    • K-Bo says:

      I doubt connectedness had anything to do with this. As mrsdeli said below, some companies won’t give you a mortgage to buy a house in a development that is not a certain % occupied. That makes sure the builder/developer doesn’t own 90% of the houses and do something like this.

      • FatLynn says:

        I think you mean a certain % owner-occupied.

      • rugman11 says:

        A developer doing this in a housing development would only drive down the value of the house. Once you buy a house, it’s bought. Even with an HOA, the HOA can’t sell your house without a lien. This appears to be a quirk unique to condominiums, at least in Pennsylvania.

        • nugatory says:

          this is what happened to me where I live. Ryland wanted to get out of the development when the market was dropping, so they sold of the last two inventory homes and their model homes for way below market cost. The result is that all the other homes in the area suddenly lost between $10 and $20K in value. People were less than impressed, but there is nothing illegal about what Ryland did.

          • Kate Blue says:

            The sales determined market price. If someone had offered a better price, than they would have sold at that price. Market price is what people will offer, not what you hope it’s worth.

  6. deathbecomesme says:

    Sounds like a quick way to make money to me. Let me see how many investors I can get to build myself a complex

  7. mrsdeli says:

    Most mortgage companies will not give you a mortgage unless the development is at least a certain percent occupied. Mainley to prevent this kind of thing. Something still doesn’t seem legit though. If I was to have done this search, I would have had to let the bank know what units have been sold. The new owner can def. disolve the association and condo status but they can’t sell property that does not belong to them. The deed to the new owner would have been xyz condominiums units 1-10 less and except units 4, 6 and 8.

  8. HomerSimpson says:

    Welcome to Pennsylvania where anything a business wants, a business gets.

    • pgr says:

      Or the football team ;(

    • ZachPA says:

      Not true. As far as I know, Pennsylvania is the last state that you cannot buy a car on a Sunday. Also one of a handful of states where you cannot purchase beer in a mini-mart.

  9. dolemite says:

    Heh another reason I’ll never buy a Condo.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      I’ve never understood the appeal. It’s like the worst of both worlds of a house and an apartment in one. Even in those heady days when values were going up it never made sense to me.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Well, when I bought my condo, there was virtually no overlap between “size of home I want to live in by myself” and “houses I want to buy.” I ended up with an 800 sq ft condo, and the houses that I found in that range were almost invariably shit. Plus I didn’t have to worry about lawn care, or replacing the roof myself, or resealing the decks myself, or snow removal. There are definitely downsides to it, but it works for a lot of people.

        • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

          I think they’ll make sense for me when I’m ready to retire. I want to live in a downtown area where I can walk to everything, I won’t need a lot of space, and I want to buy outright rather than pay rent. I also should be staying for years if not decades, so housing market fluctuations won’t be as much of an issue.

          • Laura Northrup says:

            My parents live in what’s called a “patio home” – it’s a duplex in a development of similar duplexes where the HOA takes care of the lawn maintenance and snow removal. But they still own their house and their (tiny) yard.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        I am with you on this 100%. I’ve seen some of the HOA fees on a few condos around here and they are upwards of $350/mo. These are not awesome condos at all. That also makes a $250,000 loan more like a $325,000 loan.

        • who? says:

          In a well managed place (and in a badly managed place, too, mostly) the condo fees pay for things that you’d have to pay for yourself if you owned a freestanding place without condo dues. Things like trash hauling, fixing the roof, etc.

          Looking at my house over the past 15 years, I’ve averaged about $600/month on the types of things that my old condo association would have just taken care of.

        • GodfreyOriole says:

          MY $350 in maintanance fees covers Sewer bills, water , cable, snow removal up to my door, maintanance of the indoor pool outdoor pool, golf course, club house , basketball courts, roads, outdoor sections of my unit, my patio and my fence.

          Keep in mind my condo development has sewers in an area that does not.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Reasonable monthly fee that covers: water, trash, landscaping, exterior maintenance, pool, billiards, sauna, the fucking roof, and insurance for all these things. All of which I never have to worry about.

        The appeal is that it’s so much more beautiful and amazing – it’s that it offers a house without 100% of the responsibility and risk of maintaining one

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          *The appeal ISN’T that it’s so much more beautiful and amazing compared to a condo*

        • sagodjur1 says:

          “the fucking roof”

          I didn’t know condos had special roofs made for having sex. Maybe that’s the appeal that I’d never heard of.

      • JJFIII says:

        Ridiculous to make that blanket statement.
        1. I do not have to fix my own rooof, it is shared by ALL the members oof ghe community
        2. I do not pay or do my own lawn maintenance (by the way, our lawn looks better than 90% of the golf courses I have played)
        3. I do not have to shovel snow.
        4. I pay a MUCH lower amount for home owners insurance

        Maybe it is not something YOU prefer, but get off your high horse and realize MANY people prefer the ease and convenience of not having to take care of certain maintenance projects. If you love them, more power to ya

      • mister_deez says:

        There’s so many pros/cons to renting vs buying a home vs buying a condo, and so many factors like location, maintenance, space needed, etc, that it’s tough to make a blanket statement.

        As a young professional single family homeowner I believe that a logical and smart human being could choose any of these three choices. There’s times when I just don’t have time to do all the necessary maintenance, there’s times when I wish I wasn’t tied down and was just renting and investing the rest of the money, of course there’s also times where I love that I have the space to put a gym in my house, or when I can have parties and be loud as hell and it won’t disturb any neighbors.

        The condo HOA’s scare the bejeezus out of me though. Not only are you paying sometimes 30% of your mortgage to fees, a good or bad HOA can completely kill your investment (as you can see in this story, even though it’s not really what I am talking about).

    • DemosCat says:

      In my area, condos have never been priced competitively against single family detached homes. I’ve never understood why someone would pay, say, $250,000 for a condo, when the same money will buy a house in the suburbs with more square footage, an actual yard.

      And condos, at least in my area, have never held their value. If the market goes down, condo prices crash worse than houses. Everyone I know who’s ever bought a condo has wound up having to sell for less than the purchase price.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Well, I know we don’t actually know each other, but I sold my condo in 2/11 for more than I bought it in 8/08.

      • mrdan says:

        I doubled my money when I sold my condo and my wife made a significant chunk as well. Additionally, in this area, to buy a house for the price of a condo, you’ll be 45 minutes further away with all the requisite traffic and hassle of commuting.

      • JJFIII says:

        So we should all want to live in a house int he suburbs as opposed to a condo downtown. Glad you make that decision for everybody. By the way, my condo lost less value in the recession than similarly sized homes during that same time. I also can rent mine much easier than any person could ever rent a house, but the ONLY way to think is like you. Thanks for letting us all know that.

        • DemosCat says:

          Wow JJ, projecting your attitude much?

          Where did saying you can get more living space for less in the suburbs – which is a true statement – turn into a lifestyle dictate? Only in your mind.

          Everything is always a tradeoff. If you want to live in town where you pay more for less living space, and the cost of living is typically higher – and this is true for both in-town houses as well as condos – for the advantage of reduced commute times or walking to shops, then by all means feel free.

          My main point is that a condo purchase strikes me as a riskier investment than a house, and it has been for people I know. My experience is based on where I live, but I am glad to hear this has not been true for everyone. If you condo had held its value, more power to you.

      • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

        The suburbs don’t work for everyone. (I’m assuming you mean the horrible 1960’s-1990’s cul-de-sac suburbs that are prevalent in cities that expanded after WWII.)

        Personally, I put a high premium on being able to walk to the grocery store, coffeeshop, library, and work. Or even if walking’s not important, a shorter car commute or public transit availability might be key for some people. (Also, suburban drivers are more likely to be viciously rude than intowners, making unpleasant traffic into a daily nightmare.) And, as one free-spirited, crunchy-granola, good-looking friend of mine discovered, suburb people can be really cold.

        • who? says:

          A lot of people put a high premium on being in the city, not just you. I read an article the other day that said that nationwide, the premium for being in the city is about $80 per square foot for every 10 points in “walk score”.

          I bought my house in the city back in 1997, when “everyone” wanted their own little quarter acre of heaven in the suburbs. In 1997 I paid the same price for my 2300 sqft house in the city as a friend paid for his 2300 sqft house with 3 car garage, on 1/4 acre in a far exurb. Fast forward 15 years. Even post crash, my house is worth 3 times what I paid for it. My friend with the hour+ commute? His house is worth about half what he paid in 1997. He’s had the house for 15 years, and is upside down on his mortgage.

          • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

            “the premium for being in the city is about $80 per square foot for every 10 points in ‘walk score’.”

            Thanks for that. I gave a few different reasons why people might want to live in the city, but walking is definitely my main reason. It is _awesome_ to hear that there’s a nationwide trend toward walkability.

        • justhypatia says:

          Seriously, I’ll rent forever if it means I can still walk to the grocery store.

          • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

            Stick with that. I moved to a less familiar, less urban area and wound up buying in the exurbs to be near old friends. I immediately gained ten pounds. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

        • JEDIDIAH says:

          Unless you live in Mayberry, the chances of you being able to walk to work are slim. Cities are just too big. Even the centers of cities are too big. Plus, your company can always decide to move themselves to the least convenient location possible (that involved a condo oddly enough).

          The rest of what you mentioned is not a problem even in the suburbs if you’ve got no problem with walking in general to begin with.

      • Smiling says:

        Sounds like it would be a good idea to buy a condo when prices crash then.

        • DemosCat says:

          If it’s logical to buy a house for cheap in a down market and turn it into a rental, then I suppose the same logic can apply to a condo. However, based on this story, I’d say if you’re buying condos, you’re better off if you are in a position to buy out the whole complex, not just one or two units. There’s where the real money seems to be.

          As always, it takes big money to make big money. For the guys screwing over the condo owners, what a deal! :)

          • JEDIDIAH says:

            Well. Trying to rent out a condo like this is a losing proposition because you are competing with all of the corporate apartment complexes and you’ve got nothing to set yourself apart.

            Much easier to compete against all of that with a freestanding house that has features that apartments lack: garage, yard, more space.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Where I live, a lot of 2-family homes are converted to condos. Essentially, one buyer becomes subservient to the other, because someone gets 51% of the voting power on the board (unless you require unanimous decisions — further opportunity for stalemate).

  10. HenryES says:

    Moral of the story, don’t buy into a development that’s only 10% sold.

  11. belsonc says:

    I’m curious to see how all this plays out because I went to college “around the corner” from there – there was a path you could take through the woods to get from the path leading to the apartments on campus up to this apartment complex.

  12. Extended-Warranty says:

    Wow, an actual story on Consumerist.

    • TrustAvidity says:

      I actually find the vast majority of the articles on here quite interesting (yes, the shrink ray ones too). If the site doesn’t appeal to you all that often, maybe NY Times or Wall Street Journal may be more your speed.

    • Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

      And an actual comment to go with it!

  13. SirWired says:

    It looks like the real problem here is the law that lets the “condo association” (in this case, the new complex owner) pick the appraiser, and offers the original owner no recourse to contest the appraisal.

    • hoi-polloi says:

      That’s what’s absolutely insane. There’s this really weak justification from the article:

      A representative for Water Polo I suggests that the higher appraisals came when the units were treated as part of the now-dissolved condominium association, rather than simply as units of an apartment complex.

      It was a condo when they bought it. It was a condo when the property was sold. I don’t care what the hell you’re going to do with it. An independent appraisal is the only reasonable way to go.

    • econobiker says:

      This is what happens when you have a “corporate” government for a group of properties versus actual government of elected officials.

  14. Jevia says:

    Reason No. 1051 never to buy into a HOA (with or without a condo).

    • George4478 says:

      What does an HOA have to do with a condo owner selling the entire complex?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Exhibit A showing Jevia doesn’t read.

    • tbax929 says:

      Written like someone who’s never actually shopped for a house. If you want anything where I live that’s not 20 years old, you’re getting a house with an HOA. An intelligent consumer takes the time to read the CCRs and makes an educated decision about which HOAs to avoid. An uneducated consumer says things like, “Don’t buy into an HOA.”

  15. Diosynus says:

    That’s even worse than when a repossessed car or a foreclosed home is sold to a partner company at a huge loss so they can declare the loss on their taxes AND stick you with the fake difference.

  16. Costner says:

    If that is legal, then there is something wrong with the law. Imagine living in a house and someone shows up to say… “hey we sold your house for you – he is 1/3rd of what you owe on it… you have 72 hours to GTFO”.

    I don’t even care if it is legal – it surely isn’t ethical. I’d be lawyering up instantly, because someone needs to find out if there were some shenanigans involved surrounding the price. A developer may have manipulated the market or paid some underhanded deals to get the units at far below market value… so these owners are the ones taking it in the shorts.

    Something smells rotten in the state of Pennsylvania.

  17. benh999 says:

    I thought this was somewhat common. 10% owner-occupied and I’d bet the developer owned the bulk of the rental units. Never buy into a condo with such a low owner occupancy rate.

  18. jvanbrecht says:

    Not sure what I would do in this situation.. but I can guarentee you the new owner will have to spend at least $100k on repairs to the unit I just vacated..

    I would strip it of every single little thing, I would carefully remove all the drywall, remove all teh plumbing associated with my unit (carefully capping, or redirecting flow so not to affect others), remove all the wiring.. the new owner (building management company) would only find framing in the condo.

    I would then sell every little bit I could to defray some of the mortgage costs.

    Then again, I am sure this is probably illegal….


    When you sign mortgage paperwork, there are essentially 2 options, you make your payments, you keep your property.. you don’t pay, the bank takes it…

    Why not just stop paying and let the bank go after the property somehow.. you already have no property, so what are they going to take from you.. sure your credit is screwed for a while, but guess what, when you owe 60k to 90k on what is now vaporware.. who cares…

    • hoi-polloi says:

      Thankfully, the article stated the banks of some of the former owners are going to forgive the debt. That somewhat softens the blow, but they lost any equity and sense of security they had.

      • MrEvil says:

        Not really, the former owners will get that special 1099 in the mail come tax time and have to pay income tax on the forgiven debt. However, I guess the income tax on the forgiven debt can be offset by the capital loss on the property.

        • Cor Aquilonis says:

          Capital loss on personal use assets aren’t deductible.

          Also, due to the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, they probably won’t have to pay tax on forgiven debt (at least until the end of 2012.)

          The Moar You Know!

    • ninabi says:

      If there is literally no recourse for these homeowners tricked and trapped by an unethical developer, then this is the only time flushing concrete down the drains and toilets would be justified.

  19. jackbishop says:

    This might seem like an aberration — and in the case of condos, it apparently is, probably owing to unusual latitude granted to the association under Pennsylvania law — but having your home sold out from under you happens to the owners of manufactured homes (often misleadingly called “mobile homes”) all the time. They own the construction but not the land under it, and they end up in a tight bind when the land gets sold. But it’s not news when it happens to folks who live in trailer parks.

    • kobresia says:

      Well, they *are* mobile homes. They’re built on trailer frames, many still have the axles and wheels under them. “Manufactured home” is simply a euphemism.

      Also, in that they’re mobile, if the trailer park where the tenant is renting a lot is sold or redeveloped, the tenant simply has to call in a truck to tow the trailer elsewhere. There’s complete separability between the parts that the tenant owns and the mobile home park is renting.

      That’s not the same thing at all as what’s happening with the condo; the owners had the several cubic yards of space within the condo structure confiscated and sold against their will.

      • MrEvil says:

        Any mobile home on rented land is going to have the axles and wheels on it. In Texas the property owner would have to pay additional tax on the home if the axles and wheels are removed because it is considered a permanent improvement. It also opens the doors for the occupants to file for adverse possession.

      • SirWired says:

        But finding a place to park your home may be tough. You’ll have to find another trailer park that’s accepting homes. Never having lived in one, I have no idea how common that is.

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        “Simply” calling the moving truck can cost thousands, assuming the mobile home is still structurally sound enough to safely move, which many aren’t. Just because they are “mobile” homes, doesn’t mean they’re actually moveable. Also, don’t forget that they need to have someplace to move to, which is less and less common.

        While it’s not the same as the condo owner’s situation, it is reasonably comparable.

        • kobresia says:

          There’s still a lot to be said for having some ability to claim your property and separate it from what you don’t own, which is always at least theoretically (even if not realistically) possible with a mobile home on a rented pad. The situation is still beyond one’s control if it’s located on a “common” or leased piece of land that can get jerked-out from under it, but the owner at least doesn’t just have his or her asset seized with no recourse.

          That’s what is so wrong here, there isn’t even a theoretical way the owner can preserve his or her ownership interest by moving or reselling it– the condos were simply seized unilaterally and the “owners” were evicted. Even if one of the condo owners had just done an extensive upgrade to the interior of a unit, there’s little they can do short of spitefully scrapping it out for salvage, which may even be prohibited under the terms of the foreclosure of the buildings.

      • who? says:

        “Mobile” homes are only mobile in between the factory and the place they get installed. They don’t get moved afterwards.

        A friend had the land sold out from under her mobile home last year. Everybody had to move. The tenants hired a lawyer, and all of the owners got settlements to “move” their homes to new spaces. Not a single one of the “mobile” homes was actually moved. All of the owners abandoned their homes and either rented apartments or bought another mobile home somewhere else.

        • Firethorn6 says:

          Note: I know this stuff because I was looking at buying a manufactured home a while back.

          Mobile and Manufactured homes are indeed different, mostly non-exchangable terms for products with many simularities but also some big differences. Both are made in factories that enable some labor and material savings. Both are limited by size restrictions for moving over the highway system.

          The difference is in the install. Mobile homes stay on their trailor. While many are no longer structurally sound enough to move economically, they remain far more economical to move than traditional built homes, which I hear a story about one being moved at least a couple times a year. Just like a vehicle; a newer mobile home is probably going to be easier to move than an old one. Want to be able to move it if ‘necessary’? Do some maintenance on the underside to preserve the axles. I’d recommend removing the tires; obtain new ones if you need to move.

          Manufactured homes are trailored in, but are then slid off the trailer onto an actual foundation. You can even install them over a basement, then have local labor install the included stairway while they’re building the attached garage. They’re a touch more expensive than a mobile, but are mostly considered the same as a on-site build for insurance and resale purposes.

          Again, while they’ll remain theoretically more movable than a site-built home, it’s less so than a home that remained on the trailer, and probably uneconomical.

        • kobresia says:

          I think you’re thinking of modular homes, those are basically permanent, framed homes that are built in sections in a factory, transported to a slab, and assembled & finished, rather than built onsite. Mobile homes generally don’t get moved very often, but it’s not too uncommon to see late model mobiles used as semi-permanent homes, offices, and classrooms, and then sold & moved with some frequency, until their value drops to the point where it’s just not economically viable to move them anymore.

          When their value is that low, it generally is the better option to walk away as what happened in the trailer park situation you mentioned. That’s basically why “mature” trailer parks generally become trashy; the mobiles aren’t worth much of anything, people are living there for basically the cost of leasing a pad with hookups, and that’s about the most inexpensive way to have a freestanding home. Or any home, really. But nobody’s going to move the trailers ever again at that point, short of them being demolished & scrapped should they be abandoned.

  20. dirtyblueshirt says:

    It’s actually a pretty simple reason, and it’s the same reason that you needed the same info when buying DirecTV equipment (when you could buy DirecTV equipment in-store). It’s to keep try to thwart people from either Canada or Mexico from buying and subscribing to the service, which isn’t licensed in Mexico, and carries different restrictions in Canada (i.e. if you’re a Canadian who wants SiriusXM, you need to buy your receiver in Canada, and vice-versa for US customers).

    • shepd says:

      I know this comment is out of place, but actually, the reason DirecTV doesn’t sell in Canada is because DirecTV doesn’t meet Canadian content requirements.

      Be assured, American satellite companies did everything they could do to be legal in Canada, apart from making most of their stations Canadian and filling the rest with Canadian content. In fact, DishNetwork was the biggest Canada pusher via Echostar (Which the original Canadian little dish network, Alphastar, used), was ready to go for Canadian service hoping Canada would loose up the britches a little so they could merge the Canadian and American services. When they realized it would never happen, they sold off their Canadian service (ExpressVu) to Bell and just gave up.

      Basically, there’s good reason why Canada’s media is so effed up, it begins and ends with the CRTC’s existence. You Americans are very lucky your services never really merged with ours. You’re also lucky in that for the longest time satellite piracy was legal here (where do you think all the great hacks came from!).

  21. IraAntelope says:

    even if you read the fine print, you are lost, as all that is written by lawyers, who become politicians, who write the laws, who enforce the laws, and the rules are not made for you or for me.

  22. IraAntelope says:

    even those who build, own, buy, sell, or finance condos, townhomes, villas, PUDs, Co-ops, and all related properties often do not know what they actually are (legally) and who actually owns them.

  23. drunkenwildmage says:

    A Friend of mine bought a condo like this, because ‘It was cheap and close to work’. About 6 months after she moved in, the building her condo was in caught in fire, and burnt down. This was second unit in 2 years that burned down. This was 6 years ago. At the time, the Condo association had insurance, so they were able to ‘rebuild’ the building her unit it was in. The problem was, there were some shady dealings with the contractors. The main contractor used cheap labor, and sub standard materials, and keeps the rest of the money. The new building didn’t even come close to building codes, and to fix it they would have to tear down to the studs and rebuild. Meanwhile, since her unit burnt down 2 other buildings in the complex had since burned down. After her unit burned down, the complex could no longer afford insurance, so the other 2 units have no money to rebuild, and they also have no money to re-rebuild her building. I guess the association is 3 – 4 million in debt now and is basically screwed. So for the last 6 years, she’s been paying on mortgage in paper only, has nothing to show for it.

    • econobiker says:

      Maybe she could put a lien against the condo association or the property as to make selling it impossible without satisfying the debt she is owed?

  24. StarKillerX says:

    I’m curious how a foreclosure auction works for a condo complex. I mean lets assume I borrow money from a bank to build a new complex, if I don’t keep current with payments and it’s foreclosed and the bank takes possesion of the property what do they own, the entire property or just the unsold units?

    • who? says:

      It’s totally complicated. I have friends that own a condo in a place where the developer went bankrupt before enough units were sold to turn the complex over to the HOA. It’s been in legal limbo for the last 5 years. 3 or 4 different banks have had possession at different times. All of the units were eventually sold, but there was work remaining on the common areas that is still not done. The bottom line is that my friends do own their unit, but ownership of the common areas is up in the air.

  25. JJFIII says:

    Was this a coo-op or a condo? I do not know Penn law, but in Michigan, YOU own your unit and it can not be sold out from under you. If it is a co-op, you NEVER own the property regardless. You own a fractional share of the corporation. It would be the same as owning stock in a company. If 90% of the voters decide to sell to a new company, you do not have the right to hold out for more or decide you can hold up a sale because of it.

  26. mbd says:

    While they may legally be able to sell the complex, the mortgage holder still has a lean on the property. Stop paying the mortgage, and let the mortgage holder foreclose and fight it out. Ok, their credit rating will take a hit, but it will drop of long before the mortgage is paid off.

    • SirWired says:

      I am a little curious how the property company managed to buy the unit with the original lien still on the property. If you, regular schmoe, tried to buy a house that way, you’d fail a title search and the bank would file a simple court action to take the deed back.

      Maybe the ability of the condo assoc. to buy out the property is written into the mortgage agreement and the attached lien.

  27. JenK says:

    Also legal to sue the current owners for lost value of the condo.

  28. GodfreyOriole says:

    I know in NY atleast the condo association b y law has to give each owner a certain amount of the profit of the sale based on percentage of development owned. The condo board probably sold the building for less then what it was worth.

  29. BradC says:

    The description of what happened doesn’t make much sense. Someone who owns 90% of the condos has a vested interest in selling the entire thing for a fair price. If the 10% only got 1/3 of what they think they should have gotten from this sale then either something else is going on here or the 10% had a very inflated opinion of what their condos were really worth. If the original owners were having so much trouble selling the rest of the place out then I’m guessing that this 10% just bought at the top of the market and got screwed by the market. The only really crappy thing for them is that they were forced to sell at a particular time instead of try and wait for a better market.

  30. Cacao says:

    90% rentals (and 10% owner-occupied) seems kind of high and weird. My last building it was reversed. That alone would send up red flags to me.

  31. dush says:

    Not sure why it’s legal to sell property you don’t own. The new “owners” are stated to only own 90% of the properties. So then why are they able to sell 100% of the properties?

  32. ReverendTed says:

    Here’s what I don’t get. Timochenko bought the 97 unoccupied units for $7200 (apiece, I’m assuming, a total of around $700,000), voted to dissolve the condo association and then sold the building for $3.425 million to…himself? Water Polo I and Hoya I are both Timochenko’s businesses.
    It looks like the ONLY purpose for shuffling that money from Hoya I to Water Polo I was to kick the other owners out. Their properties weren’t sold out from under them at all. Timochenko simply waved his hands and went “First WE own these properties, and now I own these properties.”