Saturday, January 28, 2006

Just Call Me Cliff

I recently found this one in the inbox:


I am a fellow Condo owner and fellow victim of a shitty, half-assed developer.

A sucker is born every minute, right?

My name is XXXX.

Through random googling that included the words "porches, chicago, developer, condo" I found your blog. It has been nothing short of the cliff notes for what could potentially save my condo association $30,000.... I know, I know, Small chump change compared to your building's debacle.

Basically, the reason I'm writing is to thank you for caring enough to put your biz out on the web for others to share in and learn from. And also to ask you a few questions.

If you have a minute, I'm going to give you a crash course in my situation:

Spring 2004 : XXXX Developer is selling condos at "pre construction" prices in west Rogers park. My wife and I see a great space gleaming with potential that is supposed to updated for "today's living" and is gutted to the studs.
We go under contract.

Late Summer 2004: we are the first unit to close. We, like you, went to our final home inspection with a seriously deficient unit. No fridge, no stove, no HVAC, etc, etc, etc..... We had to close for a variety of reasons and we did. We held money in escrow and got things completed. Things seemed good.

March 2005: With all of the units closed, the developer and his partner turn the association over to the residents (12 units). I am voted President, and having NO IDEA about the shitstorm of work that is about to hit me, agree. Thankfully, we were had some residents with some previous condo experience, and they guided us through filing with the state as an association etc...

November 2005: Everything seems to be going along fine. The last utility accounts are getting turned over from the developer. The developer even followed through on some additional repairs to common areas that he never go to in the rehab process. Then a "notice of violation" shows up in my mailbox from the city. It turns out that our porches (2 of them total) and some other small building things are in violation. HOLY SHIT!

January 2005: We appear at our court date, sans attorney, and ask for a continuance. we are granted one. In the mean time, I have asked the developer for the ever famous "property report" which he cannot provide. All he can give me is the "certif. of occupancy". And swears up and down that "inspectors were all over that building including the porches" and denies responsibility for repairing them. The city building court could give a fuck about the certificate and basically tells us to get the ball rolling on the repairs.

To make a long story even longer, We have collected a "developer's warranty's" from the 2-3 people that closed last spring and still are under the one-year grace period that these warrantees cover. We have talked to a private attorney about a litigation against the developer in hopes that he will pay for the porch re-build that architects and the city told us we needed to have.

So to get to my question : I am aware that you are not a lawyer, but do you think we have a fighting chance at this???? Any info or opinions you can offer up would be as good as gold at this point.

I am young, 26, and new to this whole world of home-ownership and condo-board stuff. From reading your entire blog, I have gathered that things could be much worse for us than they currently are, but 30 g's it just that. A lot of effing money. If we can stick it to this asshole, we will. Also, since I am such a novice at this, is it OK if I contact you with future random questions about condo board stuff? You seem like a wellspring of knowledge!

Thanks for anything and everything you can offer,

I thought the situation had merit and could help others in a similar boat. I'll post my response to my new friend and fellow frustrated condo owner in the next post.

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