Saturday, August 24, 2013

Voices of Franklin: FRANKLIN HEIGHTS: Family Community Dream or Foreclosure Nightmare?

The Franklin Heights development is a Townhome/Condo Community located off of Lincoln St. My family purchased our town home in May 2008, at that time there were two townhome buildings with 4 units per building on the property. We were told at the time of sale there were plans for a beautiful family community and 109 townhomes were to be built in two phases. 
Soon after our sale, we noticed that things weren’t happening the way that we were told they would. Since our development was not complete, our association was run by the Trustee, the current builder. He had the control over how our condo fees were distributed and we were unaware of how much money was not being used as we were told until the development went into foreclosure and we were told that our condo reserve was gone. During this time, we had no landscaping or road maintenance. Our yards were literally overgrown, there were big mosquito infested holes from where construction had begun but not finished. From what I understand, the Condo association is required to have a 10% reserve in the budget for units to be sold and re-sold. We have never, in the 5 years that I have lived here, been given a budget or statement of how our fees are distributed. Our fees were quickly raised to make up for this reserve that is needed. We are threatened with liens on our property if we are delinquent on payment. After the foreclosure, we were told (through our own research through the Registry of Deeds and demands for information from realtors on the property) that there was a new property developer taking over our development. The new developer has since only developed the 18 unit complex located on the property that was abandoned for years. It took our own research through the Registry of Deeds to find out that a member of this new company was the new Trustee of our association. He has told us that his hands are tied in relation to the existing townhome units. He will not answer my emails or talk to me about my concerns. He will only send impressions of legal action if I continue to speak out with my opinions. We are told by Continuing Care (Property Management Company that handles our association money) that there is no money in our budget for road/driveway maintenance, recycling, and regular maintenance of our units. This is all outlined as the responsibility of the Trustee/Association in our condo documents. All townhome units pay month HOA fees, some units as high as $310/month. Just recently, homeowners have begun to use their own money to make repairs to prevent damage to our cars and provide safe spaces for our children. 
My mission is to raise awareness about this development in hopes that drawing attention will force the “board” and “association” and “Trustee” to start running this neighborhood as a true association with unit owner involvement and proper maintenance of our units and roads. 
Thank you,
Rachel Brancato

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