Some Celebration residents blame repair company for roof damage

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CELEBRATION, Fla. - More than 100 residents in the Celebration community have been living under blue tarps as a result of leaky roofs and mold.
 
Residents said they have to pay for repairs even though the damage wasn’t their fault.
 
Ruth Uffelman, 91, has her windows boarded up and lives beneath a tarp as a result of the construction to fix water damage on the roof of the Celebration Town Center Condos.
 
Owners are responsible for damage to their individual units, but Lexin Capital, which is repairing the damage on the outside of the building, is who residents blame for the mess.
 
“Lexin, since 2004 when they bought these buildings, has failed in a massive way to perform preventative maintenance. That's what has allowed it to get to this situation,” resident Cookie Kelly said.
 
Residents said Lexin is trying to force owners to pay an assessment, based on the size of their condo, for the repairs.
 
Kelly, who lives in a 1,200-square-foot unit, said she’d have to pay $38,000 this year and can’t afford that.  
 
Residents said their condo association has already paid millions in dues to the company and maintaining the building has always been the company's responsibility.
 
Uffelman said she plans to fight Lexin in court with all her energy.
 
Lexin said filming was done during the demolition stage, which occurs before repairs can be made, and doesn’t give an accurate representation of the building's overall condition.
 
The company also said in its statement:
 
“(The) new roofs on several of our buildings, and several more currently underway, further underline our commitment to the necessary repairs and improvements needed. The Condo documents signed by each owner upon acquiring their property are pretty clear as to all areas of responsibility, both financially and physically for the buildings. It is unfair for the Town Center Condo Association to now solely point the systematic failure of multiple parties, including their own management, at the Foundation alone.

“We share the responsibility for the repairs of the building with the Town Center Condo Association and we are doing our part to repair building faults, some which date back to the construction phase by the builder that preceded us. In turn, we expect the Town Center Condo Association to uphold their obligation under the Condo Docs and to cover the substantial delinquencies currently owed.”

The company responded in an email to Channel 9 following the initial airing of the package. 

"We saw the piece on the WFTV website and on TV and are disturbed at the gross inaccuracies presented by carefully selected members of the Condo Association and residents. I encourage you to ask for a copy of the Condo Association Docs which clearly outlines who is responsible for what and the actual breakdown of financial responsibility. All repairs are a shared cost and are not entirely passed on to owners as eluded to in the story. Additionally, some buildings in town are 100% commercial buildings and have no bearing on the assessments paid by the Condo Association.

"Unit owners are responsible for roughly 66% of repairs and the Foundation the remaining 33%. Also, the representatives speaking failed to address the over $268,000 delinquency they have in existing assessments owed, separate from the proposed special assessment, yet in good faith the Foundation has proceeded with repairs. Furthermore, Special Assessments would be spread over a period of time and not in one large payment as intentionally misstated by the interviewees in the story.

"It is unfortunate that in an attempt to garner support for their cause and to somehow avoid a special assessment that is outlined as a part of their signed documents at closing, and despite not having been charged a special assessment in over ten years, this group wants to manipulate the information being disseminated through a reputable news outlet such as yours, to further their agenda."

 

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