Regency Gardens Homeowners look to oust condo board that demanded $22k for special assessment fee

ORLANDO, Fla. — Residents in one Orlando condominium complex are fighting back after their condo association board asked each homeowner to pay more than $11,000 for a special assessment fee, due in just 3 months.


Channel 9 first reported that owners at the Regency Gardens Condominiums got notices saying their board planned to pass a special assessment on May 15th.

According to the notice, the smallest homes in the complex would need to pay $11,148.42 for the assessment, and the largest homes would need to hand over $22,104.69.

That full balance would be due on July 31st, and half must be paid by June 30th.

In the weeks since the notice, a recall petition to try and replace the board gained traction.

On Friday, the current board of directors at the Regency Gardens Condominiums was served a recall petition that gathered 235 votes which is above the 51 percent threshold needed to replace the board.

Residents told Channel 9 they want to see that board replaced because of how they handled that special assessment and the association’s budget.

“This has caused a lot of people a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights,” said Bryan Pricher, a homeowner who led the effort to collect petition signatures.

Channel 9 told you before that owners were worried about foreclosure and looking to sell their units after the special assessment was announced.

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According to the Regency Gardens Condominium Board attorney Keith Skorewicz, the association must make up a more than $17 million gap in reserve funding as required by State law.

For years, condo boards could waive reserves covering deferred maintenance, but lawmakers changed that after the surfside condo collapse.

Skorewicz told Channel 9 the short timeline was needed because “presumably the board met with the engineers who said there’s some urgent needs. It’s a safety issued.”

But residents like Pricher believe there’s a better way. If the recall petition is certified, Pricher will be a new board member.

Pricher said he already has folks looking for alternatives.

“We do have an underfunded reserve. That’s a fact,” said Pricher, “But the way that it was presented, it appears that there’s certainly much different ways of doing this.”

Channel 9 turned to Real Estate expert Mark Lippman for insight.

“Typically, what boards have done that I’ve worked with is they set up payment plans, because they know this special assessment’s going to be a big hit,” said Lippman.

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From a legal standpoint, Lippman explained the current board has 5 days to certify the results of the recall petition. If they don’t act by then, the new board automatically takes effect.

Lippman said the current board can choose to fight back to try and keep their jobs.

Board members have 60 days to file a lawsuit in response to the recall petition.

In the meantime, the current board will vote on approving special assessments at 11 am on Wednesday, May 15th.

Regardless Lippman said those reserve funds do need to come from somewhere to comply with Florida law.

“You have to fund the reserves. There’s no doubt about it,” said Lippman. " Shame on the board for allowing it to get to a point where they needed to fund it this quickly.”

Channel 9 reached out to Skorewicz for comment on the recall petition and to learn what the current board has planned, but did not hear back by news time.

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