Residents in one Florida neighborhood have nothing good to say about “America’s homebuilder,” D.R. Horton Inc.
The Miami Gardens community of Majorca Isles was intended to be a high-end townhouse complex of 650 units centered around a man-made lake. Some residents dropped $350,000 for their multi-bedroom units.
What they were left with after D. R. Horton mangled their homeowner association and abandoned the project midstream when the housing market crashed is a nightmare. There are piles of garbage left by others in the half-abandoned community, broken gates on the front entrance, a pool green with algae, a padlocked, weed-filled park and a community gym where the equipment isn’t maintained.
Problems began for the Fort Worth-based company when the housing market crashed. In 2011, the company decided to cut the development in half. A lawsuit followed, alleging 11 counts of breach of fiduciary duty.
Florida state law dictates that the homebuilder remains in control of the HOA until 90 percent of the units are occupied. The dues collected by the community’s subassociations were never forwarded to the master association by D.R. Horton. Plaintiffs alleged that the dues were used to spruce up the second half of the project in order to lure in more potential homeowners.
Record-keeping was shoddy, and the court-appointed trustee, forensic accountant Barry Mukamal, was hard-pressed to determine which residents had paid and which hadn’t. He called their mismanagement of funds to create “a false impression of financial viability,” as “putting lipstick on a pig.”
Mukamal said that non-dues-paying residents weren’t pushed to pay, as doing so could have caused foreclosures, further driving down property values for the new customers the company was still trying to court.
If you are faced with a similar situation, where litigation hopelessly ties up your property and foreclosure and bankruptcy are looming, you need a strong advocate on your side. A Florida attorney well-versed in bankruptcy law procedures can assess your situation and take the necessary steps to protect your assets and investments.
Source: Daily Business Review, “Justice Watch: Suit Claims D.R. Horton Left Miami Gardens HOA In A Mess” John Pacenti, Mar. 28, 2014