One condo association in Panama City Beach is charging a hefty sum for an HOA renovation. But, unit owners are pushing back. Now, a legal battle begins.  

Unit owners in the Shores of Panama condo have filed a motion asking a court to bar their HOA from levying an $8.9 million assessment to fund an $80 million HOA renovation. According to the owners, the renovation is completely unnecessary. Dana Matthews, the attorney representing owners of 58 out of 709 units, states that the building does not have any structural problems.

The motion seeks a declaratory injunction to block the Shores of Panama HOA Board of Directors from charging the assessment fee. It would also stop the association from continuing with any more work until the court decides on a ruling.

A date for the hearing has yet to be set.

On June 7, the Shores of Panama HOA levied an $8.9 million assessment against condo owners to fund some of the work. Mark McWaters, the building official for Panama City Beach, stated in May that he is only relying on the opinions of architects and engineers. McWaters declined to comment on the pending litigation.

A new [Florida condo safety law]( went into effect on July 1. The law, which comes after the tragic [Surfside condominium collapse]( in 2021, requires stricter condo inspections and reserve funding. This new law, though, applies to buildings that are at least 25 years old. The Shores of Panama condo, standing at 23 stories high, is only 17 years old at most.

Still, there are allegedly problems with the building. According to the HOA, these problems were the result of Hurricane Michael in 2018.

In December, the board announced a roofing project that their insurance could not pay for.

In February, McWaters informed the HOA in a letter that it had 30 days to execute a safety plan to minimize the risk of danger brought on by “cracked anti-lever beams, rusted metal framing, and loose and detaching stucco.”
The association’s insurance won’t cover the $80 million renovation, so it’s turning to the owners.

The condo board approved the hefty special assessment on June 7. But, the owners complained that the board signed contracts and started work without even informing the owners. Construction workers have already taken out portions of stucco from the exterior of the building.

Now, unit owners want a temporary injunction until the court can analyze all the details of the suit and make a decision on whether renovations really are necessary.

Shared from HOA Management

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