(Last of two parts) Although the ownership of the common portions remains undivided, one or…
Professor Jack Lynch believes that the law is outdated with regard to the ownership of the condominium and its obligations.
This tragic event in Florida is testing the viability of the condominium ownership regime in a way that has never been tested in the approximately 50 years of its existence. There are no financial resources from association or trustee liability, or insurance products, that can offset the catastrophic losses residents have suffered, and very few likely have their own policies. insurance that cover their losses.
Likewise, before this loss occurred, it is likely that residents were unable to afford repairs to prevent the building from collapsing. There is a disparity in tax laws that negatively affects condominium owners compared to private owners who might own similar buildings. A homeowner is reimbursed for his investment in an apartment building through depreciation and interest deductions. The owner of an apartment is not, at least until he sells the apartment and can add the cost of certain improvements to the cost of the apartment.
A private landowner who owned a building in the South Champlain Towers state would have recouped his investment through tax deductions and might well want to demolish it, maybe build another building and start all over again. This is not really an option with a building full of owners.
The law has not really caught up with the economy of a group of people who own a building without the tax advantages that an owner would enjoy.
John (Jack) Lynch joined law school in 1978. Previously, he was a lawyer in the legal services of the University of Washington, DC and taught for two years at the National Law Center at George Washington University.
He has published articles in the legal journals of Akron, Baltimore, Duquesne and Nebraska. He is also the co-author of a treatise on Maryland civil procedure, Modern Maryland Civil Procedure (1993), and is the co-author of Art of Advocacy: Jury Instructions (1989). He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.