Boats Block View

(WSVN) - They bought their condos for a water view. Now their view is blocked by 100-foot yachts after their condo board rented out the resident’s dock space. Legally, can a board take away their residents waterfront views? It’s why they called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When people think about buying a condo at Heritage Landings, one fact often seals the deal…

Margaret Sateach, condo resident: “I bought my property because of the view. I walked in and it was the most beautiful view.”

Another reason to live here…

Carl Maier, condo resident: “The selling point would be a dock space for your boat.”

Recently each resident was assessed $3,500 to repair the seawall and replace the dock. It looked great. But…

Carl Maier: “What else can I say? It is terrible.”

Terrible, Carl says, because their condo board decided to rent dock space to a yacht company, letting them put three 100-foot boats here. Turning residents water views into this…

Margaret Sateach: “Now we have people on the first and second floors that cannot see waterways because these yachts block their views.”

Carl lives on the second floor. His view is not much better than the first floor view.

Carl Maier: “That’s the view. What you are looking at is the view. I’m not very happy. Very disappointed.”

Carl and Margaret are not the only residents who are upset. Several people gathered to let us know they are not happy with their board allowing Hargrave Yachts Company to block their view. Thirty-five residents signed a petition to get the three yachts out of here.

Margaret Sateach: “And two of them are for charter. And it’s even on a letter that is posted on the property that there are no yachts here that are available for charter.”

It’s not just blocking their view that bothers residents. The yacht company is constantly maintaining their multi-million dollar boats.

Margaret Sateach: “We have crew that is here all the time. At all hours of the day and night. They are taking parking spaces.”

The residents say the yachts should not even be here since any material changes to their property requires the approval of condo owners. They didn’t get a vote, and on the day we were there, they didn’t even know what the yacht company is paying to use their dock space.

Patrick Fraser: “You don’t know if they signed a lease?”

Margaret Sateach: “Don’t know.”

Patrick Fraser: “You don’t know how much they pay?”

Carl Maier and Margaret Sateach: “Don’t know.”

Don’t know the details. But they know exactly what they want.

Carl Maier: “The boats gone, so the people can use the dock.”

Margaret Sateach: “We want our property back.”

Well Howard, can a condo board bring in yachts that block the view of some of the residents?

Howard Finkelstein: “Legally, this is a 50/50 call. While the board has great authority to manage the dock space, they do not have the right to make a material change to the common area. Legally, this might be considered a material change, meaning the board can’t do it, but you can argue that it is not material because it’s not permanent. It’s a matter of opinion.”

I spoke to the condo president, Polly Fulton, who said their attorney’s opinion is that allowing the yachts is not a material change.

She said bringing in the boats is a smart move for Heritage Landings because Hargrave Yachts is paying $54,000 a year to dock the three boats, saving each condo owner about $750 a year.

The residents’ reply: It’s not about the money coming in, but the view that’s lost…

The board then sent out a letter that read, “Folks can have a nice view of the water if they simply look in a different direction.”

Howard Finkelstein: “Either the condo owners have to go to court or the easier, cheaper way is for the residents to recall the board members who approved this and replace them with people who don’t want those yachts blocking their view.”

Carl is now going to start the push to recall the board because not only are their views blocked, many owners feel their property values are sinking.

Margaret Sateach: “Property values are going down. People that are coming here to look at property are leaving immediately upon seeing the view.”

And since they can’t agree on the yachts at Heritage Landings, it’s not surprising the board president thinks the yachts increase property values.

By the way, to remove a board member or the entire board requires 50 percent of the owners plus one. In case you want to recall your association board, the link is below.

And we will let you know what happens at Heritage Landings.

Blocked from a clear view of a solution to your problem? Need someone to float a few ideas? Dock it with us. We will put all hands on deck and hopefully leave clear sailing for you. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
To Recall Members Of A Condo Association Board

To Recall Members Of A Homeowners Association Board

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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