Monday, September 15, 2008

Wallingford Condo Owners Stunned by Buyout Plans

Move over, Eminent Domain. There's a new sheriff in town making its own waves in the real estate market. It's name is the Common Interest Ownership Act, and it left has the owners of some Wallingford condominiums in a state of shock.

The story started in the first week of August when the owners of units at Parker Place Condominiums in Wallingford received letters in the mail from the law firm of Fasano, Ippolito & Lee in New Haven stating that their clients, 665 Foxon Road, LLC, intended to acquire all of the remaining units in the complex. They currently own 98 of the 120 units. The letter went on to say that, under the Common Interest Ownership Act as adopted by the state of Connecticut in 1976, they had the right to terminate the condominium and purchase all units at fair market value by a vote of 80 percent of the unit owners, which they said they already had. Further, they gave the condo owners until August 15th to reach an agreement with them in order to receive said fair market value.

To say that the 22 residents who received the letter weren't happy would be an understatement. One resident contacted his attorney who told him he had never heard of the Common Interest Ownership Act before. Even Attorney General Richard Blumenthal admits that it's not an easy law to grasp. Section 47-237 of the statute states in part: "...a common interest community may be terminated only by agreement of unit owners of units to which at least eighty per cent of the votes in the association are allocated..." Blumenthal went on to say that the law may not be fair to individual condo owners because it doesn't offer much protection from situations like this, and he plans to raise the issue of reforming the statute in the next legislative session. However, this will most likely not help the residents who are affected by this buyout. Some residents stated that the principal of 665 Foxon Road, LLC, Alex Vigliotti, has been sending them letters for years in an attempt to get them to sell their units to him.

Several of the unit owners were not willing to cede ownership of their condos so easily, and contacted a well-known lawyer to help in the fight to keep their homes. However, the lawyer wanted $50,000-$60,000 up front to take on the case. Not enough residents were interested in paying that much as a retainer, so that avenue was dropped.

Foxon Road has now scheduled a meeting of the condo association for September 23rd, at which time a motion will be presented to terminate the association. Since Foxon Road controls 80% of the units, they certainly have the votes to do so; however, they are willing to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone by allowing residents to stay in their unit until December of 2009, as long as they sign an agreement to sell to Foxon Road by that date. Also, any resident wishing to rent from Foxon Road after that date will be welcome to do so. Still, it's leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the 22 owners who received the letters.

"Would I like to fight?", one resident stated, "yeah, I would. but I can't fight this on my own. I feel terrible".

And so do we. We realize that some of the residents have been there for many years and have not been in a real estate market like we are currently experiencing. Therefore, we would like the owners at Parker Place Condominiums to know that The Harriman Team is prepared to assist them in finding suitable accommodations as quickly as possible. Give us a call at 203-605-3873 and we'll be happy to help.

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