The Ugly Truth About Living in an Over-55 Condo
Some people think that living in a 55 plus community would be great because doing so allows people to escape a good deal of the responsibilities that go along with home ownership.
This is because there are no
- lawns to mow,
- pools to clean,
- roofs to replace, or
- external care tasks
to worry about.
However, what most people can’t know is that this type of communal living can create many problems that can make residents so miserable that they’re sorry they ever chose to buy their apartments.
High Rise Problems
Some of the problems come from the type of structure people buy into.
- If you choose to move into a high rise apartment type facility, you can have noise problems from your upstairs neighbor and noise complaints from your downstairs neighbor.
- If your hot water tank floods and then damages the apartment beneath yours, legally you are liable for paying for their damages!
- If an elevator stops working, you may have to climb lots of stairs to go to and from your unit until repairs are made.
Parking is another problem area because spaces are usually limited. So, if someone takes your space, you’re going to find yourself having a conflict with another resident.
Townhouses and Villas
People think they can avoid these types of problems by purchasing townhouses and villas, and in some ways they can.
These types of condominium structures may not have people living above or below you, but they’ll still be living beside and connected to you by at least one wall.
Issues that you might have to face will include:
- non-smokers having to smell the smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes,
- pets that are noisy, urinate, and defecate on your grass or vehicles, and
- people who park in ways that block your ability to enter and leave your own driveway.
These may not seem like big issues, but when they occur regularly, they can make daily living uncomfortable and irritating.
One of the reasons why many people choose not to live in condos is that they don’t want to be told what to do.
The irony is that a good number of people who live in these types of units break the rules all the time.
If there are enough of them doing this regularly, the board loses control, and the result can be bedlam.
Example: A Pet-Free Community Starts to Admit Pets
I know of one community that has been pet free for years. When the government decided to change its disabilities’ guidelines, all of that changed. These days, all anybody has to do is show a note from their doctor saying that they “need a comfort pet”, and pet-free condos have no choice but to allow them to live in their communities.
Thus, people who moved into a community specifically because they wanted to avoid the problems that pets bring now are forced to live with them anyhow!
Most people don’t mind this if someone truly has a disability, but so many are abusing this situation that even the presence of the truly disabled creates hard feelings. It’s pretty easy to tell who is legit and who isn’t, but because of the laws, if you dare say anything to someone who moves in with a pet, you can be sued!
Other Examples of Rules Violations
Other obnoxious and damaging rule violators do such things as
- parking their vehicles on the grass,
- leaving garbage outside of the dumpster rather than putting it where it belongs,
- taking glass containers into swimming pool areas, and
- allowing undocumented people to move in with them.
These things are problems because
- parking on the grass ruins it and costs everybody money to replace,
- not placing garbage in dumpsters attracts rats, which then move into condos,
- taking glass into swimming areas becomes a real danger and can also damage the pool area if the glass breaks, and
- allowing unknown people to move into the community can become a safety issue for condo owners.
The bottom line on this one is that if you don’t want to follow the rules, you shouldn’t move into a condo because doing so creates animosity and causes many problems for residents.
No matter the type of structure, when people live together for awhile in a community, cliques can and do form. This is nice for those who belong, but not so good for those who don’t.
People who are “left out” don’t get invited to private parties or are included comfortably in group activities. Thus, they don’t get to enjoy things as much as other residents, but they are stuck in their situation unless they decide to move.
I know of one situation where a resident confronted a clique member. The man pulled a gun on him! These things can and do happen often in condo communities, so it pays to watch your back if you decide to buy one!
In recent years, it has come to light that senior bullying occurs often in over 55 communities.
This can easily happen when people in cliques decide to shun someone they feel has affronted one of their group or whom they simply don’t like.
If someone in the clique sits on the board, things can get even worse because board members in cliques will always play favorites.
- if your roof has a leak, you’ll be last in line to get it fixed,
- if freebies are handed out, you won’t get any, or
- if there’s a party, you may find yourself sitting alone rather than being able to socialize.
In worst case scenarios, bullies might even shove, hit, or try to injure people they don’t like because they think they can get away with doing so.
I know of one case where a woman was standing beside the curb in front of her condo, and a neighbor hit her and drove off. Even though she knew who it was and had witnesses, nothing ever came of it.
Senior bullying is a big problem that is very hard to eradicate in condo situations and certainly is something about which new residents need to be vigilant.
Another problem with it is that, as time passes, cliques change. So someone who might have belonged to a clique for awhile can find himself left out when new people take up residence!
One of the worst things about living in the condo is that people become financially connected to one another and to the board.
In many instances, an uncaring or inept board can create huge expenses that some residents simply cannot afford.
Since many residents of over 55 communities are on limited incomes, this problem can become financially devastating
The underlying issue is that because state laws don’t require boards to take costs into account when making big financial decisions, financially strapped residents have absolutely no legal standing and thus no way of protecting themselves when these things occur.
The Truth Is the Truth
If you are thinking of buying a condo, you would be wise to consider carefully what has been said here.
"What You Need to Know before Buying a Florida Condo" will give you more helpful information about this topic.
If read it and then decide that you don’t want to live in a condo, there are other alternatives that may work better for you. "What Are the Best Alternatives to Buying a House?" will show you some of them.
The bottom line is that while no lifestyle is perfect, 55 plus condo living can have more dangers than some of the others.
Do you think you might want to live in an over-55 condo?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Sondra Rochelle