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Florida condo complex, insurer battle over policy payout

A 24-unit condominium complex in Brevard County, Florida, remains vacant more than a year after Hurricane Irma struck the area in September 2017 because of an insurance dispute.

County officials ordered the complex shuttered, saying it wasn't safe to occupy because of structural support failures, calling them "an imminent danger."

The condominium association has sued its insurance carrier in a $10 million case, contending the company is in breach of contract because it hasn't paid the claim for damages.

The case is still pending in U.S. District Court Orlando, Florida, and it isn't scheduled to be heard until July.

The homeowners association is facing a more immediate issue, however. The condominium association has been ordered to either make the repairs or tear down the complex. If it doesn't do so by March 10, 2019, it will face fines of $1,000 per day.

The association has received extensions on previous deadlines. In the meantime, the complex bears signs that read "This Building Is Unsafe," placed there by county code enforcement.

The nearly 40-year-old building has three floors of condo units sitting atop an underground parking garage. It was inspected a month after hurricane Irma hit at the request of the insurance company.

A 73-page report stated the following, according to Florida Today:

"Extreme deterioration of the primary steel girders and piers were noted in numerous locations. The recent hurricane has also stressed and racked the structure. The recent repairs on the rear of the structure also revealed underlying support issues and non-conforming repairs along with the garage ceiling, support system and sub-flooring for the first floor. The repairs appear to be in excess of 50 percent of the entire structure's market value."

The owners of units in this building have paid their association fees, which in turn have paid the insurance premiums, for years. They deserve to get answers – and quickly – about the fate of their residences. For now, they seem stuck in the middle of the dispute.

If your homeowners association has failed in its responsibility to you in some way, it's wise to have an attorney experienced in real estate law working to protect your interests.

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