November 13, 2021 — The Associated Press reports that a judge has ordered the giant Solivita 55+ community in Poinciana, FL to pay back homeowners $35 million for improper HOA fees. The case arises from a proposal by the developer to sell various amenities including a clubhouse, swimming pools, and a tennis court to the residents for $73 million. An investigation revealed that the value of the properties were inflated to as much four times their actual value. Each homeowner could get as much as $10,000 in the settlement ruled by Polk County Judge Wayne Durden. The improper HOA fees paid in the case go back to the 2000s, but the statute of limitations limited them to to 2013. Solivita was a subsidiary of AV Homes, but has been owned by Taylor Morrison since 2018.
Comment: Nobody likes paying HOA fees, but normally they are a necessary evil if you want to have a well maintained community with nice amenities. Obviously the Solivita plaintiffs will be happy with the decision. This highlights the tricky situations that often arise after a developer finishes development and wants to exit the property. The developer usually owns the amenities and the HOA wants to buy them so they control them better. But how those amenities are valued can be controversial, as we see in this case.