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The Party's Over Tough Times Lie Ahead for Condominiums Unprepared for Repairs

The era in which too many condominium boards shrugged off warnings about inadequate reserve funds or postponed needed maintenance has come to an unsettling end.

In a series of recent high-profile episodes, condominiums have been hit with staggering assessments, suffered bitter political infighting, or even been forced to evacuate owners when faced with sudden or overwhelming maintenance needs.

To make things worse, the aging nature of the condominium stock in New England has engineers predicting that many more condominiums will face similar severe difficulties in the not-too-distant future.

Three recent cases highlight the severity and extent of the problem.

In Springfield, Massachusetts, Longhill Gardens Condominium nowsits entirely empty after city inspectors condemned successive blocks of units for health and safety violations. While the community was becoming uninhabitable, vital business records disappeared, heating oil tanks were left empty, and a no-holds-barred legal fracas erupted between a group of investor/owners and the majority owner, who last year was jailed on contempt of court charges.

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