Emerald Pointe condo owners still paying HOA fees on burned down homes

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Jasmine Singletary
Published: Updated:
Townhomes on fire back in March in Emerald Point. (CREDIT: Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office)

The owners of homes in Emerald Pointe Community that burned down four months ago are still paying HOA fees for those homes.

Although the insurance company has paid the Condo Association $1.9 million, the residents said they haven’t received any of the insurance money but are still paying the HOA fees.

Not only are their homes a pile of ash, but two months after their homes burned down, their HOA fees went up.

One man lost his home in the fire and bought a new one. He said he’s paying fees on both and he’s not happy about it.

All that’s left are shells of a series of homes that once stood proud at Emerald Pointe in Punta Gorda.

Mitch Eby’s treasures burned beyond recognition.

“Her jewelry or wedding rings, watches, my service revolvers, everything, it’s all gone,” Eby said.

What Mitch clings to is his neighbor’s kindness.

“During the fire, this lady comes up, and I hardly knew her, and said, ‘we’re gonna be gone for two months, here’s my key.’ The lady next door fed us for three weeks. Every other night she’d bring food over,” Eby said.

Mitch decided right there and then that he didn’t want to leave Emerald Pointe, so he bought a new home.

“I knew when I bought this place that I would have to pay two HOA’s,” Eby said.

Mitch said he paid close to $600 in condo fees when he lived in Emerald Point the first time, now he’s paying $800.

Neil Purtell, the Condo Association President, said the extra $200 goes to insurance.

“It costs more to repair things now, replacement value, which is what we deal with, we don’t deal with market value,” Purtell said.

Making matters worse is the fact that those who lost their homes in the fire still must pay the HOA.

In other words, if those fire victims want to vote yes or no on whether to rebuild, they have to pay the price.

“We’re going by Florida law. We have no choice if I don’t do that, then we got a problem,” Purtell said.

Purtell said that’s the law and not his doing.

Mitch hopes to Condo Association doesn’t eat more of the $1.9 million insurance payout.

“They already spent 100,000,” Eby said.

Purtell said it’s expenses involving the cleanup and remediation of the problem.

The HOA also set aside another $200,000 for any additional fees they might face.

The people who pay HOA fees for the townhomes will vote Tuesday if they want to rebuild the homes lost in the fire.

But most of the fire victims don’t want this rebuilt, they want the $225,000 payout in their pockets.

If members vote no, Mitch will stop paying HOA fees on his burned-down house when the association buys it.

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