Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Help Me Howard: Five too Many
When most couples have their third child, it's a time to cheer, but it was a sad time for a Fort Lauderdale couple because it forced the family to split up. Why? Two words: condo association. But after Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser were called in, this association showed they may be different than some others.
WSVN -- When Jason Ward gets home from work everyday he knows exactly what he will be doing.
Jason Ward: "They play sports. I coach. We have a park right down the street, so if we are not doing sports, we are down there every night."
Jason and Tyla had two boys, till the end of September when this little fellow brought the total to three.
Jason Ward: "The brothers love the little one, so for us nothing has really changed."
Well, one thing did change, their cute little baby became a violation of condo rules.
Jason Ward: "For a two-bedroom condo, you can only have four people in a condo."
So right after the baby made it a family of five, the Wards got this letter from the association's attorney telling them they had 15 days to correct the violation.
Jason Ward: "Which kid am I going to ship to a friend's house or get rid of, or you know whatever, so pretty much they were telling me we had to leave or split our family up."
Since Jason and Tyla are the rare couple that pays their mortgage, their association fees and complies with the condo association rules, they did what they were told and split up the family.
Jason Ward: "Finally, we came down to a temporary solution of sending my wife and two youngest boys up to my parents in Daytona, and they are going to have to stay up there for a few weeks."
That has been painful: Jason and Ricky here Tyla, the four-year-old and the newborn 200 miles away.
Jason Ward: "It's tough. I mean, she sent me pictures yesterday of the little one smiling and all that stuff."
For Ricky, it's even more painful. He misses his brothers and has had to learn about suggestions made to his parents when Tyla got pregnant.
Ricky: "Most of the words they said I didn't really know what they meant, like an abortion. I don't know what that is."
Tyla and Jason would never consider that, and they want to move out, but their condo has been for sale since Tyla got pregnant, and condos sell about as often as I get complimented on my looks.
Jason Ward: "People aren't beating down the door. We can't just leave this and go. We don't want to lose this and ruin our credit and family and stuff. We are trying to keep everything intact along with our family."
They need time to sell their condo and spend that time together instead of being separated.
Jason Ward: "If we could get out of here today, we would gladly do it. Unfortunately, it's not that easy."
Well, Howard, can a condo association force a family to split or split up?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes, legally a condo association can limit the number of people that live in each unit, and while it's not the board's intent to split a family up, by enforcing their bylaws it splits the family up or throws them out."
When I spoke to the property manager at Imperial Point Colonades, she made perfect sense, saying we have to follow the rules. If we make an exception for one person, we have to allow everyone to have an exception. When I asked if the Wards could have a few months to sell and let Ricky finish fifth grade, she spoke to their attorney. They are now proposing that the board let the Wards stay till the end of the school year adding, we think this is going to work.
Howard says, it's a good example for everyone in a tough situation.
Allowing them to stay till June will give the Wards what they need: time, and getting Tyla and the boys back will bring one thing they miss: noise.
Jason Ward: "It's just the two of us here now, so it's quiet. We are used to kids running around. If you have two of three kids, you know what that noise is, and you know when it's not there something is missing."
Patrick Fraser: "Looking for a two bedroom condo in a nice neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale? I know where you can find one, and if you are having problems with an association, see if you can find a reasonable solution and work something out. Both sides did in this case, both sides win."
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