The bill arrived unexpectedly by email in May. It was from her Landmark Towers condominium homeowner’s association. The midtown Phoenix tower’s air-conditioning needed a major fix, and her share of the pay was $18,000. Francine Hardaway said she ‘freaked out’. “I was horrified and frightened,” said Hardaway, founder of Phoenix-based Stealth mode Partners. “When I bought my condo in 2011, it was at the height of the recession. I bought it for cash thinking that if everything went to hell in a handbasket, I could live there. “She rents out the condo in the iconic 17-story tower and doesn’t own another home. She banded together with a handful of other Landmark condo owners angry and confused about the unexpected $5 million charge. They all thought fixes to the high rise’s air conditioning system had already been paid for and were almost done, using about $6 million received in a construction-defect lawsuit settlement in 2013. The HOA assessment for a new HVAC system would cost each of them at least $15,000 per condo. Many other owners in the 236-condo high-rise said the same thing as Hardaway: They could not afford the assessment, and it could cost them their home. The group immediately started talking to other Landmark condo owners, sending out emails to their neighbors and going door to door. They only had a few weeks until the assessment when to a vote.

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