Home News ‘I watched my house burn down.’ Nearly a year later, neighbors’ condos are still in charred ruins

‘I watched my house burn down.’ Nearly a year later, neighbors’ condos are still in charred ruins

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Sharin Briller was just sitting and eating a sandwich for lunch when he knocked on the door on a hot July day. It was a condominium development neighbor at Port Jefferson Station, where she has lived for over 20 years.

He said her house was on fire, as were the other three units in her building.

“Two firefighters came in, one on each arm. [of mine], And dragged me out, “Briller said. “It was very scary, and I crossed the street to my neighbor’s house and saw the house burn out.”

What Briller didn’t know was that the worst was still going on. A year after the July 1st fire in Foxmeadow’s condo community, she and her neighbors haven’t returned to their homes yet. Their burned-out and accused buildings have not yet been demolished, not to mention reconstruction. Briller and her neighbors manage the community and several other Long Island developments, HPM Management initially promised an overly optimistic timeline for rebuilding by Christmas 2021 and made recent updates. Say they don’t offer.

Their situation highlights the complexity of owning a condominium that accounted for approximately 80,000 units in Long Island’s housing stock in 2016, according to the Long Island Index Report, Newsday editorial page project nextLI website and online forums. I am doing it.

Despite being the owner, the resident cannot manage the rebuilding process, but instead has to rely on the Homeowners Association and the real estate manager to continue paying mortgages, taxes and fees on uninhabitable homes. Hmm.

According to a letter from the claims manager, FoxMeadows’ insurance policy paid $ 871,998 on January 5, and it’s not clear how much it will actually cost to rebuild the structure. Representatives from HPM and the FoxMeadow Homeowners Association did not return the call for comment.

Dismantling permission does not apply

Demolitionists arrived at the scene in late March, but Brookhaventown issued two suspension orders in April because authorities said they had not obtained a demolition permit. A wire mesh fence installed in the town borders the burnt building.

The town’s construction department is in contact with the contractor, but no application for a demolition permit has been submitted, said Jack Krieger, a spokesman for Brookhaventown.

According to a January report from the Brookhaventown Fire Department, the fire was determined to be due to an accidental electrical problem. The building was blamed five days after it burned.

Retired Briller said he had used up all his insurance money to help him rent by February and has survived in a friend’s charity ever since. She rents another unit at the Fox Meadow Complex, which pays about $ 3,000 a month for a total of $ 1,000 mortgage and general charges for the unit she destroyed, plus additional rent and utilities. Means to do.

Her neighbor, John Penino, said he had run out of most of the rental assistance at the hotel and was sleeping in his brother’s Huntington basement bed. Penino said finding a suitable apartment would be difficult because the rental agent wanted a one-year contract and a large upfront payment.

“If everyone is on the right page, I don’t know why this happens,” Pennino said.

Another resident, Bruce Samuels, said his family was renting at Ronconcoma. He said he wiped out his savings and dipped into his severance pay account to pay for his living expenses.

All condo owners said they would continue to pay their units mortgages and property taxes, as well as typical condo rates ranging from $ 300 to $ 500 per month.

Mark Schneider, managing partner of Garden City’s Schneider Butchel LLP, which has represented hundreds of condominium management companies across the state, is clearly frustrating for residents, but until the condominium reconstruction is complete. It is not uncommon for it to take more than a year.

Schneider said it is the owner’s responsibility to take out personal insurance that covers adequate rental assistance and interior improvements in the event of a fire. While the condominium insurance policy is responsible for rebuilding, Schneider says that many of the community associations he represents are seeking amendments to management documents to require owners to have individual insurance policies. Said.

“It is very important for condominium owners to have their own insurance, even if there are no requirements under the condominium management documents,” he said.

According to Fox Meadow’s Articles of Incorporation, if the insurance money is not sufficient to cover the repair, the condo board can evaluate all owners of the community and claim the difference as a common expense. According to Schneider, such provisions are common in condominium management documents.

In the meantime, residents are still waiting for an answer as to when work can proceed.

State legislature. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) said he sent letters to property managers in March and May asking for the latest progress. Mr Briller said he had filed a complaint with the state Attorney General’s office.

“Once they start rebuilding, I’ll have a party for everyone,” Briller said. “I will be very happy.”

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