Neighbors Call For Association to Make Repairs at Fenwick Condom - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Neighbors Call For Association to Make Repairs at Fenwick Condominium Complex

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Mallard Lakes is located off of Route 54, near Fenwick Island. (Photo: WBOC) Mallard Lakes is located off of Route 54, near Fenwick Island. (Photo: WBOC)

FENWICK ISLAND, Del. - It's been almost four years since Superstorm Sandy rocked parts of Delmarva, and yet the debate over fixing some damaged homes continues in one part of Sussex County. A group of 12 neighbors in the Mallard Lakes community, located off of Route 54, near Fenwick Island have sued the Mallard Lakes Condominium Association, for their lack of action in raising their homes. 

On Wednesday morning, a Sussex County Chancery Court judge heard oral arguments on some procedural motions. The case could go to trial in the next year if the parties do not come to an agreement. 

The conflict all began in 2012, when four condominium units, with 24 homes, were damaged during Superstorm Sandy. The 12 neighbors said that the condo association made repairs, but did so in a way that did not make the homes compliant with Sussex County Code. The condos need to be lifted in order to be in compliance, but the debate is over who should front the cost. 

Richard Heubeck, one of the 12 neighbors, said that it should be the association's responsibility to raise the homes on their dime. 

"We are basically right below or right at the flood plane for the units here," he said. "And every time there is a Nor'easter that's forecasted, our biggest concern is are we going to get flooded again." 

Lawyers for the Condo Association submitted an answer brief in response to the filed lawsuit. Attorney Chad Toms said that the bylaws for Mallard Lakes clearly dictate that the responsibility to repair damage from natural disasters lie on the homeowner, and not the association. 

"They live in a community," Toms said. "Where we must abide by the bylaws."

In October 2015, the association held a vote among all 477 condominiums tenants, asking neighbors if they would support the community absorbing the costs for raising the homes. By an overwhelming majority, the voters said no.

Neighbor Lorraine Johnson, another plaintiff,  said that homeowners should only be responsible for the repairs within the home. She said that the condo association should be responsible for exterior repairs, such as lifting up the home. 

"Bring our homes up to code," she said. "To have them elevated, and have them clean and livable, and safe." 

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