(WSVN) – They replaced their front door to be better prepared for hurricane season, but the new door ended up creating a storm of trouble with their condo association, so they called on 7 Investigates. Here’s the Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek.
There’s nothing fancy about this front door in Margate, but it opened a very unexpected problem for Frank and Nicole Torres.
Nicole Torres: “Well, this is our new front door.”
Their front door was rusting, so they wanted to replace it. The salesman suggested a door that opens outward.
Frank Torres: “‘It makes sense, because he says, when you have a high force of winds, if you have an inward swinging door, it could potentially blow the door open.”
Before they bought the door, Frank and Nicole sent these plans to their property manager:
Nicole Torres: “‘Note: Door is to swing out,’ in capital letters.”
The property manager replied the plans are “conditionally approved.” They would just need to paint the door and get a city permit.
Nicole Torres: “I mean, it seems like it’s a clean-cut thing, you know? We got the approval, we were given the consent to order the door, and therefore, we ordered the door.”
The door was permitted, installed and painted.
But instead of final approval, Frank and Nicole got a letter from their association’s attorney. It says this door is in “direct violation” of condo rules.
Frank Torres: “We literally thought that we were doing everything by the book.”
Replacing the door would cost another $2,800. A lot of money for this Army vet and his schoolteacher wife, who is dealing with a high-risk pregnancy.
Frank Torres: “It’s upsetting. You know, this is our first child, and we’ve tried for so long, and it’s finally happened. I feel like God is finally blessing us with a child, and she’s supposed to be on bed rest. It boils my blood.”
Nicole sent the attorney the approval letter, but the attorney responded with two options: “Replace the door at your expense” or change your insurance to cover “anyone who is injured by your door swinging out.”
Frustrated, they then offered to pay half the cost of a new door.
Kevin Ozebek: “Do you guys want a fight here?”
Frank and Nicole Torres: “No!”
We reached out to the association attorney for the Viewpointe of Margate. The next day, the board took up Frank and Nicole’s offer to pay half.
Frank Torres: “Thank you. I greatly appreciate it, because if it hadn’t been for you guys, we don’t know where we would be right now.”
Nicole Torres: “Absolutely.”
The attorney told Frank and Nicole the property manager will pay the other half, “…given the error that was made.”
The attorney told 7News, “There is no longer a story. … Once that information was confirmed, the matter was quickly resolved.”
Nicole Torres: “This is absolutely a story.”
Real estate attorney Michael Greenberg, who’s not connected to this case, says this is the lesson to be learned.
Michael Greenberg: “It is possible to have a David vs. Goliath fight with the condominium association and to prevail.”
The property manager already cut Frank and Nicole a check. They now regret offering to pay half but are happy their stress levels are lower.
Kevin Ozebek, 7News.
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