Delaware is a “Disclosure State” requiring a seller of residential property to provide the buyer with the Seller’s Disclosure of Real Property Condition Report which includes information about Deed Restrictions and Homeowners Associations.
The agent, subagent or seller, as applicable, shall give a copy of the Seller’s Disclosure of Real Property Condition Report to all prospective buyers or prospective buyer’s agent prior to the time the buyer makes an offer to purchase. This written disclosure form, signed by buyer and seller, shall become a part of the purchase agreement.
In November 2021, six residents of the Canal District formed a “Fort DuPont Homeowners Committee” and submitted a memorandum to the DOJ Ombudsman titled, “Assistance with Applicable Rights and Protections Under DUCIOA.” This memorandum stated: “We received none of these protections and received no disclosures in any form”.
A communication from Jeff Randol’s attorney does not dispute that Fort DuPont buyers did not receive state required disclosure documents. Instead, Mr. Randol now claims that FDRPC had no responsibility to provide these documents because the Corporation was not the “developer”. This statement is an attempt to implicate Rockwell.
FDRPC selected Rockwell to build and sell the Canal District homes. Real estate agents from different companies staffed the model home office. Presumably, these agents would have been engaged by Rockwell, and therefore would be subcontractors of FDRPC. In any case, these agents did not provide appropriate disclosure documents to many buyers.
Given FDRPC’s unique role in directing this public private partnership, it is disingenuous for Jeff Randol to blame either Rockwell or the realtors for the failure to provide appropriate disclosures.
The Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (“DUCIOA”), codified in Chapter 81 of Title 25 of the Delaware Code, governs all common interest communities created after September 30, 2009, unless otherwise exempted.
As City Solicitor, Max Walton authored and signed an ordinance in 2018 which was passed by the Delaware City Council. This ordinance exempted the FDRPC residents from DUCIOA and empowered FDRPC to charge assessments and fees for maintenance of common areas and amenities.
Virtually all Delaware condominiums, coops, planned communities and subdivisions with more than 20 units are governed by DUCIOA. As a result of the ordinance passed by Delaware City, the Fort DuPont homes are a very rare exception.
In July 2020, Mr. Walton issued a 57 page “Amended and reinstated Declaration of Covenants, conditions, Agreements, Restrictions and Licenses”. These restrictions are stricter than the Delaware City Code. For example, children’s toys are banned from driveways.
The combination of the Delaware City ordinance and the new FDRPC Declaration had serious consequences for residents of Fort DuPont. They were denied the right to form an HOA. Instead, they are governed by FDRPC where they have minimal representation. FDRPC arbitrarily bills them $500 annually for services which are not clearly specified. They also pay Delaware City taxes for municipal services.