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Phoenix condo owners fight $15,000-plus HOA assessments -- and win

• Catherine Reagor and Jessica Boehm

The air conditioning at Landmark Towers in Phoenix needed a major fix, and her share to pay for it was $18,000.

"I was horrified and frightened," said Hardaway, founder of Phoenix-based Stealthmode 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.

After getting the email, she immediately called a friend who lives and owns a condo in Landmark. He told her they were all upset and asked her to come to the tower to talk.

"I thought I might lose my safety-net home," Hardaway said. "I lost my retirement in the last housing crash and recession. I paid $58,000 cash for my Landmark condo, and it's about all I have to retire to."

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 already had been paid for and were almost done, using about $6 million received in a construction-defect lawsuit settlement in 2013.

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