Condemned, blighted, infamous Tymber Skan condos - there's no place like home

It's the much-talked about condo complex near Orlando, Fla., with the unusual name - Tymber Skan.

And in Orlando, Tymber Skan has become synonymous with crime, blight and controversy.

Yet, in my polite circles of friends and colleagues, the same question keeps popping up - "If it's so bad there, why don't people leave?"

That question was running through my head Monday as I drove along I-4 near the Orange County jail.

I'd never been to Tymber Skan, but I knew it was near the jail.

So I plotted the location in my GPS and ventured off to the community to find out for myself why people don't just leave.

To my surprise, I found residents there friendly, welcoming and defiant. Curiously, I felt more 'at home' with the residents of Tymber Skan than I do with many of my own neighbors.

Without exception, the residents I spoke to feel they're victims of some circumstances beyond their control, primarily they feel their respective homeowner's associations have allowed the community to fall into a state of disrepair. There are three different HOA's in Tymber Skan.

The disrepair has led to literally tens-of-millions of dollars in unpaid code violation fines adding up with Orange County.

And the associations have not paid utility bills in some areas, leading to the water getting shut off in spite of the residents paying their bills.

Cable provider Bright House pulled out of servicing the community after their service techs felt unsafe in the community. Consequently, it's not uncommon to see small, high-tech satellite dishes atop dilapidated roofs.

As it is a condo complex, not an apartment complex, many of the residents there are also homeowners and have money (in some cases their only money) invested in their homes and walking away from that is not something they'd consider.

Like many communities in Florida, Tymber Skan was also hit hard by the repeated rise and fall of Florida's real estate market.

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