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Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,785
Registered: ‎04-20-2013

Re: HOA RANT


@SahmIam wrote:

@jellyBEAN  Covenants are not the same thing as bylaws and declarations. If I may ask; is your community incorporated? For example, mine is Happy Homes, Inc. on all legal documents but if you asked any homeowner who is not on the board or who doesn't attend meetings, they wouldn't know that. They would tell you that they live in the community called Happy Homes. A community that is incorporated means its' HOA board follows state laws and answers to the AG in EVERYTHING. Those communities that are not; different story. So that right there may affect the procedures for getting the repairs made. 

 

For those that don't know: the HOA board does not get the vendors. They are presented with bids and information from the management company who the HOA pays to handle specific tasks (bookkeeping, vendors, groundskeeping, writing checks, document storage, etc). The board is presented with the bids, they discuss it in an open session, they vote and then the president OR the treasurer signs the contract. The management company rep then works all the details out with the vendor. 

 

In my community, I would have been contacted by an angry homeowner. I would then have called my management rep demanding to know what the heck happened and to get them out there ASAP to fix it. Beyond that, there's nothing I can do. Now, if I keep hearing negative feedback from this homeowner, I can call the vendor ticked off and inform him/her they'll lose contract because my board won't tolerate this ******; I can call my management rep and demand she fix it ASAP or her company may no longer have a contract with us (the board can hire ANY management company they wish because management does the bidding of the board, not the other way around when a community is incorporated). 

 

This is why you need to know your by-laws and declarations for the home you own. Have to say, what you describe sounds more like a condo association than HOA considering all the external aspects of your home is managed by the community. Single family homes and townhouses can be condos though most think of a highrise. It's the definition and what the benefits of the association provides to the community that defines a condo association vs an HOA . Each has a board and committees but it's what they take care of that often defines one from the other.


@SahmIam ....what you say is true and it sounds like a gated community or complex.  My brother in law lives in Fla & his grounds are cared for by the association.  I'm President of my condo Board, a highrise in NJ.  Yes, the management company presents BIDS but the Board approves the vendor.  So it's shared responsibility.  As a resident, I'd ask if the Board & MO did due dilligence...references, examples of work etc.  For us, the Association attorney is quite helpful to residents.  We as a Board, try to be responsive but disputes occur.  We do have an ADR committee that resolves a lot of issues & our Attorney is fair.  

 

I would try to resolve this internally because places like the BBB or even local government do not want to be involved and often refer complaints back to the Board.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,785
Registered: ‎04-20-2013

Re: HOA RANT


@jellyBEAN wrote:

Taking into accounts all your advice and recommendations to document document document I sent another e-mail to the President of our community HO Board.  I asked SPECIFIC questions to which he replied to none.  His comment to me was to voice my concern(s) to the Real Estate office who handles all the administrative stuff for the community.  (Which I have ALREADY DONE on the 1st day this happened!)  He doesn't want to hear about it anymore.  I thought his response was quite telling and he was offended, but that's how I feel.  I mean, what's the point of having this Board? 

 

So I'm not going to hold my breath waiting and waiting and waiting some more for assistance.  Will keep after the Real Estate office.  I don't think judging by his attitude I'm the only complaint.  Thus his lack of empathy or backup.  Figured as much.  Cat Sad

 

Does that surprise anyone?


@jellyBEAN - it surprises me.  I'm quite visible to our residents and so are our other Board members & we try to be responsive.  We have open work sessions?  We also have open Board meetings. Check your governing documents because every complex, state is different & you should be having meetings.  I'd be sure to attend meetings & bring it up openly.  The President can't act unilaterally so I'd send a letter to the entire Board and not your just your site manager but to the Management Company officer in charge of your site manager & include your Association attorney.  Send it registered and demand a written response and investigation of your complaint. 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,785
Registered: ‎04-20-2013

Re: HOA RANT


@SahmIam wrote:

@jellyBEAN   It's obvious from many of the posts here that most don't understand how an HOA board works or their purpose. Just because one THINKS it's supposed to do ABC does mean that it legally IS supposed to do ABC.

 

The board of directors (your HOA board) has a fiduciary responsibility NOT to the homeowners but to the corporation known as your community. Meaning, they are legally obligated to make the best financial choice for the "corporation". By doing that, they make sure it stays healthy and therefore, the homeowners stay "healthy". Rarely does a homeowner realize this is how it works. 

 

The board of directors is not supposed to handle daily problems or deal with issues of homeowners other than to vote on final decisions which have been brought to them by the management company OR by committees of the community. Again, most don't realize this. Under the Condo Association Act, (HOA's don't have a specific act, they follow the Condo Association Act with addition Sections or Parts which have been added on via addendums), the role of the board of directors has been clearly spelled out. Your President is correct, you don't contact him, you contact the management company OR the committee head (in this case, the Architectural Committee) regarding this issue. Sounds like you don't have a committee that handles maintenance so he had directed you to the management company.

 

A law was passed many years ago (I'd have to go through one of my books to find the exact one or you can google it) regarding the sueing of volunteers; you can't. Why? Because then no one would volunteer. Considering how many programs in this country are in place solely due to volunteers....it would be a disaster if people stopped helping due to the risk of being sued. You can sue the community via the entity known as the HOA but not the members. HUGE waste of money especially if they are following what the by-laws and declarations say.

 

I know you are frustrated and angry; I would be as well. You want your property put back to where it was before it was damaged (and it was damaged).  Should they deal with it ASAP? I think so. That said, work with them and see how it ends. They're telling you they are going to return and work on it. See what they do. Take pictures and document. Question? Do you or does the HOA own the driveway? From what you've posted it sounds as if they own the outside aspect of your property (since they maintain it). If so, you may have a very difficult time telling them how to maintain their property. If you own the driveway, it's a different situation.  Good luck with everything; I hope it works out for you.


@SahmIam - it's true complaints should not go to Board members but they do.  Though you volunteer, you still have the responsibility to be sure the management agency does their job correctly and that residents are safe and happy.  Also, it's Board has fiduciary responsibility & that means getting properly vetted vendors at the best price.  if the OP's driveway is ruined, the Board & MO should stand behind her not the vendor and make it right or replace it.  I'm sure if it's unsightly to her, it's not satisfactory to the neighborhood and not up to code.  If she just ignores it, down the road, she might get fined.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,785
Registered: ‎04-20-2013

Re: HOA RANT


@SahmIam wrote:

@Isobel Archer   When financial issues or real estate is involved, it's a different story (as well as dealing with religious groups). I know that the treasurer of an HOA in my county was sued for taking funds (stealing). So yes, when a criminal act occurs, that's a different story.  To sue a volunteer because they don't return your calls, tell them to contact someone else; that's a different story. Not to mention, I'm willing to bet the HOA president is following the advice of the attorney for the community. There are rules/laws in place and again, most are clueless about this.

 

I wish every homeowner had to spend a year on their HOA board or a committee; you would be shocked at what has to be done. BTW, the boohoo he chose it? If no one offers to take a position on the board, then the community goes into receivership. This means a judge orders an attorney to take over running the community. That means your reserve will be used to pay ALL fees and then, when that is drained, an assessment is placed on each house to pay the fees. Don't pay? You'll be taken to court.

 

Again, people don't understand (IMHO) how it REALLY works. I didn't until I joined. What an eye opener!

 

Yes, there are poorly run boards and the community will show this. Yes, you can vote them out but ONLY if someone offers to run in their place! I'm working on cleaning up issues that go back 25 years....because no one wants the job. So, those on the board did what they want and well....we're paying for it now. Why do I do it? Because I don't buy a house to lose money on it. Because I want my neighborhood to look nice. Because there are those who are now coming forward and helping because they see that the person in charge gives a ******. It is what it is.


@SahmIam - I agree with you that it is a thankless job.  I am in the same boat..,years of mismanagement and a 3 million dollar garage project approved by a previous board now disintegrating.  You run because you want your building, your home to look nice and a good ROI.  This is my 4th year on the Board only because no one runs....yet, our clientele demanding.  It's a tough job even tho it's "voluntary" it's not! It's hard work but I do try to help residents resolve problems & I think her President's response is not appropriate.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,681
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: HOA RANT

Count me among those who serve on my HOA board--because no one else wants the 'job'.

 

Each state has different HOA laws, but I will tell you--the board really is pretty powerless when it comes to repairs and things of that nature. You have to pursue it through the property management company.  When I get emails, all I can do is acknowledge them and forward them on to the property management company.

 

You do have the right to have your property (driveway) restored, so just keep after the property management company.

 

My community is going through one of those nightmare situations right now with a roof loss (totaled by the insurance company--all 180 homes (duplexes) and some how, the HOA board is the bad guy.  And we're not--we complained as much as anyone about that decision.  My point is, you can certainly email the board, but they will forward it on because they cannot help you in getting your driveway restored.

 

Start attending HOA meetings--they are not private, most are an open forum and homeowners are usually given the opportunity to speak or ask questions.

 

Good luck!

Valued Contributor
Posts: 949
Registered: ‎09-18-2010

Re: HOA RANT

Not every Board of Directors hold open board meetings, a lot of Boards have closed meetings that are not open to the public as mine were.

 

The Board of Directors are responsible for the contract because it was signed by either the President, Vice President.  The Property Management responsible for insuring the work to be carried out but cannot be responsible for any legal action.  Property Management serves at the direction of the Board.  The Board of Directors carry Directors & Officers Liability which would cover them in the event of being sued.

 

The Board of Directors are NOT powerless, they most certainly can get involved and call the company responsible for the damage to the driveway and they can have the Corporate attorney send a letter as well threatening action.  I don't know the scope of the work being done by this company but the Board should have had the company post a Performance Bond, especially if the price of the contract is substantial.

 

 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,244
Registered: ‎04-03-2010

Re: HOA RANT

Apparently other residents in the community have complained.  They were not happy with the power washing done to their units.  Spotting and streaking and siding not real clean.  Vendor xplained that they used a milder cleaning solution as not to cause damage to the buildings, plants and shrubbery.  Since my home was never washed to begin with I can't comment.  I checked out my neighbors unit and I did see the chemical streaking, but figured it would be rinsed off with a good rain storm.

 

Regarding the driveway issue, some residents complained about lines and etching now visible on their drives.  The vendor claims that damage was caused by a previous vendor and there's not much that can be done about it.  When I called another reputable vendor to look at my drive he pointed out a lot of things I hadn't really noticed.  He could tell by the line patterns the equipment wasn't large enough so they used too much pressure and blew the cream broom coat off.  Said it looked like an inexperienced crew did the work, not someone that does this type of work on a full time basis.

 

Anyway, I'm not so concerned with the etching and the lines - its the discoloration - the blackness, the charcoal dirty color that now covers most of the driveway.  Looks like a dump truck dumped a load of asphalt on it and swept it off.  I'm not comfortable with the original vendor that did this coming back.  I don't even want them to do my unit.  I'm afraid they may use the wrong chemical mix and cause further damage.  I am in the process of writing a 'formal' letter of complaint to send via Certified Mail to the Real Estate Co. that handles our HOA stuff.  Wasn't sure whether to cc our HOA Board President since he may accuse me of harrassment or something. 

 

Always easier to blame others than to take responsibility but this vendor doesn't want to find himself liable for all the poor quality work.  Heck, he's probably already left town for all I know.  Also, he didn't have much of a crew working.  Usually it was just the 1 guy, sometimes 2 people from what I saw.  So much for easy townhome living!

Flowers are nature's way of laughing
Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,132
Registered: ‎06-17-2015

Re: HOA RANT

I think we are getting way off base here about HOA boards.  They are not all run the same.

 

If that board member is being rude, that is wrong.  @jellyBEAN  isn''t complaining because a leaf from a neighbor fell into her yard.  Her complaint is valid, her home has not been washed, and her driveway is a mess.  She has "paid" for those services through her fees.

 

And yes, on our board people do resign and there is always another willing to step into the spot-the last vote we had there were 3 contenders for President.

 

I understand about receiverships and all that but we are really going off the rails here.

 

That Director, if he had been involved with the community at all, and had attended meetings, he knows what types of complaints he would be facing.

 

I do not feel any defense for him; he can direct the OP as required but his attitude is not one I'd deal with, either.

 

 

""Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there." -Rumi
Valued Contributor
Posts: 949
Registered: ‎09-18-2010

Re: HOA RANT

@jellyBEAN   That is the best action you can take at this point, sending a formal letter of complaint by registered mail include photos as well.  You could cc the Board but your assessment of the President is correct, so I would keep it to the Project Manager.

 

Since there are several owners who are displeased with the outcome of the pressure washing, etc. see if you can get them to complain in writing as well.  The more complaints, the more impact.  See if you can find out if a performance bond was posted by the pressure company (I'm pretty sure there wasn't), then the Board and Project Manager would be able to recover any outlay that they have paid so far, especially if the Board decides to terminate the contract.

 

You are on the right path!

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,321
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: HOA RANT


@Stray wrote:

@esme wrote:

It sounds more like what happens with a timeshare. 


@esme - it's not a time share.  Most complexes, gated communities, over 55, highrises etc., grounds are the responsibility of the HOA.  You pay for these services via your maintenance fees.  There are often rules for the color scheme of your home, guidelines re shrubbery, decor etc.   


@Stray I understand that. Private property isn’t “grounds.”

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Keepin' it real.