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05-17-2019 08:59 AM
@esme The OP owns her unit and is responsible for all the interior maintenance of that unit. The outside, meaning the driveway, lawns, etc. are considered common areas. The HOA is comprised of every single owner of each unit within the development and governed by a Board of Directors, all volunteers and owners living in the development. When the HOA was created, it set up rules and regulations governing and determined that the common areas maintenance would be the responsibility of the Association for a monthly fee. The HOA has the final decision as to what the exteriors of the units and the common areas will look like, meaning the HOA has the right to determine what color the outside of your unit can be, whether you can have a flag, what color your driveway should be, if you are allowed pavers on your driveway. The HOA fee that the OP pays each month, covers the mowing of the grass, snow removal, pressure washing of units and driveways, salary for the property manager, liability insurance.Sometimes the property tax for the common areas are included in your HOA fee. Not all Condo's are this inclusive but OP's is. The drawback is being subject to rules and regulations and any decision made by the Board of Directors. She cannot do anything to the outside of her unit unless it is approved by the Board of Directors.
It is lovely to not have to worry about cutting your grass, etc. but it limits you. I have no doubt that her driveway will be taken care of as well as the problem with the pressure washing. It will not be as quickly as she might like but it will be taken care of.
Most people when they purchase especially if they haven't lived in a Condo are surprised about Condo living until they, actually, become owners. That is why you need to request and read the rules and regulations before purchasing and not relie upon your real estate agent to explain it.
05-17-2019 09:25 AM
I do own my TH. Our community here is relatively small for a TH community, perhaps that is why they take care of the exterior maintenance - the lawns, common areas, some exterior work such as shutters, roofing, and driveways. We pay a VERY HIGH monthly fee. It is not cheap to live here. I'm more concerned with the driveway discoloration than them not washing my unit like all the others. Yeah, it needs it, but at this time I really don't want them coming back here and messing anything else up. Once bitten twice shy, isn't that how the saying goes?
Latest news is the power-wash company claims the damage was originally caused by the contractor or another power-wash company and thus by this cleaning it brought everything to the surface. BUT my driveway wasn't charcoal gray before, it was cream color. It's all patchy and dark and dirty looking.
I sent a certified letter. On Monday I will forward my pics that I took. A lot of other driveways don't look good either, but they were not tested on like mine was so they are not as noticeable. The defects aren't as dark. Gives me heart palpitations just thinking about it. I'm fearful of more chemicals being sprayed on it and harming the concrete further. To me their xcuse of blaming it on prior work and not their liability is like saying the dog ate my homework. It's just a lame xcuse.
I live in a small townhome community just like yours. I feel your pain. Sounds like your Board of Directors did not take the time to investigate the work of these so-called professional power washers before hiring them. Try very hard to avoid having these guys return to wash your home and fix your driveway. Incorrect power washing can often damage concrete and can remove paint from exterior walls. Even correct power washing removes some of the surface of a concrete drive, especially down here in the South where imitation "skim milk" cement is used in place of the heavier rocky concrete used up North. Your HOA president should look at your driveway. Ask him if he would be satisfied with your result on his own driveway. None of your driveways should have required power washing after only 2 years. Keep the faith and good luck.
05-17-2019 10:46 PM
It has been decided by our HOA Board that my driveway damage was not the fault of the recent vendor who did the work on it. It was decided the damage was done prior to his spot testing his chemicals on the driveway and the discoloration was caused by this prior work. Does this even make any sense? If it was caused by prior work why wasn't my driveway discolored then? Am I going crazy? I understand they want no liability and so they will deny, but now what recourse do I have? I'm very surprised my fellow HOA board members who all live in this community are not supportive. It's almost as if they are blaming me for the damage done. Gosh, I'm really surprised.
Now what do I do? I've written another letter saying other than the damage done, no other work got done. I've already gotten a second opinion from someone else who said they caused the damage by using too much pressure and poor equipment thus eroding my cream coat on top of the drive. Boy, some neighbors I have. They know I'm a retired single lady living here by myself. I'm so hurt as I've not caused anybody any problems here before. They can all go to you know where!
05-17-2019 10:49 PM - edited 05-17-2019 10:54 PM
And people wonder why HOA's have a bad name, and why I want nothing to do with them.
I'm sorry that you are going through this.
05-18-2019 07:43 AM - edited 05-18-2019 07:45 AM
I would consult a lawyer. You have suffered damages - regardless of who caused them - and you deserve resolution.
It sounds like they are blowing you off because - as you noted - they think you won't be able to do anything about it.
They will probably respond differently to a lawyer and a potential lawsuit.
05-18-2019 09:56 AM - edited 05-18-2019 10:03 AM
@jellyBEAN I'm so sorry! Any chance you have pictures of your previous driveway?
I would go to small claims court. If you have previous pictures of your driveway, take them with you, take pictures of your existing driveway as well as the estimate and consultation for the repair and all communications from the property manager and the Board of Directors.
This is less costly and far easier than hiring a lawyer. The point of going to small claims court is to allow the Board of Directors to allow you to correct the driveway and compensate you on the cost. More than likely you will get to correct the driveway and the Board will have to pay something toward the repair if not all of it.
Small Claims Court is a very simple process and effective as well.It is a nominal cost as opposed to hiring a lawyer who will write a letter and the Board will ignore it and you will still have a mess of a driveway. Do not be scared if the Corporation lawyer shows up to represent the Board, it doesn't bear much weight as to the outcome, the Board, only, wishes to make you worry and lose courage.
As a former Board Member, this is the most effective as far as results and cost to achieve what you desire.
05-18-2019 10:51 AM - edited 05-18-2019 11:02 AM
I don't think the answer is that they "allow" her to attempt to fix it - or that they pay "something toward" fixing it.
She is entitled to ahve it restored to its original condition - and that may mean replacing the concrete - which could be very expensive.
This was NOT her fault and she was damaged by what happened. That's why I think she needs a lawyer.
And the Board's lawyer, rather than giving the OP a hard time hoping she will give up - ought to be going after the company to recoup the damages they caused.
05-18-2019 11:11 AM
@Isobel Archer A lawyer is a costly expense and the cost to fix her driveway is more than likely to be under $200.00.
The Board of Directors must allow her to repair the unit, she cannot do it without Board Approval and she could be subject to fines as well.
There are rules and regulations and since the HOA is responsible for all outside maintenance and NOT the owner of the unit, she must get approval to do her own repair, thus the Board allowing her to do so. The Board is stating as well that this is a pre-existing condition. The Board will not replace the concrete based on their statement to her.
Small Claims Court will get her what she wants which is having her driveway repaired more than likely deciding in her favor to use the gentlemen she wishes to use and the decision could include the cost being paid for by the Board. It is a swift, quick, easy way to a resolution of her problem without having to go through the cost of a lawyer and then having to go to court as well.
Having been a former President of Board of Directors and having dealings of this nature is the reason I recommended Small Claims Court. She will be able to get her driveway fixed to her satisfaction and eliminate the ongoing argument with a Board who is absolving themselves of all responsibility.
05-18-2019 11:31 AM
I cannot locate a picture of my home that includes the driveway. Who would have thought to take a picture of a driveway moving into a new home? My home used to be online as there was a virtual tour of the home which showed the outside, and I searched my computer history for it because I knew I saved it under my 'favorites', but with all the updates and things since then I cannot find it. I only have the photos after it was damaged.
Also the Board President has been so nasty towards my complaint, and siding with the vendor (I'm positive to avoid any liability) I wouldn't expect the Board to approve my request to have the improvement done, and if I did it without Board approval - that's another can of worms. I was told that ALL board members took a look at my driveway and drew the conclusion the damage was done prior. Not one of those board members ever came to my door and spoke to me. I've been home. You'd think one of them would have had the decency to speak to me. I don't want to be belligerent but I also don't want to roll over and feel less than everyone else around here. I am an easy target. An older woman who is single and quiet and keeps to herself.
I did look up small claims court rules and regs. I also read online that when a vendor is contracted for a large job that HE should have photos of the neighborhood and know what the problem areas might be, etc...But the Board and the Real Estate Co. won't tell me who the 'vendor' is - the company, the address, the owner's name - NOTHING. I've asked in writing for this several times, as well as many other questions, and my questions are not answered. They are at a loss as what to do to make me happy. This has really SOURED me on my neighborhood.
05-18-2019 12:44 PM - edited 05-18-2019 12:47 PM
@jellyBEAN You do not need the name of the vendor, only the Board of Directors and the Property Manager. You are taking the Board to court, you cannot get the vendor to give you pictures because the contract is with the Board. You can ask the gentleman who gave you the estimate if he would come with you but he might say no. Just have all the correspondance from the Board, the Project Manager and the estimate. Mark down the date the Board came to look at it and state that you were home as well.
I am so sorry that this has been so difficult for you, take a deep breath, it's not worth getting yourself sick. You can handle this. I wish I lived near you to be able to help you with this.
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