Home repair contract question.

This isn't about my home, but about a contract my HOA is about to sign for repairs to the road and parking lot.
How important is it, and who should be listed as the customer on a contract for such work to be done in our n'hood? As opposed to listing the management company as the customer.
A week ago, at a board meeting, we saw a propsal by the company they have decided to do business with and it was signed by the paving company representative, on their stationery, and listed as Customer the property management company we use to collect HOA fees, to pay bils, to look for contractors, etc. It listed as Project Name/Address us, with the address of the president of the HOA's address.
It listed as Project Contact the employee of the management company assigned to our n'hood, and as Contact Phone, her phone.
At the bottom is a line for Customer Authorization, which I'm pretty sure the pres. of the HOA will be signing, but maybe it will be someone from the property man. company, and even if it is the HOA person, I don't know that will help us, since no such name appears anywhere on the contract, and she probably won't include her title, and "Customer Authorization" refers pretty clearly to "Customer" at the top, where it names the property management company.
I suggested that the HOA should be listed as the customer, and if it wasn't and if perchance it was necessary to sue, it would be more difficult, having to get the management company to sign off on everything (and having to get them to agree to any settlement, or keep them from withholding agreement.) I didn't say the part in parentheses.
The others involved gave the impression that they would have the "Customer" changed. They called last week's form a proposal and said it would be followed by a contract.
So now it's a week later and the current form I saw today lists only the three items we agreed to do and not a couple others we decided not to do, but otherwise it is is identical to the previous form.
Anything with a signature by the paving company, and a blank called Customer Authorization and a place for a signature and a date looks like a contract to me.
Not only that, it occurs to me that we don't have exactly the same interests as the management company. I"m not sure how this would cause us problems, but I'm slow-witted. (One thing might be related: They don't really search for contractors when we need one, unless pushed. Usually they have 3 or 4 of each kind and they recommend to all their clients 2 or 3, whatever the building or n'hood wants to see. The management company may think our complaints are unreasonable (even I may think that given the people here) and maybe not want to antagonize a contractor they are happy with. Actually, the board members tend to be pushovers, and it's probably more likely they won't sue when they should. This would be especially true if the management company doesn't want the nuisance, and it will be a nuisance for them, I think, since they are listed as the customer.
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Who is paying the bill? The IRS may one day audit the records and whoever paid the bill is the one able to expense or depreciate the cost of the work. If you have doubts, check with yhour lawyer.

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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

move away to the country...no hoa to deal with here.
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IANAL, but I suspect the paving company will want owner of record listed on the contract, with maybe the management company signing as 'agent for'. I don't think they can do a lien, otherwise. (Like if the management company stiffs them on the bill.)
I wouldn't lose a lot of sleep over it, but if your HOA has a lawyer on retainer, this is the type of stuff you keep him around for. In all odds, it will be a pre-printed or pre-written (now that everyone has laser printers) boilerplate contract. The legal stuff will probably be at the top, and the details of work spelled out as an 'included by reference' attachment.
aem sends...
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You are right, the HOA should be listed as the customer, but the issue is not important. The managment company is acting as agent for the HOA. So the contract is between the contractor and the HOA regardless of the fact that the HOA's agent did the actual enterring into. If you need to sue the contractor and the HOA won't cooperate, the HOA will simply name the management company as an additional defendant. Not a big deal. As for the lien, the contractror will place a lien on the property if necessary, regardless of whose name is on the contract. And finally, if the contractor sues, they will name both the HOA and the managment company as defendants. So you are right, but it's not worth starting a fight over.
This answer must not be relied on as legal advice for the reasons posted here: http://mcgyverdisclaimer.blogspot.com . And I am not your attorney.
McGyver
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I was Pres of a HOA for many years. And I generally agree with what has been said so far. Technically, you are correct, the HOA should be listed as the customer. However, I doubt it makes any real difference. If any litigation, liability, etc comes up, all parties are going to be involved. And if it were to go to court, it's very obvious what the relationship among the 3 parties is, where the work was done, and that the HOA paid for it. The simple thing to do is for the board to just change it on the contract, but I wouldn't lose sleep over it. I'd be more concerned that someone with some smarts review what's in the rest of the contract.
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My observations as a field investigator for HOA reserve audit studies:
99.89% of the people who belong to HOA's have no clue as to what is in their CC&R's. Board members score about .5% higher than the general uninformed public. They have ideas as how things SHOULD be, but in general, run things how THEY want them to be, the rules be damned. They don't want such small things as CC&Rs popping up when trying to foreclose on someone's condo for having the wrong colored deco rock. Boards are comprised of people who want to get in and get control of the neighborhood, and have the time to meddle and do so. Everyone else is busy working, or has done a stint on the board and are smart enough not to run again. The most important posts on the board are given to people who are too dumb to know to refuse them.
In any case, you're all right, and you're all wrong. The HOA, the board, of the management company (and in some circumstances even the developer in cases of construction defects) can be entered as the party on the contract. The contractor really doesn't care because he will just lien the property if there's a problem. As I said, most people do not know what is in their CC&R's, and a HIGH percentage of people never see a copy of the CC&R's until AFTER closing. It all depends on your CC&R's, and then that can be contradicted from one page to the next. And, in case you haven't heard, the lawyers who represents the company(ies) are not bound to represent the home owners. The home owners or association must engage their own lawyer on those issues.
There is no hard and fast rule here, and there are no concrete answers. You will have to go through your own HOA, CC&R's, and legal eagles to find out what sort of answer it is for YOU in YOUR situation.
We deal with management companies, HOAs, boards, and every level of muck along the trail of HOAs. I am glad all we do is go in, determine the common elements from the CC&R's, inventory them, and do a five to thirty year projection on replacement costs, inflation, and reserve asset management. We then turn this over to the board (with glee) and they take the raise in rates to their homeowners.
I'd live in a trailer house at the end of a dirt road before I'd live in a HOA neighborhood.
Steve
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What lawyers representing what companies? The OP didn't even mention any lawyers as I recall.
The home owners or association must engage their own lawyer on

I've yet to see a Master Deed, CC&R or anything else that specifically addresses who's name has to go on a repair contract. The documents talk about who can authorize repairs, eg Board, but I've never seen any that address this level of detail and seriously doubt any would. And since you have such a low opinion of the knowledge of HOA's, what good is it to tell him to go through the HOA for the correct answer?

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Yeah. When I reread it, there was only multiple referrals to suing, defendants, and legal talkese. But you're right. He never did say the word "lawyer".

Because usually, the home owner is indoctrinated that the HOA is the ruler of all situations, and, like the Great OZ, all things must come from there. In the end, the bill is usuallly made out to the entity with the power of writing the check. Just a guess.
Steve
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On Sun, 5 Aug 2007 17:45:15 -0700, "SteveB"

Right. It's all standard contract law. Other stuff is standard corporation law, and some states have special laws for HOAs, condos, or coops. My state has maybe 5 pages of HOA law and the rest is contract and corporation.
I don't remember us having any agreement with the man. company about their being our agent other than in collecting hoa fees, but I could have forgotten how broad the clause is about collecting our fees. It would have just needed 4 or 5 more words in the same clause. But even if we do an agency agreement, that's no special reason to use it when our officers are available to sign the contract.

That doesn't describe me. I even sued the HOA once, pro se, and not in small claims. I did fairly well, considering they had lawyers and I only had me.
However, the HOA does have the power to hurt people the officers dislike.
The same woman was president then, and though she pretends to like me now, I have big doubts. She's sort of President for Life, because no one else wants to do the work. Well, if someone was sure they would only have the job for a year or two, I think a lot of people would do it, but it's easier to just let her do it year after year.

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On Sun, 05 Aug 2007 09:17:43 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

.....
Thanks to everyone who replied and especially to McGyver and Trader4.
My reply is out of logical order and in the order I find things to reply about.

It certainly helps to discuss things, and reading this line from you and a similar line from Trader below, I think this is, in reverse, what bothers me. The contractor would indeedd sue both of us. There is no reason the man. company MUST have its name on the contract. Lots of people fix up sellers with buyers and then let the two of them do the final contract alone. It's in the interest of the man company NOT to have its name on any contracts like this, because eventually, involving some property somewhere, one side or the other will sue, and then the man. company has have its own lawyer get involved, even if just a motion to dismiss, but maybe more.
So if they are losing something by putting their name on the contract, they must be gaining something also, that I don't know about.
Although this particular man. company agent isn't especially impressive, she works for a company with a pretty big office in pretty expensive building and they've been there for years. She must get some supervision from someone who seems to know what he's doing. It would be easy for them to keep their name off the contract, so if they let it stay, I figure there must be a reason, greater than her need to feel important.

You're both right. I will have more things to fight with them about, I'm certain.

-

They will be now. If the man. agent didn't dislike me, and she sure seems to, why I don't know**, I would call her and ask her. She wasn't at last week's little meeting, and yesterday's meeting was mostly picnic, even if I had thought of asking then.
**maybe I ask too many questions. She already didn't like me when I wanted to know why we couldn't tell the tenant that the water was going to be disonncected. She gave the "I have 12 years experience" speech, a sure sign someone's about to be offended, if not already. I backed off then, but I"m sure she dislikes me more now. :)

You're right.

OK. Maybe, that will be a later post.
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