How to stop an HOA from blowing a quater million bucks

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Lemme guess - rock lawn?
Banty
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growing grass and killing bugs :o)
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OK - so, what, exactly, was the improvement in practice that SQLit proposed to his HOA board, to save all that landscaping *and* all that water cost, that caused them to react so horribly?
SQLit?
Banty
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Banty wrote:

If I were cynical (who, me? :) ) I'd assume it was probably the sweetheart deal w/ the nephew, etc., that wouldn't be renewed that was the cause of the ruckus, not the solution itself...
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Possibly. On the other hand, the Proposal That Saves Big Bucks may be that whole segments of maintenance be blown off for a few years, at least until some time after the Proposer sells, that taking place before the effects of the negligence becomes visible. Seen it.
It cuts both ways.
My mental red flag gets raised when the proposal is 1. Unspecified to us, and 2. Involves *both* landscaping costs and water costs. Unless someone on the board has cousins both in the water district and the landscaping business??
So I get this "Paul Harvey" what's the "rest of the story" feeling about it. If I'm left to fill in the details all by myself, my guess is - the proposal involved some massive negligence of the grounds.
But he can surely post and clarify...
Banty (me, I'm so cynical, I don't believe either "side" of much of anything!)
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Larry, besides the HOA documents there can be a big impact by state laws. Since you did not specify the state and did not describe the property, (condo, coop, or individually owned) all the answers that you have so far are meaningless.
Charlie

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"Larry, besides the HOA documents there can be a big impact by state laws. Since you did not specify the state and did not describe the property, (condo, coop, or individually owned) all the answers that you have so far are meaningless. "
Not very likely. Do you know of any state where a condo board is restricted by law from making repairs to the property that they deem necessary? State law typically calls for things like open meetings, access to records and the like, but doesn't get involved in what are business decisions.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

condo assn. in Florida can raise it's budget, but no limit I know of on "special assessments". There have been a couple of large HOA's in FL with major construction defects not discovered for several years and requiring repairs that approached purchase price of homes. Same builder has a condo in my area with major construction flaws, discovered much sooner. About 4 years old, has had tarps and scaffolding all over it for about the past year. Their condo board president is an attorney :o) I hope they take that particular builder to the cleaners and leave him there, naked.
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Charlie Bress wrote:

I'm in Michigan, and these are site condos.
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Were there specs for the original job? Were they met? Did they include something about doing the job right? Is the original contractor judgement proof?
(or was the road preexisting to the development.... didn't sound like it since you said it was only used by your sub.)
--
be safe.
flip
Ich habe keine Ahnung was das bedeutet, oder vielleicht doch?
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Philip Lewis wrote:

The road was part of the development.
I learned a few things tonight after making a bunch of calls. Got in touch with the only board member who opposed this thing:
1) There is nothing in the by-laws that state they have to call a special assessment meeting for ANY expense if the money for whatever they want to spend is in the budget for the next year, provided the budget goes out at least 30 days before the year end. The budget was sent out on November 30 (how convenient!). What's really scary about this provision is that the road could have cost 10 million bucks, and they could try to pass this off to us without any approval of the co-owners.
2) A contract has NOT been signed, and the board will have to collect a certain % of money before the contractor will do the work. I don't yet know what % that is, but I believe it is over 50%. This gives us who oppose some time to get a petition going.
3) They waited last year to fix the pot holes that formed to try and sway people into believing the road was really a piece of shit
4) 3 of the board members live on the road that is to be replaced
5) The quote the contractor came up with is not set in stone, as there's a provision that he can change the quote based on oil prices, since asphalt cost goes up as oil goes up. The replacement was supposed to happen in April, which as we all know, the cost of oil generally goes up in the spring/summer because of travel.
6) The whole idea came about from the President of the association, and the VP of the management company.
Can someone tell me what relation a management company has to an association? IOW, what do they do for us?
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writes:

The November 30 thing isn't necessarily a sign of malfeasance. That was their deadline and they met it. I'd argue that it would have been good for the board to have a public discussion of the situation before making such a significant decision.

My experience (several years as a board member in a HOA) was that the Management company was supposed to bulldog collections issues, monitor legal issues, report on certain things around the neighborhood (compliance with covenants, for instance), and offer suggestions to the board since the management company should have more collective experience than most HOA boards. In addition, the Management company was supposed to offer a buffer so PO'd homeowners didn't start fistfights in the street with board members. Of course, there is a fee associated with this, and it is substantial. In our association, the Management company did a truly horrible job and we fired them. If all Management companies were as bad as the one we hired, I don't think the management company industry would last very long.

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clipped

I haven't followed this thread blow by blow, but mgt. companies are worth every nickel. They can do the really unpleasant stuff, but can't make board decisions. Can help keep boards out of legal trouble. That said, the issue in this thread may represent a good decision. In Florida, boards are legally required to maintain the property. Not optional, not based on cost. Potholes obviously represent a maintenance need. At some point it is wise to stop throwing good money after bad and put down a good road. The total $ is big money, but the owner share is far from hardship. It gets real tiresome to have folks coming to the door about maintenance deficits when boards don't do their job. We just fixed a sagging roof - wood beam rotted entirely through - that was held up for years with two sections of downspout. Makes for some good jokes with the contractor crew :o)
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In addition, the Management company was supposed to offer a buffer

Who was the company?
What did they do so poorly?
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"Can someone tell me what relation a management company has to an association? IOW, what do they do for us? "
The management company works for the association, is hired by the board and manages the day to day operations of the condo. That includes collecting maintenance fees, sending out late notices/fines, paying bills, keeping the books, responding to unit owners requests for info or maintenance, etc, soliciting bids for work that needs to be done, recommending vendors/contractors, verifying work being done by vendors/contractors, periodically inspecting the property and putting up with a lot of abuse
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In FL, it is generally on a contractural basis and condo associations contract with them for certain functions. Decision making remains with condo association/board. It can be anything from complete day to day management, effecting repairs and maintenance per approved contractors, acting on complaints, rules violations, assessment arrears. Can even have a licensed condo manager conduct meetings. If the association is large enough, it is probably the only way to go. We have a small assn, only 8 units. Full outside mgt. would be cost prohibitive, so mgt. company pays bills as authorized, keeps books, files taxes, issues some of the meeting and budget letters. State law requires letters to owners at certain intervals prior to board meetings and budget votes. State law also requires that condo assn. maintain financial reserves for roofs, parking lots and painting, but allows owners to vote down reserves - the board cannot vote down reserves AFAIK. FL. statutes are very clear in stating that board members are responsible for maintaining property and can be held personally responsible for not doing so. FL statutes don't define maintenance or any standards, and best answer on the topic is that they maintain according to local building codes. Local gov. doesn't enforce building code, so it is basic free-for-all.
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Larry Bud wrote:

Just a follow up to this as I get more info:
We have started a petition to 1) oppose the increase, 2) call a special meeting (we actually need a certain % of signatures to do this and 3) remove the president of the board. I hit the pavement and talked to 20 people, 19 of which signed the petition, and 1 who was some old cranky guy that told me to "go to hell". Kinda funny.
We have found out that the builder had a $500,000 bond for the road. The sub was built 10 years ago. It was told to many of the people (at least this is what many residents that I talked to said... the fact that it came from several independant sources tell me that it's most likely true) that the bond ran out a few years ago, but now we found out that it really ran out 6 months ago!
We're trying to figure out who told whom what, and who pushed for the road just now, instead of 2 or 3 years ago when it could have been covered by the bond, and what relationship is between the builder and the management company..... follow the money.
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Larry Bud wrote:

Update on this, and advice needed:
Enough people complained for them to only raise dues from $75 to $130. We still, however, want to call a special meeting.
We have gathered enough sigs to call a special meeting, but the board and management company has refused. They claim that the petition was not binding. In addition, one of the board members have told the others on the board (there are 4 total, there is 1 opening that they have failed to fill) that he signed the petition. They claim that he's in conflict of interest (he IS a co-owner), and they've scared him enough to back down on wanting his name on the peition. He's afraid of a lawsuit.
What do we do next short of hiring a lawyer (or getting the hell out of here) when it's clearly spelled out in the by-laws what is required for a special meeting?
There is election in April, so maybe we just should wait until then and try to run and get on the board, assuming elections they hold are fair (I wouldn't put it past them that they aren't).
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Some states have rule governing how a Home Owners Association board must conduct itself.

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First, boards have a LEGAL DUTY (here in Florida, ennyhoo) to maintain the property and have the authority to pass special assessments to do so. IF they have acted in good faith and according to statutes and bylaws, it would be hard to run a legal objection to their action. If your pothole problem is causing damage to vehicles or lots of complaints, it sounds as if they have acted judiciously. They are probably a code violation as well. The amount of increase - $150/month for six months? - sure isn't beyond reasonable for repairs.
A petition, by itself, likely would not be legally binding. Florida has separate statutes for HOA's and condominiums. Also has process for arbitration, but that is generally for administrative wrongs (board has not complied with statutes or bylaws), not to take issue with a particular vote.
Having enough signatures to call a special meeting doesn't meet muster here, as the board still has the authority to vote for maintenance and repairs, not the association. You may have enough signatures (members to vote) to recall board members, and a new board could then vote down the project (unless contracts already signed). In Florida, the members have to vote if there is a material alteration to the common areas - like installing a new pool - but repairing existing roads would not seem to be a material alteration. Read your documents. Members can always sue here, but in FL the loser pays costs.
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