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?
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!)
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
"Larry, besides the HOA documents there can be a big impact by state
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
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
It can be tricky. There is, I believe, a percent limit on how much a
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.
Um... there is one solution I havn't seen mentioned.
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.)
Ich habe keine Ahnung was das bedeutet, oder vielleicht doch?
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
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?
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
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.
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)
"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
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.
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.
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
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).
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
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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