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Subject: Convincing homeowners to join HOA
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JoeC8
(Rhode Island)

Posts:9


09/30/2010 12:40 PM  
Hi all,

I apologize if this topic has already been discussed. I searched briefly through the archive but could not find anyhting specific.

We have a relatively new HOA (less than 4-years old) in a mobile home park. We have about 53% of the total private owners as members.

Now, in this short time the HOA has gotten a few things done with regard to our park classification, park owner/HOA communications, etc. Little victories.

There is still this group of private homeowners that feel they needn't join the HOA since they "benefit anyway" from the HOA's hard work. While I understand where they're coming from, it's still a rather myopic viewpoint.

Touting our successes (and possible future successes) has so far not been enough to convince them otherwise.

Has anyone experienced a similar situation, but was able to convince these owners nonetheless of the benefits of joining the HOA?

What did you find worked?

Thanks!

Joe



DennisT
(Ohio)

Posts:109


09/30/2010 2:53 PM  
I guess I'm not clear on your situation. Is your HOA a voluntary one? Most HOAs are not voluntary so you join when you buy the property whether you consider yourself to be a member or not. Does the development pre-date the HOA? Check those documents.

If it's voluntary then there probably isn't much you can do to convince folks to join if you've already touted the benefits. Some people just don't want to join an HOA and purposely buy their property because it is not part of one. If that's the case then you'd probably be better of trying to recruit anybody who moves in in place of one of the holdouts.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4896


09/30/2010 3:32 PM  
Joe,
Yes, I have found many are willing to not join a voluntary HOA. They are content to let others do all the work while they benefit from that work. You may get a few of the holdouts to join if there are benefits to entice them. Social activities work for some. If there is trash service and it is tied to HOA members at a discount so that membership dues plus HOA trash service is less than other trash hauler charge that is an excellent enticement which may get some to join.
JoeC8
(Rhode Island)

Posts:9


09/30/2010 4:28 PM  
Hi folks,

Thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, ours is a voluntary association. That being said, if a member sells their home, the membership is automatically transfered to the new owner. That membership is then valid until the next HOA annual meeting.

When this occurs, we try to persuade the new owner to maintain the membership PAST the "expiration" of the membership. Our success rate is fairly decent in this regard.

I agree with what you say. And, that is that it'll take extra goodies to get these holdouts to join.

Thanks again.

Joe



SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2924


09/30/2010 5:17 PM  
JoeC8
What services or benefits do you currently offer? Try to sell me on it.
JoeC8
(Rhode Island)

Posts:9


09/30/2010 5:45 PM  

About the only thing we currently have going for us is "Right of First Refusal." We lease the land on which our homes stand.

Granted, if the HOA purchases the park we can technically pass a certain chunk of the mortgage costs to non-members. But, to me that sounds more like a threat than anything else.

The HOA has worked towards getting state recognition. And, with part of this comes some form of rent control. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the non-members benefit regardless.

So, in many respects we don't have much to offer (other than what we're already accomplished). But the non-members obviously cannot see the big picture. It's apparent they can't grasp the simple concept of "strength in numbers."





TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:9438


09/30/2010 6:56 PM  
Joe,

What is the purpose of your Association? Does it maintain a park?

Tim
JoeC8
(Rhode Island)

Posts:9


10/01/2010 6:17 AM  
Hi Tim,

The park from which we lease the land is owned by individuals who unfortunately run it as a "cash cow." No real regard for the private owners (many of which are retired snow-birds on fixed incomes). Essentially, they provide us with water (April through October) and trash (meaning, dumpsters). We mow our own lawns, keep our places neat and clean, etc.

Back in 1999, the state mandated septic/water upgrades. This wasn't merely a suggestion by the state. It wasn't something that the owners had to "think about" doing. It was a mandate. It wasn't going away.

Anyway, in 2006 the owners decided not only to rewrite our leases, but also jack up the yearly lease fees. The lease was written to pretty much give all the protections to the park owners, with very little to the private homeowners. The excessive increases were "blamed" on the mandates.

Why they didn't start the work back in 1999 is a mystery. The feeling is that the owners thought the mandate would be forgotten.

It was at this time we decided to form an HOA. We felt an HOA would protect us against these sort of actions.

At the time, the park was not recognized by the state. The owners managed to fly under the radar for many years. While being an HOA - and getting the park recognized as a true Mobile/Manufactured Home park - a host of laws now protected the private owners.

Yes, where we are (Rhode Island) there are very few laws that actually protect people in our particular situation UNLESS they have some form of classification by the state. In our case, it's being a M/MH park.

The HOA exists not only for protections, but also Right of First Refusal should the owners decide to sell it (or they get an offer to sell).

So, that's pretty much it. We're still young; we're still learning as we go. Obviously, it would be beneficial for all the private owners to join. But, they can't see it as yet.

We tried using our accomplishments with the state as a membership tool. Doesn't really work since their mindset is that they "benefit anyway."

I guess there is no good way to fight that mentality.

Thanks.

Joe





TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:9438


10/01/2010 4:33 PM  
Joe,

Thanks for the clarification. Wish I could offer you advise, but it sounds like your on the right track to achieve your goals.

Tim
DJ1
(Ontario)

Posts:798


10/01/2010 6:42 PM  
Posted By RogerB on 09/30/2010 3:32 PM
Joe,
Yes, I have found many are willing to not join a voluntary HOA. They are content to let others do all the work while they benefit from that work. You may get a few of the holdouts to join if there are benefits to entice them. Social activities work for some. If there is trash service and it is tied to HOA members at a discount so that membership dues plus HOA trash service is less than other trash hauler charge that is an excellent enticement which may get some to join.




Speaking only of my situation, being a non-HOA home embedded among many mandatory HOA homes, for me it has nothing to do with wanting to benefit from others work. I am not willing to subject my property to the restrictions, although enforcement over the last years against most of the HOA homes has been mediocre at best. I was the first to step up with double the suggested monetary contribution to restore HO access to the lakefront beach the developer had screwed up. I spent many hours trying to mediate as well. The major carrot, (beachfront access) was lost, so I wasn't prepared to subject myself to what I see as negatives and liability.
MaryA1


Posts:0


10/02/2010 10:08 AM  
Joe,

IMO, the problem lies with the fact that a new mandatory member's membership is only valid until the next annual meeting. I've never heard of this before. A mandatory membership in an HOA is valid until that person sells his property and then the membership automatically passes to the new owner. Membership in an HOA is "forever" or until such time as the members vote to have the HOA dissolved. Whomever adivsed the board to write the CCRs this way, IMO, offered very bad advice. Instead of trying to persuade property owners to join when their membership expires I would advise the board to seek another amendment to delete the clause which says the membership is only valid until the next annual meeting.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:1962


10/02/2010 10:09 PM  
He cannot do that Mary as it is a "voluntary HOA" not attached and running with the property.
MaryA1


Posts:0


10/03/2010 6:19 AM  
Thx Janet! For whatever reason I thought they had changed from voluntary to mandatory.

BTW, the HOA does not "run with the land", only the CCRs. "Running with the land" simply means the CCRs stay with land when title changes. Many properties have CCRs but no HOA.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2924


10/04/2010 8:05 AM  
The HOA exists not only for protections, but also Right of First Refusal should the owners decide to sell it (or they get an offer to sell).


Is this RI law, or did the owners agree to it?
JoeC8
(Rhode Island)

Posts:9


10/05/2010 6:26 AM  
Hi Steve,

Yes, an HOA has the Right of First Refusal. It is part of RI state law:

http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE31/31-44/31-44-3.1.HTM

SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2924


10/05/2010 7:34 AM  
Nice. Ok, now I see the reason you have the HOA. If I were you I would start an email list to keep people updated about things in the park, events, rate increase news, etc. That should keep people involved.

Or start a forum. www.freeforums.org is a good place. I've used it before. People can talk about anything. How to reduce bills, yard sales, etc.
MaryA1
(Arizona)

Posts:388


10/05/2010 7:59 AM  
Joe,

Right of first refusal comes with the requirement to have at least 51% of the mobile home residents as members of the HOA. IMO, the BOD needs to educate the residents on the importance of having right of first refusal. Once they understand exactly what it means and how beneficial to them it is you may start seeing an increase in membership.
JoeC8
(Rhode Island)

Posts:9


10/05/2010 8:10 AM  

Yes, we have. When we first sent out invitation letters back in 2006, one of the main selling points was Right of First Refusal, in addition to state protection, etc.

We've touted our achievements. We've tried to explain the whole "strength in numbers" argument. Not much works. Unfortunately, they're not easily swayed! Most of them are older, retired folk. Not wanting to stereotype...but...they're "set in their ways."

I thought someone here may have had successes trying other ideas.

We have just over 51% of the private ownership. So, if it ever came down to it, we definitely have RFR.

As for email, thankfully, most of our membership has email. So, any and all HOA-related items are passed onto them using this venue (when in-between meetings).

The forum may be something to look into. Thanks.







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