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Subject: Special Assessment for Cable Infrastructure?
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Author Messages
PaulaF
(Virginia)

Posts:8


09/09/2017 10:40 AM  
We are a small subdivision. Some members still have DSL, but it is apparently being phased out. Recently, an internet provider installed infrastructure for cable for one home and also added 3 other homes that were along the way to the lot of the homeowner who requested service. The cable company determined that this particular home met the County's infrastructure agreement and therefore did not charge these 4 homeowners for the infrastructure. Some of the remaining homeowners also want access to cable and the cable company has quoted a high price to install the instructure to the remaining homes (under 20). The HOA is considering a special assessment that would have to be paid by all homeowners, even those who already have the cable infrastructure (to lower the bill of the homeowners who also want the cable infrastructure). Can these 4-5 homeowners be forced to pay for the cable infrastructure for the other homeowners? This is not the same as a shared amenity, as the 4-5 owners already have access. Additionally, some homeowners still have DSL and may want to just keep that service.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6650


09/09/2017 12:41 PM  
You have to think about the future. When the people with DSL sell their homes would the fact it's not up to date technology effect potential buyers? So it's going to benefit all in the end.

The whole HOA will have to pay for this improvement including those who had it installed already. Our HOA was in a similar issue years ago. We still had dial up when DSL was hot. Luckily, we did not have to have a special assessment to pay for the cable service. However, we did have to agree to allow the cable company to dig and install the cabling.

Our experience years ago was the cable company was NOT willing to service our area at all. (Not just our HOA). It seems the equipment to be installed cost $1 million dollars or more. It also required a specially trained Technician. Which was in short supply as the company only had 6 Technicians qualified for their entire coverage area. (I knew one of the techs as they were an HOA member). So the cable company told everyone in our area (A 5 mile radius) that to cover the cost of justifying installation our rates would be increased than others in the outer areas. It would go down after they made the money back for the installation costs.

So I can see why the cable company may be taking the approach they are. The cost of supply has to be justified by demand. Your small HOA may be on that edge of supply/demand that means they will need to pass on the expense. A few homes may have just been a sample for them. An entire project is a different story.

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:6802


09/09/2017 1:23 PM  
Posted By PaulaF on 09/09/2017 10:40 AM
We are a small subdivision. Some members still have DSL, but it is apparently being phased out. Recently, an internet provider installed infrastructure for cable for one home and also added 3 other homes that were along the way to the lot of the homeowner who requested service. The cable company determined that this particular home met the County's infrastructure agreement and therefore did not charge these 4 homeowners for the infrastructure. Some of the remaining homeowners also want access to cable and the cable company has quoted a high price to install the instructure to the remaining homes (under 20). The HOA is considering a special assessment that would have to be paid by all homeowners, even those who already have the cable infrastructure (to lower the bill of the homeowners who also want the cable infrastructure). Can these 4-5 homeowners be forced to pay for the cable infrastructure for the other homeowners? This is not the same as a shared amenity, as the 4-5 owners already have access. Additionally, some homeowners still have DSL and may want to just keep that service.




My initial blush is the HOA should not be assessing all owners for the installation to those homes requiring it. Where in your Covenants does it say the HOA will provide cable service? Let those that need it pay for it. Can we assume you are one that needs it?
WayneN
(Florida)

Posts:8


09/09/2017 2:16 PM  
IF your covanets/documents allow for your HOA to enter a "Bulk" services agreement for cable,Internet etc do your self a favor and find a cable consultant.
Meet with them ( should be for free ) and see if they can/will work on your behalf to negotiate with all the providers in your area to bring this all together .
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14509


09/09/2017 5:23 PM  
Paul,

The short answer is yes.

Special assessments, like annual assessments, are applied to everyone within the Association. If you check your governing documents, you will likely find out this is the case for your Association.


Encourage your Association to talk to other providers.
Perhaps they will be willing to run service based on exclusive use for x years.

Don't take the cable companies word for it.
Encourage the Association to check with the County to see if those lots truly fall out of the infrastructure agreement or not.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:488


09/09/2017 8:03 PM  
Read your Declaration and Bylaws. Cable Service sounds like a New Amenity in your HOA. Not even a Material Change in an existing one! Most Declarations and Bylaws state what amenities are conveyed to the association by the Developer and how owners can either get rid of an amenity or add one. For instance, in my HOA, a special assessment is limited to repair or replacement of an EXISTING amenity. If owners want a new amenity, they must vote to fund it.
PaulaF
(Virginia)

Posts:8


09/10/2017 4:43 AM  
Thanks for all t he responses!
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:338


09/10/2017 11:12 AM  
If you are planning to add infrastructure, consider fiber optic instead of (or in addition to) cable. Fiber is faster and they have cable-like tv offerings, as well as Netflix and others over the internet. It could be better for future.

You can also get community wi-fi without the digging.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3355


09/10/2017 2:07 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/09/2017 1:23 PM
Posted By PaulaF on 09/09/2017 10:40 AM
We are a small subdivision. Some members still have DSL, but it is apparently being phased out. Recently, an internet provider installed infrastructure for cable for one home and also added 3 other homes that were along the way to the lot of the homeowner who requested service. The cable company determined that this particular home met the County's infrastructure agreement and therefore did not charge these 4 homeowners for the infrastructure. Some of the remaining homeowners also want access to cable and the cable company has quoted a high price to install the instructure to the remaining homes (under 20). The HOA is considering a special assessment that would have to be paid by all homeowners, even those who already have the cable infrastructure (to lower the bill of the homeowners who also want the cable infrastructure). Can these 4-5 homeowners be forced to pay for the cable infrastructure for the other homeowners? This is not the same as a shared amenity, as the 4-5 owners already have access. Additionally, some homeowners still have DSL and may want to just keep that service.


My initial blush is the HOA should not be assessing all owners for the installation to those homes requiring it. Where in your Covenants does it say the HOA will provide cable service? Let those that need it pay for it. Can we assume you are one that needs it?


I agree with JohnC46 ... My new HOA does not currently have hard wired Internet. We all must access via satellite. However, in the future when it comes further out to our area there is NOTHING in our HOA documents which states that Internet is "Common Area" and the HOA is responsible for assessing the owners to provide. You need to look at both your governing documents AND your State Laws to determine what is considered "Common Area" or "Limited Common Area" which can be subjected to HOA assessments.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6650


09/10/2017 2:45 PM  
I did forget to mention your HOA may not be responsible for providing cable. If it isn't, then you will all have to decide if you want to add this. If so, then you may have to assess everyone to pay for it. However, in our HOA we paid for our own cable personally. The issue was that we had to allow the cable company to dig in our common area. Something the HOA did need to vote on if we were okay with such a mass installation project.

Former HOA President
PaulaF
(Virginia)

Posts:8


09/10/2017 6:21 PM  
Thanks for all the input. There is nothing in our documents that requires the HOA to provide any services, such as cable or internet. We have no common areas...we only have a private road and most of the funds go towards maintaining this (which is a requirement set forth in our documents). In the end, I believe we will approach this as an individual responsibility and the HOA Board will facilitate by working with the cable company, but the cost will have to be borne by those individuals who want the service. Since we are somewhat rural, it looks like fiber optics is out of the question. We are also looking at options like LTE.
GwenG
(Florida)

Posts:488


09/10/2017 6:33 PM  
Good direction. Internet is an information service. It is not an essential utility and the HOA should not be involved in this discretionary service.

Our community had a similar problem. It is rural and the provider would not extend service without a committment for 50% subscribership guaranteed by the HOA and a million PLUS dollar investment. HOA did not get very far after that...

There are many options to get internet; this is best left to the individuals. Why create a burden on HOA owners that have no interest in internet with a discretionary service that might be outdated next year?

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