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Subject: Suing HOA in small claims court
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Author Messages
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:41


01/08/2018 4:15 AM  
I was wondering if anyone knows of a community where homeowners have sued the HOA in small claims court over loss of rights. Our current Board is gradually reducing our rights by flouting state disclosure laws and, most recently, limiting the number of volunteers on various advisory committees which, in the past, have been open to all and have had an important say on things like architectural changes and landscaping. The limitations would effectively block over half of residents from serving on any committees at all at a given time, and could allow the board members to hand-pick committees to rubber-stamp their personal architectural or landscaping proposals which would be detrimental to the appearance of our community.

Since these rights are part of our dues under our bylaws and state law, we were thinking of assigning a monetary value to them and then having individual homeowners sue the board for that amount in small claims court. This would keep court costs down for all and get our grievances before a judge, assuming that our tactic would be deemed serious and not frivolous.

Any thoughts? Thanks.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/08/2018 4:55 AM  
Bad idea all around. Suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors. Do you really want that? And what "Rights"? That's an overused term meaning nothing in a HOA. What you have is the RULES of which are written in your CC&R's, by-laws, and Articles of Incorporation.

Having not read your documents, it makes me wonder if the board is not enforcing restrictions that already exist? Most HOA's you can not be a renter or just a resident to be involved in your HOA. They are NOT members. Plus in other HOA's you have to be in "good standing" to serve on the board or even to vote. So if your saying that "anybody could volunteer" puts up some warning flags to me.

The HOA board does have the final say over the ACC in the end. So the ACC may agree to something but the HOA board does have the final say to overturn that. Which is true with other committees in the end. Not to say that committees can't have renters/residents/others they don't have a vote in anything the HOA does. They can't even vote for the board.

So what is the real issue here? 9 times out of 10 ALL HOA issues can be resolved without going to court. The documents have all the information in it on how to run a HOA and how to change rules of a HOA. So if you all can't get back to the rules, then you have to get a majority of like minded people to do it.

If you do choose to sue, do it as a class action and NOT individual. That's much better solution than suing individually because the board should be protected via the liability insurance.

Former HOA President
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15081


01/08/2018 5:15 AM  
David,

I agree that there are times that one needs to involve the courts. However, that should be as a last resort.

I'm not sure what you mean by "flouting State disclosure laws." Granted, flouting means disregarding, specifics would be good. Perhaps with a reference to the statute in question.

Regarding committees, it is typical that most Associations have committee members who serve at the pleasure of the Board. Meaning, individuals are appointed to and, if needed, removed from the committee by a simple vote at board meetings.

Per NY courts small claims handbook, you cannot sue in Small Claims Court to force a person or business to perform a task, such as to fix a damaged item, or to fulfill a promise made in an advertisement. The court may not order the return of a personal item. Your lawsuit may be for money only.

Therefore, even if the court initially agreed to hear your complaints, the Associations attorney would immediately file a motion that you are in the wrong court and, I suspect, the court would agree.

Without specifics, the flouting of disclosure laws would be addressed in civil court. Who serves on committees would also be addressed in civil court. However, since committee members serve at the pleasure of the board, I think this would be an exercise in futility for that action.


As Melissia pointed out, the best way to correct those issues you have described is to gather volunteers, support from the membership and vote the current board out. This way, the statutes can be followed and that Board can establish procedures on how committee members are appointed. Perhaps even changing the governing documents to allow for elections to specific committees.

DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:41


01/08/2018 5:51 AM  
All helpful advice. In a nutshell, we have weak state oversight of HOAs and bylaws that have never been amended to anticipate the self-dealing cancer that now rules our community. A quarter of residents go along, we think, because he sees that they get personal favors. A quarter loathe him. The remaining half is apathetic and/or uninformed, but wil come screaming to us for help on the day they are each hit with a $30K assessment. Those against him fear he will permantly damage the community and our property values, financially and aesthetically. The election was a fraud.

But enough with the complaining. Bottom line: if we can’t convince half the community and get him removed by the required 2/3 vote, we will have to sue.
AugustinD


Posts:658


01/08/2018 6:48 AM  
David, any competent HOA attorney will advise that the most efficient and surest way to cause change at a HOA is to get a like-minded majority on the board. The courts are an option, but going this route takes a lot of time and energy. If one goes pro se, plan on having a roughly half-time job addressing this in court for a couple of years.

You could start by sending letters of demand to the board for the specific things your group wants. Then focus on getting new people on the board.
JerryD5
(Colorado)

Posts:188


01/08/2018 7:30 AM  
If you sue, you have to do it in regular court. Im not a lawyer but just because you "assign" a monetary value to your grievance, going to small claims will not get you any action.

You are better off to start a grass roots effort to get on the board (or a majority) and change the rules. Listen to the others in the forum. It is good advice.
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:41


01/08/2018 8:55 AM  
Oh, the advice is much appreciated. I thank each of you. We are a small community under 60 homes, however, and a number of us have been taken aback at how many homeowners seem to be fine with (or ignorant of) the self-dealing and corruption at everyone’s expense. Some of us who served on the last honest Board have been appalled at the incredible rudeness and ignorance of some of our neighbors. (Imagine, as a female board member, giving a thorough and honest report to the community at a general meeting and hearing the “B” word being uttered from the back of the room.). The cancer I spoke of who now rules things has bragged in the past of how many times he has been sued, as if it is a mark of honor. I can tell you that he is totally ignorant of state and local laws that apply to us, or he simply doesn’t care. All of his efforts are aimed at gaining approval to surround his home with shrubs and trees on common property as if he still lives on a private plot of land. Once this is done, it will create an eyesore for the rest of us and diminish our property values. And it will encourage some of the other vile neighbors to also flout the rules with a go-ahead-and-sue-me attitude.

I have heard worse horror stories at other HOAs, but you would really have to walk in our shoes and understand the backgrounds of some of the players to grasp the mess we’ve got here.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/08/2018 10:33 AM  
I think your answers lie in the governing documents as to whether or not the plants can be planted. It may be that a vote is required by the entire membership for such a change. There may also be a monetary limit on what the BOD can spend without such a vote.

My advice is to go talk to an attorney, and have ALL of your governing documents with you.
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:41


01/08/2018 11:45 AM  
Twice before, our landscape committee and the boards denied him a wall of trees that would have had the place looking like the Canadian Rockies and obstructed views for several of us. Undeterred, he got himself elected by cheating (gathering proxies from elderly homeowners, including blanks) and got the Board to restrict membership on the landscape committee to five of his hand-picked people. He'll pay for the trees himself. He'll just use common land. In October, he changed out plantings on common land near his home without permission.

This is the same person who got a prior board to permit him to install his own private sprinkler system (separate from the community system), in which he had his own controller (to irrigate at times of day not permitted by our city) but used the main water source paid for by all of us. This is at a time when the cost of water has been a big issue in the community and yet when this breach of ethics was revealed (including a very negative opinion from the Association's attorney), no one seemed to care except for a small group of us.

As for community votes in our bylaws, it is a majority to elect five board members each year and two-thirds to either amend the bylaws or remove a director. There are no other community votes, although there should be.

Douglas, thanks for your advice. Except for the attorney, it would be very helpful in a normal community. That's not us. We have a board president who's breaking more rules than everyone else combined.
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:41


01/08/2018 11:47 AM  
I should add to the post above that there are currently three Board members. All other volunteers for the other two openings have been rebuffed by the three.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/08/2018 1:51 PM  
David, your community, if governed by CC&R's recorded with the county and attached to your deed, is no different than mine.

My community has a four person board that does most of it's business through texting and emails. They use their text sessions and emails as "meetings" that are required each quarter. The president makes decisions often without even talking to other board members, sometimes he spends money on things for the neighborhood common area and submits the receipts for reimbursement, or to use as credit against assessments, without prior approval. It happens everywhere. The difference is our president is acting in the best interest of the community and yours either isn't, or is doing things that YOU disagree with. It is impossible for any BOD to please everyone.

DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/08/2018 1:55 PM  
I suggest you put all of these thoughts and issues onto paper and distribute it to ALL of the residents. Call for a special meeting and ask ALL of the membership to show up. If they don't, you may simply be out of luck. Apathy often times means they agree with the status quo. If you do not have a majority of support, the courts may not find favorably either.

Good luck.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/08/2018 2:00 PM  
The thing to remember in any court action is you have to ask the court for something. What would you be asking the court for? If the governing documents prevent the trees, or require a vote for that type of change, or that much money spent, you can ask the courts to stop the project, but you'll have to wait till the project starts.

If the guy has been sued numerous times and prevails, I'd be careful. He may know what he's doing.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2202


01/08/2018 2:01 PM  
Posted By DouglasM6 on 01/08/2018 1:51 PM
David, your community, if governed by CC&R's recorded with the county and attached to your deed, is no different than mine.

My community has a four person board that does most of it's business through texting and emails. They use their text sessions and emails as "meetings" that are required each quarter. The president makes decisions often without even talking to other board members, sometimes he spends money on things for the neighborhood common area and submits the receipts for reimbursement, or to use as credit against assessments, without prior approval. It happens everywhere. The difference is our president is acting in the best interest of the community and yours either isn't, or is doing things that YOU disagree with. It is impossible for any BOD to please everyone.




Great points! and actually matches reality.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/08/2018 2:02 PM  
The water issue could very well be reason to sue. I would ask for the minutes of the meetings where approval was given for the use of common water on private property.

Sorry I'm breaking this up into many posts. I have a sketchy connection today.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/08/2018 3:34 PM  
Your complaining about his actions effecting your "Home values". A HOA is NOT to keep your home values. Home values are based on REAL numbers. A HOA is ONLY to keep homes ATTRACTIVE to potential buyers. In fighting could have just as much effect as someone planting ugly plants.

Seems to me you don't need to mess with the court system. That will cause more damage than help. Your issue is getting a majority of like minded people to get together to vote out the board or a board member. If it's that bad, then you either run for the board or you vote the board out. Simple as that. Court don't care. They just make you "whole".

Talk about a bad President. We had one. He ripped off elderly with Alzheimer's, the HOA, and plenty of women. I put a stop to it. Got elected as President and put him under control. I straightened out the HOA and got it back on a more even keel. Took a few years and A LOT of hard work, but it never needed go to court. It needed to go to the membership.

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2202


01/08/2018 3:45 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 01/08/2018 3:34 PM
Your complaining about his actions effecting your "Home values". A HOA is NOT to keep your home values. Home values are based on REAL numbers. A HOA is ONLY to keep homes ATTRACTIVE to potential buyers. In fighting could have just as much effect as someone planting ugly plants.



STOP with this nonsense!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


01/08/2018 4:13 PM  
I don't often agree with Richard, but I do here. Melissa stop making this weak, incorrect, argument. it's just not try and many posters agree your point aren't valid.

David, I doubt you can find a anywhere--your bylaws or state corporations code--that the Board must create and maintain as many committees as owners want and must accept any members. Generally, board have compete control over their committees. I didn't used to agree with that but I do now.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2202


01/08/2018 4:20 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 01/08/2018 4:13 PM
I don't often agree with Richard, but I do here. Melissa stop making this weak, incorrect, argument. it's just not try and many posters agree your point aren't valid.

David, I doubt you can find a anywhere--your bylaws or state corporations code--that the Board must create and maintain as many committees as owners want and must accept any members. Generally, board have compete control over their committees. I didn't used to agree with that but I do now.



WOW..that makes me all warm and fuzzy.
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:41


01/08/2018 4:35 PM  
Yes, I think as Kerry points out, we have very little leverage in the law or the bylaws, so we must get at least this one person off the board. It would be like a breath of fresh air in the community.

I agree that infighting can be damaging . . . if it becomes public and reaches potential buyers. In our case, however, infighting will be necessary to take back the community for those of us who want to eliminate the cancer and restore some honesty, transparency and decency to the Board's work. We fully understand that if the dispute made it outside our gates, it could drive away buyers.

The trees would be Canadian-Rockies huge and would definitely block the views of my row of homes. We have 56 homes on over 60 acres of land, so the vistas are important to resale value (which is already up about 33% over the last four years).
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1761


01/08/2018 9:02 PM  
Posted By DavidF22 on 01/08/2018 11:45 AM
... no one seemed to care except for a small group of us.

This is a huge problem regardless of the circumstances. Our president went rogue on a couple of issues last spring. The rest of the board let him get away with it because none of them wanted to be president. They don't care. A lot of homeowners aren't happy with the situation but they couldn't be bothered to run for the board themselves later this month. We won't even have an election because we've got 5 vacancies and only 4 people interested in filling them. The bottom line is there just aren't enough people who give a shirt. That's a tough nut to crack.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/08/2018 9:32 PM  
So how is one going to prove that their home values were effected by their HOA? Tell me that? You have to sell your home at a "loss" and then prove it in a court of law. Well if you do that then you have no case against the HOA. Why? Because you are NOT a member of the HOA. It's like being a person who walks past a house and says "That house must be worth a million dollars" but it only sells at 500K. Can I then sue the HOA for 500K because it did not sell at the million dollars I thought it was worth?

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


01/08/2018 9:44 PM  
What does your latest post have to do with the OP, Melissa?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/08/2018 10:21 PM  
Well they keep saying their home values are being effected. Plus you all keep arguing with me that a HOA keeps home values. Well my point is "Prove it". How you going to sue your HOA or prove it did not keep your home values? Only way is to sell your home at a lower price of other homes that have sold in SAME conditions/size/condition of home in last 6 months. It can't be a short sale. Has to be proven beyond a doubt in a court of law that the violation of this President caused your or your neighbors house to NOT sell at it's appraised value due to the action of the HOA/President.

This person wants to assign a value to sue their HOA. Well that value to present to court would be this amount of difference. It's not that house does not sell at the asking price. The house has to sell at a loss based on the home sales/foreclosures/short sales in last 6 months of similar size. Which is what home values are based on.

My house sold at 75K. However, when it was appraised they said it was only worth 74,500. I had to pay the buyer the difference. It wasn't because the HOA had an effect on the home value. It was a square footage issue. However, if it wasn't could I have sued my HOA for my house not selling at my asking price?

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2202


01/08/2018 11:23 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 01/08/2018 10:21 PM
Well they keep saying their home values are being effected. Plus you all keep arguing with me that a HOA keeps home values. Well my point is "Prove it". How you going to sue your HOA or prove it did not keep your home values? Only way is to sell your home at a lower price of other homes that have sold in SAME conditions/size/condition of home in last 6 months. It can't be a short sale. Has to be proven beyond a doubt in a court of law that the violation of this President caused your or your neighbors house to NOT sell at it's appraised value due to the action of the HOA/President.

This person wants to assign a value to sue their HOA. Well that value to present to court would be this amount of difference. It's not that house does not sell at the asking price. The house has to sell at a loss based on the home sales/foreclosures/short sales in last 6 months of similar size. Which is what home values are based on.

My house sold at 75K. However, when it was appraised they said it was only worth 74,500. I had to pay the buyer the difference. It wasn't because the HOA had an effect on the home value. It was a square footage issue. However, if it wasn't could I have sued my HOA for my house not selling at my asking price?



You're clueless Melissa. Someone that has experience in the mortgage industry needs to school you.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/09/2018 4:25 AM  
Well School me Richard. I'd love for someone to prove how you can sue your HOA for "losing" your home values without selling your home. A court can only make one "Whole". Which means you have to have damages. Those damages would be that loss of home value would it not? It can't be "theoretical losses". It has to be provable tangible evidence.

If you sell your house, your no longer a member of the HOA. The very one your suing for losing your house value. How then are they a party to your lawsuit? Prove to me where in any of my documents it says HOA is responsible for my home values. In ALL the documentation it's NOT home values but keeping the property ATTRACTIVE to potential buyers. Keeping up lawncare. Dictating house colors. Enforcing rules of parking. ALL of these are part of keeping the HOA looking good. It does not say it's going to make sure a house isn't foreclosed, short sold, or sales at asking/value price.

Former HOA President
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:41


01/09/2018 5:13 AM  
When I was talking about home values, I was speaking about the impressions of potential buyers and not whether one could prevail in court. I don’t want a potential buyer to look out my window at a grotesque row of huge evergreens, make a face and move on to the next house. With all our acreage, people want to see vistas from their windows. To potential buyers, the row of trees might as well be a row of junked cars.

And, yes, the HOA has some effect on property values if it is charged with maintaining the community’s appearance. We looked at a nearby complex with nice enough homes, but the roads, curbs, lawns and siding were in kind of rough shape. I said to my wife, “This place is short of money,” and we moved on. Months later, I learned I was right.

Another concern we have is that our clubhouse and pool area are being neglected because so much money is being misspent elsewhere. The cancer who heads our Board doesn’t swim. I was the one to discover last summer that our pool was going without chlorine and mandated safety items. Meanwhile, a new complex is being built next door with a fabulous new pool and clubhouse. Where do you think potential buyers will want to go?
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/09/2018 9:50 AM  
Melissa, and I can't believe I'm engaging int his with you again, but maybe you'll understand it this way.

Two exact neighborhoods are built right next to each other. Same options, same floor plans, same size lots. The only difference is one of them has an association, the other does not. 8-10 years later, the neighborhood with the HOA is still clean and looks very nice. The one without has trash, inoperable vehicles, large commercial trucks, etc.

Which neighborhood would be the least expensive to purchase in?

The HOA is NOT REQUIRED to maintain home values, but it does. It is the purpose of the HOA to maintain a status quo, and not allow deterioration. The market does the rest.

When you say it doesn't help home values, it really discredits everything you say.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/09/2018 9:51 AM  
And that will be the last time I address home values with you.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


01/09/2018 12:52 PM  
I completely agree with you, Douglas, and admire your supreme patience. I vowed after replying a few times to one of her recent rants on the same subject, CAPS and all, to not deal with Melissa again on this topic. BUT, we may have new folks viewing these posts and I think we must be careful about what we claim is true.

Just one problem with Melissa is she focusses on individual cases-- A short sale; A foreclosure-- too often and then tries to generalize from them. One example is her constant repetition of "wallpaper" turning her off from buying a house.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/09/2018 3:47 PM  
Again the look of your house is NOT a HOME VALUE!!! It is how ATTRACTIVE your home is to a potential buyer. Home Values are based on REAL solid numbers. It's NOT fantasy or wishful thinking. It is real solid 100% based on REAL numbers!!! Your HOA does NOT protect the REAL Value of your home. It helps in making your home ATTRACTIVE to make it's potential of getting it's real value.

It is you ALL that can't seem to get the concept. If you buy a corvette and join a corvette club, does the club make sure your corvette sells at Kelly Blue book? The HOA is the club. The corvette is the home/property. The Kelly Blue book is the REAL numbers. Can't make it more simple than that...

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


01/09/2018 5:36 PM  
Oh, Melissa. The Corvette club does not maintain the cars or insist that they be maintained. Bananas & pineapples anyone?
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15081


01/09/2018 6:52 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 01/09/2018 3:47 PM

Again the look of your house is NOT a HOME VALUE!!!




Value, especially in homes, can have many different meanings.

There is the appraised value an evaluation of a property's value based on a given point in time that is performed by a professional appraiser during the mortgage origination process. (which I believe Melissa is referring to)

There is the assessed value the dollar value assigned to a property to measure applicable taxes.(which every homeowner wants to be as low as possible)

There is the market value The price an asset would fetch in the marketplace. (which most of those in disagreement with Melissa are referring to)

There is sentimental value The value of an object deriving from personal or emotional associations rather than material worth (which can influence the market value.

There is value in use: the market value of a going concern that reflects a value to
a particular user

Lets not forget investment value The value of property to a particular investor, or a class of investors, for identified investment objectives


I do believe that everyone concurs that an HOA does (generally) affect curb appeal. I also believe that everyone can concur that curb appeal plays an important role in property valuation. Be it by bringing in more buyers wanting the property (which can increase the market value of the home) or something else.

Depending on what type of value one is discussing, arguments can be made that HOAs have a great, little or no influence on the value of a property.

Hers is more info if interested:

Appraised Value vs. Assessed Value – What’s the Difference?

YOUR HOME; Market vs. Appraisal: What's the Real Value?

Sale Price vs. Appraised (or Market) Value

Defining Standards of Value

DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/10/2018 8:30 AM  
I have decided that Melissa is doing nothing more than trolling us. I'm not longer concerned that new posters will read her comments and be misled. I'm confident she is the only one.

If a car club mandated the cars belonging to members of the club be kept in pristine condition, the cars would fetch the maximum amount at sale. If they don't, my beat up old vette with ripped seats and smoking engine will not sell for as much as a nicely kept vette.

Thank you Melissa for using cars. That should make it clear to you how an HOA, or club mandating conditions, will help values. Values are based on real numbers. A crappy car will REALLY sale for less than a nice one.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/10/2018 8:32 AM  
Arguing with Melissa is a lot like competing in the special Olympics. Even if you win, you're retarded.

No offense intended with that, it's just how I feel.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2037


01/10/2018 10:45 AM  
Posted By DouglasM6 on 01/10/2018 8:32 AM
Arguing with Melissa is a lot like competing in the special Olympics. Even if you win, you're retarded.

No offense intended with that, it's just how I feel.





You might not have intended to be offensive, but you were - I've worked with disabled people on my job and I've come to HATE that word. Depending on the sport, I suspect some of those special Olympians can run you over without breaking a sweat, so show some damned respect.

It's OK to disagree with anyone on this board about anything, but name calling is a waste of time and says more about you than the other person (and it's not a compliment). I'm sure you can find another way to make your point.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:537


01/10/2018 2:18 PM  
Point taken. My Apologies.

I support the Special Olympics every year when they do their big bike run here. I knew there was a chance it would land on someones nerve. Sorry.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/10/2018 3:45 PM  
I don't think using that term is appropriate. Find it offensive and not a point made by use of it...

I live in a non-HOA neighborhood. The responsibility of keeping my "Home Value" in the same vain of what a HOA supposedly does is to use the City's resources. A neighbor has tall weeds, I call the City to enforce. It just takes longer to address. However, them having tall grass doesn't effect my home value if I decide to sell. So I don't see how being in a HOA has any more power in that other than making the process faster to deal with.

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2202


01/10/2018 3:46 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 01/10/2018 3:45 PM
I don't think using that term is appropriate. Find it offensive and not a point made by use of it...

I live in a non-HOA neighborhood. The responsibility of keeping my "Home Value" in the same vain of what a HOA supposedly does is to use the City's resources. A neighbor has tall weeds, I call the City to enforce. It just takes longer to address. However, them having tall grass doesn't effect my home value if I decide to sell. So I don't see how being in a HOA has any more power in that other than making the process faster to deal with.



PLEASE, give it a rest!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15081


01/10/2018 4:13 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 01/10/2018 3:45 PM

A neighbor has tall weeds, . . . having tall grass doesn't effect my home value if I decide to sell.




This would depend on how "home value" is defined (something I tried to point out in my last posting).

It might not affect the appraised value, however it could turn away prospective buyers.
If enough buyers are turned away, you may need to lower your asking price - affecting the sales price.

Worse, if that occurred with other homes in your area prior to you selling, now the comps are lower which can result in a lower appraised value.

Therefore, I would have to disagree with your statement.


Now, I do agree (even though it is often written) that the purpose of an HOA/COA being to maintain property values is simply not true. The primary purpose is to manage a neighborhood's common areas such as roads, parks and pools. The secondary purpose is to enforce the covenants.

However, even CAI (Community Association Institute) publishes that "reasonable restrictions, consistently enforced over time, will preserve the net value of the community and maintain a high quality of life for residents." If they are referencing curb appeal being an influence to the value of one's property, then I can see their point (after all, I just made that same argument).

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/10/2018 5:35 PM  
My overall point to all of this is that proving your HOA made your home sell for less money than it's "Worth" in a court of law is difficult or frivolous. Court is to ONLY make you "Whole". How do you prove it was your HOA's fault that your 3 bedroom 2 bath house you paid $100K sold at 90K because they did not hold up your home values?

You sue the HOA for that 10K loss? Now prove it. Did other houses sell for less? If so, were they foreclosures or short sales? Did you have potential buyers who in writing state they did buy your home because the HOA did not maintain/enforce a rule?

You also have to realize your no longer a member of the HOA your suing, as you sold your home. The house has to sale to prove your damages.

I am in no way saying a HOA doesn't effect home sales or bringing in potential buyers. They do bring in the conformity and attractiveness of amenities. It's just a misnomer if you believe "Home values" maintaining/improving is what one does.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


01/10/2018 8:21 PM  
Still trying to comprehend Melissa's point
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15081


01/10/2018 8:34 PM  
Kerry,

The point, as I see it, Melissa is making is based on the OP wanting to take their Association to court stating that Those against him [the President] fear he will permanently damage the community and our property values.

Based on that thought process, Melissa was, I believe, attempting to point out that it would be next to impossible to prove by what dollar amount the HOA damaged the property value (vs. some other factor affecting the value).

RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2202


01/10/2018 8:54 PM  
I re-read all of the OP's comments. In the first post, they asked if anyone has sued their association for taking away owners rights. A first post later he mentioned that if a community looks like crap, it will affect property values. That is true whether you are in an HOA or not.

Someone went off just like they always do such as suing your HOA is suing yourself. A properly maintained HOA will fetch a higher price. I can prove that from the community I lived in Our homes sold 8% higher than the ones just up the street (same builder, different association) and 14% higher than comparable homes in the same city.They homes are now selling for $650K is a crap load of money to people.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6904


01/10/2018 9:12 PM  
Exactly Tim. The OP said they wanted to sue their HOA and assign it a monetary value for what they perceive is affecting their "Home values". To state this is too broad of a statement. It is way too subjective. Proving it in a court of law requires proof of REAL monetary damages. That would require one selling their home for a loss or denied the sale directly related to the actions of the HOA/Board member.

That is basically what the OP is wanting to do. Sue their HOA for damages for loss of a theoretical sales price. You can't arbitrarily assign a sale price. It has to be based in reality. Which Home Values are based in a certain range of what similar homes sell for in a determined radius area. Going to court and saying "I put a million dollars asking price on my home but it sold at $500K. The HOA now owes me $500K." However, ALL the homes in the HOA only are valued at $500K range. The court is going to ask you to PROVE the HOA was directly involved in you not getting your asking price.

All of you that want to sue their HOA, have a few hard realities when doing so. I am going to point them out to you. Don't like it, then don't like it. A court can only make you whole. The burden of proof is on you. You have to prove damages. Making large broad statements like "My HOA is responsible for my home values" comes with a reality check.

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2202


01/10/2018 9:44 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 01/10/2018 9:12 PM
Exactly Tim. The OP said they wanted to sue their HOA and assign it a monetary value for what they perceive is affecting their "Home values". To state this is too broad of a statement. It is way too subjective. Proving it in a court of law requires proof of REAL monetary damages. That would require one selling their home for a loss or denied the sale directly related to the actions of the HOA/Board member.

That is basically what the OP is wanting to do. Sue their HOA for damages for loss of a theoretical sales price. You can't arbitrarily assign a sale price. It has to be based in reality. Which Home Values are based in a certain range of what similar homes sell for in a determined radius area. Going to court and saying "I put a million dollars asking price on my home but it sold at $500K. The HOA now owes me $500K." However, ALL the homes in the HOA only are valued at $500K range. The court is going to ask you to PROVE the HOA was directly involved in you not getting your asking price.

All of you that want to sue their HOA, have a few hard realities when doing so. I am going to point them out to you. Don't like it, then don't like it. A court can only make you whole. The burden of proof is on you. You have to prove damages. Making large broad statements like "My HOA is responsible for my home values" comes with a reality check.



How does the comment "I was wondering if anyone knows of a community where homeowners have sued the HOA in small claims court over loss of rights." translate to suing your HOA over home values...WHERE???
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15081


01/11/2018 2:22 AM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 01/10/2018 9:44 PM

How does the comment "I was wondering if anyone knows of a community where homeowners have sued the HOA in small claims court over loss of rights." translate to suing your HOA over home values...WHERE???




First posting:

Posted By DavidF22 on 01/08/2018 4:15 AM
I was wondering if anyone knows of a community where homeowners have sued the HOA in small claims court over loss of rights. . . .
Since these rights are part of our dues under our bylaws and state law, we were thinking of assigning a monetary value to them and then having individual homeowners sue the board for that amount in small claims court. This would keep court costs down for all and get our grievances before a judge, assuming that our tactic would be deemed serious and not frivolous.




Combined with his second post:

Posted By DavidF22 on 01/08/2018 5:51 AM
All helpful advice. In a nutshell, we have weak state oversight of HOAs and bylaws that have never been amended to anticipate the self-dealing cancer that now rules our community. . . . Those against him fear he will permanently damage the community and our property values, financially and aesthetically.

Bottom line: if we can’t convince half the community and get him removed by the required 2/3 vote, we will have to sue.






Granted, it's a leap but not a big leap.

Personally, I think David, the OP, was venting frustration.
He seems to know what has to be done - gather support and vote the bums out - but fears that won't occur and was looking at other options.
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