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Subject: Small Community HOA - Not Actively ran by Trustees
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NicoleS9
(Oklahoma)

Posts:3


01/15/2019 3:09 PM  
Background: Moved into small neighborhood (15 homes) that had a protective covenants set in place by developer. Received our paperwork, read through, seemed fine, paid dues of $100.00 at closing and then dues would be due January 1st each year thereafter.

First Issue: The community is on a gravel road and when we moved in I had asked the real estate agent if the road was maintained by the county and she told us it was. Residents in the neighborhood had been grading and taking care of the road and the mowing of the common areas and entrance. I chalked it up to it the county not coming in very often. After a hard winter and the road deteriorating and the neighbor that had maintained had moved our road was in bad shape. I contacted the county and they advised me the road is not maintained by the county because the developer did not set up proper drainage. Lesson learned always call the county and confirm, I did speak with the developer and he also stated he was told it was a county road by the first commissioner he dealt with (sure he was). This brings me to my next issue which goes hand in hand with this issue.

Second Issue: The H.O.A. was signed put into place February 14, 2012. To make a long story short the accountant that was suppose to have been handling the dues along with the two named trustees for the H.O.A., the developer and his wife, state that they have only received dues from 3 homeowners, mine from closing and two more that were supposedly billed for 2018. Both the accountant and the developer stated they never opened an account for the dues to be deposited and only tried to start collecting since 2017 but have only received those payments described above. I am assuming since my dues were collected at closing that other owners also had to pay at closing but they say they do not have any other money.

I need guidance on where to start, I want to get this association up and running if it means that we could maintain our road and the common areas that need to be maintained. After doing some research online it seems to be these people have somehow taken money or just really don't know what they are doing. I am assuming I must contact the neighbors and advise them what I have found out about the so called H.O.A., try to find out who has paid their dues to determine where the money has gone. As of right now I am a homeowner and there is no Homeowners Board the only ones named was the developer and his wife as trustees of the H.O.A. and they along with the accountant have done nothing and have no accountability of where the dues are or where the previous payments have gone.

If someone could give me some guidance at least where to start that would be most helpful.

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2558


01/15/2019 4:04 PM  
My community was well established, so I don't have any experience in this area, but I hope the following can be of some use.

To begin, you'll probably need an attorney to guide you through all this, so you may as well start and sit down with one to go through the documents you do have and determine what this is. You may find things are just too unstable and it may be better to cut your losses and walk. If you'd like to create a working HOA, at least you'll have a better idea what this is (maybe there's more information in those documents you really need to be aware of).

You know the gravel road is HOA property (such as it is), but someone has to be willing to oversee maintenance of it and other common areas. You can't do it by yourself, so your next step is to sit down with all your neighbors and see where they stand (some might not give a damn, so you may as well find out who they are). Start knocking on doors and see if you can call a meeting somewhere. It may be no one's paid HOA fees because the developer didn't do jack with them anyway and some may not even want an HOA, given all the bad press they get. If that's the case, all of you need to talk to this developer and find out once and for all what he intends to do with the community (because clearly he doesn't know and might not care beyond getting the houses sold). Among other things, you need to find out where your money went - and I might be inclined to say to his face if he's not making any effort to set up a functioning HOA, he owes you a refund. Is there an HOA budget? Let's see it. If no one wants the HOA, what is the developer going to do about the common areas? Is he talking to the county about taking over the road and if so, where will that money come from (expect a bump in your local taxes if they do).

That's a start, anyway. If the man makes promise after promise, get them in writing - in fact, from this point on, don't do anything without it being in writing in case things get hairy and you have to go to court. In the meantime, you didn't say if you've ever lived in an HOA before - if not, or even if you have, some education may be necessary on how they're set up, developing a transition plan for when the developer turns the community over to homeowners, etc., etc., etc. I often refer people to the website of the Community Association Institute - they do have their issues, but I do like the education materials they make available for HOA board members and residents, as you can get some insight on best practices to run your community. Keep on returning to message boards like this one and use the search functions to look up issues you might be curious about. Some folks here provide great examples and the others a horrible warning - you'll learn the difference soon enough.

Good luck!
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:501


01/15/2019 7:18 PM  
Nicole- little confusing.....
Has there been a turnover to a member run HOA or is this still a developer owned community?

NicoleS9
(Oklahoma)

Posts:3


01/16/2019 6:45 AM  
Thank you for your reply.

The H.O.A. has not been turned over to the homeowners but the "trustees" have not actively done anything since before I moved into the neighborhood. I believe that if our roads were not as bad as they are then there would be no complaints but because the developer who is also the trustee did not set up correct drainage for the roads homeowners are no questioning what the H.O.A.'s actual role.

The "trustees" also cannot provide documentation as to how much money they received in dues and they stated they never set up an account for the dues to be deposited. So I am guessing that there might be some fraud involved but because

we do not have an active board and no one in the neighborhood has done anything or questioned what the H.O.A. provides I am starting from scratch and way out of my league but no one else is stepping up to correct this situation.

It is a confusing mess and my husband and I are thinking of paying for a consultation from a real estate lawyer to see where we stand.

I appreciate any information provided and really appreciate your time.

Thank you!
NicoleS9
(Oklahoma)

Posts:3


01/16/2019 6:45 AM  
Thank you for your reply.

The H.O.A. has not been turned over to the homeowners but the "trustees" have not actively done anything since before I moved into the neighborhood. I believe that if our roads were not as bad as they are then there would be no complaints but because the developer who is also the trustee did not set up correct drainage for the roads homeowners are no questioning what the H.O.A.'s actual role.

The "trustees" also cannot provide documentation as to how much money they received in dues and they stated they never set up an account for the dues to be deposited. So I am guessing that there might be some fraud involved but because

we do not have an active board and no one in the neighborhood has done anything or questioned what the H.O.A. provides I am starting from scratch and way out of my league but no one else is stepping up to correct this situation.

It is a confusing mess and my husband and I are thinking of paying for a consultation from a real estate lawyer to see where we stand.

I appreciate any information provided and really appreciate your time.

Thank you!
RoyalP


Posts:0


01/16/2019 8:40 AM  
sell and FLEE now

before y'all are involved in the foreseeable 'turnover disaster'
RoyalP


Posts:0


01/16/2019 11:07 AM  
ps. a 'real estate' attorney will be of little help

you require a 'contract attorney' who is well versed in HOA matters

EXPENSIVE

my above advice stands as a matter of practicality

UNLESS

y'all decide to stop obsessing and simply 'go with the flow'


next time: CAVEAT EMPTOR
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