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Subject: DUI friend damages property HOA sues owner
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AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/04/2019 9:25 PM  
An owner was offered a ride to work the next morning. The driver arrived under the influence, and after nearly running the owner down, crashed into common area. There was(K damage. The HOA sued the owner because the driver did not have insurance. I have mixed feelings. Should the HOA let the association insurance pay for the damage then go after the driver, since the owner had no idea the driver would drive impaired? Or should the HOA sue the owner for authorizing the driver on the property?
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16257


04/04/2019 9:38 PM  
Technically, the owner is responsible for the actions of their guests.

That said, I hope the police were called and there is a police report for documentation.

The Association should be taking legal action against the driver.
With a judgement, they can garnish wages, seize accounts, etc. to pay the debt.

If all of that fails, the Association has to decide if they want to go after the owner for the actions of their guess or not.

Note: if the Association wins against the owner, the owner can take legal action against the "friend"


TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16257


04/04/2019 9:46 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 04/04/2019 9:38 PM


If all of that fails, the Association has to decide if they want to go after the owner for the actions of their guess or not.





err, actions of their guest or not
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:663


04/04/2019 11:49 PM  
Honestly, Let your insurance carrier duke it out among the involved parties.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:67


04/05/2019 4:48 AM  
I don't think the HOA should sue the owner. I agree with the advice to let the HOA's insurance company handle it. While typically I would agree with Tim that the owner is responsible for the guests actions I wonder if that includes the guest doing something against the law or does it just apply to HOA rules. I don't think the court would hold the owner liable if the guest killed someone. Are the roads gated or open to the public? Tough call but I think common sense says don't sue the owner.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7990


04/05/2019 4:58 AM  
This is also a CRIMINAL case. Which means the punishment could be the violator pay restitution to the HOA. Has this person gone to court to be convicted? The HOA needs to speak up and use their damages to help with the criminal case. Also if it's part of the punishment, the suing the owner may be double dipping. So get a lawyer and find out about the criminal side of this case.

Former HOA President
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3189


04/05/2019 5:54 AM  
hoa needs to let the insurance company deal with it.

if the hoa deals with it alone i would hypothesize the judge will toss it out of court against the homeowner. and let the case proceed against the driver which may or may not have any ability to pay.

ive seen court cases where one party spent 100k in lawyer fees and won in court, and the court ordered him to pay based on his ability. $50 month.

insurance deal with it. it may take years for the courts to decide and your hoa could end up with huge legal bills it is responsible for.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1179


04/05/2019 7:29 AM  
I, too, would think it a dead end against the member of the HOA.

Let insurance companies sort it out.

Suing your neighbor, in this case, yields little except bad feelings - and, may set a bad precedent.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1374


04/05/2019 8:06 AM  
Posted By AprilS on 04/04/2019 9:25 PM
Or should the HOA sue the owner for authorizing the driver on the property?


Before suing anybody, the association should discuss with their attorney and get an opinion regarding how much the lawsuit is likely to cost and the likelihood of prevailing. If the association loses the suit, they are just out a lot of money with nothing to show for it.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:55


04/05/2019 9:52 AM  
As others have stated, the insurance should of handled this. HOA should not have gone after the owner.

Poor advice by Tim. Another person on this forum that sides with the HOA a lot. The driver was not invited onto the property by the owner, therefore not considered a guest. The driver going while passing through private property "offered" a ride, I see no invitation by the owner and no invitation for the driver to come onto the property in an impaired condition. Some California people on this forum but it should come under California 846, owner is totally immune. But I would like to see what the California folks have to say on this.

More bad advice by Tim as well, should of let the insurance handle it, not the HOA. The insurance experts determine who has liability because they have the experience, not worth spending money HOA money on an attorney who has no expertise in this area.

Bad advice by Melissa who is always siding with the HOA and is quick to go spend money on attorney's. Melissa wants to help the criminal investigation by letting the attorney research the criminal investigation, you can't be serious? that in itself will open up more legal liability for the HOA. And since this appears to be private property, I don't see a criminal case here. And if the state/county does have jurisdiction, the HOA should not stick their nose in it for the reason I listed earlier.

I think the HOA will lose on this one. Let the insurance fix the damage to the common area and let the insurance go after the driver. The HOA and owner has nothing to do with it at that point. And also check if California has a uninsured motorist fund.

How much was the damage anyway?
BobB31
(Florida)

Posts:43


04/05/2019 10:04 AM  
Posted By SheilaJ1 on 04/05/2019 9:52 AM
As others have stated, the insurance should of handled this. HOA should not have gone after the owner.

Poor advice by Tim. Another person on this forum that sides with the HOA a lot. The driver was not invited onto the property by the owner, therefore not considered a guest. The driver going while passing through private property "offered" a ride, I see no invitation by the owner and no invitation for the driver to come onto the property in an impaired condition.



"Facts" not in evidence. Read it again. Based on what I read here:
Posted By AprilS on 04/04/2019 9:25 PM
An owner was offered a ride to work the next morning. The driver arrived under the influence, and after nearly running the owner down, crashed into common area. There was(K damage.



there absolutely an invitation for the friend to come pick the homeowner up.
But that's neither here nor there. I agree that the insurance company should handle it.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/05/2019 10:05 AM  
The owner was offered a lift by a coworker the day before the incident. The owner waited at the entrance to the property. The coworker apparently drove onto the property to turn around, as she was exiting, she nearly hit the homeowner, who was injured as she dove out of the way of the coworker. The entrance sign was demolished. The replacement cost was @ $9K.

The HOA Board and especially the property manager has become hostile to owners, becoming rude when asked questions, or disagreeing with the Board/manager’s indifference to the upkeep of the property. Individual owners have taken to buying/planting foliage/flowers/lawn seed/fertilizer in an attempt to having the property continue its downward spiral, despite two dues increases in three years.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/05/2019 10:05 AM  
The owner was offered a lift by a coworker the day before the incident. The owner waited at the entrance to the property. The coworker apparently drove onto the property to turn around, as she was exiting, she nearly hit the homeowner, who was injured as she dove out of the way of the coworker. The entrance sign was demolished. The replacement cost was @ $9K.

The HOA Board and especially the property manager has become hostile to owners, becoming rude when asked questions, or disagreeing with the Board/manager’s indifference to the upkeep of the property. Individual owners have taken to buying/planting foliage/flowers/lawn seed/fertilizer in an attempt to having the property continue its downward spiral, despite two dues increases in three years.
BobB31
(Florida)

Posts:43


04/05/2019 10:05 AM  
Posted By SheilaJ1 on 04/05/2019 9:52 AM
As others have stated, the insurance should of handled this. HOA should not have gone after the owner.

Poor advice by Tim. Another person on this forum that sides with the HOA a lot. The driver was not invited onto the property by the owner, therefore not considered a guest. The driver going while passing through private property "offered" a ride, I see no invitation by the owner and no invitation for the driver to come onto the property in an impaired condition.



"Facts" not in evidence. Read it again. Based on what I read here:
Posted By AprilS on 04/04/2019 9:25 PM
An owner was offered a ride to work the next morning. The driver arrived under the influence, and after nearly running the owner down, crashed into common area. There was(K damage.



there absolutely an invitation for the friend to come pick the homeowner up.
But that's neither here nor there. I agree that the insurance company should handle it.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/05/2019 10:08 AM  
I must not have been clear. Additional information, the owner waited at the entrance to the property, the coworker apparently needed to turn around. The coworker nearly hit the owner before demolishing the entry sign.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:55


04/05/2019 10:16 AM  
Posted By BobB31 on 04/05/2019 10:05 AM
Posted By SheilaJ1 on 04/05/2019 9:52 AM
As others have stated, the insurance should of handled this. HOA should not have gone after the owner.

Poor advice by Tim. Another person on this forum that sides with the HOA a lot. The driver was not invited onto the property by the owner, therefore not considered a guest. The driver going while passing through private property "offered" a ride, I see no invitation by the owner and no invitation for the driver to come onto the property in an impaired condition.



"Facts" not in evidence. Read it again. Based on what I read here:
Posted By AprilS on 04/04/2019 9:25 PM
An owner was offered a ride to work the next morning. The driver arrived under the influence, and after nearly running the owner down, crashed into common area. There was(K damage.



there absolutely an invitation for the friend to come pick the homeowner up.
But that's neither here nor there. I agree that the insurance company should handle it.


That's fine but the once this lawsuit gets going, a lot of different story's will come out, they will change or fade, facts will be muddled, all of them do not favor the HOA and the owners who have to pay for it. Not all costs can be recovered.

$9k is not a lot, let the insurance deal with it...it appears more issues are going on in this HOA, perhaps the directors are the one's that need to be recalled and replaced.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3424


04/05/2019 10:29 AM  
The HOA or it's representative should have done two things and two things only.

1) File a police report
2) Call your insurance agent

END OF STORY
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/05/2019 10:35 AM  
I agree. The property manager and board run the place like a secret society, so getting any information as to their reasoning is unlikely. The sanitized version will appear in the minutes.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3424


04/05/2019 10:41 AM  
Posted By AprilS on 04/05/2019 10:35 AM
I agree. The property manager and board run the place like a secret society, so getting any information as to their reasoning is unlikely. The sanitized version will appear in the minutes.



Didn't you know, this is what it was always intended to be!
BobB31
(Florida)

Posts:43


04/05/2019 10:42 AM  
Posted By AprilS on 04/05/2019 10:35 AM
I agree. The property manager and board run the place like a secret society, so getting any information as to their reasoning is unlikely. The sanitized version will appear in the minutes.


Run for the board or start a recall campaign.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/05/2019 12:06 PM  
Left the board after exposing the property company’s inept record keeping, IE, failing to pay bills, double/triple paying other bills, and threatening homeowners with lien action for failure to pay dues that were actually current, and the fact I related several instances where the manager had willfully lied to me and the other members. Between the president, the manager (who was providing benefits to the president) and a couple of stooges, I didn’t stand a chance. Most of the complex is inhabited by renters; owners by and large won’t care until there’s a 20K assessment to rebuild failing buildings, the result of years of mismanagement.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/05/2019 12:07 PM  
Silly, misguided me
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:55


04/05/2019 1:09 PM  
Posted By AprilS on 04/05/2019 12:06 PM
Left the board after exposing the property company’s inept record keeping, IE, failing to pay bills, double/triple paying other bills, and threatening homeowners with lien action for failure to pay dues that were actually current, and the fact I related several instances where the manager had willfully lied to me and the other members. Between the president, the manager (who was providing benefits to the president) and a couple of stooges, I didn’t stand a chance. Most of the complex is inhabited by renters; owners by and large won’t care until there’s a 20K assessment to rebuild failing buildings, the result of years of mismanagement.


Many on this forum are usually out numbered and stand little chance but most of them have been successful turning around HOA's that operate like yours, it takes a lot of energy or it takes a lot of money, usually both, if you are not motivated enough to do this, then let them continue.


GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2825


04/05/2019 1:34 PM  
If most of the units are owned by people who rent them out then it's a tall order to try and fix things. Personally, after working for years to improve my HOA which has less than 10% rentals, and experiencing first-hand how difficult it is to get anything done in this environment, I don't think I would even bother trying in an association with a majority of rental properties. I would avoid buying into such an association like the plague unless it was a goldmine for vacation rentals and I was interested in the investment possibilities.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2825


04/05/2019 1:35 PM  
If most of the units are owned by people who rent them out then it's a tall order to try and fix things. Personally, after working for years to improve my HOA which has less than 10% rentals, and experiencing first-hand how difficult it is to get anything done in this environment, I don't think I would even bother trying in an association with a majority of rental properties. I would avoid buying into such an association like the plague unless it was a goldmine for vacation rentals and I was interested in the investment possibilities.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7990


04/05/2019 4:47 PM  
I am wondering why the Management company is involved? This is an HOA board issue. They should be the ones calling the police and making a report. This is a CRIMINAL case. Like Richard suggested... File a police report and let the insurance companies duke it out. That's what NEEDS to happen. Don't need to sue the owner. This will just be handled by insurances.

BTW: That person who got mad and quit the forum a few days ago is back. Guess they decided they had enough time of their "life". Yeah... We KNOW you changed your name and came back... Thanks for making it clear I am on the side of the HOA...

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3424


04/05/2019 5:28 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 04/05/2019 4:47 PM
I am wondering why the Management company is involved? This is an HOA board issue. They should be the ones calling the police and making a report. This is a CRIMINAL case. Like Richard suggested... File a police report and let the insurance companies duke it out. That's what NEEDS to happen. Don't need to sue the owner. This will just be handled by insurances.

BTW: That person who got mad and quit the forum a few days ago is back. Guess they decided they had enough time of their "life". Yeah... We KNOW you changed your name and came back... Thanks for making it clear I am on the side of the HOA...



Do you really have ANY idea what a management company actually does on behalf of their clients. You would really be surprised!
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:55


04/05/2019 5:50 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 04/05/2019 4:47 PM
I am wondering why the Management company is involved? This is an HOA board issue. They should be the ones calling the police and making a report. This is a CRIMINAL case. Like Richard suggested... File a police report and let the insurance companies duke it out. That's what NEEDS to happen. Don't need to sue the owner. This will just be handled by insurances.

BTW: That person who got mad and quit the forum a few days ago is back. Guess they decided they had enough time of their "life". Yeah... We KNOW you changed your name and came back... Thanks for making it clear I am on the side of the HOA...



You mean that person with the tow truck HOA member, that is someone else. And it’s not practical to get 40 posts in 2 days. Anyway relax, just busting your chops.

Anyway, looks like it’s too late, the HOA already filed suit, hopefully they’ll give us an update on it.


JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:174


04/05/2019 7:24 PM  
How is this a question? It's between drunk guy and the HOA, period. End of story.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16257


04/06/2019 3:00 AM  
Posted By SheilaJ1 on 04/05/2019 9:52 AM

Poor advice by Tim. Another person on this forum that sides with the HOA a lot.




This is a forum for those who have served on their board or committees.
Not knowing when you became a member of this forum, you may not know my back story.
I located this forum while fighting my Association over a screen door that was on my property when I purchased. In doing research, I located a lot of anti-hoa sites who gave the advice to bring legal action. It should be noted that most of those sites are no longer operational. I stumbled on this site and told my story.

Members of this site asked hard questions of me. Told me to read the applicable statutes and governing documents. Through that advice I found that the statutes were on my side. When this was pointed out to the board, the issue went away. Knowing that if the board could do this crap to me, they could do it to anyone, I began a campaign to educate the membership and residents on what an HOA was, what the statutes and governing documents said and how they were followed or violated.

After 3 years, things changed. One annual meeting the members started asking the questions I had asked.

After 4 years of starting the campaign, I was elected to the Board. Once on the board, I discovered that what I thought I knew wasn't enough. I got a huge education by serving.

This site is to help others learn and share ideas.

What may appear as pro HOA may simply be the reality of how things are based on education, research and personal experience.

Anyone can take anyone else to court. Who wins is often a toss up. Having lasting changes is a toss up. I have discovered that if you really want to make changes within your Association you need to become involved.


Back to the OP issue:

I do agree with you that insurance is the proper way to handle this.
However, depending on the deductible and the type of insurance, it might not be realistic for the HOA to make a claim. This may be the reason for the Associations actions.

As I pointed out, they should be going after the driver first and with full force of the law. However, it could cost them more then 9K to obtain a judgement and may never fully recover all the funds. Therefore, it's likely that they are trying to find other legal avenues of to collect.

It's time for the OP to seek the advice of a local attorney and have the attorney write a letter responding to the HOAs letter.

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16257


04/06/2019 3:08 AM  
Posted By SheilaJ1 on 04/05/2019 9:52 AM

Some California people on this forum but it should come under California 846, owner is totally immune.




Having looked up the statute:

Civil Code - CIV DIVISION 2. PROPERTY 𖘆 - 1422] PART 2. REAL OR IMMOVABLE PROPERTY [𖙫.] - 945.5] TITLE 3. RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF OWNERS 𖚪 - 855] CHAPTER 2. Obligations of Owners 𖛀 - 848] ( Chapter 2 enacted 1872. )

I don't think it has anything to do with the issue at hand.

The property damaged was common area.
The owner of the common area is the Association (unless this is a condominium development)
There was zero claim that the conditions of the common area contributed to the accident.

As I read it, this absolves the owner if an invited or uninvited guest is injured on the property.


Is this the statute you refer to?


JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8195


04/06/2019 11:15 AM  
In my last HOA (700 standalone homes and many amenities) it took a group of us over 2 years including 2 election cycles to change our BOD.

Election 1: Enough of our people on the BOD to assure President not reelected. 7 person BOD with many 4 to 3 votes. 3 of them, 3 of us, and one impartial.

Election 2: We took control. 5 of us, one of them, and one impartial. Most votes 6 to 1 or 5 to 2.

We worked hard. Set up a booth at the pool. Worked the streets. Went door to door. Collected proxies, etc. It took some doing.

Bytching on the Internet does not make it happen.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:55


04/06/2019 11:21 AM  
Thank you Tim for the background and experience.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/06/2019 11:40 AM  
I understand what you’re saying, and wish there was a way to get there from here. Last time I looked, we were at 60% rentals. That was some time ago. I have ordered a new owner’s list, but believe things have only gotten worse. The owners are mostly out of state, and frankly couldn’t care less as long as the rent checks clear.

This is my few days a month property. Three of the five board members have been in place for years. They invariably win reelection in the every other year process, when two or three seats are open. Much like congressmen who keep their seats for decades, regardless of accomplishments (or lack thereof) these three, based on name recognition, keep their seats. I was on the board for two cycles. I organized a recall of the entire board when they refused to dump the management company. It was set aside when they agreed to get a new company. I convinced another owner to run and win a seat. I pushed for an independent contractor plus an independent account manager. Both were shot down, and we have a manager now that has proved to be unsatisfactory. As long as the three members remain, there is virtually no chance of change. Even with a recall, they could be reelected.

Having said all this, this wasn’t what I was looking for, I was merely providing background into the owner-hostile environment, but I thank you for your response.

I didn’t want or need advice as to recalling/replacing the board. I wanted some insight/benefit of experience into a specific activity.

I also thank you for you non aggressive approach, having served on both public and private boards, I recognize the value in it.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/06/2019 11:45 AM  
indeed
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/06/2019 11:52 AM  
We are at, at least 60% rental with no board member term limits. There was a crime report as the incident occurred at the entrance/exit adjacent to a major thoroughfare. The coworker was uninsured, so the manager/board are looking for an easy kill, despite the owner’s tenuous “guilt”. With the money that has been misused, I’m astounded they would take such hostile action against a member.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/06/2019 11:58 AM  
Again, the coworker hasn’t any insurance/assets. The board is going after the homeowner who was waiting for the coworker at the property entrance/exit, choosing not to refer the matter to HOA insurance (several claims in the last few years)

The owner had absolutely no idea the coworker would show up at 7:30AM drunk. The police responded, took the report and the drunk.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:67


04/06/2019 2:47 PM  
Can the homeowner turn it in their homeowner's insurance?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8195


04/06/2019 5:57 PM  
So basically the BOD is looking for someone to blame/sue versus file an insurance claim. Have I got that right?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8195


04/06/2019 5:57 PM  
So basically the BOD is looking for someone to blame/sue versus file an insurance claim. Have I got that right?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8195


04/06/2019 5:57 PM  
So basically the BOD is looking for someone to blame/sue versus file an insurance claim. Have I got that right?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1179


04/06/2019 7:37 PM  
John,

Sounds that way to me, as well.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/07/2019 4:01 PM  
Yes. What a way to build loyalty in a complex that charges 500bucks a month in dues.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/07/2019 4:02 PM  
IDK. I just wanted to get a read here to see if anyone had a similar experience and what the outcome was.
AprilS
(California)

Posts:18


04/07/2019 4:07 PM  
If I knew then what I know now, I would have spent an extra 100K or two, and not sought out a little getaway for a few days a month. I love the area. Uncrowded beaches, no major shopping malls, not much traffic.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3189


04/07/2019 5:04 PM  
Posted By AprilS on 04/07/2019 4:02 PM
IDK. I just wanted to get a read here to see if anyone had a similar experience and what the outcome was.




From other people I know that filed an insurance claim that had nothing to do with the insuraance company, they simply say it has nothing to do with them, best of luck.

Not sure what you think involving an insurance company will solve....... they are not a money tree and they dont pay claims they are not responsible for.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3189


04/07/2019 5:09 PM  
The board is going after the homeowner who was waiting for the coworker at the property entrance/exit, choosing not to refer the matter to HOA insurance (several claims in the last few years)



If your not aware of this........ insurance companies all share digital data. If someone, anyone makes a claim on their insurance company, it goes on file for both people. This might negatively affect the HOA even though they did not make the claim. Its possible the current HOA insurance company might drop them, even though its unrelated, its still a claim.
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