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Subject: Can I sue Board Members of my HOA
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LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 10:11 AM  
Can I sue in Small claims court, each member $10k each?


From Texas: Our home values is $400 up, we have 700 Residents.
Our property entrance wall which were on the books scheduled to be renovated in 2013, is nearly fallen to pieces.

When I questioned the HOA board members, they tell me they're still taking bids. They then say it will cost $200k,
yet we have 4 accounts totaling more than $400K. Why would we have 4 separate checking account?

Our president wrote a provision into a contract that we just uncovered, which states, they don't have to show any bank records after 7 years, we're coming up on year seventh, so year one will soon be hidden and held in secrecy.

Homeowners were billed nearly $6000 for Christmas lights which amounted to three sets of small lights around a light pole and to make matters worse, the vendor was the president of the HOA husband. I have ask for records , receipts, vendor names etc, and I'm still waiting as they have gone silent. Since my request, the president suddenly resigned from the board.

Thanks for listening. I understand suing the HOA would be suing my neighbors, but I want to make these people pay both personal and monetary for their expected criminal activity if possible.

Please Advise,
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:374


04/20/2019 11:20 AM  
Lolo, why would you sue the Board for any amount? You have suffered no personal financial loss.

Arguably the Association entered into a bad contract regarding the holiday decorations. I know you are upset about it but, what's done is done. Ensure future contracts are reviewed and the association gets it money's worth. It sounds like you and your neighbors need to mount a campaign to replace members of the Board.

The right to access association records is an absolute right in Texas. Your president cannot contravene Texas law. Put your request in writing and send it to the Community Manager, President of the Board, and the Registered Agent for the Association, Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.

While you do not have to indicate your reason(s) on your records request, I am curious what you think is relevant in 7 year old records.

With the funds your association has on deposit, I could justify at least 4, if not 5 accounts as follows:

1. Checking
2. Ready Reserve
3. Reserve funds invested in an account for X months for a higher interest rate.
4. and 5. Same as 3 at even higher rates for longer periods.

This is known as laddering accounts and is common practice in associations with significant reserve funds, not all of which have to be available next week, next month, or by the end of the year. The association can earn a bit more interest income on its funds on deposit.

I recommend you keep allegations of criminal activity to yourself until proof otherwise is available. When were the financial records of your association last audited?

BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:374


04/20/2019 11:39 AM  
Lolo, to add to my previous post, you may wish to familiarize yourself with Section 209 of the Texas Property Code. There are sections which address records requests, records retention, and bidding when family members are involved.

If your association has a records request policy, obtain a copy and follow it. Your request can be delayed or denied otherwise.

Please also note the ability of the association to charge for production of records, including reproduction costs and clerical expenses.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 11:45 AM  
Bill Thanks for your reply.

a) Regarding personal Lost: It is my personal lost if I have entered an agreement with the HOA to keep my property up and they've failed to do so. The value of my property slowly drops. I want to be reimbursed for the time I spend investigating their documents, hiring an attorney, gathering records and protecting not only my property but the entire community. Again, I have read a few articles that says, I can sure my Members in small claims court. I wanted input on that subject, and will that personal suit effect the homeowners.


b) ( your ?) While you do not have to indicate your reason(s) on your records request, I am curious what you think is relevant in 7 year old records. We should easily have 2.1 million in reserve, if it wasn't for the extremely high expenditures by our HOA, we currently only have $400k. If they do not have to show any banking records 7 years and beyond, what keeps them from moving money into personal accounts?

c) Criminal activity: Possible Embezzlement is my concerned. I am not sure you can have your unlicensed fiends and family members doing work on the property charging 10 times the normal amount. And once its brought up the president immediately resigns.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 11:49 AM  
Bill. I did request, that told me it would be very expensive to produce all records, vendors and bank statement. I hired an attorney to request all documents, and they haven't replied back. What I didn't mention id their failure to get on to neighbors in regards to the upkeep of their yards.

Personally: This (HOA Sorority) feels like the biggest non-police train robbery around. I will never again live in a HOA.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3263


04/20/2019 11:50 AM  
Posted By LoloJ on 04/20/2019 10:11 AM
Can I sue in Small claims court, each member $10k each?


Yes, you can file suit against each of them, and in each of the cases the judge will likely toss it out of court and tell you to refile against the HOA. The directors are acting on behalf of the HOA and not as individuals.

If you do file suit against the HOA for $10k, the judge is likely to award you $0, or $1 in a judgement since you have suffered no loss. The HOA will have to pay a lawyer to represent itself because its a corporation. The HOA will take that money out of the dues that you have paid.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3263


04/20/2019 11:51 AM  
Personally: This (HOA Sorority) feels like the biggest non-police train robbery around. I will never again live in a HOA.


You just dont understand HOA's.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 11:55 AM  
Thanks Steve,

I do understand HOA's. I understand they are able to provide work to unlicensed friends without accepting any other bids. Not sure what you call it , I call it embezzlement.

Mr.Lo
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3263


04/20/2019 12:01 PM  

a) Regarding personal Lost: It is my personal lost if I have entered an agreement with the HOA to keep my property up and they've failed to do so. The value of my property slowly drops.


Front entrance is not your property. It belongs to the HOA to which you are a member of. Your individual property value loss cannot be proven due to lack of front entrance maintenance.



I want to be reimbursed for the time I spend investigating their documents, hiring an attorney, gathering records and protecting not only my property but the entire community.


Typically a judge will not reimburse you for these things.




Again, I have read a few articles that says, I can sure my Members in small claims court. I wanted input on that subject, and will that personal suit effect the homeowners.


Yep, you can. Do you have a neighbor that has physically damaged your property or caused you loss? Everything you have mentioned previously doesn't count.



b) ( your ?) While you do not have to indicate your reason(s) on your records request, I am curious what you think is relevant in 7 year old records. We should easily have 2.1 million in reserve, if it wasn't for the extremely high expenditures by our HOA, we currently only have $400k. If they do not have to show any banking records 7 years and beyond, what keeps them from moving money into personal accounts?


Well, thats just your opinion based on nothing.


If they do not have to show any banking records 7 years and beyond, what keeps them from moving money into personal accounts?


Embezzlement laws.


c) Criminal activity: Possible Embezzlement is my concerned. I am not sure you can have your unlicensed fiends and family members doing work on the property charging 10 times the normal amount. And once its brought up the president immediately resigns.


Again, just your personal opinion. If its not prohibited in the CCR/Bylaws, its likely good. As for charging too much, although its unethical, its not illegal.

Want to change things? Run for the board. Your neighbors will vote you in.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 12:04 PM  
Thanks I really appreciated it...
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


04/20/2019 12:53 PM  
Lolo,

There is much for you to learn about HOAs.

Perhaps your HOA is not well managed or led ... this simply means you should organize your neighbors to replace the board in order to reestablish order.

If you are unwilling to do this, or your neighbors are unwilling, then you must continue as you are ...or move.

LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 1:00 PM  
Listen,

I asked a simple question about lawsuits. I am well aware of how HOA functions,
I got it. I have my answers. If you have nothing to add regarding a suit that hasn't been said, you have my ok to move on to the next blog.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 1:32 PM  
@Steve

Your point) Front entrance is not your property. It belongs to the HOA to which you are a member of. Your individual property value loss cannot be proven due to lack of front entrance maintenance.

**** The front entrance is indeed my property, Our Dues are paying for it, otherwise I would have the city repair it. And you're wrong again, it does effect our value, its the first Visual new potential resident see , and the last one they remember.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


04/20/2019 1:36 PM  
We got another one.

I’m moving on.
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 2:18 PM  
@LoloJ, you can sue all of them, but (1) the HOA likely has insurance that would cover claims and (2) the loss to you is small.

The way to go after them would be to file a "derivative suit", usually requiring that you demand that the current board go after them, and if the board doesn't then you can. However, the HOA, not you, would recover damages, for itself.

The transaction with the company affiliated with the spouse of the board president should have been approved as a "related-party transaction", and if it wasn't, it could be set aside and the HOA could demand that the company pay back perhaps part of the contract amount.

As other posters say, though: vote them out of office.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 2:32 PM  
Thanks John,

Maybe I stated in incorrectly. My beef and concerns or suit would be against our board members who enforces and writes the HOA rules.

I just research this: Many HOA board members are understandably concerned about their personal liability for lawsuits. Unhappy homeowners can sue the HOA and the Board members individually for any number of reasons--for example, if the HOA fails to properly maintain a common area, or discriminates when enforcing a rule.

Please advise,
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 2:47 PM  
Glad to help. Generally, if you sue a board member for even generally being a moron, you won't win; the "business judgment rule" gives them wide latitude to set rules and run the HOA, even if the board members make dumb decisions and aren't the best.

If you have concerns about a specific thing that the board members did, such as a specific rule or a specific action (such as the contract with the board president's spouse's company), then you might have more chance of success if:

* The board member violated "fiduciary duties", such as by showing loyalty to third parties before loyalty to the HOA and its members, or by doing something that benefited the board member at the expense of the community.

* The action or rule was done in direct violation of the HOA's governing documents or the law.

Even then, if you didn't suffer a material, quantifiable harm (such as financial loss that can be measured), it's tough to win. Please note that small claims court generally can just result in the recovery of monetary damages; small claims court can't give "equitable relief" (i.e., it can't force someone to do something, other than pay monetary damages).

To your credit, if you sue in small claims court, then your own legal fees will be low or nonexistent. When you sue a HOA, the HOA often is covered by insurance, and a vindictive board can just make the case drag on, just to run up your expenses, since the insurer is paying the HOA's expenses. Thus small claims court is a good idea, except that the only thing you can usually recover in small claims court is cash, and you recover cash only if you suffered measurable financial damages.

I'd do a derivative suit against them in small claims court if I were you, focusing on benefits that they gained due to their board service. Damages will be paid to the HOA, not you, but at least it'll show them.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


04/20/2019 2:56 PM  
Yes - great idea, JohnS! :-)
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 3:07 PM  
To clarify: if you're going to sue them--and it sounds like you are--then small claims court would be the way to go, and a derivative suit (with damages being paid to the HOA) may have the best likelihood of success.

Suing them yourself, seeking damages paid to you, wouldn't really work well, since if you sue them yourself, the HOA will call its insurer and likely get a free lawyer, and you wouldn't win much of anything.

I'd focus on voting them out office.
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 3:07 PM  
To clarify: if you're going to sue them--and it sounds like you are--then small claims court would be the way to go, and a derivative suit (with damages being paid to the HOA) may have the best likelihood of success.

Suing them yourself, seeking damages paid to you, wouldn't really work well, since if you sue them yourself, the HOA will call its insurer and likely get a free lawyer, and you wouldn't win much of anything.

I'd focus on voting them out office.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 3:22 PM  
Thanks John,

That's exactly what i'll do. My only issue now, they're not turning over records,
but maybe the judge in small claims court can help me out.

Thanks Again, now I have some type of direction and focus.
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 3:30 PM  
I would check state law and the provisions of your HOA's governing documents to see what records have to be turned over upon request, and I would focus on getting those. Sounds like you're already doing that.

I'm pulling for you- so frustrating.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 3:33 PM  
John,

Thank you Sir,

They've told me, I would have to pay a high cost to have them pull the records. Maybe the courts can reimburse me, If I win. I will figure it out. You've been really helpful.
AugustinD


Posts:1750


04/20/2019 3:34 PM  
Lolo, please quote verbatim what your HOA's Declaration says about enforcing the HOA's covenants. Typically Declarations allow HOA members to sue in court to enforce the covenants. In this case, you would want to sue to enforce the covenant requiring the HOA to maintain the common area, namely the property entrance wall. (Derivative scherivative. That's complicating things unncecessarily.)

One of the reasons several accounts are present may be FDIC limitations on coverage. I believe up to $250k per account is FDIC insured.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 3:52 PM  
Hi Augustin, I may not understand the question. Our HOA covenant is the same as others. The issue - they're not turning over vendors names,receipts, etc. I have access the budget records, which is how i was able to view the enormous cost(s). The $5500 spent on Christmas lights and broken wall are only two issues, we easily have 7 other problems that are just as glowing .
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 3:56 PM  
I wouldn't count on being reimbursed to obtain records, unfortunately.

Also note that if you sue, you'll have long-lasting enemies, and if you sue the board and the board remains in office, they can make your life hard.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8281


04/20/2019 4:01 PM  
No one signs a contract with the HOA to keep their home values. That is impossible. What you are agreeing to is to keep your home and the common area ATTRACTIVE to potential buyers so they will purchase at a good price. Again property VALUES are based on REAL #'s not what you think your house is worth. I give this example all the time: Looked at a house, hated the wallpaper, did not buy the house. Did the house lose it's property value because I hated the wallpaper? No. It lost my interest because did not like how it was upkept/decorated.

If you sue your HOA you sue yourself and your neighbors. That is a FACT. Where do you think the HOA money comes from? Your dues and your neighbors. Stop paying them and you get liened or foreclosed on.

A court can ONLY make one WHOLE. So you have to have had suffered actual damages. Saying you want to sue for 10K is just grabbing an amount out of the air. If your claiming your HOA let your home value go down 10k, then you have to prove that. Which involves selling your house at the 10K loss and testimony that people did not pay home value price due to direct HOA fault. However, once you sell your home... your no longer a HOA member.

I don't think you really know how a HOA works. It is ONLY funded by it's member for it's members. The CC&R's, by-laws, and Article of Incorporation are how the HOA maintains and operates. There is no "They or Them" in a HOA. It is YOU and your neighbors. So you may want to get your nose out of the stories you read and into the reality of how the place operates.

Former HOA President
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 4:06 PM  
John,

I am not concerned at the least of that. Their lives are the ones that are going to be a living hell. I have absolutely zero fear of the consequences on my end. If they're not guilty, than they have nothing to concern themselves with. I just need to get all of my information pulled together. I have an old saying " if you see me and a Bear fighting, don't help me, help the Bear!

I do have a question, is it possible for the State to pull our HOA license? And if that has been done, and we're still paying dues, would that change my case?

How can I find out? I
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 4:07 PM  
LoloJ, if you sue a HOA, the damages can be paid by the board members personally (in the rare case in which they are personally liable), or by the HOA's insurance carrier (which might result in a higher premium). It's definitely not the case that damages payable by a HOA are only from the HOA's members, even if in many cases they are.

LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 4:07 PM  
AT Melissa,

I have read enough of your post to say, I really don't need your opinion. You sounded to flaky to me, please move on.
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 4:11 PM  
LoloJ- I really wouldn't go into this with the goal of making anyone's life hard. What the goal should be would be to get the HOA and its personnel to follow the law, period. If you go into this with a goal of making others' lives hard, (1) it won't work and (2) doing so may well backfire on you.

I don't know about your state's HOA licenses. In mine, HOAs are corporations and they have certificates of incorporation on file with the state. Those generally aren't rescinded by the state, and if the HOA fails to comply with what are nominal reporting requirements in my state, the HOA can later correct the failure and pay a small fine and be as good as news.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 4:12 PM  
Thanks John,
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:347


04/20/2019 4:16 PM  
Lolo,
It is clear to me that you are frustrated. I think part of this is due to the fact that no everyone should live in a HOA. The people on the Board were elected by your 700 HOs and they may have picked a bad bunch. As others have mentioned they need to be voted out and replaced with better board members. You mentioned the Pres resigned. How is the vacancy being handled?

Not sure how the Christmas Lights install happened. Do you go to the Board meetings? This should have been on the agenda and I would have expected one or more Board members to ask if this person had the appropriate insurance and license to do this work. Hiring licensed contractors is much more expensive than "Jack of All Trade" types. HOA and Management companies always should avoid these deals. That is the PMs job to keep the board from hiring unlicensed vendors.

I agree with your case on the Front entrance needing to be done quickly. This is obviously an eyesore and reserves you be on hand to repair. You mention that you think they should have 2 million in reserves. Do you know how much monthly from the budget goes into the reserve accounts? They do have other reserve items that get replaced all the time in HOAs. The funds go in monthly and in some cases get spent monthly on repairs. I would ask for a copy of the reserve study. This should be a 20 to 30 page document and should be available by email. If not you can expect to be charged 15 to 20 cents a page for this plus clerical time if they choose to penalize you. Usually reserve studies are mailed to homeowners.

I have gone through the Small Claims process for my last board in Ca. Do not expect it to be very fulfilling. You will likely have about 10 minutes if you are lucky to state your case and more than likely to person who rules on the case has already decided if you will win or lose before you finish.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8281


04/20/2019 4:21 PM  
HOA's have a license? No. They are incorporated and do not hold a business license. They are also NOT an "industry". Basic HOA knowledge... Who are the members of your HOA? Not anyone here but you and your neighbors. Each HOA is different and is run separately. They are not related to each other.

Again, suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors. Enjoy find that out the hardway...

Former HOA President
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 4:27 PM  
Thanks Mark....i think i have a pretty good feel on what i need to do. Small claims court.
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 4:42 PM  
Please keep in mind that the threat of a lawsuit can be more intimidating than the lawsuit itself, once it's filed.

So threatening to sue may get more results than actually suing.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8281


04/20/2019 4:47 PM  
Such bad and cringe worthy advice. If someone sued us, i would just tell them to send the paperwork. Will see you in court. Never sued once. I do not bow down to idiots who threaten lawsuits without going through the process of HOA documented process. Court does not either...

Former HOA President
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 4:50 PM  
LoloJ, I have sued HOAs, and other matters relating to real estate.

I've won each time. (I withdrew one case and am in settlement discussions for it, though.)
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8281


04/20/2019 4:52 PM  
Your so full of it. HOA are NOT real estate...

Former HOA President
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 5:03 PM  
Everyone, you can go to "Help" and "Contact HOATalk Support" to notify the moderators of inappropriate posts, particularly ones that violate forum rules. Thanks.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 5:05 PM  
John, would you please email me, I have some doc's and finding I'd like to share with you.
[email protected]

Thanks
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


04/20/2019 5:39 PM  
I’m glad they found one another. 🙂
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3463


04/20/2019 5:50 PM  
Not sure where you are in Texas, but here's a link to information about small claims court in Dallas County.

https://www.dallascounty.org/government/jpcourts/3-1/smallclaims.php

If you've decided to take this path, your first consideration should be - "What's the judge's first impression going to be like?" Judge's are busy. A judge will lose patience with you quickly if you are asking the court to dig in and find out what's going on in your HOA. That's not going to happen.

Here are a few pointers for you:

The $10k limit is a limit on your total claim, not the amount you can claim against each of the defendants individually. A judge will blow you out of the water in around 5 seconds for wasting her time on something as ridiculous as bringing a $50k claim against 5 defendants in small claims court. Also, the judge is not going to award you $10k just because it's the maximum possible recovery available in small claims court. You will need to show the court that there was a $10k loss. Nothing you provided so far supports a judgment in your favor in the amount of $10k.

When you make statements like - How do I know that they're not taking the HOA money? - you don't earn any brownie points with the judge. If, instead of saying that there's only $400k in the bank when there should be $2.1m - You actually provide some detail about how you made those calculations, then perhaps some folks on this forum could give you positive feedback or advice on how best to present your claim to a judge. Same is true for your claim that there's enough money in the bank to pay for the wall repair that should have been done in 2013. Yet, you've said nothing about a reserve study which could possibly support your claim or support your HOA's defenses. Talking about money in the bank with no mention of reserve study requirements does not build anyone's confidence in the legitimacy of your claim.

I know that you think that the Pres resigned when you got too close to revealing his embezzling activities. Yet, there could be another explanation that could be more plausible to the judge. Maybe the Pres was just tired of putting up with your allegations.

Sure, there could be some shenanigans going on in your HOA. But putting a whole laundry list of grievances before a judge and saying I should be paid for my loss isn't going to cut it with any judge I've ever heard of. Better for you to identify just a few things, do some further investigation, and show the judge that you've done your homework and aren't wasting her time.

If you don't, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of a counterclaim against you for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Based on the lack of depth in your explanations, I could see that happening.

Finally, I think you will find on this forum that the more details you provide, the better the advice you will get. I'm not for you or against you. I'm just saying that you haven't presented anything close to a compelling argument.

If you look at the link above, a good place for you to start is to gain a reasonable understanding of how the Discovery rules work. If you don't follow what's required, you could lose an opportunity to find out what's actually going on in your HOA.

Best of luck.

Je publie un degagement de toutes responsabilite. Read all posts at your own risk.
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/20/2019 5:54 PM  
I'd agree with NpS. To win in small claims court, it's important to have a well-documented violation of a specific law or a specific provision of the HOA's governing documents, as well as actual financial damage that you incurred. If you file a derivative suit on behalf of the HOA, it can be necessary to jump through some hoops first (e.g., making demand on the board that the board sues the individuals, etc.), before proceeding.

Threatening litigation and delving into records may be just as effective, and less expensive. Best is to organize your neighbors and vote bad people out of office.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 6:23 PM  
I would not have started this post if i didn't have enough disturbing evidence to produce a case. In all due respect, I never asked for most of the (side chair judges) advice, I'm receiving from you guys. There's no cookie cutter decisions for lawsuits. I had a simple question, and that question was answered long ago.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 6:34 PM  
Also, please know i have an attorney i am working with, who has also REQUESTED records. But no threat of lawsuit has been mentioned.im weighing the pros and cons of everything, and mainly cost. I do appreciate those who provided sound advice, not so much to those who sounded more like they had an axe to ground.
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/20/2019 6:53 PM  
"grind"

Have a great weekend. Everyone.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8281


04/21/2019 12:08 AM  
9 times out of 10 you never have to sue your HOA for anything. All it does is damage your checkbook and your neighbors. If people would READ their CC&R's or By-laws they would see the solutions to their issues are in there. It's mostly procedural and options of voting out board members. A HOA is managed and owned by it's members. It always comes down to you and your neighbors. (Unless developer owned still).

People criticize my advice as "Pro-HOA" because I don't jump on board with the lawsuit ideas. It's not a "Pro-HOA" thing. It's the facts that if you make the effort the right way, you never have to sue. Lawsuits in my opinion is the lazy way out in many cases. (NOT all).

My HOA was crooked when I moved in. President was a con-artist ripping people and HOA off. The lawncare person did bad work and was a dealer. The budget was a mess and the place was going downhill. No one at the helm who was able to take charge. The President was a scumbag but people followed him anyways.

Now I could have sued for a ton of things. What did I do instead? Got the votes to run for the board. Made Vice-President and put my nose to the grind to find out all I could. The next year got rid of the President and took over. Spent 2 - 3 years straightening out our HOA. Made repairs, removed trees, foreclosed on a house, and stuck to the rules. It took effort and dedication. It also was FREE. Not paid 1 dime.

So no I am not going to encourage someone to threaten or to sue their HOA. Going to tell you to put on your bootstraps and get to work. Many of us here have done that in various ways. It did not take a lawyer or empty threats of lawsuits to get the desired results of a better HOA. My HOA? Their home sales sored and we had a waiting list to buy in by the time I left. Houses sold within hours or days of a for sale sign. I call that a success...

Former HOA President
LoloJ
(Texas)

Posts:49


04/21/2019 3:43 AM  
Melissa Im not sure what part of not interested in what YOU Have to say, that you don't understand. If you just like writing and seeing your own advice. Start your owm blog. Im a business owner where would i find the time, an example need to be made so it doesnt happen here again. Period!
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8281


04/21/2019 3:58 AM  
I worked a full time job with 10 hour shifts. Plus had a part time job of 20 -30 hours a week occassionally. Went to college on weekends. Plus volunteered for habitat for humanity and other things. ALL while being President of the HOA.

What do you think your board members do not have jobs too? Their ONLY qualification is to be a homeowner. You can not expect the impossible or perfection.

You keep listening to advice you want to hear. It is been the bad kind that does not help you. It just supports what you wan. Reality is you are wasting more time and money on a lawsuit your not going to win except in your head.

As far as Johns claims of being a lawyer... He has no clue on legalities of a HOA. So far has just told people to sue and has no winnable case except if someone does not show up to court. Win by default i strongly suspect. HOA ARE NOT REAL ESTATE they are Corporation. A corporation your a member of. So suing just hurts everyone.

Former HOA President
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/21/2019 4:48 AM  
LoloJ, I think that you’re handling things well, particularly the unwarranted attacks from some other posters. I just ignore them and you might wish to do the same. I’m not sure what drives them- perhaps they don’t have friends- but you’re handling this well. Please keep us posted on how this turns out.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


04/21/2019 5:20 AM  
Oh yeah, I’d like to know what happens.
RoyalP


Posts:0


04/21/2019 6:10 AM  
Posted By LoloJ on 04/20/2019 4:06 PM
John,

I am not concerned at the least of that. Their lives are the ones that are going to be a living hell. I have absolutely zero fear of the consequences on my end. If they're not guilty, than they have nothing to concern themselves with. I just need to get all of my information pulled together. I have an old saying " if you see me and a Bear fighting, don't help me, help the Bear!

I do have a question, is it possible for the State to pull our HOA license? And if that has been done, and we're still paying dues, would that change my case?

How can I find out? I




No such thing as a HOA license.

If incorporated the corporate status may lapse or be revoked.

Then the 'corporate shield' is gone and the HOA members are open to PERSONAL liability for events occurring on any common elements.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16379


04/21/2019 7:00 AM  
Posted By LoloJ on 04/20/2019 1:00 PM
Listen,

I asked a simple question about lawsuits.




In response to your question, Yes you can sue each director individually.
However, as has been stated, you will likely lose because (from what you provided) you will not pierce the Corporate veil.


In fact, losing may have you pay the corporations legal bills on top of your own.


If you don't like how things are ran within an Association, it's less expensive, easier and better to simply gather support and replace those serving with those who think like you do. Perhaps you would even run.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16379


04/21/2019 7:07 AM  
One further comment, everyone has reasons why they can't serve on their HOA board.
Too much work, single parent, involved in other activities, medical reasons, etc.

All of these reasons are valid from that individuals point of view.

Serving or not is a personal choice.

Remember, by not becoming involved in the running of your Association, then those who can or want to serve (regardless of their reasons), will be the ones who serve and make decisions that affect the area where you live.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8281


04/21/2019 8:57 AM  
The effects of filing a lawsuit (Whether justified or not) is farther reaching than the courthouse win or lose. If you know HOA's so well, then you know that lawsuits have to be reported on the PUD form. (Along with liens/foreclosures/rental %). That form is used by FHA and other loan programs to base their loan availability and rates.

A reported lawsuit is everyone's business. You can't hide it from the membership. They have a right to know if being sued. The details of the lawsuit will depend on judge's decision once settled. They may or may not make it public. The parties paying each others or their own legal costs is also determined in court. It's not a guarantee you collect legal costs or your not paying the other parties. A frivolous lawsuit you can be paying the HOA's legal expenses.

Now back to the effect of a lawsuit to mortgage companies... They can decide not to offer certain loan packages to potential owners. Meaning no more FHA, Fanny Mae, or Freddie Mac loans. That lessens the potential buyers market for your HOA. Those seeking to refinance a loan, are facing higher refinance rates. They may not be able to afford to refinance. Which may lead them to rent out the home or fault on HOA dues.

Even if you win your lawsuit, the HOA may need to have a special assessment to pay what insurance doesn't or the deductible. The HOA can then lose their insurance or have to pay a higher rate. That is then passed to ALL the membership in higher dues or special assessments.

You think people will support you in your lawsuit, then you have enough people to support kicking out the board. A much better option than suing everyone. A HOA works by Majority. Become the majority or let those who want to do the job for free do their jobs...

Former HOA President
RoyalP


Posts:0


04/21/2019 10:16 AM  
bs-meter
RoyalP


Posts:0


04/21/2019 10:18 AM  
specifically:

..... A HOA works by Majority. .....


NOPE

A HOA works as per a CONTRACT a/k/a COVENANT
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3463


04/21/2019 12:45 PM  
Well said Tim.

I'd like to make a point about bringing lawyers into the process too early. The best way to make my point is with an example.

This post is not for Lolo who has collected all she needs from this thread. Nor is it for those of you in positions of authority who are pillaging the countryside by taking unfair advantage of your neighbors. It's for those of you who are just trying to make a go of doing the best you can for your community while living in a fishbowl.

To me, any mention of a lawyer, any communication from a lawyer, is a threat of a lawsuit. If you want to write something for a friend, do so - just leave off the Esq. designation. But once you add the Esq., you are declaring that you're ready to do battle. Fine with me, but I have Board members who are ill equipped to understand the gamesmanship going on. If you are trying to instill fear in my Board, I push back.

The policy we've established is simple. We refuse to communicate with a homeowner and the Attorney. One or the other, but not both at the same time. So - As soon as a lawyer is introduced into the mix, that lawyer is added to our email distribution list. Instead of the homeowner receiving HOA communications, the lawyer gets everything. The owner can get all information from the attorney.

This may sound harsh. But it has worked for us.

Board members aren't rushing to the HOA attorney over every little issue just because of some threat that the angry homeowner has a lawyer friend. We provide all requested information to the attorney as long as it doesn't involve privileged information or information that's difficult to gather. But what we don't allow is the lawyer and the homeowner coming at us from 2 different directions.

Je publie un degagement de toutes responsabilite. Read all posts at your own risk.
JohnS111
(New York)

Posts:165


04/21/2019 3:39 PM  
NpS, as a lawyer, I really discourage you from viewing involvement by a lawyer as meaning that someone is ready to do battle, and treating things as hostile once a lawyer gets involved. That just antagonizes people and runs up legal bills.

Until the lawyer says, "We will sue...", then the lawyer may well be there just to help her client understand the rules and to try to broker a friendly arrangement. It's much better to treat everyone as a potential friend, and every situation as friendly, until it's clear that it isn't.

I've been in plenty of situations where I or a client had only good intentions, but the other side saw "Lawyer" and assumed the worst, and became hostile, and things turned south, usually resulting in more costs for them, not me.
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