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Subject: Board hearing and follow up decision
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Author Messages
KrisP1
(Maryland)

Posts:4


08/28/2019 7:59 PM  
We had our board hearing about our tenant. They are claiming they had to pay extra for cleaning up the stairwells twice due to my tenants dog. I’m not denying or claiming since I don’t live there and only can go off what the HOA says as well as what my tenant says. All I asked for was a receipt for the cost. The lawyer sent me a receipt that looks very weird. The receipt states it was 2 days of cleaning for 6 hours total. There are no dates on the receipt. When I called the number of the cleaning company it was disconnected. I googled the cleaning company and can’t find any info on the company. I googled the address and it’s residential. I’m very confused on how this is a receipt of proof. Also the first time I was made aware of this issue was when I received a letter from the lawyer. I didn’t even know there were issues about my tenants dog. What do I do? Pay it then fight it in court?
KrisP1
(Maryland)

Posts:4


08/28/2019 10:03 PM  
The fine is also for $220...$10 of which was for cleaning supplies. I find this very steep. I have cleaners come to my house and they charge $110 to clean.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8497


08/29/2019 4:09 AM  
Just pay it and see if can write it off as a tax deduction. It may be counted as part of "maintenance" of your rental property. Suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors. Plus the court is only going to make you "whole". So it's more of a "peric" victory.

Plus I would review your lease agreement to add in that tenants must follow the HOA rules. Otherwise your going to have a hard time evicting tenants. If it's not in the lease agreement, then you can't necessarily evict for HOA violations.

Former HOA President
KrisP1
(Maryland)

Posts:4


08/29/2019 4:58 AM  
This is maddening that the HOA can creat a fake with receipt with no dates of when the cleaning took place and it’s not even from a real company! How is this not illegal?!
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8497


08/29/2019 5:04 AM  
Illegal how exactly? Give me a law. If you can, then it's illegal and can be pursued criminally. Otherwise, they produced what you asked for. A receipt. You can write a check on a piece of toilet paper or even contract on a napkin. If anything it just doesn't meet certain criteria of expectation. Doesn't make it "illegal". It shows the HOA paid someone to perform the work and it was completed. I am sure the lawyer wouldn't have given you a copy if it didn't pass the definition of a receipt or proof of payment.

Former HOA President
ND
(PA)

Posts:338


08/29/2019 6:15 AM  
So I assume the hearing resulted in the conclusion that your tenant is at fault and that $220 is owed as a result of the HOA having to hire someone to clean up after your tenant's dog? If not, is it still being debated as to who is at fault or who owes? Did your tenant have opportunity to clean the mess up themselves or hire someone cheaper to do the cleaning? If they ignored that opportunity and shirked responsibility as a pet owner, then shame on them, and the HOA had no choice but to hire someone themselves . . . at which point, nobody is really in a position to debate the company/person hired to do the work or how much it costs (as longs as it's in the realm of reasonableness).

All that said, any violations of HOA governing docs and rules/regulations caused by an occupant of your property should most certainly be processed through you, the owner, first and foremost. You should have been the one contacted when it was identified that your tenant's dog made a mess, at which point you would have had the opportunity to discuss with your tenant and try to fix the issue. You should not be finding out after things have proceeded too far that you now owe money because of your tenant's screw-ups. That would be the position that I would be coming from . . . that you as the supposed owner in violation was never provided opportunity to rectify the violation yourself. So I might toss that back at the lawyer/Board while admitting some responsibility and willingness to pay maybe half of the expense . . . then split that half with your tenant.

Also, you're talking about a receipt and then a fine. What is the $220 amount? Does that include cost of the carpet cleaning, some sort of fine, any legal fees (since there was a lawyer involved)? I'm confused. $220 actually doesn't sound too bad to me for cleaning up apparently 2 separate incidents. $10 for a bottle of rug shampoo and/or other cleaners sounds about right.

Finally, suggest using this as a lesson-learned and ensure your lease agreement has verbiage in there making tenant responsible for compliance with the HOA governing docs and rules and regulations (you will need to provide those docs to the tenant) and financially responsible for any money owed as a result of noncompliance. Then the tenant may be more eager to properly clean up after their pet.

KrisP1
(Maryland)

Posts:4


08/30/2019 4:18 AM  
Thanks for your response! Yes my tenant cleaned up the pee. She has a puppy and was potty training. When she came back in to the non carpet steps that took $220 to clean yes she cleaned it up. The problem is our HOA president. He lied to the board telling them he had texted us about these issues with the dog and we as landlords were ignoring it...which is not true...we knew nothing about it. The cost doesn’t bother me if it was carpet cleaning but it wasn’t...and the receipt states a decorating company without even the date of cleaning. My tenant is responsible of paying and she will but our HOA is out of control. I requested the minutes and of course didn’t get them until after the hearing...when reading them over they stated a different unit and building that my tenant supposedly lived in...just a lot of wrong information and a president who is taking things into his own hand and not being honest to the rest of the board or property manager. I explained to my tenant that any violations after the $220 will be $50 and yes our lease states she is responsible. I know there isn’t much I can do because the HOA and their paid lawyer through our HOA dues control everything...
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:771


08/30/2019 5:27 AM  
The FACT remains that YOUR Tennant caused damage that you are responsible for. THAT'S IT... Pay the fine for the damage and cleanup. If your Tennant continues to be a problem, serve them notice to quit.
ND
(PA)

Posts:338


08/30/2019 7:41 AM  
Kris,

The situation sounds totally ridiculous. Finding out these are non-carpeted steps makes it even more so. Puppy pee on non-carpeted steps is something a little Lysol spray and a couple paper towels can take care of easily. And the chronology of things is totally out of order which prevented you from rectifying the issue before they supposedly hired a cleaning company.

If your explanation of things is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt your story, then I suggest paying the fines and doing what the HOA indicates you need to do to get things back to 'normal' and then consider taking them to small claims court to recover your money . . . if you feel so inclined (if your time and effort is worth doing that) and if you think issues will continue or escalate between them and your tenant.

You need to get all your ducks in a row and create a brief and easily followed series of events and 'evidence' (or lack thereof) to make your side of the argument simple relay, simple to follow, and easily understood. I'm a bit confused as to what happened when and to what degree . . . but I think if you can explain it well enough and briefly enough, then you stand a reasonable chance of winning and getting some of your money back. However if you don't win, there is a chance that you'll end up owing more in court cost and possible legal fees (for the HOA lawyer) if that's allowable in small claims . . . I'm not sure as I have no real experience.

This kind of stuff bothers me on mainly principal alone. While the advice to pay whatever they tell you and just move on may be the easiest and possibly the cheapest method . . . that doesn't sit well with me as the HOA's abuse of you and others will continue to occur until someone fights back.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:259


08/30/2019 10:29 AM  
Posted By KrisP1 on 08/29/2019 4:58 AM
This is maddening that the HOA can creat a fake with receipt with no dates of when the cleaning took place and it’s not even from a real company! How is this not illegal?!




My HOA did the same thing to me. I fought it and won. It may not be worth battling over $220, though. You could just pay it and then sue the HOA in small claims court. That would be the most cost-effective, but be sure to be on a solid legal basis or the HOA can claim attorneys' fees from you, maybe.
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