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Subject: Why is there not more government regulation of HOAs?
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PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:319


09/15/2019 5:09 PM  
Many states have laws that describe how HOAs are to operate, generally. Those laws often defer to the HOA's own governing documents for how the HOA should operate.

If the HOA misbehaves, the owner's options are (1) try to replace the board, which is often difficult, (2) file a lawsuit or (3) move. None of those, and particularly (2) or (3), are appealing options: they're lengthy and potentially expensive processes. HOA governing documents are often stacked in favor of the existing board or developer.

I generally dislike government, but HOA governance is an area that more government oversight might make sense. Perhaps the following would help reduce conflicts between owners and boards:

1. More details about how elections have to be held, to make sure elections are held, and held fairly.
2. More details about reporting that HOAs have to do, such as about their finances and relationships with management companies.

And, most of all:

3. A neutral party to whom disputes between HOAs and owners could be referred for mediation, without requiring lawsuits.
4. Penalties if the HOA doesn't hold fair elections or produce required reports. (Often, there are no penalties unless the owner files a lawsuit.)

Why haven't these things been put into law? Does the real estate industry contribute so heavily to government that it helps keep HOAs one-sided, against owners? Do Republicans who dominate (or have dominated) suburbs just not want more government? Something else?

Thanks.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/15/2019 5:53 PM  
AND who is going to oversee this oversight, the same institutions that created the mess in the first place?
AugustinD


Posts:1937


09/15/2019 6:30 PM  
One theory about why HOAs have proliferated is that City Councils are generally determined to increase the population; develop land; and [noxiously afaic] 'grow' their local economies. At the same time, the pressure is always on City Councils to reduce expenses to taxpayers. City Councils have been happy to make zoning deals with developers as long as the developers agree that a HOA will be responsible for many expenses of infrastructure for which the City (and so taxpayers) might ordinarily have to pay.

To me the question becomes: Are HOA disputes clogging up the already backed-up courts? Is this clogging translating to a savings for local municipalities but more expense for (typically) state court systems? If so, this argues for solutions to ease the burden on the courts.

I think one of the biggest problems is the battle of HOA members to see HOA documents. Sure they are legally entitled to do so in most cases. But HOA Boards and often corrupt managers know they can get away with a lot of delay. Boards and managers know they can use the expense of a lawsuit to an individual member to withhold docs. Few if any states have Open Meeting statutes and Freedom of Information statutes that apply to HOAs. If kids were not being slain in much more desperate parts of the world, then adding to these transparency statutes so that said statutes apply to HOAs and condos, would be my interest.

It seems like three of the most heavily government-regulated (when it comes to HOAs) states are California, Florida and I believe Virginia. Yet major, vicious legal disputes in these states still seem incredibly common, and outcomes in court and mediation, unpredictable.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/15/2019 6:41 PM  
Having to read all that and yet the problem still remains, in that it doesn't matter how regulated you are, if there is no oversight (TEETH), then the insane asylum will runs amok.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8603


09/15/2019 8:10 PM  
The nature or purpose of a HOA is a "Sales Tool". They were invented by Developers so they could help sell their homes and then be able to turn over to the owners for the long term maintenance. What better way of selling their "goods" than telling potential buyers they can "control" where they live?

Each HOA is different and differently owned. They are ALL individual entities. They are their own mini-government. Plus add onto that most are incorporated. Set up to run and fund themselves amongst their members.

I wouldn't want any kind of government involvement in a HOA. The issues the HOA's have are CULTURAL. One of the hardest things to change is cultural change. It can also be changed by the simplest things. Just a change of approach can make all the difference in any HOA.

Former HOA President
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/15/2019 8:42 PM  
Guess everyone else has been wrong all along that municipalities forced developers into creating HOA's in order to shift expenses and responsibilities from the municipalities to the HOA's all the while the owners were paying taxes for the same infrastructure upkeep.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8603


09/15/2019 9:29 PM  
That may be the perceptiion in some cases now a days. It is not what it was. Selling the American dream back in the fifties. They have been around a long time. Some history includes racial discrimination. Otherwise it has been a sales tool.

Former HOA President
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2701


09/16/2019 4:47 AM  
Boy, there’s a lot I could (and probably will) say about this, but I’ll start with the following:

MONEY is the reason things happen (or not) and enforcing regulations costs money. It’s human nature to want what you want but pay little or nothing for it. To wit – in my state, there’s a nasty tendency to pass up all sorts of opportunities to grow the local economy, improve schools and such because no one wants to pay for it.

Regulations can also get in the way of making money and we all know the U.S of A is a capitalistic society where the person with the most moolah wins. To hell with the environment, lack of green space in the cities, and all that. Every time someone proposes regulation that may benefit people across society, business starts yelling about them being job killers and stifling competition. Why on earth should a developer be required to do things like establishing a reserve fund (a real one) before turning the community over to the homeowners when it’s easier and more profitable to just turn the community over and letting the homeowners find out how much it really costs to run the community.

Finally, people are weird about regulation – as I’ve said over and over on this site, people are ok with having regulations enforced against everyone else, but when it comes to said regulations being enforced against THEM, all hell breaks loose. It starts with “this is my house, dammit and I’ll do what the F I want!” and escalates from there. HOA documents shouldn’t be written in stone and they’re only as good as the people who agree to comply with them when they move in. If the community has changed, what’s so difficult with reviewing the documents to see if there’s something that needs to be added, tweaked or dropped altogether? This isn’t just the job of the Board or HOA attorney – buy-in is required of the entire community, and it helps when everyone considers what they want the HOA to do and what THEY themselves are willing to do to make it happen.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:419


09/16/2019 6:37 AM  
Paul,
Everyone has posted great advice as usual. The bottom line is so simple.

HOAs are not for everyone.

Like everything else in the World there are good ones and there are bad ones. I wish that people buying into an HOA would have to understand the basic tenants of HOA life and the rules. Sales agents only tell you the good stuff like look at the beautiful Pool and Parks we have here. They never tell you that a board of directors and management company are going to make sure you follow the rules of the CC&Rs that you won't read at closing. They won't tell you that they will tell you what you can do to the property you own. They won't tell you that as costs go up your dues will as well.

HOAs are not for everyone.

GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3234


09/16/2019 9:46 AM  
Graft and corruption. Lobbying groups consisting of attorneys, property managers, and builders control everything that happens legislation-wise where HOAs, Condos, etc., un the state of Florida. He who passes the largest bag of money under the table gets to call the shots. There is no other explanation here that holds water.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:461


09/16/2019 9:59 AM  
I'd mentioned in another thread that too many big money interests benefit from having community associations for things to change significantly.

I think the big problem is that the large majority of homeowners have no clue about what they're buying, which means that associations are run mostly by unqualified people. Until you find away to address this ignorance, problems will remain.

(Some years ago the Ohio legislature had a bill in committee that was supposed to address all of the of complaints about community associations. The solution was to make board members personally liable for everything that they did. The bill died in committee after numerous people pointed out that, if the bill passed, it would immediately become moot since every board member in the state would resign.)
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:239


09/16/2019 10:52 AM  
Nevada has an ombudsman for HOA complaints. Owners can file a complaint against a manager or board member. "Informal"mediation is offered. Their website also has a lot of information about Nevada statutes regarding common interest developments.

A few years ago, a bill was introduced in the Texas lege that would have given the Attorney General oversight over HOAs. It never made it out of committee - Texas is very much anti government regulation of anything.

I'm not opposed to regulation in theory - I actually feel very strongly that community managers should be required to be licensed, for example. I've worked with too many managers who have no experience and no training. I am very much pro-owner education. Homeowners who dislike their HOA typically do not understand it. I used to chair the CAI education committee in my area and conducted free owner education workshops. I think the management industry has shot ourselves in the foot pushing the "HOAs improve home values!" argument and we need a much more pragmatic, transparent approach with owners if we are going to regain or maintain credibility.

But, I don't think the problem with HOAs can be solved by oversight. The biggest problem is apathy, and the only solution is for owners to make an effort to learn about their association. In Nevada, while you can file a complaint with the ombudsman, the forms require that you demonstrate you've made an effort to resolve the problem yourself - which I expect weeds out most homeowners, who simply want someone else to magically fix whatever it is they are unhappy about.

Don't get me wrong - I have absolutely worked for boards that made arbitrary and foolish decisions, ignored professional and legal advice, and made poor decisions that cost their association's money and created neighborhood unrest, if not chaos. But every one of those boards could have been stopped if the owners who called and yelled at me showed up to an annual meeting and voted for a different candidate, or ran for a seat themselves.

It astonishes me how many people invest a quarter of a million dollars or more in a home and do virtually no due diligence AT ALL. They are furious that the empty space behind them will be a new housing phase, or that there is no third pool, or no clubhouse - even though the plats for the neighborhood have been on file with the county for years with every home lot and amenity noted. Well they heard somewhere this... or they assumed that. People who do not pay their assessments because they just figured it was escrowed with their property tax, and then ignore a year's worth of late notices (assumed it was a mistake!) and then come crying to please waive $700 in legal fees, they will pay their assessment now, they just didn't realize...

Or the ones that are shocked that the assessment went up! "Nobody told us the dues could go up!" Really? The concept that the cost of things can increase over time is entirely new to you, adult who is capable of purchasing a house?

And of course no one reads the deed restrictions before they buy. Over the summer the docs for my current community were amended, and a copy sent to all owners. I fielded many calls an emails horrified about...not the amended portion, but the stuff that has always been in there. Which of course they were reading for the first time.

I just had a woman come into my office this morning angrily demanding to know "when am I going to get an access card for the pool". She has lived here two years. My office is in walking distance from her home. Somehow it is my fault she has never come here before to pick up a card. I guess she was waiting for me to bring one to her. (A letter is sent to homeowners after closing welcoming them to the neighborhood and explaining how to get a card. Most owners never read this).

I created a website for this community that has every governing document, policy, rule etc available for download. I still have people ask me to email them to them - not even the full document, just cut and past the relevant paragraph. The site has every form you need for a modification, for a pool party. UGH! so much work. Can't I just take their info over the phone? They just want to build a shed, you know a regular shed in the backyard. What more information could I possibly need?

I have an email newsletter, I print physical copies which are available at both pools, I post on the community facebook page. When there is a meeting or social event, I have signs up all over the neighborhood. Always - ALWAYS - there are people who complain that the had no idea this or that was happening.

My office is on the property and whenever there are concerns or complaints, I say - email, call, stop by, I am happy to show you any reports you want, explain anything you want. I've had maybe three people take me up on that.

Education about HOAs would help, maybe even government regulation would help - but it will only help the owners who are willing to make some kind of effort and in my experience, that is a small number.





SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2701


09/16/2019 11:37 AM  
Wow – between Cathy, Barbara and Mark, maybe there’s nothing else to say because you three pretty much sum up the underlying problems!

Too many people buy into this notion of “care-free living” in a HOA – all you do is pay an assessment every month, quarter or year and someone ELSE does all the donkey work. And yet, it’s a HOMEOWNER association, which means the HOMEOWNERS have to find a way to work together so the community will become a clean, safe, attractive place to live. It’s not just about the board members (who the homeowners elect) or the property manager (who the board hires and fires) or even the association attorney (not everything needs to be legislated – people should be smart enough to use their noggin once in a while and be willing to listen to the other side).

Homeownership is not and never will be a care free anything. It’s not at all cheap and considering all the time and resources you expend into getting one, it’s easy to see why folks become so emotional when they’re told they have to have permission to replace a door so it’ll comply with the community design standards or they can’t vote in the board election because they didn’t pay their share of assessments. It doesn’t help that you also have board members who behave like they’re in some sort of secret society with unlimited money and are incapable to talking to people like adults. Instead they act like children (we are the board and therefore we are), forgetting they serve at the pleasure of the homeowners and just as easily as you were voted in, you can be voted out.

In the end, no one forces anyone to move into a HOA but because there are so many across the country, there’s a good chance you’ll end up in one, no matter what you do. You’ll have to accept that in this setting, a little more work will be required, starting with reading your documents. You need to ask questions – lots of them – and keep asking until you understand what your rights and responsibilities are. No one will ever care about your home the way you do, so if you want those oh, so important property values to continue rising, you’ll have to pay a little more attention to what’s going on beyond your four walls and backyard. Perhaps you should try applying the Golden Rule – it’s not easy, but if you don’t want to live next door to or across from an asshole, it may help if you check your behavior first.

You can pass all the rules you want, but unless and until homeowners hold themselves and each other accountable, nothing will change. Everyone can start by reading their documents – just because it isn’t mentioned doesn’t mean you can or can’t do something. It’s a matter of using your brain – if you want a rule about X, are you willing to enforce it? How will that be done and how much time and energy will that take? If you don’t want to put in the work, drop it or come up with something more effective.

Do you want to keep rogue board members in check? Turn off the TV once in a while and attend a board meeting (at least the annual). Get off your duff and go introduce yourself – let the board members know you’re watching – and are willing to help, even if it’s to do some research. Let the board members know they’re doing a good job (Lord knows you’re quick to yell when things are going wrong). Got an idea – don’t keep it to yourself, bring it to the board. That doesn’t mean they’ll accept them (nor do they have to), but knowing someone’s paying attention may prompt some of the board members to apply more thought to what they’re doing.

If you decide to serve on the board, you must accept it’s no longer about what you want. You must be candid and transparent in what you do, think before you act and speak up. An HOA board ain’t for cowards and blowhards. If you don’t know, ask. Educate yourself and be willing to admit when you’re wrong (yes, even you don’t know everything). Be the kind of homeowner you want and speak up – an HOA board ain’t for cowards, ignoramuses or blowhards
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:117


09/16/2019 4:13 PM  
There may be no practical way to do this but I think it would be great if every HOA community had a yearly financial grade of A-F that had to be disclosed to potential buyers and was available to the public. For example, a community who's Reserve funds are only 25% funded would be graded an F. (The date of the last Reserve study would be included.) Next to the grade would be a summary explanation. For example, if the grade was an F there would be a statement that says something like, "potential buyers should be warned that there is a high likely hood that you will have to pay some form of a special assessment or that your HOA regime fees will have to be increased drastically."

I say this because of my own experience. Had I understood the financial situation of my neighborhood I would not have purchased my condo. I readily admit that part of this was my fault. I asked for a copy of the financials and saw that they had $200,000 in Reserves and assumed everything was great. Bad mistake. Once I moved in I found out the last Reserve study was done 7 years ago and that the Board promptly stuck it in a box and did nothing to plan accordingly. I did know that the roads looked crappy but I had no understanding of what it costs to repave an entire community. I now know it will be at least 1 million dollars. In addition I didn't inspect the pool which is in bad shape and I had no idea that all the decks were in need of repair, etc, etc. I simply didn't do enough investigating. However, how many buyers would actually have the knowledge to know what to look for and could they even get the REAL facts about what was going on?

I suppose the downside would be that if your neighborhood had a grade of F the value of the homes could go down.However, in my mind they should and maybe this would help HOA members be less apathetic and start holding their Boards accountable.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:419


09/16/2019 4:34 PM  
John,
That would be a great idea and eye opening to the potential homeowners. It would make everyone step up their game on how HOAs are run. The main problem is the Realtors have great lobbyist that would not let this see the light of day. Realtors only tell you the things that make you want to say Yes. They really do not care about the things that make you want to say Oh No. I also would bet that the majority of the Realtors know very little about the HOAs they sell into. It is a shame that the homeowners are left with boards to manage or mismanage without a clear way to be graded.

I wish more people would fight for this idea. It would make everyone better off in the long run.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2701


09/16/2019 6:18 PM  
Interesting idea about financial ratings! My concern, however, would Be developing some sort of standard criteria. Grades can be very subjective - who's going to do the gtading, how long would be the time period you'd consider, can you appeal, are HOW's in rich communities going to get a favorable look just because they've in a more desirable area (but this finances are really jacked up?). How do we prevent fraud or at least make it very difficult?

All of that said, a trading system would bean excellent tool for an accounting firm auditing the HOW's books. This should be made available to all homeowners so they can ask questions and hopefully gain a better insight as to how HOA finances work.

I might take this idea another step and come up with a comprehensive dark g for the community management. It wouldn't just look at the board's conduct -maybe someone should rate the homeowners' overall knowledge of their community. Do they attend at least one meeting a year? Do they know what the rules about X? Have they been the subject of numerous complaints about their dog? Are they current in assessments?

I don't know how you"d score that, but wouldn't it be interesting to judge a community on how well they understand and comply with community rules and keep up with what the board is up to? If you have a out of control board, maybe it's because the homeowners really don't give a flying turd as long as assessments stay low.









BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:239


09/17/2019 7:16 AM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 09/16/2019 4:13 PM
There may be no practical way to do this but I think it would be great if every HOA community had a yearly financial grade of A-F that had to be disclosed to potential buyers and was available to the public. For example, a community who's Reserve funds are only 25% funded would be graded an F. (The date of the last Reserve study would be included.) Next to the grade would be a summary explanation. For example, if the grade was an F there would be a statement that says something like, "potential buyers should be warned that there is a high likely hood that you will have to pay some form of a special assessment or that your HOA regime fees will have to be increased drastically."

I say this because of my own experience. Had I understood the financial situation of my neighborhood I would not have purchased my condo. I readily admit that part of this was my fault. I asked for a copy of the financials and saw that they had $200,000 in Reserves and assumed everything was great. Bad mistake. Once I moved in I found out the last Reserve study was done 7 years ago and that the Board promptly stuck it in a box and did nothing to plan accordingly. I did know that the roads looked crappy but I had no understanding of what it costs to repave an entire community. I now know it will be at least 1 million dollars. In addition I didn't inspect the pool which is in bad shape and I had no idea that all the decks were in need of repair, etc, etc. I simply didn't do enough investigating. However, how many buyers would actually have the knowledge to know what to look for and could they even get the REAL facts about what was going on?

I suppose the downside would be that if your neighborhood had a grade of F the value of the homes could go down.However, in my mind they should and maybe this would help HOA members be less apathetic and start holding their Boards accountable.




Who would be doing the grading? Who would pay for that? How would the grades be provided to potential buyers?

Mark is right that realtor lobbying groups would fight this. And that most of them know nothing about HOAs. I routinely get calls from realtors asking what a resale certificate is and why the title company is asking for one.

And John you're right that owners don't know what they don't know.

But by your own admission, you didn't research. It doesn't take specialized knowledge to look at a pool or roads and see that they need repair. You could have talked to residents and asked what living in the community was like.

We can prepare all the reports and documents and evaluations possible - there will always be homeowners who just won't read them. And then blame the HOA for not forcing them to read it.

MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:419


09/17/2019 7:37 AM  
I guess it is just like every other Major thing we learn in life. We learn from Prior mistakes. Buy an Old home from a realtor and find all the hidden things that are bound to break. Buy a new Home from a builder and find out all the shortcuts they take to build them cheaper. Buy a new home from a builder who charges more and delivers a great product and you have less problems. Become a homeowner in an HOA that has financial problem and you inherit them. Next HOA you buy into you look closer and are aware of the things to avoid.

One of the benefits of getting older is we really do get wiser with age. If young people would spend more time listening to Elders and less time complaining they may avoid a few of life lessons.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:117


09/17/2019 7:57 AM  
You bring up valid points that I can't dispute but you don't paint the whole picture. No it doesn't take specialized knowledge to see that the roads and pool need repair but it DOES take specialized knowledge to know what the cost will be so that you can determine if they have the money to cover them. In addition how would I have known about the decks unless I walked the entire neighborhood and done an inventory of them? Also, how would I know how many years are left before painting needs to be done, roofing needs to be done, tennis courts need to be resurfaced, etc, etc? Even if knew these answers how would I estimate the costs? In a perfect world a potential buyer would get a copy of the financial budget and a copy of a current Reserve study and then hopefully have the knowledge to interpret them. I didn't ask for the Reserve study and I don't even know if HOA's have to give it to you. In my case, there is an enormous amount of pending expenses that are not reflected in the budget. The reason? Because previous Boards ignored the Reserve study and acted like it didn't exist and didn't fund the Reserve accounts. How does a perspective buyer protect themselves from this? It is very, very easy for a Board to produce a 'balanced' budget when they forget to mention that they need $500,000 to paint in 5 years and $200,000 to repair decks that are falling down,etc.

With all that said I realize my suggestion of a financial grade has holes in it but there is no perfect solution. The question is, if you could do this would it be better than the system we have today?
TimM11


Posts:303


09/17/2019 11:30 AM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 09/17/2019 7:37 AM
I guess it is just like every other Major thing we learn in life. We learn from Prior mistakes. Buy an Old home from a realtor and find all the hidden things that are bound to break. Buy a new Home from a builder and find out all the shortcuts they take to build them cheaper. Buy a new home from a builder who charges more and delivers a great product and you have less problems. Become a homeowner in an HOA that has financial problem and you inherit them. Next HOA you buy into you look closer and are aware of the things to avoid.




Physical problems can be avoided (mostly) with a good home inspection, and in many cases, the sale of a home is contingent on one. HOA financials are trickier, because even being able to see the information, you won't always understand the significance of it without context. There isn't a neutral third party to come in and tell you what's what. Though, having said that, maybe there's an opportunity there for someone...
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2701


09/17/2019 2:10 PM  
I seem to recall CAI had an information brochure on what to look for when considering buying a home in a HOA community, and I've also seen articles on some money management websites like Investopedia. Of course, the realtors could help things along by making copies of those articles and brochure and handing them to the potential seller, but as others have noted, most barely know what HOAs are and don't want to do anything to lose that sales commission, so.....

The consumer protection division in the states could publish something on their websites - there's enough general information out there people can use. Although I'm happy with my home, if I were to buy today (and I was an older first time buyer when I got this place), I would have sat down with the OWNER and had a long talk about the community.

Part of me wouldn't expect them to tell me everything (they want to sell and get out), but if you talk to someone who doesn't even know the basics on how the community is run (e.g. when are the meetings, how many people are on the board, is there a website, etc.), it may be time for a deeper dive if you really want the house. When people don't know the basics, what else don't that know that a responsible and active homeowner would make it their business to know?
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:121


09/17/2019 2:18 PM  
I think Melissa would be a world on information on getting buyers more informed about the property they could be purchasing into.

Have a go at lady.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8603


09/17/2019 4:07 PM  
I used to produce a brochure for our community. It covered the highlights of the HOA. Basically that you paid dues and what that entailed. Have to be careful of towing the line between membership and anybody. Your NOT a member of the HOA until you purchase. So not going to put in a brochure anything regarding to our budgets or in-house information. Remember CC&R's and Articles of Incorporation are considered PUBLIC documents. By-laws and ACC documents are INTERNAL HOA documents. They are NOT for public consumption.

HOA's are all separate and not same or equal. It's the free will of the membership on how they run. The rules are all subject to change upon a majority vote. Removal or election of a board member is up to it's membership. The funding of the HOA is up to it's membership.

Do not see any benefit for any government involvement. The HOA is it's own government made up of it's own. Why bring strangers into the arrangement?

Former HOA President
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16481


09/17/2019 7:11 PM  
Why is there not more government regulation of HOAs?

Everyone should know the answer to this.


HOA/COAs exist because of deed restrictions (aka covenants).

These deed restrictions are considered a civil contract.

Contract disputes are handled by the parties involved either by compromise or through the courts.

The laws enacted by the States concerning HOAs/COAs are civil laws.
Civil law violations are handled by the parties involved, either by compromise or through the courts.


Like it or not, that is how the system works.

If you want to change it, gather support and make changes to your covenants or gather support and lobby the legislature.



Some States have taken steps to reduce issues going to the courts by establishing an Ombudsmans office.
This office is usually paid for by increased government fees to the HOA/COA (causing individual assessments to increase).
Typically, these offices have limited authority because of the law and language within the contract (covenants) that the parties involved agreed to comply with.
TimM11


Posts:303


09/18/2019 6:28 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 09/17/2019 4:07 PM
I used to produce a brochure for our community. It covered the highlights of the HOA. Basically that you paid dues and what that entailed. Have to be careful of towing the line between membership and anybody. Your NOT a member of the HOA until you purchase. So not going to put in a brochure anything regarding to our budgets or in-house information. Remember CC&R's and Articles of Incorporation are considered PUBLIC documents. By-laws and ACC documents are INTERNAL HOA documents. They are NOT for public consumption.




Mortgage lenders typically require the full financials of an HOA when condos are involved, and I could see them requiring the same thing for other HOAs if they felt it was warranted. So there's already precedent for them opening the books to a third party.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3234


09/18/2019 12:39 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 09/17/2019 4:07 PM
By-laws and ACC documents are INTERNAL HOA documents.

In Florida the Bylaws have to be recorded on the official records of the county. They ARE public and you are wrong about that.
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:48


09/19/2019 2:40 AM  
I'm from New York, as is the OP, and I think he answered his own question about the lack of HOA regulation in our state by citing the power of the real estate lobby here. I, too, have been frustrated that there is no place to go in NY for assistance. Our attorney general posts only a brief primer on HOAs and essentially says that you can try to work things out with the board, you can try to change the board through elections or you can go to court. That's it. At the end of the primer, there's a hale and hearty "good luck." And we are in a state where there is a much smaller, anti-government sentiment. We have laws for just about everything that moves, but not for HOAs. Our HOAs are governed by a state law overseeing non-profit corporations, but it is written primarily for charitable institutions and most of its provisions don't apply to us. Plus, if we find a violation of that law and want to prove it, we still have to go to court.

What if you have a bad board and most residents refuse to run for office and want to stay a million miles away from anything to do with community affairs? What if your elections are rigged or non-existent, and going to court is expensive? I won't go into detail, but that pretty much sums up the situation in my HOA.

My only advice to the OP is to move back to a home without an HOA or to move to a state where there is greater HOA regulation. I'm thinking of the former right now, but if I did consider another HOA, I have a long list of vetting requirements that would have to be met first.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3234


09/19/2019 12:00 PM  
Posted By DavidF22 on 09/19/2019 2:40 AM
My only advice to the OP is to move back to a home without an HOA or to move to a state where there is greater HOA regulation. I'm thinking of the former right now, but if I did consider another HOA, I have a long list of vetting requirements that would have to be met first.

I wonder if such a place with greater HOA regulation or oversight even exists. I think it's a twist on the somewhat controversial opinion expressed on here lately that HOA attorneys are "bad", and the idea behind that is there's no money in it and the "good" ones go into another area of practice. As with attorneys, it may be with state oversight and regulation, i.e. there's not many areas of HOA governance with an opportunity for politicians to make any money. So the problems get ignored.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Why is there not more government regulation of HOAs?



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