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Subject: MUD accounting details breakdown availability
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MatthewW8
(Texas)

Posts:6


09/20/2019 7:36 AM  
Background - I'm in central Texas and live in a MUD district. Sections of the MUD are covered under MUD covenants, others are covered under one HOA, and others under another HOA. I live in an area covered by the MUD covenants.

I help friends and neighbors with car work because I'm mechanically inclined. I'm not a professional, and don't do it for profit. My neighbor, that we have always had issues with (ever since she started mowing her lawn at 6 am on Mother's Day about 9 years ago while my wife was pregnant and sick), reported me as running a business from home with photos and videos.

I got a cease and desist letter from the MUD's attorneys saying stop any home run business for profit, AND to cease any any and all trade, business, professional, commerce, industry, or professions from being carried on in the property or any part there of.

I went to the MUD board meeting and asked them to clarify. I'm a software engineer so working from home is in fact a trade that occurs on my property. In that case, they said out of sight, out of mind (which in my eyes basically says it's ok to break that covenant). I then told them the car work wasn't for profit. They said, it is still considered a trade. Legally, it isn't. A trade is a business or occupation for profit. They argued it was. They also asked how often I do this. It is 3-4 hours a couple Saturdays of the month on average. Depends on who needs help. Keep in mind, we have never gotten a violation from the MUD, always had a clean yard, etc. I don't have cars on cinder blocks, don't have mufflers around in my hard, no lift in my driveway, etc. The only way you'd even know I was doing something is that I have a hood up on a car in my driveway (or in my garage). Said neighbor has stopped her car on the street to take pictures of me doing car work (when her home cameras couldn't see me doing it). Our houses are staggered, so she can only see when I'm doing car work from her driveway when I'm in my driveway.

In the meeting, the president and vice president both said they had no idea a certified letter was being sent, and hadn't seen the evidence against me. There is no evidence of me doing it for profit, because I'm not, but I never denied doing car work. I had neighbors in the meeting stating I was helping them save hundreds, even thousands, because I'm mechanically inclined and over the years have had to rebuild a motor on my toy car a few times so have the know how. Those same neighbors have home run businesses, and even stated so in the meeting. One is realtor that works from home all day unless he's showing houses, and the other runs his own construction management company. They did state, we have home run businesses. The board knows this, they never got a notice in the last two weeks so in their cases, the board doesn't care about their businesses?

Now that the back story is out of the way, I have a few questions -

1. Can I see the legal budget detailed enough to know how often people get a cease and desist letter when the letter circumvented the process of having the management company notify the resident they have violated a covenant?
2. Is it normal that the attorney for the MUD/HOA spends budget money to create this letter and send it certified and the president and vice president have no idea it was even done?
3. This sounds like selective enforcement, so should I be hiring an attorney to go after the MUD for not enforcing the social contracts we all agreed to?

I can easily find 100 cases of ac units not covered, 2 trees minimum not planted in the front yards, fence pickets missing, etc which are all violations yet never show on the meeting minutes regarding the current status of violations. I know we have one lady that patrols twice a month, but it really gets under my skin that this one thing I'm doing to help my neighbors was worthy of a cease and desist, but the house with a car with a flat tire in the driveway has been on the agenda for a year without resolution. Also, my "business" was never on any agenda or discussed. As noted above, the president and vice president both claimed no knowledge of it and had never seen any evidence.

Thanks, and if you need more details/etc, please ask.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1457


09/20/2019 8:32 AM  
Posted By MatthewW8 on 09/20/2019 7:36 AM
I can easily find 100 cases of ac units not covered, 2 trees minimum not planted in the front yards, fence pickets missing, etc which are all violations yet never show on the meeting minutes regarding the current status of violations. I know we have one lady that patrols twice a month, but it really gets under my skin that this one thing I'm doing to help my neighbors was worthy of a cease and desist, but the house with a car with a flat tire in the driveway has been on the agenda for a year without resolution. Also, my "business" was never on any agenda or discussed. As noted above, the president and vice president both claimed no knowledge of it and had never seen any evidence.


My understanding of selective enforcement is that it applies to a particular rule, not to all rules in general, so whether the MUD/HOA enforces the tree requirement is irrelevant in this case. Selective enforcement is a defense that can be used in court if this comes down to the lawsuit stage. Personally I would focus on the fact that you are non running a business, it is more of a hobby. You've already told them you aren't running a business, having an attorney send a letter reiterating that and outlining why they think you would prevail in a lawsuit might wake them up to reality.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
PestY


Posts:0


09/20/2019 9:08 AM  
..... ever since she started mowing her lawn at 6 am on Mother's Day about 9 years ago .....


? PRECISELY what covenant or restriction was violated ?

? PRECISELY what local, county, or state ordinance was violated ?

(the fact that your wife was ill has NO bearing on the issue)


IMO: you broke hers, now she is breaking yours
MatthewW8
(Texas)

Posts:6


09/20/2019 9:34 AM  
Posted By PestY on 09/20/2019 9:08 AM
..... ever since she started mowing her lawn at 6 am on Mother's Day about 9 years ago .....


? PRECISELY what covenant or restriction was violated ?

? PRECISELY what local, county, or state ordinance was violated ?

(the fact that your wife was ill has NO bearing on the issue)


IMO: you broke hers, now she is breaking yours






(not sure why you start questions with a ? xxxxx ?, is there some reason?

I don't know how to reply to your comment. None of what you are saying has any indication that you read or have any knowledge of the questions I asked, but I'll reply anyway just so you have more details.

------------

First question -

There is a noise ordinance covenant which states -

2.06 Noise; Nuisance. No exterior speakers, horns, whistles,
bells or other sound devices (other than security devices used
exclusively for security purposes) shall be located, used or placed on any of the Property. No noise or other nuisance shall be permit- ted i:.o exist or operate upon any portion of the Property so as to be offensive or detrimental to any other portion of the Property or to its occupants.

It doesn't sound like there is one that relates specifically to the time of day in the CC&R's. From my research, if there are rules for a city and a MUD/HOA, whichever is more strict wins. In this case, the city ordinance is 70db before 7 am. A standard lawn mower is 90db. In this case, she broke the city noise ordinance by mowing before 7 am.

-------------

Second question -

Sec. 8.08.002 Definitions
Daytime. For Non-Residential Property, the continuous time period between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00
p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and for
Residential Property, the continuous time period between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. each day.

Sec. 8.08.003 Restrictions on Decibel levels
Scope. This Article applies to the control of all sound and noise existing within the city limits and
any part of its extraterritorial jurisdiction within six hundred (600) feet of the city limits.
(a) Non-Residential Noise Source Maximum Decibel Levels. No person shall cause, allow,
or permit the making of a noise from a Non-Residential Property in the city limits and any part of
the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction within six hundred (600) feet of the city limits which exceeds
the following sound pressure levels as measured pursuant to Subsection (c) herein:
(1) Daytime: 75 dB(A) or 85 dB(C); or
(2) Nighttime: 65 dB(A) or 75 dB(C).
(b) Residential Noise Source Maximum Decibel Levels. No person shall cause, allow, or
permit the making of a noise from a Residential Property in the city limits and any part of the
City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction within six hundred (600) feet of the city limits which exceeds
the following sound pressure levels as measured pursuant to Subsection (c) herein:
(1) Daytime: 70 dB(A) or 80 dB(C); or
(2) Nighttime: 50 dB(A) or 60 dB(C).

----------

I never said being pregnant and sick had any bearing on anything. My point was to paint a picture of the neighbor and the tendencies.


I'm not sure what you're referring to re: "you broke hers". We didn't break anything. My wife asked her nicely initially at 6 am in the dark on a stepstool in the backyard over the back fence to mow later in the day, perhaps after sunrise. She basically said no, it's my hard so screw off and that she could do whatever she wanted.
MatthewW8
(Texas)

Posts:6


09/20/2019 9:36 AM  
Thank you Douglas, this helps.

I will ask since you are an ex-treasurer. If someone requested that break down was it available to them, or only general spending such as $1,231 on legal expenses vs $1,231 on legal expenses with $540 spent on attorney fees for certified letters to residents, and the remainder spent on pending litigation against there residents?
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1457


09/20/2019 11:59 AM  
Posted By MatthewW8 on 09/20/2019 9:36 AM
Thank you Douglas, this helps.

I will ask since you are an ex-treasurer. If someone requested that break down was it available to them, or only general spending such as $1,231 on legal expenses vs $1,231 on legal expenses with $540 spent on attorney fees for certified letters to residents, and the remainder spent on pending litigation against there residents?


By Florida law members are allowed to inspect and copy all association records with very limited restrictions. If a member wanted to see the invoices they could. From there it depends on how much detail the invoices had, but I would would expect the invoices should have that level of detail. I don't know if Texas has similar laws or not, but if not, the board can decide what they want to share.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2708


09/20/2019 12:22 PM  
Legal expenses could include the actual time put into the case, which may include legal research, writing letters, talking to various people, including your neighbors, and there’s nothing dictating how much those expenses should cost. The association can (and should) get a breakdown of those expenses because it had to pay them – you could ask for that, but it won’t get you out of paying it because that’s what the attorney charged the association and it has to get reimbursed for that expense. That’s what happens when the association takes action against a homeowner – he or she has to pay the association’s legal fees incurred in pursuing the legal action against them (unless a judge says otherwise or you’re able to negotiate a lower price).

As Douglas said, you need to focus on the question as to whether you’re running a business. If the president and vice president didn’t know the letter was being sent, you should ask for a formal appeal hearing where you can present your side. This should include all those people whose cars you’ve worked on and other neighbors who can testify that you’re not loud, there are no parking or traffic issues created because of it, etc. As part of your appeal, you can ask that the legal expenses be waived because you didn’t get a chance to explain yourself from the beginning.

If that doesn’t work, you will need to talk to an attorney about your options – you can always sue the association if you can prove selective enforcement, and then get YOUR costs reimbursed by the association if you win
PestY


Posts:0


09/20/2019 12:25 PM  
Posted By MatthewW8 on 09/20/2019 9:34 AM
Posted By PestY on 09/20/2019 9:08 AM
..... ever since she started mowing her lawn at 6 am on Mother's Day about 9 years ago .....


? PRECISELY what covenant or restriction was violated ?

? PRECISELY what local, county, or state ordinance was violated ?

(the fact that your wife was ill has NO bearing on the issue)


IMO: you broke hers, now she is breaking yours






(not sure why you start questions with a ? xxxxx ?, is there some reason?

I don't know how to reply to your comment. None of what you are saying has any indication that you read or have any knowledge of the questions I asked, but I'll reply anyway just so you have more details.

------------

First question -

There is a noise ordinance covenant which states -

2.06 Noise; Nuisance. No exterior speakers, horns, whistles,
bells or other sound devices (other than security devices used
exclusively for security purposes) shall be located, used or placed on any of the Property. No noise or other nuisance shall be permit- ted i:.o exist or operate upon any portion of the Property so as to be offensive or detrimental to any other portion of the Property or to its occupants.

It doesn't sound like there is one that relates specifically to the time of day in the CC&R's. From my research, if there are rules for a city and a MUD/HOA, whichever is more strict wins. In this case, the city ordinance is 70db before 7 am. A standard lawn mower is 90db. In this case, she broke the city noise ordinance by mowing before 7 am.

-------------

Second question -

Sec. 8.08.002 Definitions
Daytime. For Non-Residential Property, the continuous time period between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00
p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and for
Residential Property, the continuous time period between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. each day.

Sec. 8.08.003 Restrictions on Decibel levels
Scope. This Article applies to the control of all sound and noise existing within the city limits and
any part of its extraterritorial jurisdiction within six hundred (600) feet of the city limits.
(a) Non-Residential Noise Source Maximum Decibel Levels. No person shall cause, allow,
or permit the making of a noise from a Non-Residential Property in the city limits and any part of
the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction within six hundred (600) feet of the city limits which exceeds
the following sound pressure levels as measured pursuant to Subsection (c) herein:
(1) Daytime: 75 dB(A) or 85 dB(C); or
(2) Nighttime: 65 dB(A) or 75 dB(C).
(b) Residential Noise Source Maximum Decibel Levels. No person shall cause, allow, or
permit the making of a noise from a Residential Property in the city limits and any part of the
City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction within six hundred (600) feet of the city limits which exceeds
the following sound pressure levels as measured pursuant to Subsection (c) herein:
(1) Daytime: 70 dB(A) or 80 dB(C); or
(2) Nighttime: 50 dB(A) or 60 dB(C).

----------

I never said being pregnant and sick had any bearing on anything. My point was to paint a picture of the neighbor and the tendencies.


I'm not sure what you're referring to re: "you broke hers". We didn't break anything. My wife asked her nicely initially at 6 am in the dark on a stepstool in the backyard over the back fence to mow later in the day, perhaps after sunrise. She basically said no, it's my hard so screw off and that she could do whatever she wanted.




The neighbor has NOT violated any covenant / restriction.

You should have filed a complaint with the city if you thought any code or law was violated.

I am sure that your (invalid) wife asked POLITELY @ 6:00 AM (when it was cool) to mow later (when it would be hotter).

Sheez - if y'all don't like where you live, MOOOOVE


f/y/i:

from: https://chchearing.org/noise/common-environmental-noise-levels/

50 refrigerator
50 – 60 electric toothbrush
50 – 75 washing machine
50 – 75 air conditioner
50 – 80 electric shaver
55 coffee percolator
55 – 70 dishwasher
60 sewing machine
60 – 85 vacuum cleaner
60 – 95 hair dryer
65 – 80 alarm clock
70 TV audio
70 – 80 coffee grinder
70 – 95 garbage disposal
75 – 85 flush toilet
80 pop-up toaster
80 doorbell
80 ringing telephone
80 whistling kettle
80 – 90 food mixer or processor
80 – 90 blender
80 – 95 garbage disposal
110 baby crying
110 squeaky toy held close to the ear
135 noisy squeeze toys
40 quiet office, library
50 large office
65 – 95 power lawn mower
80 manual machine, tools
85 handsaw
90 tractor
90 – 115 subway
95 electric drill
100 factory machinery
100 woodworking class
105 snow blower
110 power saw
110 leafblower
120 chain saw, hammer on nail
120 pneumatic drills, heavy machine
120 jet plane (at ramp)
120 ambulance siren
125 chain saw
130 jackhammer, power drill
130 air raid
130 percussion section at symphony
140 airplane taking off
150 jet engine taking off
150 artillery fire at 500 feet
180 rocket launching from pad


(perhaps y'all should have requested a silenced telephone as well as a silent mower?)
PestY


Posts:0


09/20/2019 12:28 PM  
ps. good luck PROVING in a court of law any sound level violation

pps. you just admitted on the WWW to repairing OTHER PEOPLE's broken cars USING YOUR PROPERTY

ppps. 'neighbor from hell' rings a bell


or


live and let live
MatthewW8
(Texas)

Posts:6


09/20/2019 12:45 PM  
And that's fine Shelia, I'm good with all of that. I am more interested in how often they send a letter out adding up the legal fees vs just emailing the enforcement organization. I have all my neighbors on my side, outside of this one of course.

There is no business, and legally this isn't a trade. By legal definition, it is a hobby which isn't against any CC&R's so that is what the focus will be on. I plan to have them all show up at the next board meeting which is unfortunately usually the 5 board members and a legal representative. They were surprised when they had 3 people show up last time (two neighbors and myself).

That isn't how I want to handle it, but unfortunately it may come to that. I've lived in the house almost 11 years and never had an issue until just now.
MatthewW8
(Texas)

Posts:6


09/20/2019 12:46 PM  
Thank you, Douglas. I appreciate the info. I'll email the treasurer and go by the management office after talking to an attorney about it.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:588


09/21/2019 1:29 PM  
In our little city, there is an ordinance against “wrenching” on a car, especially if it’s not your own.
MatthewW8
(Texas)

Posts:6


09/21/2019 1:54 PM  
So, they have a covenant against changing your own oil? That seems extreme. Thankfully nothing like that here, however if you read and follow my covenants they say you can't practice any trade on your property. Legally a trade is a business or occupation for profit, so you can't work from home even. That would never hold up, and from what I'm reading and hearing neither will them saying I can't help my neighbors with a hobby. Thankfully in my section I only have 68 houses so I only need 45 to agree to change the covenants.

Sue, you said especially a vehicle you do not own. How is that worded so you can't work on any car, especially not your own?
PestY


Posts:0


09/21/2019 2:55 PM  
from 'my' covenants and restrictions:

..... Section 15. Vehicle Storage. No inoperative vehicle or vehicle in a state of noticeable
disrepair shall be kept or stored upon any Lot or Common Area, nor may any repair work be done
to any motor vehicle, boat or trailer upon any Lot or Common Area except for minor repair and
preventive maintenance work. .....

DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1457


09/21/2019 8:52 PM  
Posted By PestY on 09/21/2019 2:55 PM
from 'my' covenants and restrictions:

..... Section 15. Vehicle Storage. No inoperative vehicle or vehicle in a state of noticeable
disrepair shall be kept or stored upon any Lot or Common Area, nor may any repair work be done
to any motor vehicle, boat or trailer upon any Lot or Common Area except for minor repair and
preventive maintenance work. .....



That leaves a lot open to interpretation. To some people, an oil change might be their limit for "minor repair", others might feel that an alternator or water pump replacement is "minor repair", still others might think a valve job and head refurbishment is fairly "minor".

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8623


09/21/2019 10:43 PM  
It is not a "Trade" to you but it is a "Trade" in whole. You may not be a professional in the trade of mechanical repairs doesn't mean it's not a "Trade".

Former HOA President
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