Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Friday, October 18, 2019
Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: Real-life examples of replacing bad boards
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:319


10/05/2019 7:36 AM  
I'm curious to hear about people who've lived in HOAs that were run by bad boards initially, but people turned things around and now the HOA is governed well.

For example, did the board of your HOA ever do the following:

* Single out owners for harassment
* Fail to keep records
* Fail to maintain the property
* Engage in strife
* Engage in financial wrongdoing

If so, and if your HOA board is now good, I'd be curious to hear how you turned things around.

* Did you campaign and get elected to the board, either on your own or with other neighbors
* Did bad board members just resign
* Was there litigation

I'd like to hear more. I'm not seeking legal advice, and the fact that I'm a lawyer has nothing to do with this (so no need to post, "you're a lawyer, you should know this").

Thanks.

SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:586


10/05/2019 9:05 AM  
Bad boards are bad because they stay so long.

Enforce terms (and term limits) and prevent people from entering elections without some time off ( one year?) They can move to Committe positions to stay involved.

We would hope that altruists would step up, but many if them don't have financial skills. A good board has people of many talents serving.

There are sites on the web that speak to “what makes up a good board”.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:586


10/05/2019 9:06 AM  
Bad boards are bad because they stay so long.

Enforce terms (and term limits) and prevent people from entering elections without some time off ( one year?) They can move to Committe positions to stay involved.

We would hope that altruists would step up, but many if them don't have financial skills. A good board has people of many talents serving.

There are sites on the web that speak to “what makes up a good board”.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8730


10/05/2019 9:17 AM  
There was an upheaval of one BOD in an HOA 0of 700 homes. The docs had allowed for outbuildings such as sheds, garages, etc. The ARC had never approved a request. One owner got refused several times and had his lawyer send a letter to the BOD. The BOD lawyer advised the BOD that the owner was correct. The fact the BOD had never approved any outbuilding meant they were restricting them and they had no right to do so. Attorney advised if it went to court, they would lose.

The lawyer advised the BDO to take control of the situation and set up some very strict guidelines like concrete base, identical siding as the house, etc. Basically make the guidelines so expensive, someone would not want to do it.

The head of the ARC (appointed) asked me to join the ARC to help draw up the guidelines. During an ARC meeting the President asked to meet with us. He said that he and several other BOD Members were against any type outbuildings and told us to stop working on such. He was asked about the attorneys advice. He replied he did not care. He doubted anyone would take us to court. The head of the ARC said he disagreed with the President. The President fired him and the entire ARC right on the spot.

The President was not well liked but he and his supporters just kept getting re-elected and he had upset people along the way. We formed a group of about 10 owners and we decided to run our own slate for the BOD. Wes set up information tables at intersections, at the pool, etc. We gathered Proxies. BOD of 7, two year terms, with 3 slots open. We captured 2 of the 3 with the President winning the other slot. It was enough that the President was not re-elected President. He and his allies still controlled 4 votes so there were a lot of 4-3 votes that year. Next year we did the same and took 2 of the 4 slots so now the votes were going our way. He did not run the next year or any since.

Bottom line is we had to work hard to make the change. We could not just wish for it. We had to earn it.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:459


10/05/2019 12:17 PM  
In my community, the previous board was mediocre to slightly bad - they're weren't doing anything that was flat-out illegal, but they did some things that were borderline unethical, and were failing to do things that should have bee done (such as auditing the books). The PM was also mediocre. I thought I could do a better job on the board, and I wanted to bring in a management company that was getting rave reviews from area communities.

I campaigned and got elected to the board. We actually had our best turnout at the annual meeting that year - there is nothing like a contested election to get people's attention.

Things we did while I was serving:

* Hired the new management company (good decision, they pride themselves on professionalism and quality work).

* Put our current attorney's firm on retainer (good decision, definitely getting our money's worth).

* Improved communication with homeowners (created a web site, sent out newsletters regularly, re-wrote the community handbook and distributed copies). Opened the board meetings to homeowners (Ohio is not an open meeting state, and previous boards had kept the meetings closed).

* Improved board performance through regular education (attorney's firm offers free quarterly seminars plus quarterly newsletters on current topics of interest). Consulted our Declaration and bylaws before making decisions (it's easy to do things wrong if you can't cite chapter and verse).

* Instituted a regular schedule of audits/reviews of the books.

* Improved maintenance of the property: caught up on deferred maintenance and hired better quality contractors.

* Improved enforcement of the restrictions.

* Developed an investment policy and improved investment returns on our reserves.

I was tuckered out after five years.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8601


10/05/2019 1:25 PM  
My HOA had 107 owners (including myself). It was built in the 80's early 90's. Combo of small patio homes and homes that shared a wall. We have a clubhouse with a pool. Basically across the street from an elementary school. It was the first development of a now very popular home builder. So it had some age to it and needs of replacement/upgrades. Homes were selling cheaply around 60 - 70K range.

The President of the HOA was a guy about my age. He was burnt out and ready to get out. Also considered the "handyman" of the HOA. I had just gotten out of a bad relationship and bought my first home. Met him and had butterflies in my stomach. Thought he could have been the "one". He took me under his wing to teach me the HOA and to get me elected to the HOA to become next President. Yes I was in love and ready to be involved in my community...

Well... It turns out he was a scumbag beyond words. Luckily I found out within a month. The more I got to know the neighbors the more they told me about "Mr. Wonderful". He was quite the con-man. See he was "prepping" me to become President alight. It was because he had been working without insurance/license. His competitor reported him to the City for it. So he went around claiming the guy was mentally ill etc... A tactic he used often.

He "educated" me on the fact the HOA could fix violations and send the owner's the bill. Of course for that to happen meant the HOA had to spend their money first. Guess who was going to be the contractor to do that? So basically he felt it was a conflict of interest for him to get paid as a board member/President to get paid for this work. Having the HOA pay him guaranteed him money. It was up to the HOA to collect from the owner. Which would require more expense to file a lien. So he was basically guaranteed a check. Oh and he was the one who wrote the violations! He also had the approved color scheme of which then he formed his own painting company. How convenient and smell con-man yet?

I caught on quickly. So had him keep believing he was "prepping" me to be elected. Which I did get elected as Vice-President so I could "learn the ropes". The other board members were okay for the most part. Most were older and liked to keep the status quo. They kind of just let the scumbag run the show. Whom our lawncare contractor (many complained about) was also his pot dealer.

The Year I was elected President things changed. Fired the lawncare guy. He had apparently just had to ask the President for things and got it. That wasn't going to work no more. I immediately started the 3 bid for every contract. Plus they had to be licensed/insured. I did let the lawncare be one of the bids but he was basically agreed upon to be let go. It didn't help the former President had screwed up the original contract and we had to pay him and the new contractor the first month. He had started the original contract a month late... (I had to dig through 20 years of paperwork to find the contract).

Started bringing the By-laws, CC&R's, and Articles of Incorporation to every meeting. I'd refer to them often when asked questions. If did not know the answer, I'd tell them look it up later to reference the rules. People could submit request but had to refer to the rules prior to any decisions.

I walked the neighborhood with my dogs daily. It didn't matter if you were a renter or an owner. I'd let you know what was going on. Started a Halloween Party for the members at the clubhouse every year. Formed a Neighborhood Watch. Cut down some trees. Replaced the pool retaining wall from railroad ties to Cinder block. Installed a flag pole at the front entrance. Made a nice garden at the front entrance. Had the fence at the pool painted and the mailbox house.

The HOA became a better place because people saw the hard work being put into it. Once they saw someone really cared and took time out for the neighborhood, they cared too. When I quit, there were many people who stepped up to become the new board. Which we barely had 3 people show up to a meeting. We had well over 30 people show up election day.

Now can I say it was a happy ending? No. The ex-president got all his people elected to the board. Including an ex-girlfriend who tried to beat me up at a meeting. They spent nearly the entire budget 1st month into being the new BOD. Told a whole bunch of lies about me. Including that I had stolen the HOA's records. Which was funny because they were always in the closet of the clubhouse where we had meetings....

So I can say it is possible to replace bad boards and overcome bad people. Yes. Will the cycle repeat itself? Yes if you let it. Would I do it again? Yes. Just NOT be "friends" with that Ex-President. That was my biggest mistake. Oh yeah, I did end up kicking his butt outside of the HOA. He'd been ripping off elderly people with Alzheimer's as well... Did I mention he was a scumbag?


Former HOA President
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3234


10/05/2019 2:58 PM  
It's a problem that a bad board can be replaced by a "good" (or at least better) board for awhile, but it's almost guaranteed that once the good board turns over it will get bad again. Most people have no idea what it takes to run a community association, let alone possess the ability to do it properly.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:459


10/06/2019 5:46 AM  
Posted By GenoS on 10/05/2019 2:58 PM
It's a problem that a bad board can be replaced by a "good" (or at least better) board for awhile, but it's almost guaranteed that once the good board turns over it will get bad again. Most people have no idea what it takes to run a community association, let alone possess the ability to do it properly.




Yes yes yes! Unfortunately the "good" boards seem to burn out (it's hard work) but the bad/clueless ones never seem to. I found it tough going to educate the homeowners: you can provide them with all the information in the world, but you can't force them to take it in.

I've concluded that basically treading water (cycling back and forth between good and bad) is about the best you can hope for. It's better than going down the tubes and staying there.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3234


10/06/2019 4:50 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/06/2019 5:46 AM
Yes yes yes! Unfortunately the "good" boards seem to burn out (it's hard work) but the bad/clueless ones never seem to. I found it tough going to educate the homeowners: you can provide them with all the information in the world, but you can't force them to take it in.

I've concluded that basically treading water (cycling back and forth between good and bad) is about the best you can hope for. It's better than going down the tubes and staying there.


I think you're right. Our Finance Committee has been meeting every other week for a couple of months as we near the deadline for our FY 2020 budget. The meetings are "open" meetings and we get about 6 homeowners attending besides the 4 on the committee. We're up against it with our painting reserves in 2 years using the component straight-line method of reserve scheduling and planning. Using the pooled cash-flow method we can probably avoid a $1,000 special assessment. None of the attendees are well versed in reserves planning but they are very vocal that they do not want to use pooled reserves. They'd rather stay with straight-line reserves because it's "safer". I brought 5 short articles and blog postings to the last meeting to help them see the risk with pooled reserves is manageable. Nobody read them. They don't know and they don't wanna know. They're perfectly fine with continuing to use the straight-line method that we've been using for 8 years while underfunding in each of those 8 years. But it's the pooled method they have a problem with. These vocal know-nothings are going to sway the board right into a special assessment. I'm tired of wasting my breath.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Real-life examples of replacing bad boards



Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!



News Articles Provided by: Community Associations Network
News, articles and blogs about condos/HOA's

Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
HindmanSanchez Legal Notice:  (For messages posted by HindmanSanchez) This message has been prepared by HindmanSanchez for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Members of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send us confidential information unless you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in our firm. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado only.

Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement