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Subject: Taking your board of directors to court
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Author Messages
JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/19/2012 4:48 AM  

This is an FYI and caveat.

Yesterday we met with a mediator to settle the monetary portion of our lawsuit against the HOA board.

Our board had already been to small claims court three times and lost every time.

What we believed the board did wrong:

1. Did not give proper notification of meetings.
2. No agenda.
3. Prevented member from speaking at meeting.
4. Discussed non-agenda items.
5. Had secret discussion about HOA business.
6. Held a hearing without fulfilling all the elements.
7. Did not fulfill due process (would not show evidence prior to the hearing and would not reveal accuser).
8. Attempted to defraud by inflating the actual cost of fixing the so-called damages.
9. Non-production of documents.
10. False light.
11. Defamation of character.
12. Prevented us from participating in the election process.
13. Prevented the expression of opposing views in HOA media.
14. Stole property and lied about it.
15. Hindered attempts to sell the property.
16. Violated state license board requirements.

In doing so, the board in 10 months violated civil code, licensing code, corporation codes and tax codes.

By treating one unit differently than any other, they created a hostile environment.

There was no argument that the board had done these things. It was only a matter of how much money we were going to collect and the CC&R as well as the state civil code provide that the prevailing party can collect for attorney fees.

The insurance company had to cover all the attorney fees plus an additional amount for defamation and other damages. This is only the monetary portion. We have also turned in proposed requirements on future conduct.

When I spoke at meetings about legal liability, people groaned and rolled their eyes. But as you can see, the concept of legal liability is very real. The board didn't bother to get an attorney, so they saved money on that.

The insurance agent didn't require the board members to come; we are guessing that is because the board members were too unreasonable to be in mediation.



MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10521


05/19/2012 12:57 PM  
Suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors. Who do you think just paid out that insurance claim and for what? Something that could be done INTERNALLY. The power is all in the documents NOT court papers. Hope your HOa will be able to keep insurance or rates are still affordable. Expect a raise in dues or a special assessment to cover all the damage that was done in what I call a "Piric victory". That is all HOA battles ever become in the end.

Former HOA President
LarryB13
(Arizona)

Posts:4099


05/19/2012 1:22 PM  
JM:

Congratulations on taking action against your association. Too many people move into an HOA with the expectation that someone else will take care of everything so they do not need to do anything. That opens the door for a minority to take control of the association. Some of those associations operate under their own rules with their own agenda and continue to operate that way while the majority of owners looks the other way.

I have advised a number of people on this forum to seek injunctive relief to curb their associations' nonsense. I hope there is some part of your action that will prevent the board from continuing its behavior. The problem with winning monetary damages is that they are paid from insurance and neither the do-nothing owners nor the out-of-control board members pay a cent out of their own pockets so there is no incentive to change. No lesson is learned.

FredB4
(Ohio)

Posts:375


05/19/2012 1:59 PM  
I agree with Mellissa. Expect your insurance rates to go up. You successfully sued yourself and your neighbors.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


05/19/2012 2:14 PM  
Posted By FredB4 on 05/19/2012 1:59 PM
I agree with Mellissa. Expect your insurance rates to go up. You successfully sued yourself and your neighbors.




I also agree with Melissa. Someone just shot themselves in the foot.

I lost a job one time. I said to my boss that I was right. He said yes you were right, but you were also dead right. You are fired.

JayP3


Posts:0


05/19/2012 2:29 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 05/19/2012 2:14 PM
Posted By FredB4 on 05/19/2012 1:59 PM
I agree with Mellissa. Expect your insurance rates to go up. You successfully sued yourself and your neighbors.




I also agree with Melissa. Someone just shot themselves in the foot.

I lost a job one time. I said to my boss that I was right. He said yes you were right, but you were also dead right. You are fired.





That's Meliss'a montra over and over we get it... sit back and take it. Be the victim... it's easier.

If any cost's go up it is not the fault of those who stand up for their rights but rather those who opress or continue such action(s) in the face of others who speak out/up.

Displaced blame... the core of scapegoating and demonizing.

Why do people think justice is free?

If you want something better than you have it will likely cost more.



LarryB13
(Arizona)

Posts:4099


05/19/2012 2:33 PM  
So are the rest of you (John, Fred, Melissa) arguing that if a person purchases a home in good faith in an HOA, that the HOA should be permitted to ignore or deliberately violate state law, including inflicting an actual economic loss on the person, and that the HOA, its members, and its board should be immune from all liability?

One thing we will all agree on: Thank God I do not live in your association!

PeterD3
(Florida)

Posts:708


05/19/2012 2:44 PM  
Our society is going down the tubes because so many people value money more than most anything.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


05/19/2012 3:21 PM  
Larry said:

******One thing we will all agree on: Thank God I do not live in your association!******

This we can agree on.
JonD1


Posts:0


05/19/2012 3:26 PM  
The OP gives the impression all went their way when IMO the jury is still out.

Just what was the final outcome of the legal process? The OP says some legal fees were paid by the insurance company well how much and exactly why? As already pointed out this should serve as reasoning for increased insurance premiums for the rest of time.

Just wondering if the Board was found to be at fault what punsihment were they (the members) subjected to? Has a new Board been put into place and if so what kind of job do you see them doing going forward? If the Board was allowed to stay in place then just what was accomplished?

I read all of the sins this Board was "believed" to have done and if I might say so some of them are rather frivolous in reagrds to what some Boards have been found guilty of doing. Not having an agenda? If found guilty just how much jail time are we looking at????

And now the mediator will come to some arrangments to allow both sides to think they in fact accomplished something.

I too agree this sort of percieved misbehavior might have been handled in house using the election process and if necessary the removal of the Board members. To go outside the system and into the legal system can prove costly and many times in the end neither party really wins.

I would like to know if this Board is still in office? What if anything was proven to be the case or did the Board admit to? Not what was "believed" to be the case.

What seems to be the case here Ca. politicians (and we all know how well they have handled things there) decided to set rules such as meeting announcements, agendas, prohibiting discussions outside the meetings,
many of which are simply designed to give property owners a role and voice in the process. Some abuse these rules on both sides when the letter of these laws is not followed. My question is what benefit has this brought to the property? Isn't that or shouldn't that be the bottom line? So you might have a agenda. You might now not discuss non-agenda items. And the noisy wheels on the property get to have their say at the meetings.

I hope the OP details the end determination of the mediator or the court on this matter so when the dust settles we can see just what actually took place. My guess some ruling like "just don't do that again".
PeterD3
(Florida)

Posts:708


05/19/2012 3:30 PM  

"I lost a job one time. I said to my boss that I was right. He said yes you were right, but you were also dead right. You are fired."


Were your rights violated? If so. why not fight for them?

Or did you not respect his/her authority?

I don't see the correlation. ???
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


05/19/2012 3:32 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/19/2012 12:57 PM
Suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors. Who do you think just paid out that insurance claim and for what? Something that could be done INTERNALLY.




I do believe that everyone understands that legal action should be considered as a last resort and, whenever possible, disputes should be resolved at the lowest level possible.
It appears that the lowest level in this instance was the court system.

The OP said:

Posted By JM10 on 05/19/2012 4:48 AM

Our board had already been to small claims court three times and lost every time.




Did the Board members not understand their requirements after the first time in court?
What about the second time?
Do they understand it now?

Why did the membership allow this to continue after the first time in court?
What about the second time?
Will they do anything about it now or will they still take the attitude of "if you leave me alone, I'll leave you alone"?

Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/19/2012 12:57 PM

The power is all in the documents NOT court papers.




The Authority is in the documents.
The power is in the membership.


If the membership doesn't want to exercise their power, by volunteering to serve, attending meetings to see what is happening, casting a vote when the decision is theirs to make, then there is danger of those who are willing to serve and vote abusing the authority granted to them by the documents.



Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/19/2012 12:57 PM

Hope your HOa will be able to keep insurance or rates are still affordable.




Always a concern whenever any insurance claim is filed (be it homeowners, auto, liability, D&O, etc.)


Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/19/2012 12:57 PM

Expect a raise in dues or a special assessment to cover all the damage that was done.




Assessments typically always increase.

Depending on a persons perspective some will blame the individual filing the legal action.
Some will blame the Board for failure to comply with State laws and the governing documents.
Some will blame the membership for failure to speak up and take action earlier.
Some will just blame inflation.


JM, expecting that you tried to resolve the issues at the lowest level, congratulations for winning the good fight. Hopefully things will change for the better and not for the worse.

Tim
JonD1


Posts:0


05/19/2012 3:34 PM  
What we believed the board did wrong:

1. Did not give proper notification of meetings.
2. No agenda.
3. Prevented member from speaking at meeting.
4. Discussed non-agenda items.
5. Had secret discussion about HOA business.
6. Held a hearing without fulfilling all the elements.
7. Did not fulfill due process (would not show evidence prior to the hearing and would not reveal accuser).
8. Attempted to defraud by inflating the actual cost of fixing the so-called damages.
9. Non-production of documents.
10. False light.
11. Defamation of character.
12. Prevented us from participating in the election process.
13. Prevented the expression of opposing views in HOA media.
14. Stole property and lied about it.
15. Hindered attempts to sell the property.
16. Violated state license board requirements.

IMO the key here is "what WE BELIEVED the Board did wrong. Just what if anthing was proven in court?

Many of these claims are subjective at the very best and some seem to me not deserving of court time. None does the property financial damage.

All to do about little if anything..............False light?????
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


05/19/2012 3:51 PM  
Posted By PeterD3 on 05/19/2012 3:30 PM

"I lost a job one time. I said to my boss that I was right. He said yes you were right, but you were also dead right. You are fired."


Were your rights violated? If so. why not fight for them?

Or did you not respect his/her authority?

I don't see the correlation. ???





Peter

Allow me to clarify.

Yes I could have legally fought it but I saw the hand writing on the wall and at the level I was at, we all wanted it to go away and not hurt my career. We did agree that I would get "lost" for 90 days and then resign.

It was a valuable lesson for me.

I see many that won every battle they ever fought but lost every war they engaged in and they still do not know why. I learned early on, win the wars.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


05/19/2012 3:53 PM  
Peter...me agina.

I said:

""""I see many that won every battle they ever fought but lost every war they engaged in and they still do not know why. I learned early on, win the wars.""""


I see many of them on this chat.
PeterD3
(Florida)

Posts:708


05/19/2012 4:08 PM  
Nothing personal.

You made a choice.

No different than one choosing to challenge what they believe is an injustice. For some it's more important than money.

Go ahead and challenge the validity of what is posted but for me it is more philosophical than factual.

PeterD3
(Florida)

Posts:708


05/19/2012 4:10 PM  
Nothing personal.

You made a choice.

No different than one choosing to challenge what they believe is an injustice. For some it's more important than money.

Others challenge the validity of what is posted and write long (and often ignored) rebuttals but for me it is more philosophical than factual.

PeterD3
(Florida)

Posts:708


05/19/2012 4:11 PM  
Double post as I tried to be less pointed the second time around.
LarryB13
(Arizona)

Posts:4099


05/19/2012 5:48 PM  
Posted By JonD1 on 05/19/2012 3:34 PM
Many of these claims are subjective at the very best and some seem to me not deserving of court time.



The court is in a far better position to decide what is deserving of its time than any of us on this forum.
JonD1


Posts:0


05/19/2012 6:06 PM  
So the courts in CA. would have the time to take up violations of Davis Sterling as legitimate issues. Here in NY the legal system is burdened enough without legal arguments over a missing agenda at an HOA meeting.

JonD1


Posts:0


05/19/2012 6:06 PM  
So the courts in CA. would have the time to take up violations of Davis Sterling as legitimate issues. Here in NY the legal system is burdened enough without legal arguments over a missing agenda at an HOA meeting.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10521


05/19/2012 8:12 PM  
I am NOT saying NEVER sue your HOA. You would be surprised to find out that I did indeed after quiting being President and was a board member I did hire a lawyer and brought him to a meeting. The new board was going in the wrong direction from the get go and had tried to make an illegal and unnecssary special assessment for a pool repair. They did get their votes but only after lying to everyone and dragging my name through the mud. My phone rang for a year with apologies from members and stories they were told. (Dooozies).

However, I was NOT alone in my fight. I had a group of almost 20 members on my side fighting the good fight. If your going to sue your HOA sue as a GROUP NOT an individual. That is truly how you change your HOA internally. It is majority rules. Plus it's a fight worth winning if many agree NOT any...

Former HOA President
LarryB13
(Arizona)

Posts:4099


05/19/2012 11:52 PM  
Posted By JonD1 on 05/19/2012 6:06 PM

So the courts in CA. would have the time to take up violations of Davis Sterling as legitimate issues.



That is precisely what the courts are there for.

Posted By JonD1 on 05/19/2012 6:06 PM

Here in NY the legal system is burdened enough without legal arguments over a missing agenda at an HOA meeting.



Perhaps New Yorkers need to pay more attention to their state and local governments if the courts are so backlogged that they cannot hear a simple petition for an injunction. If New York state government is screwed up there is no one to blame except New Yorkers.
JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/20/2012 6:37 AM  
Posted By JonD1 on 05/19/2012 3:34 PM
What we believed the board did wrong:

1. Did not give proper notification of meetings.
2. No agenda.
3. Prevented member from speaking at meeting.
4. Discussed non-agenda items.
5. Had secret discussion about HOA business.
6. Held a hearing without fulfilling all the elements.
7. Did not fulfill due process (would not show evidence prior to the hearing and would not reveal accuser).
8. Attempted to defraud by inflating the actual cost of fixing the so-called damages.
9. Non-production of documents.
10. False light.
11. Defamation of character.
12. Prevented us from participating in the election process.
13. Prevented the expression of opposing views in HOA media.
14. Stole property and lied about it.
15. Hindered attempts to sell the property.
16. Violated state license board requirements.

IMO the key here is "what WE BELIEVED the Board did wrong. Just what if anthing was proven in court?

Many of these claims are subjective at the very best and some seem to me not deserving of court time. None does the property financial damage.

All to do about little if anything..............False light?????




Wow...a bit surprised by all the replies.

So here's my explanation. First, this began when my husband was refused entry to a meeting. First lie, it was an executive meeting. That wasn't true for two reasons: not declared an executive meeting, no agenda and nothing discussed in the meeting according to the minutes would have dictated an executive meeting. So here is the first instance of false light. The board told people we were attempting to gain entry into a meeting (true) that was an executive meeting (false). This is also a violation of corporate law because they issues a false statement.

After that, we asked via email, in person and then by notes on the community board (that were ripped down every two hours) when the next meeting was. We were told when the meeting was AFTER the meeting via the minutes to the previous meeting (which according to the 30-day availability state requirement were already several days late). The meeting minutes were taped to our doormat. At that point, we were threatened with fines (for the "When is the next board meeting" 8.5 X 11 signs).

We then filed a request for resolution (having failed to get on the agenda or even get the agenda). This was ignored by the board. We also informed all members by notices posted on their doors and mailed letters. We were threatened with fines for these actions.

We filed in small claims court. The judge cautioned the two board members who showed up and asked them why they didn't just inform all members via email regarding the meetings.

Everything listed could be proven, including the stolen property. Some of this was proven in small claims court, but in California before going to limited/unlimited civil court, we are required to meeting in arbitration/mediation. Mediation is also required for our HOA, but the board also refused (and only a member and not the board can refuse according to California state law). So we cannot say these acts were proven in court as we have not gone to court.

Why are agendas important? Because members receive it and can decide if it is important for them to be at the meetings to discuss. Also it prevents the board from having a discussion about topics without notifying members/in secret. California finds this point very important as it is part of the open meetings act in the Davis Stirling Act. In California, we require the same in our public legislative bodies. This is one reason I find the remark that we were suing ourselves to be incredibly stupid. Citizens regularly sue the government (or at least the ACLU does) to insure that the government (state or national) obeys the law. If people hadn't been willing to sue themselves in that respect, there would still be certain people required to sit at the back of the bus and other denied the right to vote. Most of what we were taking issue with were a matter of civil law which is supposed to guarantee our civil rights in the state of California. Other members had the opportunity to do something, but it is not surprising that they did nothing to act. We made an effort to keep them informed. They had choices to make and we cannot make those choices for them.

Why is false light an important issue? When we put up the posters, the board informed the other members of the meetings and were sending them newsletters. No one but the board knew that we were not receiving the same information as the other members. So our questions seemed out of place. The board conducted many informal discussions about matters and took polls, but we were not allowed to participate. Moreover, because the call for nominations for new board members went out in those newsletters, it also seemed as if we did not care who was running and had no desire to run ourselves. This makes our actions seem inexplicable and a bit crazy. Thus false light. In one email exchange, you could easily see a person's attitude change. When a member asked about the newsletters for us, he was told that we had already been sent the newsletters. This was not true, but he didn't know that and for that reason, he asked why we just didn't bring that matter to the board instead of asking him. Of course, we had already asked the board three times (verbally and twice in writing).

In order to change rules, BTW, in California there is a requirement that opposing points of view be allowed access to common areas and all HOA media which would include the community board and newsletters. This is the same for elections. Freedom of speech, another civil right, is protected in California through this civil code.

If you don't understand the importance of false light, you probably have problems understanding the complexity of this case and shouldn't comment. False light, slander and libel are different but related issues. When an election is involved, such issues become important.

In order to hinder our attempts to sell our property, the board refused to put the commercial sign issue on the agenda (they later wrote that they deliberated about it, however, the issue was not recorded on any agenda or in any meeting minutes so we know they had secret meetings), attempted to fine us despite having no written rules in place months later, and eventually stole not one, but three signs. The police were called and the police forced a board director to return all three signs. They refused to cooperate with our real estate agent and harassed them, thus providing us with two more witnesses.

We also believe that the board violated other civil codes, etc., but cannot prove it. What we could prove was in a folder two-inches thick.

The important issue is that when you are a member of a common interest development you need to take an active interest in what is happening. If you do not, if you stand by and allow such violations, then you are part of the problem. Yet if you really thought about it, as a member of any community, you do have an interest in what happens. No man/woman is an island.


JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/20/2012 6:37 AM  
Posted By JonD1 on 05/19/2012 3:34 PM
What we believed the board did wrong:

1. Did not give proper notification of meetings.
2. No agenda.
3. Prevented member from speaking at meeting.
4. Discussed non-agenda items.
5. Had secret discussion about HOA business.
6. Held a hearing without fulfilling all the elements.
7. Did not fulfill due process (would not show evidence prior to the hearing and would not reveal accuser).
8. Attempted to defraud by inflating the actual cost of fixing the so-called damages.
9. Non-production of documents.
10. False light.
11. Defamation of character.
12. Prevented us from participating in the election process.
13. Prevented the expression of opposing views in HOA media.
14. Stole property and lied about it.
15. Hindered attempts to sell the property.
16. Violated state license board requirements.

IMO the key here is "what WE BELIEVED the Board did wrong. Just what if anthing was proven in court?

Many of these claims are subjective at the very best and some seem to me not deserving of court time. None does the property financial damage.

All to do about little if anything..............False light?????




Wow...a bit surprised by all the replies.

So here's my explanation. First, this began when my husband was refused entry to a meeting. First lie, it was an executive meeting. That wasn't true for two reasons: not declared an executive meeting, no agenda and nothing discussed in the meeting according to the minutes would have dictated an executive meeting. So here is the first instance of false light. The board told people we were attempting to gain entry into a meeting (true) that was an executive meeting (false). This is also a violation of corporate law because they issues a false statement.

After that, we asked via email, in person and then by notes on the community board (that were ripped down every two hours) when the next meeting was. We were told when the meeting was AFTER the meeting via the minutes to the previous meeting (which according to the 30-day availability state requirement were already several days late). The meeting minutes were taped to our doormat. At that point, we were threatened with fines (for the "When is the next board meeting" 8.5 X 11 signs).

We then filed a request for resolution (having failed to get on the agenda or even get the agenda). This was ignored by the board. We also informed all members by notices posted on their doors and mailed letters. We were threatened with fines for these actions.

We filed in small claims court. The judge cautioned the two board members who showed up and asked them why they didn't just inform all members via email regarding the meetings.

Everything listed could be proven, including the stolen property. Some of this was proven in small claims court, but in California before going to limited/unlimited civil court, we are required to meeting in arbitration/mediation. Mediation is also required for our HOA, but the board also refused (and only a member and not the board can refuse according to California state law). So we cannot say these acts were proven in court as we have not gone to court.

Why are agendas important? Because members receive it and can decide if it is important for them to be at the meetings to discuss. Also it prevents the board from having a discussion about topics without notifying members/in secret. California finds this point very important as it is part of the open meetings act in the Davis Stirling Act. In California, we require the same in our public legislative bodies. This is one reason I find the remark that we were suing ourselves to be incredibly stupid. Citizens regularly sue the government (or at least the ACLU does) to insure that the government (state or national) obeys the law. If people hadn't been willing to sue themselves in that respect, there would still be certain people required to sit at the back of the bus and other denied the right to vote. Most of what we were taking issue with were a matter of civil law which is supposed to guarantee our civil rights in the state of California. Other members had the opportunity to do something, but it is not surprising that they did nothing to act. We made an effort to keep them informed. They had choices to make and we cannot make those choices for them.

Why is false light an important issue? When we put up the posters, the board informed the other members of the meetings and were sending them newsletters. No one but the board knew that we were not receiving the same information as the other members. So our questions seemed out of place. The board conducted many informal discussions about matters and took polls, but we were not allowed to participate. Moreover, because the call for nominations for new board members went out in those newsletters, it also seemed as if we did not care who was running and had no desire to run ourselves. This makes our actions seem inexplicable and a bit crazy. Thus false light. In one email exchange, you could easily see a person's attitude change. When a member asked about the newsletters for us, he was told that we had already been sent the newsletters. This was not true, but he didn't know that and for that reason, he asked why we just didn't bring that matter to the board instead of asking him. Of course, we had already asked the board three times (verbally and twice in writing).

In order to change rules, BTW, in California there is a requirement that opposing points of view be allowed access to common areas and all HOA media which would include the community board and newsletters. This is the same for elections. Freedom of speech, another civil right, is protected in California through this civil code.

If you don't understand the importance of false light, you probably have problems understanding the complexity of this case and shouldn't comment. False light, slander and libel are different but related issues. When an election is involved, such issues become important.

In order to hinder our attempts to sell our property, the board refused to put the commercial sign issue on the agenda (they later wrote that they deliberated about it, however, the issue was not recorded on any agenda or in any meeting minutes so we know they had secret meetings), attempted to fine us despite having no written rules in place months later, and eventually stole not one, but three signs. The police were called and the police forced a board director to return all three signs. They refused to cooperate with our real estate agent and harassed them, thus providing us with two more witnesses.

We also believe that the board violated other civil codes, etc., but cannot prove it. What we could prove was in a folder two-inches thick.

The important issue is that when you are a member of a common interest development you need to take an active interest in what is happening. If you do not, if you stand by and allow such violations, then you are part of the problem. Yet if you really thought about it, as a member of any community, you do have an interest in what happens. No man/woman is an island.


JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/20/2012 6:52 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/19/2012 8:12 PM
I am NOT saying NEVER sue your HOA. You would be surprised to find out that I did indeed after quiting being President and was a board member I did hire a lawyer and brought him to a meeting. The new board was going in the wrong direction from the get go and had tried to make an illegal and unnecssary special assessment for a pool repair. They did get their votes but only after lying to everyone and dragging my name through the mud. My phone rang for a year with apologies from members and stories they were told. (Dooozies).

However, I was NOT alone in my fight. I had a group of almost 20 members on my side fighting the good fight. If your going to sue your HOA sue as a GROUP NOT an individual. That is truly how you change your HOA internally. It is majority rules. Plus it's a fight worth winning if many agree NOT any...




Our association only had ten units. Three units were involved as board members. We were a fourth unit. You do not state what percentage of people 20 members are, but this is also not relevant.

Two units were willing to help us, but they had no cause for action as they were not being discriminated against. In fact, as none of the other units were subject to the majority of the issues, they had no cause for action. As for the majority rules, that only pertains to certain issues. If the majority of HOA members wants to break the law, then they should not rule and they are by no means right in a moral or legal sense. As a minority (in a legal sense), that's insulting to hear.

Minutes should include which director votes for what for reasons of legal liability. If the majority of the directors vote to do something that violates state law, the CC&R or federal law, then in a subsequent court action, should the corporate protection be lifted due to negligence or willful misconduct, and the directors be liable as individuals, then the director who was in the minority would not be subject to legal penalties.



JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/20/2012 7:07 AM  
Posted By JonD1 on 05/19/2012 6:06 PM
So the courts in CA. would have the time to take up violations of Davis Sterling as legitimate issues. Here in NY the legal system is burdened enough without legal arguments over a missing agenda at an HOA meeting.





Agendas are considered important in the state of California. The Davis Stirling Act has the Opening Meeting Act which is considered the most important part of that parent act. This is where agendas are listed.

By looking at the agenda and the meeting minutes, we could prove that issues we had requested were never placed on the agenda (despite a requirement that the board reply within 60 days) and that secret meetings were taking place in order to make decisions.

Further, an agenda will give the members notice of violations or other issues that are occurring in the common interest development. In another discussion topic in this forum about violations and hearings, the information the person was looking for should have been available through a review of the agendas/minutes if the agenda/minutes are properly written, the agenda should list violations in general terms and by the minutes you will be able to note the extent of the issue (i.e. if the issue was serious enough to have a hearing).

By general terms, the name of the person in question would not be listed, however the code/rule/law should be specifically noted. In this manner, members can keep track and statistical information is available for future reference. This is how such matters are addressed by public institutions such as city councils and school boards under the Brown Act in California. By looking at the agenda, the editor decides who to send to the meeting and citizen can decide to attend. Likewise, HOA members can look at the agenda and decide if these matters listed have a particular interest to them. This is why agendas are considered important.
FredB4
(Ohio)

Posts:375


05/20/2012 7:39 AM  
Larry,
No that is not what I was saying. There are ways to handle these things internally and that should be the first step. Lawsuits against the association should be a last course of action because innocent people are going to be affected with higher insurance costs and HOA fees which in turn affects everyones ability to sell their property.
Also, lenders now look at legal action against the association when considering whether loans in a particular community are a good risk, so these types of actions can affect more than what might first be apparent.
You might not want to live in our association, but thankfully most of our owners would disagree with you.
JonD1


Posts:0


05/20/2012 8:03 AM  
Posted By LarryB13 on 05/19/2012 11:52 PM
Posted By JonD1 on 05/19/2012 6:06 PM

So the courts in CA. would have the time to take up violations of Davis Sterling as legitimate issues.



That is precisely what the courts are there for.

Posted By JonD1 on 05/19/2012 6:06 PM

Here in NY the legal system is burdened enough without legal arguments over a missing agenda at an HOA meeting.



Perhaps New Yorkers need to pay more attention to their state and local governments if the courts are so backlogged that they cannot hear a simple petition for an injunction. If New York state government is screwed up there is no one to blame except New Yorkers.




Larry in case you missed it the OP is in Ca. Now I would guess perhaps that system of government has quite enough on its plate without adding the handling of inhouse bickering among HOA owners to the agenda. The Davis-Stirling Law was written by a lawyer and has served in some cases to complicate the process so we argue about details rather than results. And it would appear the only party that benefits would be the lawyers.

Your comment about New Yorkers paying more attention doesn't really warrant a reply just simpleminded nonsense.
JonD1


Posts:0


05/20/2012 8:28 AM  
JM10:

Thanks for the detailed responses. Sounds like you have some legitimate concerns. But just because I am curious I will ask again after all of this has this Board been removed? Has the court or the mediator forces their removal?

And if so will YOU and others be willing to take on that role?

What consequences have been handed to the Board members other than the insurance carrier having to pay the legal costs?

I would also ask how did these folks get to be Board members? And the other owners are where in all of this.

I will speak for myself alone while I might agree with you the behavior of this Board is questionable for me taking this matter to court was not MY first avenue of action. I have a long history of working to change things on the property where I live. And my unanswered question for you going forward what have you really won?

Sometimes as others have suggested we get so involved in a matter we can't see the forrest for the trees. When this mediator or the court makes a FINAL determination please provide us with those details so we might then judge the true outcome.

Fred also makes an excellent point in all of this. You seem to claim some financial damage has been done to your property in all of this but in your efforts to right a wrong you may have damaged yourselves. Fred is right the presence of ongoing legal action will prevent or make very difficult obtaining financing for your property.

IMO looking for justice from an outside source such as governement or the legal system should be a last resort. It might prove costly and in the end unsatisfying. And in some cases the two parties loose and the lawyers and court systems profit.

IMO when you have lawyers and politicians join forces to set up systems of operation one think you can be sure of they won't work and it will cost you more money. In my life I have had the misfortune of dealing with several courts on several different matters. Most courts are nothing more than paper pushing money making enterprizes. And lawyers in general are lacking in morals or decency with regard for nothing else but the almighty buck.

Now if you look no further than our nations capital and the statehouses around the country and observe where we find ourselves today I rest my case.

I wish you luck and look forward to how this unwinds for you.



JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/20/2012 12:11 PM  
This is the first part of a two-part mediation agreement.

At the very least, this first part should show the other members that our concerns were legitimate and discredit the board of directors and their yet-to-be-identified lawyer. Our lawyers only added one point to our concerns and we did not pursue all the violations.

I think someone meant to write "pyrrhic victory." To be very clear, the HOA was in danger of losing the insurance as most insurance policies have a clause regarding the breaking of state laws means they can cancel.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10521


05/20/2012 2:15 PM  
Are you assuming insurance gets cancelled because state laws or HOA laws get violated? Insurance is in it for the money. They just won't pay out on claims that may be result of violating the rules. Does NOT mean they cancel a policy because of it.

Does your insurance drop you every time you get a ticket or in an accident? They can but most likely they will just charge you more money and put you at a higher risk bracket. Let the legal system enforce the laws and the insurance process the damages from the results of those violations.

Former HOA President
JonD1


Posts:0


05/20/2012 4:26 PM  
Melissa's comments make me wonder why the insurance carrier would agree to cover ANY costs if in fact the Board acted improperly or violated state codes or laws.

It is my understanding D&O coverage will not cover misbehavior by the Board.

Seems to me we are left without many of the details that might give us a clear picture of what is happening in this case.
PeterD3
(Florida)

Posts:708


05/20/2012 5:04 PM  
You're just now realizing that?

It's funny to watch folks pose all these specific solutions and get all worked up about issues where there is little to no KNOWN facts. And even then you don't know if the 'facts' are truthful.

As I said before I usually try to respond philosophically rather than factually. Unless I have actually experienced some of the situations or conditions (a successful recall comes to mind) you have to take it at face value.

Don't take it too seriously, it's just an anonymous chat room about HOA living.
JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/21/2012 6:59 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/20/2012 2:15 PM
Are you assuming insurance gets cancelled because state laws or HOA laws get violated? Insurance is in it for the money. They just won't pay out on claims that may be result of violating the rules. Does NOT mean they cancel a policy because of it.

Does your insurance drop you every time you get a ticket or in an accident? They can but most likely they will just charge you more money and put you at a higher risk bracket. Let the legal system enforce the laws and the insurance process the damages from the results of those violations.




Are you being facetious? You're comparing auto insurance to homeowners insurance and in this case common interest development (i.e. non-profit business) insurance. They are not the same things. Although if you did have too many tickets within a given period or if you commit fraud/misrepresentation of a material fact, your auto insurance might be able to cancel. It would depend upon your insurance contract. Below are two issues from our condo insurance policy.

3. All Policies In Effect For More Than 60 Days
a. If this policy has been in effect for more than 60 days, or is a renewal of a policy we issued, we may cancel this policy only upon the occurrence, after the effective date of the policy, of one or more of the following:

(3)A judgment by a court or an administrative tribunal that you have violated a California or Federal law, having as one of its necessary elements an act which materially increases any of the risks insured against.

(4) Discovery of willful or grossly negligent acts or omissions, or of any violations of state laws or regulations establishing safety standards, by you or your representative, which materially increase any of the risks insured against.

JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/21/2012 6:59 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/20/2012 2:15 PM
Are you assuming insurance gets cancelled because state laws or HOA laws get violated? Insurance is in it for the money. They just won't pay out on claims that may be result of violating the rules. Does NOT mean they cancel a policy because of it.

Does your insurance drop you every time you get a ticket or in an accident? They can but most likely they will just charge you more money and put you at a higher risk bracket. Let the legal system enforce the laws and the insurance process the damages from the results of those violations.




Are you being facetious? You're comparing auto insurance to homeowners insurance and in this case common interest development (i.e. non-profit business) insurance. They are not the same things. Although if you did have too many tickets within a given period or if you commit fraud/misrepresentation of a material fact, your auto insurance might be able to cancel. It would depend upon your insurance contract. Below are two issues from our condo insurance policy.

3. All Policies In Effect For More Than 60 Days
a. If this policy has been in effect for more than 60 days, or is a renewal of a policy we issued, we may cancel this policy only upon the occurrence, after the effective date of the policy, of one or more of the following:

(3)A judgment by a court or an administrative tribunal that you have violated a California or Federal law, having as one of its necessary elements an act which materially increases any of the risks insured against.

(4) Discovery of willful or grossly negligent acts or omissions, or of any violations of state laws or regulations establishing safety standards, by you or your representative, which materially increase any of the risks insured against.

JM10
(California)

Posts:503


05/21/2012 7:04 AM  
Posted By JonD1 on 05/20/2012 4:26 PM
Melissa's comments make me wonder why the insurance carrier would agree to cover ANY costs if in fact the Board acted improperly or violated state codes or laws.

It is my understanding D&O coverage will not cover misbehavior by the Board.

Seems to me we are left without many of the details that might give us a clear picture of what is happening in this case.




In California, the burden of proving willful misconduct must be accomplished before the insurance would be off the hook in this case. This cannot be done in small claims court. It must be done in either limited/unlimited civil court. It is not up to us as the complainants to prove that. We only have to prove that they violated the law.

To initiate such action (remove the corporate shield) one has to either be a board director or enlist a certain percentage of the members.

I am not sure how one would go about it in other states.


MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/21/2012 5:54 AM  
HOAs are a complete scam. There are no Open Meeting Laws, Election Laws or chain of custody of ballot laws that apply.
The most sociopathic and con artist members of the community quickly figure out that they can "get elected and stay elected"...forever.
Lawyers who "specialize" in HOA law encourage these misanthropes to cheat us and stay in power....it is money in the bank.
The equity in our homes and the money in our bank accounts fuel this corrupt system. The state of Nevada is currently embroiled in the largest corruption investigation in their history...focued soley on HOAs...no suprize!
In a recent case in Virginia the HOA bankrupted and destroyed itself after being sued by a homeowner who had had enough.
Lets hope the tide is turning and we start putting the thieves in jail, boot their tolieteer lawyers out and safeguard our investments from the turncoat neighbors who are nothing but modern day Quislings....selling us out to this repugnant system designed to steal from us.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


12/21/2012 6:41 AM  
Mike,

Based on your 1st posting and this, your second, posting, it's clear that you do not like living in an Association. I can certainly understand how you may have thought things ran one way and discovered that in reality they ran a different way.

My question is, if you dislike Associations so much, why do you live in a covented development?

If people really wanted to turn the tide, they wouldn't buy property that is controlled by an Association. The process of supply and demand would take over and, in time, developers would quit building covented communities.
MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/21/2012 7:28 AM  
I live in my home because...well it is my home. The fact that HOA boards do not comply with the law, and act as preditors to my vulnerable neighbors does not make me want to...leave. It makes me want to destroy the thing that is ruining my community.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


12/21/2012 7:31 AM  
Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 7:28 AM
It makes me want to destroy the thing that is ruining my community.




Might I suggest "destroying" the HOA by becoming involved in the way it runs. This way you will be able to make changes from within and destroy the current way things are being ran by replacing policies and practices with the way things should be ran.
MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/21/2012 8:14 AM  
That is like saying if you don't like politicians, then run for office. No thanks. I want to put the bad ones in jail and have law enforcement on their asses all the time. I want to be left alone to live my life without worrying about criminals taking my money or home.
In any case, there are no open meeting laws, election laws, chain of custody of ballot laws...it goes on and on.
Why would anyone want to get "involved" with such a corrupt system.
I want it crushed. I am suing my HOA and will have their power to levy fines against homeowners forever stripped in my state of Massahcusetts.
I am prosecuting this case entirely pro se, so I don't play into the pathology of throwing my money at lawyers.
I am doing far more for my community with this extreme effort than any of the con artists have done for my community in its entire history.
When I am done, I plan to have their power to make law (rules, regulations, change the documents with impunity) without the written consent of a supermajority of residents.
Then I plan to mandate the auditing of HOA financial records every year....done with court orders of course because these con artists make no promise they won't break.
Thank you very much, but this is the best use of my time and will ensure all of my neighbors a safe and sound community.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


12/21/2012 9:13 AM  
Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

I want to put the bad ones in jail and have law enforcement on their asses all the time.




The reality is that that likely wont happen.

This is because HOA/Condo, corporate laws and your governing documents are considered a civil matter. Civil matters are handled between the parties involved, either amongst themselves or through the court system.

Sure the State corporation commission may fine for not filing the annual report on time. The IRS will certainly go after the Association for failing to file taxes. The District Attorney will prosecute if criminal laws are broken (example embezzlement). However if the Association doesn't comply with the Bylaws or a civil law, it's up to the membership to hold the Board accountable. The easiest way would be to become involved in the process, recall the board or not reelect them to the Board and put others who want to see changes happen into office. The more expensive option is to go through the court system.

If members don't want to become involved and are willing to serve, those who are willing will be the ones who make the decisions that impact your life. Given the choice, I would personally prefer to be part of the decision process rather than complaining about a decision made by others.

Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

I want to be left alone to live my life without worrying about criminals taking my money or home.




Certainly something I believe everyone can agree with. Unfortunately, it may require involvement in the community to make this happen, as these things don't just happen.

Just as crime is best deterred by citizens being involved and reporting issues to the local authorities, a Boards failure to comply with the laws or governing documents are best deterred by the membership being involved.

Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

In any case, there are no open meeting laws, election laws, chain of custody of ballot laws...it goes on and on.




Yep, Massachusetts does not have an open meeting law for HOAs. The States corporate laws do not address election procedures well. Of course, this doesn't prevent the Association from creating policies that address these issues.

Even if you are not on the Board, a member may petition other members and collectively call for a special meeting of the membership to amend the governing documents to implement open meeting requirements and/or election procedures.

Yes, it may take time, energy and perhaps some money for mailings to achieve these things. However, I suspect that these things would change quicker by becoming involved vs. being apathetic and waiting for someone else or the legislature to make the changes.

Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

Why would anyone want to get "involved" with such a corrupt system.




For me, it was to correct the system. It took over three years of educating the membership that there was a better way of doing things. However, I was finally elected to the Board and slowly, with the assistance of other like minded members who were elected to the board, was able to institute changes. The end result was a better Association.

Be it an Associations Board of Directors or the State/Federal Governments. Corrupt systems only exist because of apathy and the unwillingness to become involved to correct the corruption.


Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

I want it crushed. I am suing my HOA and will have their power to levy fines against homeowners forever stripped in my state of Massachusetts.\




Truthfully, I doubt a court case will do this for you. It might, but it will depend on the language contained within your governing documents that authorizes fining. To truly prevent fining, you would likely need to amend your covenants to prevent fining.

Of course, looking at it from the Associations perspective, if fining isn't an available option to bring violators into compliance with the covenants (which they agreed to comply with when they purchased the property), then the only other option to bring compliance would be legal action. This may require a larger budget and higher assessments to pay the costs of such legal action.



Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

I am prosecuting this case entirely pro se, so I don't play into the pathology of throwing my money at lawyers.




I wish you luck.
Hopefully you win but have prepared yourself in case you lose and have to pay reasonable legal and court costs of the winner.

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

I am doing far more for my community with this extreme effort than any of the con artists have done for my community in its entire history.




This may very well be the case (and I hope it is). Of course you should be prepared for the unintended consequences associated with any decision.

If the fight goes on for a long time, you may be shunned by your neighbors if assessments need to be increased or a special assessment is needed to pay for the Associations legal defense. Of course, as a member, you will also be required to pay your fair share of the Associations legal defense against your legal action.

It's possible that you will become a special interest of the Board and any violation of the covenants, no matter how small, will be enforced.

Again, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.


Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

When I am done, I plan to have their power to make law (rules, regulations, change the documents with impunity) without the written consent of a super majority of residents.




Again, I don't think a court case will achieve this for you.
Since the Associations power comes from the Declaration of Covenants, which is a civil contract, it's likely that the only way to achieve this result will require amending that contract.

This would be done by the membership, not by the courts.


Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

Then I plan to mandate the auditing of HOA financial records every year....done with court orders of course because these con artists make no promise they won't break.




Auditing or a financial review is always a good idea and should be done yearly.

Are you aware that Massachusetts corporate law gives you the right to inspect most of the records of the Association? See section 18 of chapter 180.

You might want to start there vs. going through the dual expense (your legal expenses plus your share of the Associations legal expenses) of obtaining a court order. If you do go through the courts and State laws or your own governing documents don't require annual audits, you will likely need to show the court a need for the audit before they order it done.

As a side note, a full audit can cost between 5-10 thousand dollars. You will of course be paying your fair share of this cost as it will be borne by the Association.



Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 8:14 AM

this is the best use of my time and will ensure all of my neighbors a safe and sound community.




I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

I still think changes would happen quicker and at less cost by becoming involved in the running of the Association. However, since I don't live within your Association I can only base that opinion on my perspective.

Every perspective typically provides a different option.

I wish you luck. I'm not sure how much help this forum can be to you as the topics are geared toward changing things from within which isn't the path you desire to use.

Regardless of the path, I do wish you luck and I hope this helped,

Tim





MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/21/2012 1:02 PM  

A recent decision in Virginia bankrupted and disolved the HOA which destroyed itself rather than obey the law. That case was over the issue of fines. The HOA lost all the way down the line and now must sell off the common property to pay the homeowner plaintiff's expenses for the lawsuit(s).

Listen to how 2 of the best neighbors/homeowners you could hope to have slapped their HOA out of existence.

http://onthecommons.us/

It is the current interview with the "Farrans".

I hope to have as much success here in Massachusetts. Perhaps it will inspire other homeowners to slap this repugnant thing that is ruining our communities, harming our neighbors and destroying our property values out of existence.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


12/21/2012 1:48 PM  
Yep. Here is a link to the opinion letter: Case No. CL-2009-11786

Because of that ruling, Associations now need to check to make sure that they have the authority to fine prior to fining. Gee, something they should have done in the first place.

The interview you provided the link to was interesting but did you listen to it. The interview very calmly stated you needed a) a lot of money b) a good lawyer c) it's hard d) it takes a lot of time and they even recommend doing it only as a last resort.

Additionally, per the interview, the Corporation declared bankruptcy to try and prevent having to pay the judgement. They should have consulted an attorney. This is what caused the common land to be sold. The Fallans also said that even though they were awarded what the court authorized, they said that they did lose money as there were legal bills that were not awarded.

Sounds like that Board took the issue personally vs. looking at the facts. The Fallan's even recommended that emotions need to stay out of it and not let it be personal.

Please be aware that this opinion is non-binding and does not establish case law. Even if it did, the case law would only apply to Virginia. Judges in other States would not be required to follow this case law.





MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/21/2012 2:08 PM  
Yes I both read it and listened to the Farrans.

And that is why I think they are so awesome.

They spent years in court and thosands of dollars doing the right thing. The entire community, including the defenseless elderly who seem to be favorite targets of these repugnant HOAs, now can live peacefully because of their sacrifice.



TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


12/21/2012 2:13 PM  
Well good luck doing the same for your community.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


12/21/2012 2:23 PM  
All

In this particular case, Farran versus Olde Belhaven Towne Owner’s Ass’n, the homeowners pursued a suit against their HOA for a number of grievances, the list of which included allegations that the HOA mismanaged the finances set aside for community betterment and that it arbitrarily denied homeowner’s request to build a deck. In the end, the court agreed with the owners and found in their favor. In response, the HOA argued that, though it had lost the suit, it was not required to reimburse the owners for the legal fees they incurred in defending their rights in court. In fact, the HOA asserted that Virginia Code § 55-515 protected it from that responsibility because it was not the HOA, but rather the owners, that brought the suit to begin with. Ultimately, it was this assertion that the Circuit Court found issue with. Stating that its decision was supported by the Supreme Court case of White v. Boundary Ass’n 271 Va. 50 (624 S.E.2d 5), the court upheld the homeowners right to recover the money spent in their suit against the HOA.

I do not believe this decision is a major one for nor against HOA's.




TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


12/21/2012 2:41 PM  
I agree. A more important case, at least in VA is:

Shadowood Condominium Association, et al vs. Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority


JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


12/21/2012 3:10 PM  
Tim

Of the many things I have learned on this chat is concerning fines.

1. Some sort of "wording" has to be the Covenants allowing such. It might not even be the word fine but more in "legalese" form.

2. There has to be procedure/schedule for such. Do not be capricious.

If the above is met, then generally fining is just fine....LOL





MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/21/2012 3:35 PM  
The Virginia Supreme Court:

Unit Owners Association of Buildamerica-1, A Condominium v. Harry F. Gillman

"The imposition of a fine is a governmental power. The sovereign cannot be preempted of this power, and the power cannot be delegated or exercised other than in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutions of the United States and of Virginia. Neither can a fine be imposed disguised as an assessment."


MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/21/2012 3:39 PM  
Rhode Island Supreme Court:

JAMES FOLEY v. OSBORNE COURT CONDOMINIUM

The association is authorized to hear disputes concerning allegations that unit owners have violated the declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations of the condominium. The 1982 Act permits the association to determine those controversies and to issue orders directing violators to pay fines. Finally, the act empowers the association with the ability to enforce its orders by depriving a violator of his property by foreclosure. In this capacity, the association acts as a tribunal exercising judicial power.

For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that the 1982 Act represents an unconstitutional delegation of judicial or police power to the condominium association, a private entity. n1

MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/21/2012 3:41 PM  
So really folks...fines are NOT fine.

In fact, these associations spit in the face of the Constitution when they do this.

And some homeowners, like me, are going to ensure it never happens in their community.
GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5491


12/21/2012 4:59 PM  
Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 3:35 PM
The Virginia Supreme Court:

Unit Owners Association of Buildamerica-1, A Condominium v. Harry F. Gillman

"The imposition of a fine is a governmental power. The sovereign cannot be preempted of this power, and the power cannot be delegated or exercised other than in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutions of the United States and of Virginia. Neither can a fine be imposed disguised as an assessment."





Tell that to your credit cad company the next time you are late with a payment and they impose a fine.

Studies show that 5 out of 4 people have problems with fractions
LarryB13
(Arizona)

Posts:4099


12/21/2012 5:56 PM  
Posted By GlenL on 12/21/2012 4:59 PM

Tell that to your credit cad company the next time you are late with a payment and they impose a fine.



Not fines. Fees!
JM10
(California)

Posts:503


12/22/2012 1:10 AM  
I hadn't been following this, but we have left the HOA. The property sold soon after we signed the mediation agreement.

The HOA is still doing plenty illegal stuff. They signed the contract without a meeting. They refused to meet in regards to the termites found on property, something I had asked to check on over a year ago but they refused.

They still (as of mid-October according to California slow processing times) haven't filed two documents required by the state that were due in July 2011. They've already accrued fines as a result and if they are in danger of having their legal status as a corporation suspended.

We are also pretty sure they didn't file the necessary paperwork for the contract work with the licensing board and the state/federal tax boards.

This was allowed to happen because the membership was unwilling to step up and require the board do the right thing. Every time we brought up the question of legal liability, the members would roll their eyes.

The board's imposition of fines and threats to do so were arbitrary and no one stood up to them, even if they thought what they were doing was unfair. That was most likely because it didn't affect them. A board that gives others what they want such as preferential treatment with parking, can often get away with a lot.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


12/22/2012 2:59 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 12/21/2012 3:10 PM

If the above is met, then generally fining is just fine....LOL




John,

So True.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17766


12/22/2012 3:13 AM  
Posted By MikeR15 on 12/21/2012 3:41 PM
So really folks...fines are NOT fine.




Mike,

Again, we will have to agree to disagree.

As those on this site know, it depends on the wording in the governing documents. In fact, if you take the time to look at the actual cases you cited (vs. interpretation of those cases from other sites) you will see that the cases hinged on the language used (or not used) in those governing documents.

You stated that you were going to do all you wish while representing yourself and not hire an attorney. If this is still your plan, I encourage you to fully read and understand your governing documents and applicable State laws. It will be the language in those documents that your legal challenge will be based on.

You have indicated that you do not want to become involved in the running of your HOA. As I posted, this site is geared toward helping those who are willing to become involved. Therefore, I don't believe I can be of further assistance to you.

I wish you well. Keep us posted when you file your first legal challenge and the outcome of it.

Tim
PeterD3
(Florida)

Posts:708


12/22/2012 4:47 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 12/21/2012 3:10 PM
Tim

Of the many things I have learned on this chat is concerning fines.

1. Some sort of "wording" has to be the Covenants allowing such. It might not even be the word fine but more in "legalese" form.

2. There has to be procedure/schedule for such. Do not be capricious.

If the above is met, then generally fining is just fine....LOL










Not in Fla. HOAs.

#1 is no longer required. FLSS720 has language allowing fining regardless of CC&R provisions.

#2 is required and also defined in FLSS720.
MikeR15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:389


12/22/2012 5:18 AM  
I certainly was not asking for assistance.

I was alerting others who might visit this post of a movement to strip most of the power from HOA boards that, being uniformly run by unqualified amateur volunteers, and exercising power far beyond their scope or understanding, are making a mess of and sometimes destroying their communities.

HOA governance is absent any of the constraints imposed on "real" government, and as James Madison said in Federalist *47, that is the "Very definition of tyranny".

The arbitrary use of their considerable power is evident in any number of stories being published in the press across the country. Incidents of embezzlement, abuse, and corruption in these largely unsupervised places are epidemic.

In Massachusetts, HOAs are formed under non-profit charitable organization law (MGL 180). The intent of this law is to govern libraries, civic organizations and unions or associations of employers or employees.

HOAs are the not like any of the above. They are like the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and doing the predictable damage to the flock of homeowners in my state.

At its core, the basis of HOA business is aberrant. Homeowners are not the "customers" of this business, they are the product.

Their equity in their homes, and the money in their bank accounts are being distributed piecemeal to the service providers; lawyers, debt collectors, property managers, whose rapacious practices are evident in the unconscionable result of dealing with them.

Homeowners, who fall ill or lose their job and fall behind on HOA dues, routinely have their debt quadrupled or even lose their home.

Is this how you grew up? Did your neighbors who needed your help instead get thrown to the predators like wounded prey animals?

HOAs are a cancer in our country. They are destroying the fabric of community, destroying the very essence of what it means to be a “neighbor”, and ultimately are making our property worthless. More and more Americans are realizing what a nightmare they have become and refuse to be victimized by them ever again.

Just search “NO HOA” and find hundreds of realtors across the country, responding to demands of home buyers and advertising property guaranteed to be free of any HOA.

Good people, ones who would never knowingly harm their neighbor are leaving HOAs in droves. While living in them want nothing to do with them. They don’t go to the laughably manipulated meetings or participate in the fraud ridden elections.

The industry of "service providers", those with their hands firmly attached to the $40 billion dollar cookie jar have coined a phrase for this, Orwellian in its distortion of the truth. They call decent homeowners shunning of this corrupt system
"Homeowner Apathy".

So only the most sociopathic are willing, even frantic, to gain a measure of power on their HOA boards and then without conscience persecute their own neighbors.

I am not going anywhere. I have never had a problem discerning Right and Wrong, and it is very clear to me that these HOAs need to be destroyed in their current form. It is my patriotic duty as an American to do so.

Sure they can cut the grass and pay the bills…..but beyond that they need to come, hat in hand , to gain the express permission of the folks who are paying ALL the bills…the homeowners.





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