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Subject: What can a Volunteer HOA do?
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01/30/2006 6:48 PM  
We are a HOA that was designed as a volunteer HOA. We have common property that needs to be maintained. We have CC&Rs too. But the annual dues at 100.00 are paid by 1/4 to 1/3 of the owners.
It seems the CC&Rs are only a suggestion as are the dues. We can call the local police or the city to enforce city laws.

We are like a glorified under supported neighborhood watch that pay dues and have community property.

I am new to the neighborhood 1 1/2 years. On the board and we are trying to figure out how to strengthen the HOA and encourage more involvement and trying to figure out what our options are.

Is there anyway to put more teeth in the CC&Rs?

Is there any way to make due manditory?

Anyone able to speak to this scenario?

BTW we are in Texas.


01/30/2006 7:41 PM  
TonyS, I am aware of one HOA in Colorado that transitioned from voluntary to manditory assessment. They amended their Declaration in a manner so that current owners were voluntary but upon sale the new owners had a manditory assessment under the amended Declaration. In this manner they were able to get the necessary votes for amending. Over a peroid of a few years their homes are now almost all manditory. Now they have the teeth to enforce restrictions.



01/31/2006 5:40 AM  
I suspect that the owners paying the dues are members with Association rights and the non-payers are not. Have the payers (you need 75% probably) vote to amend the CC&Rs to make dues mandatory. This can be done through a transition, but doing it only at a property's sale is too long a period. Do half in six months and the rest six months later than that. Or do it over two years. Make non-payment a means of restricting use of common property or other benefits of membership. Post No Trespassing signs if you choose to enforce that.
(North Carolina)


02/02/2006 5:55 AM  
In our state (NC) and I suspect other states as well, the volunteer HOA has no authority to do anything. Not even restrict non-members from using common property. And you can’t make it a non-volunteer HOA without 100% of those owners voting to do so. You can’t force each home at its transition to new ownership to include CC&R’s for a non-volunteer HOA when there are other owners that are non members. A volunteer HOA is just that – volunteer. Any attempt to make it otherwise is a major exercise in futility.

There are positive things a volunteer HOA can do, however, to entice membership and gain the trust of the community. They can offer things like a well written newsletter offered only to members and offer yard sale incentives. Things the HOA owns can be used as incentives; things their imagination comes up with. They can use the common areas, but they can not restrict others from participating in common areas because the common areas belong to every home owner.

I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things . . . - Antoine de St-Exupéry


02/02/2006 6:29 AM  
First, be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

If I were in your position, knowing what I now know about HOA's, I would be looking for ways to dispose of the common property and liquidate the HOA.

BTW -- Where in Texas?

Lou Day -- [email protected]
(Former Texan now an HOA president in Colorado.)


02/02/2006 6:51 PM  
In Illinois, it is possible to turn a voluntary HOA into a mandatory one by a little legal process. The only other option here is to turn over the common areas to the town and become designated as a 'special service area'. That designation allows the neighborhood to be taxed for it's maintenance directly rather than pay dues.


02/03/2006 3:42 AM  
I am trying to understand the difference here. When I say it is voluntary I mean that the dues are voluntary. When I bought my house it came with CC&Rs. But what is weird is that there is no way to enforce them except when the CC&Rs coincide with the regulations of the city we live in. Then we call the code enforcement "pseudo-police".
I would imagine we could sue (unlikely), for damages for lost home values or something.
The only reason we can not enforce them is that we can not assess a fine, because we can not do so to enforce the dues.
The CC&Rs are registered with the county and become part of the paperwork signed by the buyers and filed with the sale of the house.
In the CC&Rs every one in the neighborhood is a member, but only those who are current with their dues are eligible to vote.
Why can't we hold a vote, and if there are enough eligible members present, vote to make them mandatory for each home at transition to new owners?


02/03/2006 6:43 AM  
TonyS asked "Why can't we hold a vote, and if there are enough eligible members present, vote to make them mandatory for each home at transition to new owners?"

As I said, this has been done in Colorado. You will need to determine the legal procedure for doing so. Check your CC&Rs and state requirements to determine if it is allowed. After doing your research and before voting it may be prudent to check with a knowledgeable HOA attorney.

Then I would conduct a ballot vote by mail (it may also require votes from mortgagees as well as homeowners).
Make sure you get the required percentage of all owners approving in writing before filing the amendment with the County. And maintain the ballots in case there is a challenge to the amendment in the future.

It won't be easy but, if allowed, is doable.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > What can a Volunteer HOA do?

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