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Subject: Your Biggest HOA Regret or Mistake
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07/02/2014 10:58 AM  
We all know that we can learn a lot from our mistakes and none of us is perfect. Would you be willing to share your biggest regret or biggest mistake that you feel that you or your association has made in dealing with HOA matters. I think we could all learn a lot from a discussion like this.

I'll go first. I wish that my communication with the BOD when our dispute first started had gone in a different direction. I immediately got very defensive and threw out the lawyer word before we all had an opportunity to sit down and have a discussion about the facts of the situation. When that lawyer word gets thrown out there, the communication stops. Neither party is willing to talk to each other because they might accidentally say something that can be used against them. Our lawyer cautioned us to be very careful about what we said to them if we talked to them at all. I'm pretty confident that the board's attorney told them the same thing. Maybe if I had not started with the legal/lawyer card, the dispute may have been settled before each of us spent thousands of dollars in legal fees. But maybe not. The key player on the board had a big mouth and big ego to match.



07/02/2014 11:02 AM  
My personal regret:

Buying a property with deed restrictions aka HOA.

Next move will be to a rental! (or a well regulated NY State co-op, NOT a condo)

Should I not be happy I can mooooooove for the price of the moving company!


07/02/2014 11:19 AM  
My number one mistake was moving into a community with a HOA. I follow the deed restrictions and I pay my fees. But nobody warned us that once you are in a HOA, you are then legally and financially entangled with all other HOA members in regard to the business of the HOA.

As far as the mistakes of the HOA as it's own entity? Foreclosing on liens and allowing the titles to be sold at auction. This resulted in some instability for the community. Tolerating "volunteers" instead of hiring legitimate contractors when the work is better suited for professionals. Hiring non-professionals with no track record was also a bad idea. Hiring certain professionals with a highly questionable track record was also a stupid idea. Allowing certain individuals to be on the Board is bad enough, to re-elect those individuals after their proven malfeasance is repulsive. I could go on but the end result has been an unpleasant community to live in.


07/02/2014 11:33 AM  
Easy... Meeting the Con man President of the HOA... It was also the BEST thing as well... I was able to fix the HOA and get it running properly to the rules. I like to make my biggest mistakes into my biggest accomplishments.

Former HOA President


07/02/2014 11:56 AM  
Biggest mistake was to be talked into managing a townhome association. Once we realized how much help the homeowners needed we had make friends to the extent that our management company could not leave them in such bad shape. But now, 7 years later, "the bleeding has been stopped". So we can now terminate the agreement with a clear conscience.
(North Carolina)


07/02/2014 12:05 PM  
My regret is not resigning sooner from the board. Really odd but our documents state a board position is for life, resignation or removal.

I have been on the board 4 or 5 years --seems like forever. I originally ran because I and many other homeowners were very unhappy with the lack of financial information. After changing to an excellent management company our financials are in good shape. The former company had cost the HOA about 5k due to their mistakes and lack of interest. By the way, I am the treasurer.

The first few years I had a lot of ideas and energy. At this point I am just tired and the HOA needs new people.

Of course apathy is a problem and no one wants to be on the board. We will be down to 3 out of an original board of 5 and if owners want a well functioning HOA they will just need to step up.


07/02/2014 1:25 PM  
I regret that I didn't get involved earlier. I believe that had I gotten involved, the Association would have had a larger reserve and costs could have been kept lower. However, that regret is tempered with the fact that by not getting involved earlier, I was able to spend that time with my family (which was far more important at the time).


07/02/2014 1:56 PM  
I see the biggest mistake my neighborhood made were inventing crazy interpretations of the law, ignoring the law, and then continuing to enforce the covenants after they legally lost the authority to do so.

One HOA was bankrupted and my current one is racking up a lot of enemies with their actions. There are now a few attorneys circling the skies because of their actions and it is quite possible that they will be embroiled in a huge case involving wrongful foreclosures and filing false claims, among other things. All this after they were advised of their legal limitations.

Maybe it is hubris. Maybe willful ignorance. Maybe really poor legal opinions. What ever it is, it will destroy them. Had they followed the law they would probably be in the clear.

Another mistake I noticed is the HOA going on the defensive immediately, and going hard. I would never have asked questions had they been respectful and forthcoming. Instead I was dismissed and told I would be eventually forced to submit and at great costs.


07/02/2014 2:45 PM  
Well, a Board/PM mistake happened recently. At an open meeting the Board approved a proposal to have "selected" plant material removed from several planters outside our pool area, in front of the single story homes that are there, and under their windows. A notice to that effect when to the affected occupants, but not to any of us who have views of those areas, or who use the pool, etc.

95% of the plant materials was removed. Several furious residents and some directors too who thought "selected" didn't mean nearly ALL, complained.

The mistake was that the landscape committee & landscapers, once it realized that much more had to be removed than originally thought, should have asked our PM to post notices alerting all of us to this unexpected change. We wouldn't have been so shocked.

Point is that in this case, communication, usually pretty good around here, was terribly lacking.


07/02/2014 3:11 PM  
Biggest mistake was moving into a community with the HOA still under declarant control.


07/02/2014 3:44 PM  
Posted By RayC4 on 07/02/2014 3:11 PM
Biggest mistake was moving into a community with the HOA still under declarant control.

Great point! We did too and you really aren't going to see how a HOA operates until it is turned over to the owners. It was like a shiny new penny 10 years ago. Now? More like a corroded nickel.
(South Carolina)


07/03/2014 6:57 AM  
My biggest mistake was not getting involved. I was just living there and not getting involved. I was letting the inmates run the asylum.



07/03/2014 7:44 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 07/03/2014 6:57 AM
My biggest mistake was not getting involved. I was just living there and not getting involved. I was letting the inmates run the asylum.

That is never a good thing. I believe it is best to first and foremost get involved.


07/03/2014 10:09 AM  
Well, I certainly would have asked a lot more questions about the finances and rules enforcement! I did get a copy of the budget and a year's worth of newsletters before I bought my townhome to get an idea of what was going on, but because I didn't know a lot about HOAs and how they were supposed to be run, I didn't know what questions to ask.

I joined the Board 3 years after moving in and after 10 years of service (near slavery???), I wish I'd asked more questions when I joined the board, especially on our delinquent accounts. There were a lot of things the Board let slide and if there had been more communication with our attorneys, maybe we wouldn't have written off as many accounts.

I'm not in a dreadful HOA, but I do wish I'd taken a closer look at the Bylaws and CCRs before and after I brought the unit. I would have seen they were really outdated (and still are) and asked more questions as to why there hadn't been more movement to get them updated. There had been some effort, but it fell by the wayside because of (you guessed it - delinquencies!) and by the time we finally came up with something, a lot of the momentum was gone and the proposed revisions died on the vine. And if we'd paid more attention to the CCRs, we would have known we would need a notary to witness the homeowners signing off on the proposals - instead, no one did, so the approvals we got were invalid and now we have to start over.

But on balance, I'm happy with my home and where I live. The area's relatively quiet, the costs of homeownership are within my budget (so far!) and I really think I helped bring about some change in the Board and how the Association's run. It's a work in progress and will never end as long as I live here, but that's ok, too (how else will I get the clean, safe, attractive neighborhood I think we can become???)
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Your Biggest HOA Regret or Mistake

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