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Subject: Bulk cable TV contract is coming due?
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Author Messages
TR2
(Florida)

Posts:1


03/25/2016 4:50 PM  
The builder had a 10 yr contract with Comcast & it is coming to an end. There has been a committee set up to help negotiate a new contract with Comcast or other provider. The present contract is for a bulk rate for Basic & Extended Basic cable TV & each home is charge $38 per month which is included in our HOA fees. The committee is considering adding many new services (internet, DVR, HD channels & other add ons) that would be much more expensive & of course would increase everyone's HOA fees. I know of many homeowners, myself included that do not want these new added services with the added cost to the HOA fees. It is a 10 person committee that will be making a decision for 2000 or more residents. Does this committee have the power to do this? This is a Florida community HOA. Thanks
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9416


03/25/2016 9:15 PM  
A committee evaluates and organizes the decision to present to the board and the members. They do NOT make the actual decision. That is up to the membership or the board to make the final vote. Don't like the decision, then get a majority together to vote down or present their idea to the committee. HOA's are ruled by majority. So I'd suggest working on a plan your happy with and submitting it for consideration. Why not? or do you want others to do the work for you?

Former HOA President
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16811


03/26/2016 5:02 AM  
I'd argue against the exclusive contract and let the free market reign.

This way, you have choices.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


03/26/2016 6:42 AM  
Does this committee have the power to do this?


Yes, they do have the power to enter into contracts like this. but its a really, really bad idea to force everyone to pay for internet, DVR, HD channels & other add ons for $150 month when all they want is basic cable for around $38 month. Many people I know dont even have internet, they simply use their phone.

Lets say the board does vote this in and the residents are against it, you can expect a riot and everyone on the board being tossed out of power. The new board could also have the power to cancel the contract.

People should be able to pick whoever they want for internet, tv, etc. Free market.
GreggT
(Florida)

Posts:77


03/26/2016 7:17 AM  
We just recently did the same. We looked at neighboring complexes, what they had, by whom, and what they were paying. We ended up dropping a lot of services that the developer had agreed to as he was getting a 6% kickback so there was an incentive to add as much as possible. The overall savings were significant.
JMO a 10 member committee is way to big to accomplish anything except argue and bicker. I have found 3-5 is normally the best number. Bulk services is normally the way to go because it is far less expensive than as was mentioned "the free market", I would wait to see what they propose before getting too worked up. No matter what is done, everyone will not be happy.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16811


03/26/2016 7:51 AM  
Posted By GreggT on 03/26/2016 7:17 AM

Bulk services is normally the way to go because it is far less expensive than as was mentioned "the free market", I would wait to see what they propose before getting too worked up.




Yep, it can be less expensive.

It can also limit technology. For example, the cable company didn't start installing fiber until after Verizon started laying fiber in our area and people were transferring over for the faster internet service.

Technology changes quickly in this market. Having a long bulk service contract (which usually also carries an exclusive right for the development) can impede the availability of technological options.

At the very least, if considering a long contract, be sure to compare apples to apples:

Cable or Fiber (fiber will allow more bandwidth in the same space, therefore upgrades are more likely to occur).

Minimum internet speed

Which channels are covered (many packages differ between companies)

Type of Equipment and charges (along with options for equipment upgrades)

Services available (regardless if included as part of the bulk service)

How system is wired (if you understand this as it goes to speed of internet during peak times)







Posted By GreggT on 03/26/2016 7:17 AM

No matter what is done, everyone will not be happy.




Absolute truth.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9579


03/26/2016 11:50 AM  
TR2

Would it be possible to have a bulk rate, minimum service level per unit then optional add ons per unit?

I would also explore no bulk rate (each unit does its own thing) but that might require less monthly assessments.

Bottom line is you will never please everybody.



KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7337


03/26/2016 12:21 PM  
I'm with JohnC. Why can't homeowners choose their own packages of services or even none? I believe that forcing them to pay for things that they do not want and will never use is exceedingly undemocratic.

Oh, but wait. Do your governing documents, probably your CC&Rs, say that the HOA provides x, y. or z cable services? Exactly what services are specified? If so, you're bought into it and are stuck with it, but you Owners still can put pressure on the Board to limit the contract to basic services and enter into a contract that each individual can add onto.

Is there just one board and one HOA, TR? If so, pressure them hard to put the responsibility on themselves!

Say, what are your monthly dues use now? A very fancy new contract might may make dues raise further than your governing documents or FL permit in one year.
RichardP13


Posts:0


03/26/2016 12:46 PM  
I have involved in a number of these negotiations with cable companies.

First, as someone mentioned, ten is WAY too many on one committee such as this. It's tough enough trying to get two people to agree, let alone ten. What you have is a provider trying to lock the association with as many goodies as possible. They're doing their job. But, the Board, not the committee needs to agree on extending what was in place for the past ten years. If the homeowners want extras, the provider can bill each one individually. I have done three of these and that is the way it has worked for each one. They are great deals.

Bottomline, if everyone was happy with the current contract, extend it at the same or better rate.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3870


03/26/2016 3:05 PM  
The free market is all well and good but utility franchises are often monopolies and consumers don't always have a choice. Where I am there's Comcast, AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV as choices for television service. Scratch off DirecTV for internet. Comcast vs AT&T does represent a choice for "cable" TV, I guess, but neither is really good and both have abominable customer service. In my opinion that's not much choice at all.
DaveD3
(Michigan)

Posts:796


03/27/2016 7:39 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 03/26/2016 5:02 AM
I'd argue against the exclusive contract and let the free market reign.

This way, you have choices.




Agreed

Why in the world is an HOA even involved in cable/TV/Internet servicing?

Because the unpaid volunteers need one more ridiculous and unnecessary thing to deal with.
DaveD3
(Michigan)

Posts:796


03/27/2016 7:42 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 03/26/2016 3:05 PM
The free market is all well and good but utility franchises are often monopolies and consumers don't always have a choice. Where I am there's Comcast, AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV as choices for television service. Scratch off DirecTV for internet. Comcast vs AT&T does represent a choice for "cable" TV, I guess, but neither is really good and both have abominable customer service. In my opinion that's not much choice at all.




All of the companies suck. Hardly a reason for an untrained, uneducated, unprofessional HOA board to be in the middle of things.
RichardP13


Posts:0


03/27/2016 8:08 PM  
Posted By DaveD3 on 03/27/2016 7:42 PM
Posted By GenoS on 03/26/2016 3:05 PM
The free market is all well and good but utility franchises are often monopolies and consumers don't always have a choice. Where I am there's Comcast, AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV as choices for television service. Scratch off DirecTV for internet. Comcast vs AT&T does represent a choice for "cable" TV, I guess, but neither is really good and both have abominable customer service. In my opinion that's not much choice at all.




All of the companies suck. Hardly a reason for an untrained, uneducated, unprofessional HOA board to be in the middle of things.



We negotiated TV and Internet for $60.00. For the same service where I lived, the free market, I paid $140.00, same providers. Wasn't difficult getting 100% approval for the homeowners.

I agree that the companies suck, BUT you have to use them. WHY not try and get the best price. So simple, even a caveman can do it.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3870


03/27/2016 8:19 PM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 03/27/2016 8:08 PM
We negotiated TV and Internet for $60.00. For the same service where I lived, the free market, I paid $140.00, same providers. Wasn't difficult getting 100% approval for the homeowners.

I agree that the companies suck, BUT you have to use them. WHY not try and get the best price. So simple, even a caveman can do it.

I'd kill for $60 a month TV and internet. Well, not really, but still. We don't have a bulk contract, everyone is on their own. We're north of $160 a month and that's with a middle-of-the-road channel package.
GreggT
(Florida)

Posts:77


03/28/2016 5:48 AM  
Posted By GenoS on 03/27/2016 8:19 PM
Posted By RichardP13 on 03/27/2016 8:08 PM
We negotiated TV and Internet for $60.00. For the same service where I lived, the free market, I paid $140.00, same providers. Wasn't difficult getting 100% approval for the homeowners.

I agree that the companies suck, BUT you have to use them. WHY not try and get the best price. So simple, even a caveman can do it.

I'd kill for $60 a month TV and internet. Well, not really, but still. We don't have a bulk contract, everyone is on their own. We're north of $160 a month and that's with a middle-of-the-road channel package.




Ours is around $65.00 with enhanced cable w/HBO and Wi-Fi, we had several other services that we dropped to bring our overall cost down about $60.00 a door. Even with the savings and drop in HOA fees we still had owners complain because now if they want a telephone and long distance it was extra, same with wired internet.
The boards job is to do the best they can for the majority of the owners, no matter what everyone is not going to be happy.
By the way it was our uneducated board that looked at all available options, compared to what others on the beach provided and the cost, got bids and through our legal team negotiated the contract.

DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:55


03/28/2016 8:34 AM  
We tried to do this in our community with a much, much smaller amount of homes. The cable company made all sorts of promises, which we included in the materials needed for homeowners to approve with a two-thirds vote. Well, they approved it and then we got the actual contract, which was very different from what we had been promised and essentially gave the company the option to change the services at any time. There was also no change of control agreement and this company was later sold. We backed off of the contract and we are now glad we did.

Two thoughts:
1. The committee had better see what's going on in Congress re Federal regulation of cable companies. For example, I believe there's a good chance that a bill will be passed allowing homeowners to purchase their own cable boxes rather than being charged the current outrageous rental rates. Also, there have been various moves afoot to unbundle various programing packages to let consumer pick and choose.

2. Focus on the Internet services and less on the TV programs. Internet streaming is the way things are moving and there will come a time when most of your programming will be delivered that way. It is why younger people are detaching themselves from cable and using Internet services plus an HD antenna to get their TV. Even our own antiquated cable company now offers a discounted Internet+HD antenna package, although they hardly promote it because it's undoubtedly less profitable than the $200+ premium programming packages that they sell.

Good luck to the committee. This kind of negotiation is no fun.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


03/28/2016 9:50 AM  
I agree that the companies suck, BUT you have to use them. WHY not try and get the best price.


You dont "have" to use anyone. I know plenty of people with no cable or internet and simply use their phone. People who dont use any cable service would be forced to pay and I dont agree with forcing people to pay for a utility service they dont use. If you want cable/internet/showtime, you should be in charge of doing it yourself, not the HOA.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7337


03/28/2016 10:30 AM  
I'm with you, Steve, UNLESS TR2's docs say the HOA provides this serve.
RichardP13


Posts:0


03/28/2016 11:12 AM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 03/28/2016 9:50 AM
I agree that the companies suck, BUT you have to use them. WHY not try and get the best price.


You dont "have" to use anyone. I know plenty of people with no cable or internet and simply use their phone. People who dont use any cable service would be forced to pay and I dont agree with forcing people to pay for a utility service they dont use. If you want cable/internet/showtime, you should be in charge of doing it yourself, not the HOA.



I didn't use the community pool as I had myy own pool, BUT I still had to pay. I didn't use the park, BUT I still had to pay. The people voted to have the services the HOA went out and bid on. If they wanted extras, they were billed separately for those extras.

So far, in four years, no one has complained. Go figure.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


03/28/2016 1:02 PM  


I didn't use the community pool as I had myy own pool, BUT I still had to pay. I didn't use the park, BUT I still had to pay.


A pool or park isnt a utility you pay for based on usage. Cable, internet. Phone, water, electicity is.....
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3870


03/28/2016 5:12 PM  
My home is just inside the entrance to our gated subdivision. The streetlights out on the main road provide adequate lighting to the front of my house and driveway. I still have to chip in to pay for the electricity that runs the streetlights on the other 2 miles of roads that run through the community.
RichardP13


Posts:0


03/28/2016 6:26 PM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 03/28/2016 1:02 PM


I didn't use the community pool as I had myy own pool, BUT I still had to pay. I didn't use the park, BUT I still had to pay.


A pool or park isnt a utility you pay for based on usage. Cable, internet. Phone, water, electicity is.....



You would pay for a pool or park whether or not you used it. You could put you own pool in. Same as cable or TV, whether you took advantage of the saving depends on you.

Most condos, because they may not be sub metered have gas and water included in their assessments. A single person generally will not use the same water as a family of 5 with three kids. Same with a larger unit in the winter trying to keep warm.

It's called commune living for a reason.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7337


03/28/2016 6:56 PM  
But the question remains (unless I missed the answer): Do the governing docs require that the HOA provide cable service?? If not, why should very owner pay for it?
RichardP13


Posts:0


03/28/2016 7:23 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 03/28/2016 6:56 PM
But the question remains (unless I missed the answer): Do the governing docs require that the HOA provide cable service?? If not, why should very owner pay for it?



Maybe, because they voted for it.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16811


03/28/2016 8:03 PM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 03/28/2016 7:23 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 03/28/2016 6:56 PM
But the question remains (unless I missed the answer): Do the governing docs require that the HOA provide cable service?? If not, why should very owner pay for it?



Maybe, because they voted for it.




Or the Board initially voted for it as they saw an exclusive contract as a source of income (as some companies would pay money for an exclusive contract).
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3870


04/03/2016 1:11 PM  
Our new comcast bill came and it jumped to over $210 a month. We don't even get HBO! I would kill for $60 a month at this moment.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7337


04/03/2016 4:20 PM  
Richard & Tim speculate that the Owners or the Board voted for HOA provided cable. But we don't know if either is the case unless TR1 tells us.
RichardP13


Posts:0


04/03/2016 10:50 PM  
In the case of TR2, as they stated, the developer had put it in place.
AllisonD
(Florida)

Posts:447


04/04/2016 3:17 PM  
I am in year 5 of a 10 year Comcast contract. Our price per home consists of HD cable and 1 movie channel. Its a better price then anyone would get on the open market. Comcast makes its money on the ancillary services, ie internet, sports packages, extra boxes/remotes. That being said, many of my residents do not want this service because they are snow birds and must continue to pay for services they only use half of the year. When this contract is up for renewal we know 2 things: 1) we will never lock ourselves into a 10 year contract again and 2) we will take a vote from all the residents to see what the majority want. The board cannot get into any hot water when the residents decide what they want!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7337


04/04/2016 8:51 PM  
Richard: just because the developer made this contract for 10 years does not mean the HOA is required to get another one. Only the governing documents can tell us this.
RichardP13


Posts:0


04/04/2016 9:41 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 04/04/2016 8:51 PM
Richard: just because the developer made this contract for 10 years does not mean the HOA is required to get another one. Only the governing documents can tell us this.



Exactly where did I ever suggest that the HOA had to continue with the contract. If you had read what was originally posted the OP said the developer put this in place. I have to assume the complex is about ten years old.

I know how to read the CCRs to see what is allowed and what isn't. My former HOA's allowed a longer contract IF the utility company is regulated by the PUC. I've also said I am strongly in favor of homeowner's input before proceeding. As I mentioned, I have done three of these and never a complaint.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


04/06/2016 7:35 AM  
Posted By GenoS on 04/03/2016 1:11 PM
Our new comcast bill came and it jumped to over $210 a month. We don't even get HBO! I would kill for $60 a month at this moment.


Comcast has plans as low as $20. If your paying $210 a month, its because you choose to pay that much.
FredW5
(Florida)

Posts:113


04/06/2016 9:04 AM  
We asked for bids and presentations, since many neighboring communities' contract with Comcast (One of the worst rated in Consumer Reports) are about to end.Those who switched to companies such as " Hotwire" (Optical) are very happy with it, (Quality, Internet speed, )as well as the lower cost.
Also check out OOMA for phone. One of the best for less than $10.00 per month.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:306


05/23/2020 5:03 PM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 03/28/2016 9:50 AM
I agree that the companies suck, BUT you have to use them. WHY not try and get the best price.


You dont "have" to use anyone. I know plenty of people with no cable or internet and simply use their phone. People who dont use any cable service would be forced to pay and I dont agree with forcing people to pay for a utility service they dont use. If you want cable/internet/showtime, you should be in charge of doing it yourself, not the HOA.





Exactly! Even if the governing documents permit the HOA to contract for cable tv service, how is that any different than having a phrase in the HOA documents that states "each year upon the recorded owner's birthday, recorded owner will receive a $25 check in appreciation of their being a member of the HOA."
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2819


05/23/2020 7:26 PM  
Four year old thread.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:306


05/23/2020 8:21 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 05/23/2020 7:26 PM
Four year old thread.





Still relevant today!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2819


05/24/2020 6:25 AM  
Nonsense.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:306


05/25/2020 8:35 AM  
TR2: Why would any Board member enter into a 10 year contract for a technology product/service?
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