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Subject: Get ready for a fight
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JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:235


12/03/2019 6:07 PM  
It's nice and wonderful to talk about bad homeowners or bad HOA's but to legally address relevant issues is a completely different beast.

My HOA board members act with malicious intent. They have been sued personally, lost with personal expenditures in the thousands, and are still willing use HOA funds to maliciously attack homeowners they don't like. I can say without equivocation that my HOA board is the poster child of bad boards and, at best, equal to the worst boards out there.

If you are really that upset about your situation and you really are in the right then you better be ready for a fight. A long drawn out legal battle that bad actors know most people will never take on. In my case our board members are so delusional that after having lost thousands dollars being sued personally still continue their attacks. Yes, they are being personally sued yet again with zero hope of prevailing are so emotionally tied to their delusional world that they continue their pursuit. In their fake world the HOA will pay for the legal bills.

I could point you to actual lawsuits both in progress and finalized but there are rules in this forum.

The point of this post is to say that while your HOA may be blatantly in violation of your state's laws unless you are willing to dig in and fight they won't pay any attention. They have the money and know you are not willing to spend the resources necessary to fight them (whether time or coin). Personally I'm reading law and acting as my own attorney and winning. That is the level of dedication it takes.

How do I justify my effort? I ask myself this question everyday and the answer ends up that my almost paid off home is worth the tens of thousands of dollars worth of effort. My friends and family tell me to sell and move. It's an equation.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8905


12/03/2019 8:32 PM  
Was this a post to hear yourself? A HOA doesn't have "full pockets". They ONLY have the money that the members contribute with their dues. So suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors. Being sued personally usually gets tossed out in court due to the "corporate shield" that protects board members making decisions as part of the HOA. So the HOA board should have liability insurance to protect them from individual lawsuits. It takes ALOT of effort to break through that "corporate shield".

Not exactly sure what your "protecting". A HOA is not responsible for keeping your home values. Just to keep it ATTRACTIVE to potential buyers. You'd have to prove your lost money by selling your house. Which then means you are no longer a HOA member once sold.

When no one is giving your money or support for you "fight" you may want to see who is actually holding up their fists...

Former HOA President
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2871


12/04/2019 4:38 AM  
Well, if that's how you feel and you've been successful, that's great, but it's interesting how you've put in the effort to sue, but haven't said anything about talking to your neighbors about the board's conduct and pushing to vote them out.

Sometimes, lawsuits are necessary, but I've always said bad boards happen mostly because the homeowners don't keep them in check. I don't know if you're the only one in your community who's gone so far to sue, but if you're not the only one, why haven't you hooked up with the other owners and work together to rally the neighbors together to get rid of them. You're right in saying you have to be willing to dig in and fight, and many people aren't willing to do that either. That said, you have to decide how much of an effort you're willing to put in to educate the homeowners. And be prepared for some setbacks - some people may actually like the board and resist, others haven't reached their fed up point and some won't listen to you at all and won't care, no matter what you say or how correct you may be.

It's your money and no one can dictate what you should do with it, but I hope you know some folks don't have the resources to sue and sue again, so they have to resort to old fashioned pounding the pavement. H
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8905


12/04/2019 4:54 AM  
Agreed Sheila. Do the actual work and not a lawsuit cop-out... He already doesn't like his board which are made up of his neighbors. So it will be impossible for him to be ever satisfied whomever is in office. They will always be "crooked" and working against them. The writing is on the wall on this one... Lazy and wants things handed to them than do the REAL work... Which with much respect to those who post here as board members, did the hard work to make the changes. Bravo to ya'll….

Former HOA President
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:214


12/04/2019 5:03 AM  
Obviously you didn't get what you wanted or it still wouldn't be going on. I think the only way to really win in those types of disputes is to get on the Board and change the culture of the HOA.
JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:235


12/04/2019 7:39 AM  
You guys sure come to a lot of unwarranted conclusions. Is it really so hard to believe that HOA boards can be truly bad?

Yes, I have tried to work with my neighbors. Yes, I have tried to work with the board. Yes, other neighbors are suing.

Let me give you a scenario so you understand the depth of the depravity of our board. One of our buildings has a sewage backup and 4 units are flooded with about an inch of sewer water (not mine, I wasn't affected). They fixed all units except for one because they don't like the homeowner. To make matters even worse one of those units they fixed was a board member. When the contractors arrived to fix the unit of they guy they didn't like another board member literally stood in the parking lot and refused the contractors access to the property. Now mind you all this was covered by insurance.

This is just one example and the subject of an ongoing lawsuit. You tell me what is the homeowner to do? Live with a buckled floor and open walls because board members physically obstruct fixing his unit?

We recently had an election and MOST homeowners voted this board into power and they knew full well these people were bad actors. The stories I can tell are shocking.

The point of the post was to inform people of the reality of having to deal with boards who not only refuse to act in good faith but take it a step further to purposefully harm homeowners.

JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:235


12/04/2019 8:01 AM  
We had a major rodent infestation and the board refused to do anything to remediate the issue so I got the required number of votes to force a special meeting wherein all homeowners had a chance to vote to get rid of the rodents. MOST homeowners voted against the action.

A week after the meeting one homeowner, who voted against getting rid of the rats, came up to me and complained there were rats in her attack. Worse yet her son-in-law was bitten by a Typhus infected flea and in the hospital for about a week! During mediation of yet a different lawsuit by a homeowner other than me the board was forced to hire a pest control company to remediate the problem.

During this whole year of living in a rodent infested home I purchased poison to place around my yard which actually made a significant difference. Other neighbors of mine REFUSED to do the same thing even though I not only offered to pay for the poison but even physically delivered pounds of the stuff to them.

We had a board meeting recently wherein I asked if there was an audit done for our community and the answer was unambiguously a "No". I sent a proper legal notice demanding HOA records and lo-and-behold 7 days after this board meeting an accounting firm was paid $2300 for audit services. At the time of the meeting accounting journal entries had already been made based on the recommendations of the auditors. To date the audit still has not been published to homeowners despite legal requirement to do so. The board flat out lied to me and is actively hiding financial information from all homeowners. Worse yet I just caught them red handed falsifying our records. I have screenshots of the evidence. I sent them notice and they are ignoring me.

Just sayin.

AugustinD


Posts:2387


12/04/2019 8:08 AM  
JaredC, thanks for posting these accounts. They make me feel better about some of my own bad experiences with HOAs. Which happened to include sewer line backups (not as bad as yours, but bad enough that attorneys were going back and forth) and a rodent infestation. The board refuses to address the rodents. Idiots.

What is striking to me is that a substantial number (a majority?) of members at your HOA do not care about these serious abuses.
JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:235


12/04/2019 8:17 AM  
Yes. To quantify 14 of 24 homeowners vote for the bad actors and to be quite honest are bad actors themselves. I asked for votes on several items during that special meeting and they all voted against things like trimming our massive oak trees before hurricane season in Texas. They have not been trimmed in years and it is time. It's also normal maintenance.

BTW, now that I'm remembering, three days before that special meeting yet another homeowner came up to me and was complaining about the rodent infestation. Three days later she voted AGAINST fixing the problem.

I have said it over and over again I will give anyone a gold star who can explain the behaviour of my neighbors logically.
TimM11


Posts:329


12/04/2019 9:10 AM  
Posted By JaredC on 12/04/2019 7:39 AM

Let me give you a scenario so you understand the depth of the depravity of our board. One of our buildings has a sewage backup and 4 units are flooded with about an inch of sewer water (not mine, I wasn't affected). They fixed all units except for one because they don't like the homeowner. To make matters even worse one of those units they fixed was a board member. When the contractors arrived to fix the unit of they guy they didn't like another board member literally stood in the parking lot and refused the contractors access to the property. Now mind you all this was covered by insurance.

This is just one example and the subject of an ongoing lawsuit. You tell me what is the homeowner to do? Live with a buckled floor and open walls because board members physically obstruct fixing his unit?




While a lawsuit sounds justified in that situation, I also would take more immediate action and get local authorities involved, in addition to contacting my insurance company about what was going on (i.e. a BOD member blocking access to my unit would get to have a nice chat with the police). HOAs tend to cave when dealing with a bigger fish.
JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:235


12/04/2019 9:19 AM  
The affected homeowner is an attorney Tim. The police were called and a report made. Part of his lawsuit includes injunctive relief in the form of the HOA immediately fixing the unit. The bad actor board member is being sued personally, again, for discrimination.

Furthermore both this homeowner and myself have a good relationship with the HOA attorney. We know for a fact that the board does not follow the advice of their legal counsel and for this reason, among others, do not necessarily get the benefit of the Safe Harbor protections granted to officers of a Non-Profit like most board of directors. Part of that provision is they must be acting in good faith.

PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:569


12/04/2019 9:40 AM  
Posted By JaredC on 12/03/2019 6:07 PM


How do I justify my effort?





Only if you really love your home and can't/won't live elsewhere. Speaking as someone who has sued a HOA, I'd rather just move.
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:150


12/04/2019 10:04 AM  
Keep at it Jared, eventually they will pay you to move, if it's enough money then move, if not, then don't give in.

You will get the neighbors to turn on the board when the HOA fee's are high enough, the insurance will slowly go away and rates go up and people will have a hard time selling.

Keep at it, the behavior you describe is very common, neighbors enable them as well by secretly voting for them, but keep at it, you just have not found the right techniques to get the to act the way you want but keep at it.



SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2871


12/04/2019 12:19 PM  
It’s called human nature and people have pondered for centuries why folks do what they do. Why do you think your HOA would be any different?

Personally, I don’t know why anyone would vote against getting someone to deal with the rodents – I don’t want to see them, hear them and I certainly don’t want them in my home, in my garden or anywhere else where I or a friend/contractor can get bit.

As for the folks with the units flooded with sewage, if I’d known about this board member’s behavior, I would have called him out in front of EVERYONE, even if my house wasn’t affected. Why your neighbors seem to think this is ok, I don’t know (what would they do if they’d been in this position?) Perhaps they needed to be called out as well. In fact, the heart of most problems in every neighborhood, HOA or not, tends to be apathy, selfishness, and plain old indifference, along with being too.damn.cheap! Too many people don’t give a rat’s ass about ANYTHING going on in or around the neighborhood because it doesn’t affect them, but then will raise holy hell as soon as their home sweet home is affected, or their spouse, kids, dog, and especially their wallet. Selfishness and indifference is a thing and has led to all sorts of chaos on the planet.

If people were more willing to share and work together, we might be able to fix a lot of problems, but instead, we have extremely rich people hoarding everything, other folks who don’t like people they don’t even know because of their gender, race, religion and so on. Then, you have the people who are assholes and do what they do because that’s who they are.

You asked how to justify your effort – you don’t have to justify this to anyone. If you’re happy with your home and are doing this to fight for it, do you and good luck. That said, I do think PaulJ6 makes a good point – sometimes, it’s best to just move on. You’ll save some money, lots of aggravation and sooner or later, your neighbors will realize all this drama is costing THEM in time, money and probably the community reputation (would you move in if you knew all the neighbors are suing the board and vice versa?)

SheilaJ1 is also correct – by the time the neighbors reach their breaking point (and they will), fixing the problems will take a lot longer and cost more money, and they’ll have no choice but to do the work because if they don’t, they won’t be able to get what they feel the unit is worth (unlike you, who got out while the getting was good).
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:667


12/04/2019 12:24 PM  
In my opinion, the real problem is homeowners who are unwilling or unable to take control of their community and run it properly.

Like it or not, as long as you own your home, you're in a legal and financial partnership with these people. My question is: why on earth would you want to be?
AugustinD


Posts:2387


12/04/2019 12:56 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 12/04/2019 12:24 PM
In my opinion, the real problem is homeowners who are unwilling or unable to take control of their community and run it properly.


I think the above sociological reality is unlikely to change. Given the latter, perhaps the 'real problem' is those of us who cannot mentally accept that which is unlikely to change.

If one is unlucky enough to be a victim of something as extreme as sewer backups that are the association's responsibility, go ahead and file that lawsuit. After the suit is concluded, get out.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:667


12/04/2019 1:23 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/04/2019 12:56 PM
Posted By CathyA3 on 12/04/2019 12:24 PM
In my opinion, the real problem is homeowners who are unwilling or unable to take control of their community and run it properly.


I think the above sociological reality is unlikely to change. Given the latter, perhaps the 'real problem' is those of us who cannot mentally accept that which is unlikely to change.

If one is unlucky enough to be a victim of something as extreme as sewer backups that are the association's responsibility, go ahead and file that lawsuit. After the suit is concluded, get out.




As the great philosopher Kenny Rogers said, you gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. The trouble with being a victim of things like this is that it's too easy to be caught up in the anger and to persist beyond the optimal point for oneself. People are often willing to harm themselves in order to get even with those who done 'em wrong, when a hard-nosed and unemotional approach would suggest walking away.

Yipes, sewage and rats. My neighbors would be rioting...
AugustinD


Posts:2387


12/04/2019 1:31 PM  
Perhaps more emphasis should be placed here on reasons for a person not to fight an incompetent board:

1) the person cannot find a like-minded majority to run for the board

2) the percentage of HOA units that are owned by landlords is 45% or more.

3) the HOA manager is in cahoots with the HOA President

4) the President abuses HOA funds to keep him- or herself in office.

5) the board is in the habit of retaliating in a manner that will cause a person a lot of distress

6) the HOA attorney is all about writing nasty letters to innocent members, to run up his or her billable hours.

7) your life has already been consumed by trying to defeat an incompetent board, and you spend a lot of time at either hoatalk or with friends complaining about the HOA.

8) voter and proxy turnout at annual meetings is one-third or less.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:569


12/04/2019 1:49 PM  
AugustinD, you're exactly right.

Please see my thread about the board putting in cameras with audio recording, to monitor residents who the board doesn't like.
AugustinD


Posts:2387


12/04/2019 2:06 PM  
Paul, yes I saw your most recent thread. I also googled on the law regarding audio recordings. I believe your fellow residents may be correct that the law is being broken. But maybe in peaceful defeat these days, I realized I had nothing intelligent to add. This is pretty much for the above reasons.
JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:235


12/04/2019 5:40 PM  
Yeah, all my family and friends with more in-depth knowledge of what I'm going through agree with all of you. It's better for me to move out and move on. I agree. I would LOVE! to move out. Sadly I am not in a financial position do to so quite yet which means I'm stuck. The fact that I am acting as my own attorney isn't due to arrogance but rather a lack of money to hire a real attorney. Luckily I am smart enough and rational enough to competently perform. It takes an absolute crap ton of time though to research law and court procedure. Composing legal documents is really tedious and attention to detail is a must and my hats are off to all legal secretaries out there. I get it.

I will re-iterate that it's one thing to know the law and another to actually pursue legal remedies. My advice is to do everything possible to avoid legal actions. If you're forced into a corner your decision tree gets smaller: fight, fold, or move. Since I can't move and my DNA won't allow me to fold then my choice is spend a portion of my down time in the unemployment lines fighting. P.S. My court date in Austin vs my HOA involves the PUC and I will both prevail and set legal precedent. I've been at this almost a year now (If you ever file a lawsuit the rule of thumb is it will take a year). Yes the PUC is advocating my position against the HOA. It's a whole thing.
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