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Subject: HOA Board unfairness
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Author Messages
BrettH3
(South Carolina)

Posts:13


07/22/2020 10:25 AM  
I have an issue with what I see as “unfairness” when it comes to approving ARCs and enforcement of CCRs by the board. I have a board member, also on the ARC committee, who keeps a utility trailer in his back yard although it violates CCRs, yet this same person denied a homeowner an above ground swimming pool, for the summer only, for her disabled child. I argued since it was behind a wood fence and completely hidden it should be allowed based on two other above ground pools in our community who didn’t fill out an ARC, just put up the pool, and no action was taken, but the homeowner s request was denied. The second issue is the board VP is on the ARC committee yet my partner, not on the board, was not allowed to be on the ARC committee because I’m “highly visible.” Unfairness bothers me. My thoughts are to quit the board...but I enjoy getting everything done. My partner says, “this is all a part of doing business.”
Thoughts? Advice please?
AugustinD


Posts:3683


07/22/2020 11:08 AM  
You can go to court, but in my experience, comparing the trailer to the pool will not go far legally. Better to just argue for the pool. This will cost a lot of money.

In my experience your partner is right that these HOA relations are inevitably messy.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7397


07/22/2020 12:19 PM  
It's sounding like one director has more influence than just their one vote?? In other words, how na one person deny a homeowner application for something? Isn't there a committee? Or the whole Board decides?

Are others on the board appreciative of your effort?? Seems like it if you're able to get things done.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3925


07/22/2020 12:25 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/22/2020 12:19 PM
It's sounding like one director has more influence than just their one vote?? In other words, how na one person deny a homeowner application for something? Isn't there a committee? Or the whole Board decides?

Are others on the board appreciative of your effort?? Seems like it if you're able to get things done.

It depends. We have committees for, among other things, Finance and Maintenance. There's 1 person on each committee, although that hasn't always been the case. Interest just dwindled. Those 2 people are also board members. To say apathy reigns supreme would be an understatement.
ND
(PA)

Posts:471


07/22/2020 12:43 PM  
Brett,

I think my overall advice to you is to stand up for yourself and what you think is right when discussing/meeting/conversing with your fellow Board Members. As one of several Board Members, your voice carries equal weight to the individual voices of each other Board Member. And the Board as a group collectively makes the decisions, not any Member individually.

You have a few options as far as I'm concerned on the topic of "unfairness":

1) speak up and get buy-in/agreement for your position from other Board Members such that your combined opinions/vote outweigh the opposing position(s) . . . then move forward with those decisions;
2) stay silent (or if when speaking up, you fail to get enough buy-in from other Board Members), then be satisfied with the direction that the other Board Members decide to go;
3) resign from the Board due to unfair and unequal treatment and let the chips fall were they may;
4) rally other neighbors to run for election to the Board with the idea that the "unfair" group will get voted out and folks similarly motivated and thinking as yourself will become the Board make the decisions.

While your various issues of unfairness seem to tie in to the ARC, I think they each need to stand on their own.

The pool topic:
Given the neighbor's situation, if I were the neighbor with disabled child, I would have done what I wanted anyway without seeking Board approval for my pool install. If other unapproved pools exist, I would have tossed this fact in the Board's/ARC's face, and claimed unequal treatment and selective enforcement. Seems like this neighbor is being given a hard time when properly submitting the ARC request for a pool; however, other pools exist that weren't approved are not being pursued as violations . . . definitely not an appropriate situation.

The utility trailer:
You as a Board Member need to point this out. If there are rules, they need to be enforced and enforced equally. Certain rules cannot be enforced while others ignored. You'll likely make an enemy of this other Board Member, but who really cares?! As a Board Member, your duty is to the HOA as a whole, not to other Board Members. If the Board as seen as a group to which the rules don't apply, you'll be looked upon negatively by the majority of neighbors/owners.

The Members of the ARC:
Point out the hypocrisy of VP being allowed on teh ARC but your partner not. If it's something really desired, then fight for it.
CD6
(Texas)

Posts:30


07/22/2020 12:54 PM  
Someone is going down the "Selective Enforcement" highway if not careful.
It could get expensive if that happens.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


07/22/2020 4:47 PM  
ND,

To be clear, had you done what you are recommending, the Board I am on would shrug, and take you to court.

Sure, we would go down the arbitration path, if required, then we would continue to court to stop and/or block the above ground pool.

We’d let the attorneys for both sides have at it and see what happens.

Why would you offer such advice?
MarkW18


Posts:1290


07/22/2020 4:52 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 07/22/2020 4:47 PM
ND,

To be clear, had you done what you are recommending, the Board I am on would shrug, and take you to court.

Sure, we would go down the arbitration path, if required, then we would continue to court to stop and/or block the above ground pool.

We’d let the attorneys for both sides have at it and see what happens.

Why would you offer such advice?



And that is why I would take ND's advice over yours everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


07/22/2020 7:07 PM  
Ah, and it still fits.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3358


07/22/2020 8:03 PM  
I'd be more concerned about the board member who's violating the CCRS with the trailer - if that's not allowed, he should be warned to get rid of it immediately or he'd be subject to the same process everyone else faces if they violate the CCRs. You don't say how many people are on the board, but both of you only have one vote, so I don't know why the others continue to allow this. Did YOU bring up the trailer while the swimming pool was being debated?

That said, the swimming pool issue isn't the same as the utility trailer - that's easier to move, but the above-ground swimming pool may be another story because it can be considered an attractive nuisance. Even if it's completely hidden by the fence, you'd be surprised at how quickly the news might get out and suddenly this lady has all sorts of unwanted guests trespassing on her property, along with the neighbors. You haven't said why the lady was turned down - was this board member concerned about that or something else?

As for the other people with above ground pools, did that happen during your time as a board member? If it happened several years ago under a different board, that's not good, but it may be recent boards have decided to enforce the rule - just as this lady made her request. Sometimes, previous boards aren't consistent with rule enforcement, as you've seen and the new board has to be the heavy no one likes, but consistent and fair enforcement is necessary if the CCRs are going to be of any use

As for your partner being on the board, I'm not sure the board's VP serving on the committee is unfair, as some associations have a board member assigned to an advisory committee. It may be someone's concerned that your partner might vote one way or another on a request and when it gets to the board for final approval (assuming that's how your process works), you might be inclined to vote the same way, not because of the merits of the request, but because your partner voted that way or persuaded (threatened?) you to do it. Who said you were "highly visible?" - the board member with the trailer or someone else? Did you ask him/her to define that, and if a potential conflict of interest is the primary concern, how would you and your partner prevent it?
MarkW18


Posts:1290


07/22/2020 8:45 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 07/22/2020 8:03 PM
Even if it's completely hidden by the fence, you'd be surprised at how quickly the news might get out and suddenly this lady has all sorts of unwanted guests trespassing on her property, along with the neighbors.


I've own a pool at my houses for the past 40 years or so, and the only trespassers I have ever had were three ducks probably flying south for the winter.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


07/22/2020 9:19 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 07/22/2020 7:07 PM
Ah, and it still fits.



George, I've been on this forum for about 11 years now. I've managed a lot of Boards and associations over that period. I can honesty say this with a relatively high level of confidence, you state you're the president of an association in Florida and I have to tell you, you really don't know enough about the position you hold to also be advising people here.

Just an honest observation.
ND
(PA)

Posts:471


07/22/2020 9:33 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 07/22/2020 4:47 PM
ND,

To be clear, had you done what you are recommending, the Board I am on would shrug, and take you to court.

Sure, we would go down the arbitration path, if required, then we would continue to court to stop and/or block the above ground pool.

We’d let the attorneys for both sides have at it and see what happens.

Why would you offer such advice?




OK Boomer . . . stop bullying me.

To be clear . . . of all I said that's pertinent to the OP's original questions on unfairness, that's what you hone in on and blow out of proportion?! Sheesh man. Relax. Not everything needs to be as hard-assed as what goes on in your 55+ gated Florida communities. You're too much. Although your neighborhoods sound like fun and your Boards sound reasonable and likeable.

And I don't know about FL or SC, but in my state, you wouldn't take me to court. If I installed an above ground pool, you'd have to follow your documents' process for identifying and then accusing me of a violation.

This process would involve . . .
- a week or so before you even knew I installed a pool (however with my already-installed fence, you'd likely never know I ever installed a pool);
- followed by a week or so of debate among the Board as to whether I'm in violation or not;
- followed by initial letters being sent to me with a week or so of response time;
- followed by a week or so of Board meetings and decision/in-decision;
- followed by me a week or so of time until I request a hearing before the Board;
- followed by a week or so of time until the actual hearing;
- followed by a week or so of more letters allowing me a week or so of time to comply,
- finally followed by my sincere apologies and commitment to the Board to come into compliance a week or so later and removing the pool.

Although in your HOA, I'm sure you'd personally fast-track the whole process because "how dare I thumb my nose at the Board and defy the almighty rule-makers by installing an above-ground pool without permission".

But either way, the process itself has bought me 1-2 months of time enjoying my small above-ground pool. It's more likely that we'd be well through summer by the time you could take me to court for the above ground pool that I've already removed weeks ago (per the OP it was only planned for summer install). And mind you, I only wanted to install it so my disabled child would have some entertainment, exercise, and activity while quarantined at home during an unprecedented pandemic. And it seemed like a reasonable ARC request because there are other above-ground pools in the neighborhood already that the Board has completely ignored (because OP is a Board Member and admits nothing is being done). Not to mention the other rules that Board Members themselves blatantly ignore.

But I guess I'll see you in court!
MarkW18


Posts:1290


07/22/2020 10:01 PM  
WELL SAID!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


07/23/2020 6:04 AM  
Mark,

I know how you feel about others disagreeing with you - and, I know you believe you know more than anyone else. This does not affect my inputs on this forum, nor should readers see this as an indicator of you actually being correct.

ND, the advice you offered was basically for the OP to proceed with building a pool that was prohibited by the HOA. I provided input that this would likely end in court in my neighborhood. Of course there is a process - Florida’s is not unlike what you noted, and I inferred this by noting arbitration as one of the steps. Not sure what “fast track” means since there is a process. (BTW, Florida Statute dictates the process - violation notices, to fines , to arbitration, to court - very clearly).

And, ND, since your tone is that this whole concept is about your enjoyment of something that is counter to an agreement you signed, we are not going to agree on the importance of just following the rules. That you would do this, then discuss disassembling the violation, points even more to someone simply manipulating the system - again, for their own enjoyment. My board would certainly take this manipulation into consideration on this violation - and, in our future interactions with you.

None of the neighborhoods of which I write are “over 55,” although one has a higher percentage of older owners.

And, finally, the boards in these neighborhoods are pretty chill - they are, however, very interested in everyone following the basic rules, and each board member knows they are held to the same standards as any other owner.
ND
(PA)

Posts:471


07/23/2020 6:50 AM  
George,

My suggestions about the pool were in the context of the OP's HOA. And my advice wasn't to the OP, it was really to this unnamed neighbor who wanted to install the pool . . . recall that I stated, "if I were the neighbor with disabled child, I would have done . . .".

More on the context of the OP's HOA that led me to state the things I stated:
- Recall that certain Board Members in the OP's HOA do not follow the rules (refer to trailer, and I'm sure there are other unchecked Board and homeowner violations that I as a homeowner could document with my camera). This means rules (or certain rules) do not need to be followed or that certain people don't have to follow the rules. Selective enforcement.
- Recall that other unapproved above ground pools already exist w/in the HOA. The Board is aware but does not target them as the blatant violations that they are. Selective enforcement.

So again, if I were this homeowner, then yes, I would proceed with installing my above ground pool because the rule against them is not enforced and Board Members themselves don't have to follow other rules . . . so why do I need to follow certain rules? I'm not manipulating the system . . . I'm fully understanding the system and using it to my benefit. That's not manipulation, that's strategy and reality. Further, I'm just choosing to ignore a system that does not apply equitably to all HOA members and is perhaps not a system at all since it's arbitrarily utilized and enforced.

This is a battle I would enjoy having with you and watching you spend significant amounts of time and energy fighting, the whole time knowing you'd barely have a leg to stand on if this actually went to court. After all, rules in this HOA only sometimes apply to certain members and sometimes are selectively enforced.

What happens in your own HOA is great, and glad that you have a system in place and a chill Board willing to follow rules and processes. Unfortunately that's not the case for the OP, so my input was in the context of that situation.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


07/23/2020 9:39 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 07/23/2020 6:04 AM
Mark,

I know you believe you know more than anyone else, nor should readers see this as an indicator of you actually being correct.



Actually George, I have never claimed to know more than anyone else, I just happened to know more than anyone as it pertains to California. Others may disagree with what I post, but in no way does that mean I'm not correct.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9678


07/23/2020 9:46 AM  
Separate the parked trailer from the above ground pool issue and go after each on it own, starting with the trailer as it is only one.

Did the owner requesting the above ground pool have proof from a medical source that suah was need for her child's therapy? If not, they are using the child as a crutch to get the pool.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


07/23/2020 10:58 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 07/22/2020 4:47 PM
ND,

To be clear, had you done what you are recommending, the Board I am on would shrug, and take you to court.

Sure, we would go down the arbitration path, if required, then we would continue to court to stop and/or block the above ground pool.

We’d let the attorneys for both sides have at it and see what happens.

Why would you offer such advice?



You have to tread very lightly when dealing with individuals with a disability, especially a child. That being said, based on your response, I could see you being the president of an association that would bankruptcy their community because you personally didn't like their political sign.

This follows posting guideline, teaching someone how not to put foot in mouth before speaking.
AugustinD


Posts:3683


07/23/2020 11:23 AM  
Posted By MarkW18 on 07/22/2020 9:19 PM

Just an honest observation.
Your statement is an opinion, not an observation. GeorgeS21's posts here, reflecting in part his experience as a HOA president, remain welcome to my eyes, even as he and I disagree from time to time.
AugustinD


Posts:3683


07/23/2020 11:26 AM  
Posted By ND on 07/22/2020 12:43 PM

The pool topic:
Given the neighbor's situation, if I were the neighbor with disabled child, I would have done what I wanted anyway without seeking Board approval for my pool install. If other unapproved pools exist, I would have tossed this fact in the Board's/ARC's face, and claimed unequal treatment and selective enforcement. Seems like this neighbor is being given a hard time when properly submitting the ARC request for a pool; however, other pools exist that weren't approved are not being pursued as violations . . . definitely not an appropriate situation.
To me, this seems like an option with merit. I do not appreciate a board or anyone messing with the needs of the disabled.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


07/23/2020 11:49 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/23/2020 11:23 AM
Posted By MarkW18 on 07/22/2020 9:19 PM

Just an honest observation.
Your statement is an opinion, not an observation. GeorgeS21's posts here, reflecting in part his experience as a HOA president, remain welcome to my eyes, even as he and I disagree from time to time.



In my opinion and based on your MANY posting, he should be coming after you, not me, as you are far more anti-HOA than I ever will be.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9678


07/23/2020 12:01 PM  
This George and Mark pi$$ing contest is getting tiring. I believe they both contribute but as I say, their personal interaction is not only getting tiring, it is childish on both their parts.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9678


07/23/2020 12:28 PM  
Brett

As there seems to be no objections to above ground pools, as witnessed by the fact there are some and the BOD has never objected and the owner will fence it in so it will not be seeable, I think the person requesting one should be allowed. That said, I personally think most are tacky.

As far as the trailer. Go after it.
MarkW18


Posts:1290


07/23/2020 12:37 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 07/23/2020 12:01 PM
This George and Mark pi$$ing contest is getting tiring. I believe they both contribute but as I say, their personal interaction is not only getting tiring, it is childish on both their parts.



John

My doctor tell me I need to pee once in a while, as it's not good to hold it. They tell me to make sure it's aimed in the right direction. That's all I'm doing, following directions.
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