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Subject: Lake dock issue.
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Author Messages
RobertB65
(Missouri)

Posts:4


09/12/2020 8:30 AM  
Hello all. Looking for feedback. My wife's mother lives year round in gated lake community. My wife and I are also on the deed. When purchased in 1972, the lots which are not on the water, included a dock in the bill of sale, but not on the deed. The dock is at the end of a common property walkway and has been used by the community since 1970 with our family taking care of the upkeep. Now, the board has deemed the dock to be unsafe. A liability. This I understand. However, they expect the dock to be removed by us, at our expense. It will cost about 5k. Our position is that we do not own the dock as it is on common property and not on the deed. They have shut off her gate key pending removal of said dock and will not be reasoned with. I would entertain splitting the cost of removal withe the association but haven't yet approached them yet. Thoughts?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3460


09/12/2020 9:43 AM  
For over 40 years, you've allowed people to use the dock and pay for the upkeep, but never asked the board to either split the cost of upkeep of buy it from you and take care of it. And NOW you say it's not your responsibility because it'll cost $5K to fix? Why didn't you or your in-laws clarify who really owns the dock 40 years ago? It's possible a judge will say the same thing, which is why you really need a lawyer to sort this out.

If I were on your board, I'd say if you want us to take responsibility, you'll have to sign that dock over to us. No, you won't be reimbursed for upkeep because you could have asked about this years ago and failed to do so. If you don't want to do that, you'll have to find a way to prevent people from using the dock and then you can fix it at your expense. If people insist on using it, charge a fee of come up with an agreement with the board to pay you a lump sum every year for access and you can split the cost of repair.

Obviously you won't be able to go after the seller after all this time, so you may as well go to the recorders office and see what it's records say. Perhaps the association does own It but someone made a major typo in preparing the paperwork when the property was sold. Maybe the area is co-owner by you and the association, in which case I think the board should pay for repairs (you paid for upkeep all these years, so it may be a fair trade).



AugustinD


Posts:3901


09/12/2020 10:03 AM  
Write the Board a letter like the following:

====
Dear Directors,

The association has asked that we pay for removal of a dock that is common property. The dock is not on the deed for our property. Owners have used the dock for decades as common property. As a good will gesture, we are agreeable to paying for one half of the cost of the dock removal. If this is acceptable to you, please let us know by September 30, 2020, and we will then promptly coordinate with you for payment of the removal.

Thank you,

names
addresses
phone numbers
email addies
====


Report back here with the Board's response.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9877


09/12/2020 10:16 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/12/2020 10:03 AM
Write the Board a letter like the following:

====
As a good will gesture, we are agreeable to paying for one half of the cost of the dock removal. If this is acceptable to you, please let us know by September 30, 2020, and we will then promptly coordinate with you for payment of the removal.

Thank you,

names
addresses
phone numbers
email addies
====


Report back here with the Board's response.




I would say:


Dear Directors,

The association has asked that we pay for removal of a dock that is common property. The dock is not on the deed for our property. Owners have used the dock for decades as common property. As such, I believe it only fair the association pay for its removal.




RobertB65
(Missouri)

Posts:4


09/12/2020 10:22 AM  
Thanks for the feedback. No we are not interested in recouping money's for upkeep. And honestly, we have no issue with dock removal as n association liability. We have now used the dock since the boards concern. Tht said by bylaws it is the associations responsibility to maintain the common property, the walkway. They have never done this not are they compliant with Federal ADA law. The issue is at the root is we don't own the dock and are not responsible for it's removal. We chose to to do basic maintenance over the last 40 years as a community interest.
RobertB65
(Missouri)

Posts:4


09/12/2020 10:24 AM  
Thank you.
RobertB65
(Missouri)

Posts:4


09/12/2020 10:31 AM  
Yes. I agree with this and is the next best step. We have advised mom to not contact the board or it's members and to refer to my wife and I who ee the primary owners. We have attorneys in contract and real estate who are privy to the issue. But the issue of shutting off her gate access to our home is an issue. We will file an injunction Monday if needed but would rather not spend money on attorneys. FYI, it is a small community in Kansas so for things to come to this is rediculous.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3116


09/12/2020 4:14 PM  
I would have a priority order:

1. Address gate restriction - is this to get to your property?
2. Dock - not sure right direction, but if I didn't own it, I don't think I would agree to remove it.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:298


09/13/2020 7:15 AM  
Robert I don't think they should have shut off the access card and that needs to be addressed with them and resolved. As for the dock you own it and you have a bill of sale for it and you have maintained it so the ownership is not in question. The real question is what was the deal when they allowed the person to install the dock. This is a good example why HOA's have to be very careful when allowing people to do things out of the norm. We are a waterfront condo that has boat slips. The unit owners do not own the boat slips the HOA does and assigns boat slips for usage to the members. If a boat (unit owners personal property) sinks in a slip we would require the boat owner to remove it. The dock you own (you have a bill of sale for it) needs removed so you should pay to remove it. The mistake is the HOA should have had an agreement with whoever you bought the dock from that outlined what would happen when it was time for the dock to be removed, which you would have agreed to when you bought the dock. I understand your argument but you stated it is your dock via a bill sale. By the way in my HOA is all the community enjoyed the use of the dock we would probably remove it even though it is not our responsibility.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16955


09/13/2020 8:05 AM  
What do the governing documents say (covenants trump rules)?

If the covenants specify the HOA must maintain the dock, that is what must be done.


Question: is your dock/slip on it's own or are multiple slips attached to a community pier/dock?
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:298


09/13/2020 8:39 AM  
In our case there are multiple slips, there is one for each unit but some units use two and other units don't use any. Leave me ask a different question. If I drove my car to the HOA common parking lot and my car caught fire who would be responsible for removing it? The dock is personal property on common property if it needs to be moved technically it is the owners responsibility.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9533


09/13/2020 9:33 AM  
Have to agree with Sam on this one. It's like a fence. The HOA does NOT install fences, maintain them, no repairs them. They do however give PERMISSION for one to be installed. If you do not upkeep the fence the HOA can request you remove it, fix it, or if they choose to replace it send you the bill for doing so. If you don't pay that bill, they can lien you for that expense.

Even though don't like the idea of paying money to remove it, the truth is that you put it up on common area. Common area means it will be shared with whomever pays/owns that common area. Which is you and your neighbors. The structure is in bad condition and thus has been decided by the owners of that common property to be removed. Just because it's on common property doesn't mean they pay for it's removal.

We had a deck at the pool in really bad condition. The developer built it. The HOA had to pay for it's removal because the HOA/Developer built it/owned it. Now if a member had installed it because it was nice to have a deck, then the HOA would required them to remove it.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1235


09/13/2020 11:38 AM  
Posted By SamE2 on 09/13/2020 8:39 AM
In our case there are multiple slips, there is one for each unit but some units use two and other units don't use any. Leave me ask a different question. If I drove my car to the HOA common parking lot and my car caught fire who would be responsible for removing it? The dock is personal property on common property if it needs to be moved technically it is the owners responsibility.




I think it would be unusual to allow personal property to be permanently installed on common area. Doing so blurs the lines of responsibility and liability, and would be a messy lawsuit just waiting to happen. There are often restrictions prohibiting the use of common areas to store homeowners' belongings as well. Your car burns up, of course it's your responsibility to move it. But that's not the situation the OP was talking about.

The OP said that the dock is not personal property (ie, not on the deed). What I want to know is who insures this dock? I assume it's the HOA - and if nobody is insuring it, the community is lucky that they haven't gotten entangled in a lawsuit before now. Yipes.
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:101


09/14/2020 5:41 AM  
As others have suggested, approach the board and explain to them that the dock is not in the deed. However, you may need legal assistance for this one. Splitting the cost sounds reasonable, but that doesn't mean the board will agree to the compromise.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:298


09/14/2020 6:35 AM  
I'm confused why so many think the fact the dock isn't on the deed matters. Personal property usually does not get recorded on deeds. A bill of sale clearly shows ownership unless the bill of sale is in dispute the OP owns the dock. When you put a shed in your yard you get a bill of sale but you do not update your deed.
AugustinD


Posts:3901


09/14/2020 7:29 AM  
Posted By MarshallT on 09/14/2020 5:41 AM
However, you may need legal assistance for this one.
I expect legal assistance, just for review of the governing documents and the underlying issues, will run $3000. If the OP wants his mother's gate access back as soon as possible, and since he said he was willing to split the fee, then he should go with this for now, as far as I am concerned.
AugustinD


Posts:3901


09/14/2020 7:32 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/14/2020 7:29 AM
However, you may need legal assistance for this one.
I expect legal assistance, just for review of the governing documents and the underlying issues, will run $3000.Pardon. At least $3000 for the first phase of the attorney's addressing the dispute. If the board digs in, then the OP can expect to start paying more.

I believe legal disputes are typically about negotiating so as to avoid the high cost of court and attorneys. I think once in awhile the principle involved has further reaching consequences. Then arguably the dispute may need to see the light of a courtroom, as far as I am concerned.
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