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Subject: Changing the name of an HOA
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Author Messages
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/18/2020 6:12 AM  
Our HOA has the word "Plantation" in the name. Some homeowners have raised this as an issue and have proposed dropping the word.

Has anyone had experience with a name change? It seems to be there are three levels you can do this:

1. Change the name on the web site, communications to homeowners, anything else publicly visible

2. File a DBA to do business under a new name

3. Change the name of the corporation

Each has their own ramifications and costs.

What has been your experience?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


09/18/2020 6:57 AM  
Interesting and timely question, Jeff.

I don't know the answer, but I would look for an attorney who has already assisted in changing an HOA's name ... you don't want the effort to be the first with the attorney.

However, if you have an HOA attorney on file, it may be less expensive to go with them.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3512


09/18/2020 7:01 AM  
Since they have their own costs and ramifications, why not pool all the homeowners to see how they feel and what might be the most cost effective. You'll definitely need to do #1, but it may but be easier to do #2.

There may also be ramifications related to your association's tax ID number so a chat with your state tax department and perhaps the IRS may be necessary
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


09/18/2020 11:03 AM  
I'm pretty sure that changing the name is a legal process, the same as it would be for an individual who wants to change their name. And various entities need to be notified, such as the IRS.

This article talks about changing corporate names in general:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2019/09/13/changing-your-business-name-step-by-step-guide/
AugustinD


Posts:4153


09/18/2020 11:26 AM  
Ditto what CathyA3 posted, except I know this is a big legal process. This site indicate you do not have to amend the governing documents to reflect the new name. To me, this is good news: https://wisepropertysolutions.com/hoa-change/#:~:text=Changing%20the%20HOA%20name%20is,process%20that%20can%20be%20costly.


I find this problem a little amusing and yet I am serious about the situation (from across the internet miles). Despite the expense, and despite my expectation that no one could, say, sue over the name, if I were on this board, I would vote to take the steps to change the name and amend the governing documents to reflect the new name. One reason I would so vote is to help ensure property values remain as high as possible.

A corporate HOA's name that has the word "Plantation" in it is so staggeringly unbelievable and offensive that I can take no other position.
AugustinD


Posts:4153


09/18/2020 11:51 AM  
I googled on {Virginia HOAs plantation). The first ten hits refer to numerous Virginia HOAs with the word "plantation" in their names:

Plantation Lakes HOA
Ashley Plantation HOA
Wyndham Plantation HOA
Waterview Plantation HOA
Ashgrove Plantation HOA
Cahoon Plantation Property Association

The very first definition of "plantation" that came up when googling is:

Plantation: "an estate on which crops such as coffee, sugar, and tobacco are cultivated by resident labor."

At least Virginia's electoral college votes did not go to Trump in 2016, by a margin of about 5%.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9648


09/18/2020 1:23 PM  
You will need a corporate lawyer. HOA's are not Real Estate. It will effect your Documentation not just taxes. Plus you may have a corporate stamp. Which would have to be changed as well. There are many small details. It is best to deal with a legal expert in "branding" or "corporation" laws.

I just was looking for some real estate myself. Came across a HOA with the word "Estates" in it. For some reason it made me think of "Estate sales". So now I am kind of re-thinking the word "Estate"...


Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10014


09/18/2020 1:26 PM  
Jeff

This issue does not deserve the attention you are giving it.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4130


09/18/2020 2:57 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/18/2020 11:26 AM
A corporate HOA's name that has the word "Plantation" in it is so staggeringly unbelievable and offensive that I can take no other position.

We have a large condo property across the main state road from us. It's called "something Plantation". I don't find the name objectionable at all. Next thing you know people will want Lee County in FL to be renamed because it was named after Robert E.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


09/18/2020 5:36 PM  
But, plan on that name being changed, as well ... because it most certainly does offend a large minority of Americans.

Interesting times - I didn’t expect to see this in my lifetime.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/19/2020 6:02 AM  

Plantation: "an estate on which crops such as coffee, sugar, and tobacco are cultivated by resident labor."

"Resident labor" That's a hot one.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/19/2020 6:04 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/18/2020 1:26 PM
Jeff

This issue does not deserve the attention you are giving it.




Of course it does. All homeowners deserve to have their concerns seriously considered. Maybe attitudes are different farther south.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/19/2020 6:07 AM  
Posted By GenoS on 09/18/2020 2:57 PM
Posted By AugustinD on 09/18/2020 11:26 AM
A corporate HOA's name that has the word "Plantation" in it is so staggeringly unbelievable and offensive that I can take no other position.

We have a large condo property across the main state road from us. It's called "something Plantation". I don't find the name objectionable at all. Next thing you know people will want Lee County in FL to be renamed because it was named after Robert E.




I am not asking if you personally find the name objectionable. The point here is that we have homeowners who *do* find the name objectionable and that's all that matters. I would prefer not to get into a debate in this particular forum about the merits of the name (or of naming things after Robert E. Lee).
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/19/2020 6:20 AM  
Here is an article from the Washington Post that discusses other HOAs that have changed their name for the same reason.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/southern-neighborhoods-have-been-named-plantations-for-decades-that-could-be-changing/2020/06/30/bb7dd886-ba25-11ea-bdaf-a129f921026f_story.html

The article illustrates that we are not unique in this situation. Ultimately the homeowners decide what they want to do. My job is to carry out what the homeowners want, not to tell them what they want.

The article is behind a paywall but you may be able to read a certain number of articles for free. For those who cannot read it here are some excerpts:

Posted By SheliaH on 06/30/2020 6:00 AM

An editorial in [a June issue of the] Hilton Head Island Packet newspaper agreed that citizens should “scrub ‘plantation’ from our communities, once and for all.” Over the next week, more than 5,000 people signed an online petition demanding an end to plantation developments in South Carolina’s Beaufort County.

Rhode Island’s governor recently signed an order changing the state’s name from “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” to “Rhode Island” on state websites and documents.

...in Hilton Head, white residents in several affluent gated communities have launched efforts to excise the word “plantation” from their names. “It’s a pretend, benign interpretation of a word that’s horrible,” said Pat Dowey, a Hilton Head Plantation resident who’s helping lead a push to rename her neighborhood.


JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/19/2020 6:21 AM  
Sorry, the above was not posted by SheilaH but by the Washington Post.
AugustinD


Posts:4153


09/19/2020 6:48 AM  
Posted By JeffS31 on 09/19/2020 6:20 AM
My job is to carry out what the homeowners want, not to tell them what they want.
I doubt this is listed as a director's or board's duty in your HOA's covenants. Per statute, case law and the covenants, the board has both specific duties and one general, overriding fiduciary duty to 'act in the best interests of the association.' Whether paying for a name change, under the circumstances that the current name has a historical meaning that many of the HOA members find offensive, is in the HOA's best interests is subjective.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/19/2020 7:45 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/19/2020 6:48 AM
Posted By JeffS31 on 09/19/2020 6:20 AM
My job is to carry out what the homeowners want, not to tell them what they want.
I doubt this is listed as a director's or board's duty in your HOA's covenants. Per statute, case law and the covenants, the board has both specific duties and one general, overriding fiduciary duty to 'act in the best interests of the association.' Whether paying for a name change, under the circumstances that the current name has a historical meaning that many of the HOA members find offensive, is in the HOA's best interests is subjective.



Exactly. The board will require a homeowner vote for a name change after we have provided information about the effort and costs that would be incurred. I am trying to find out what would be involved so the body of homeowners can make an informed decision.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10014


09/19/2020 12:32 PM  
Posted By JeffS31 on 09/19/2020 7:45 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 09/19/2020 6:48 AM
Posted By JeffS31 on 09/19/2020 6:20 AM
My job is to carry out what the homeowners want, not to tell them what they want.
I doubt this is listed as a director's or board's duty in your HOA's covenants. Per statute, case law and the covenants, the board has both specific duties and one general, overriding fiduciary duty to 'act in the best interests of the association.' Whether paying for a name change, under the circumstances that the current name has a historical meaning that many of the HOA members find offensive, is in the HOA's best interests is subjective.



Exactly. The board will require a homeowner vote for a name change after we have provided information about the effort and costs that would be incurred. I am trying to find out what would be involved so the body of homeowners can make an informed decision.



You will need a quote form an attorney as to the cost then it be put to the owners for a vote. My best guess is any expense over $2K will be turned down.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


09/19/2020 1:32 PM  
I handle this kind of request pretty often for companies.

A DBA filing is just a short document that is filed usually with the state Secretary of State's office for a modest fee. That's the easiest way to handle this, and you could then change the name on the website and in communications.

Changing the entity's name would likely require a member vote and a board vote and then filings with the Secretary of State's office and the IRS.

I'd just do a DBA filing. However, even if a DBA filing, by the terms of the HOA's governing documents, doesn't require a member vote, people ought to have say-so over the name of where they live, so I'd submit it to a member vote anyway. And I'd be prepared to have some pretty upset people no matter what the decision is.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/21/2020 12:11 PM  
Posted By ChrisE8 on 09/19/2020 1:32 PM
And I'd be prepared to have some pretty upset people no matter what the decision is.




Yes, that may be the case. However, we are on the northern fringes of the south, a fairly liberal community, and I don't think we have people who take the position that "That is part of our great Southern heritage blah blah blah." I am sure that we do have at least a couple of people who will say, "This is a bunch of politically correct B.S."
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


09/21/2020 12:28 PM  
I wasn't thinking that reactionary HOA members would get upset; it's just a sensitive topic and doing a DBA only could be seen as not going far enough, and it could open up all sorts of issues--ones that ought to be discussed, but ones that could cause people to be upset.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4130


09/21/2020 2:24 PM  
My house has plantation shutters. I'll go flog myself in front of the clubhouse now.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
LauraR5
(Tennessee)

Posts:220


09/24/2020 7:41 PM  
Most likely changing your name is going to require you to vote to amend your covenants, which requires A LOT of homeowners (our percentage is either 66 or 75%). So it’s a huge pain. Plus side, while you’re trying to get the required number of votes you will find out if people really want it.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


09/24/2020 8:00 PM  
I dunno ...do we know this, Laura?

Different state?
LauraR5
(Tennessee)

Posts:220


09/24/2020 8:28 PM  
I would guess it depends on your documents. Ours would require a vote. That would be where I started. It’s probably going to require a vote so I would probably send a survey to homeowners before spending their money.
LauraR5
(Tennessee)

Posts:220


09/24/2020 8:30 PM  
I meant to say it will most likely require a lawyer to make all this happen, which is spending their money.

Sorry; it’s late.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


09/26/2020 5:58 AM  
Yes, this is not a board decision, it will require a community vote. One of our homeowners is a lawyer and is looking at what it would take. There are inconsistencies in the by-laws; none state directly what vote is required for name change. Some changes require 2/3, some require 75%, sometimes it just gives a proportion and sometimes it says "75% of votes cast." So it's not clear if we need 75% of all homeowners to vote "yes" or 75% of all those who show up and vote.

Posted By GenoS on 09/21/2020 2:24 PM
My house has plantation shutters. I'll go flog myself in front of the clubhouse now.


Don't worry, you can call your shutters whatever you want and nobody will care.
JerryD5
(Colorado)

Posts:211


09/30/2020 7:46 PM  
I am in a sub HOA of a master community. The master community recently went through a long and arduous process of renaming our master community. It will be interesting to see if our sub-HOA follows suit. I am guessing we won't only because of the expense of getting 67% of the homeowners to agree. While they may agree in principle with changing the name, they won't want to foot the bill (est at $3,000 or so). All the while, each homeowner's deed will still reflect the original name as well the filings on record with the city.

Here is how I would advise the OP: If there is a homeowner that is passionate about dropping Plantation from the name, have them head up a committee to gather the majority votes required by their by-laws. Either they will be successful or the issue will die down and be replaced by another pressing issue.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17008


10/01/2020 6:35 AM  
Posted By JerryD5 on 09/30/2020 7:46 PM


Here is how I would advise the OP: If there is a homeowner that is passionate about dropping Plantation from the name, have them head up a committee to gather the majority votes required by their by-laws. Either they will be successful or the issue will die down and be replaced by another pressing issue.




I would also task the committee to research on how to do it and the costs.


Excellent idea.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


10/01/2020 7:54 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 10/01/2020 6:35 AM
Posted By JerryD5 on 09/30/2020 7:46 PM


Here is how I would advise the OP: If there is a homeowner that is passionate about dropping Plantation from the name, have them head up a committee to gather the majority votes required by their by-laws. Either they will be successful or the issue will die down and be replaced by another pressing issue.




I would also task the committee to research on how to do it and the costs.


Excellent idea.




That is how we are proceeding. One of them is a lawyer and looking what would be required. I have asked them to present the issue at our annual homeowners meeting, which occurs 10/13.
JeffS31
(Virginia)

Posts:16


10/01/2020 7:56 AM  
One of the problems we are having is determining what vote is required to make such a change. There is nothing in the by-laws or state law that specifically addresses a name change, but we have found related items that variously require:

75% of members
75% of votes cast
2/3 of votes cast


GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4130


10/01/2020 11:48 AM  
In Florida it's relatively simple; all that's required is to amend the Articles of Incorporation. The state has template forms that can be used to do it. Whatever amendatory provisions are in the Articles of Incorporation represent the only homeowner voting threshold for approval that must be met by the association.
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