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Subject: unvelievable roadblocks
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Author Messages
LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:494


06/01/2021 11:34 PM  
so.. I submitted a request for the contact/mailing address info for the association attorney of record.


The response I get from the the acting property manager, who is also a board member is.

Laskas
The board has to release the information you requested.


I responded...
JB,
"The board has to release the information you requested..."

Your incorrect statement suggests you don't actually understand the the difference between texas law regarding condominium owners access to records vs subjective decisions of the association that require a vote of the board.

The association is legally obligated to
To have /make available association record, receipts. contracts, Vendor information and agreements by request of owner for inspection.(given a legitimate purpose)

The board has nothing to decide. It is ridiculous that you don't know this.

I often have attributed your lack of common courtesy and cooperation with my requests as an owner to the underlying personal bias you have against me. I'm actually now reconsidering. It's possible that you actually do not correctly comprehend the meaning of documents and laws that govern our association.

Whether it is intentional bias and willful disregard of owners rights or ignorance of the law and the association legal documents, both excuses are unacceptable for a board member.

"is this real life"




BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:712


06/02/2021 3:59 AM  
Laska

Yes, you can ask for the information you are seeking, and can obtain it the easy way or the hard way.

The easy way is for the PM to simply provide the information; it makes no sense to obfuscate or waste time not providing it.

The hard way is for you to formally request to review the records of the Association so you can obtain the information yourself.

My question is: why are you asking for this information? I know you are legally entitled to it, however, as with any other contractor, the attorney should have been instructed by the PM or the Board to simply refer any contact from you (or any owner) back to the PM or the Board.

The attorneys we use make it clear when executing initial agreements for their services they will only discuss association matters with a single point of contact, or with the entire Board in certain situations. Under no circumstances will they respond to requests for information or telephone calls from individual unit owners.

It is not clear to me what you are seeking to accomplish. Don't frustrate yourself further by attempting to compel a third party to force the PM or Board to do something. You know we have no state level oversight agency in Texas for condominiums (or HOAs), about the only way you will bring closure to your issues is through the courts, which may not agree with you.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10247


06/02/2021 5:08 AM  
The HOA lawyer is NOT your lawyer. It is the HOA's lawyer. So I have no idea why you need this information nor believe you have a RIGHT to it. You don't need either. If your like me or my HOA, our lawyer changed per our needs. We did not just have one lawyer because not every lawyer fulfills the need. A lawyer is just a tool in my opinion to get legal work done.

Plus to save on costs and miscommunications, most HOA boards usually limit any intereactions with the HOA lawyer. Typically it is the President whom represents the HOA and talks to the lawyer. However, others may have someone else whom may be better qualified. Overall it should be very limited contact and controlled within the board.

Lawyers will charge for email, text, phone calls, letters, or personal consultations. Guess what? If you do this with the HOA's lawyer. The HOA has every right to ask for reimbursement for any of this. It's not approved communication. You want to talk to the HOA's lawyer? Do it through your OWN lawyer who works for you.

Former HOA President
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:242


06/02/2021 6:54 AM  
Does your state have a corporation registration website? Just lookup the business entity by name or id be usually the registered agent is the attorney on record.

I wouldn’t contact their lawyer, he’ll bill the HOA and they can bill you. Why do you need to contact them?
SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:242


06/02/2021 7:01 AM  
And to go on Melissa’s post, the attorney is suppose to be the HOA’s attorney but people with real experience know the attorney is the majority of the board’s attorney, so if you’re in the minority, your stuck getting your own lawyer.

All attorney’s are just smart thieves. Some are not even smart but prey on stupid HOA boards and go where the money will flow. Right or wrong.
AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 7:27 AM  
Posted By LaskaS on 06/01/2021 11:34 PM
so.. I submitted a request for the contact/mailing address info for the association attorney of record.


The response I get from the the acting property manager, who is also a board member is.

Laskas
The board has to release the information you requested.


I responded...
JB,
"The board has to release the information you requested..."

Your incorrect statement suggests you don't actually understand the the difference between texas law regarding condominium owners access to records vs subjective decisions of the association that require a vote of the board.

The association is legally obligated to
To have /make available association record, receipts. contracts, Vendor information and agreements by request of owner for inspection.(given a legitimate purpose)

The board has nothing to decide. It is ridiculous that you don't know this.

I often have attributed your lack of common courtesy and cooperation with my requests as an owner to the underlying personal bias you have against me. I'm actually now reconsidering. It's possible that you actually do not correctly comprehend the meaning of documents and laws that govern our association.

Whether it is intentional bias and willful disregard of owners rights or ignorance of the law and the association legal documents, both excuses are unacceptable for a board member.

"is this real life"
-- Do you know who the name of the attorney but so far, do not have the contact information?

-- In my opinion the Manager's response is arguably correct. I realizes TUCA 82.114 does apply to pre-1994 Texas Condos, and its statement on what COA records COA members may view is not limited. I do not even see a requirement for Texas condos to require that a COA member give a "proper purpose." However, I can imagine when a court would support a Texas COA Boards judgment to withhold certain records.

-- Meanwhile, you are asking the COA to play fair, but in my opinion, on this issue, you are not playing fair. First, you, a COA member, are attempting to order the manager to do something. This is not your place. Second, your badgering and attacks on the manager in your communication to him are more likely to be counterproductive. Third, said badgering and attacks is harassment. You are walking on thin ice as you try to coerce the manager to do something that he may very well feel is not lawful, and he might be at least a little justified in this.

-- I hope you are not addressing the manager by anything other than "Mr. _____" or "Manager ____."

-- I think this is real life to the extent you are a COA member communicating with the manager in an unprofessional manner and also with regard to the manager/COA being difficult about providing you with records. I believe obstruction of COA/HOA members' requests to view records is one of the most frequent complaints seen here at HOATalk.com.
AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 7:31 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/02/2021 7:27 AM
I do not even see a requirement for Texas condos to require that a COA member give a "proper purpose."
My mistake. The Texas Nonprofit Corporation Act does require a records request to be accompanied by a statement of a proper purpose. I believe your proper purpose could be said to be "to cc the COA attorney regarding a request to the Board to comply with Texas Statutes' requirement to give you notice and a hearing when the COA assesses you for damages to common area." The Board may or may not be on solid ground in rejecting this purpose as "proper."
AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 8:24 AM  
In a letter or email from a COA/HOA member to a COA/HOA manager:
Posted By LaskaS on 06/01/2021 11:34 PM
Your incorrect statement suggests you don't actually understand the the difference between texas law regarding condominium owners access to records vs subjective decisions of the association that require a vote of the board.

The association is legally obligated to
To have /make available association record, receipts. contracts, Vendor information and agreements by request of owner for inspection.(given a legitimate purpose)

The board has nothing to decide. It is ridiculous that you don't know this.

I often have attributed your lack of common courtesy and cooperation with my requests as an owner to the underlying personal bias you have against me. I'm actually now reconsidering. It's possible that you actually do not correctly comprehend the meaning of documents and laws that govern our association.

Whether it is intentional bias and willful disregard of owners rights or ignorance of the law and the association legal documents, both excuses are unacceptable for a board member.
If I were on this COA's Board, I would seriously consider motioning for a Board to send a warning letter to the member, stating that the use of further abusive language in letters to directors or the manager will result in the COA seeking a restraining order. I would ask that the HOA/COA attorney review this letter and make changes before it was sent.

LaskaS, from afar, I want to encourage you in your communications with the Board and manager to find language that is "just the facts," and free of insult and abuse. I also want to encourage you to consider the means which you use to get information from the COA: First, you send a polite letter or email conforming with statutes and covenants. Second, when the COA refuses to share information with you, your lawful recourse is either to hire an attorney and start making to the point, polite statements that a lawsuit may result if the COA does not provide such-and-such information; or to write these letters yourself, indicating you are left with no choice but to take the COA to court yourself. Any other recourse is likely inappropriate.

To me, a lot of the problems reported in this forum are based in poor communications. These poor communications raise people's hackles and earn the author less respect, not more. Poor communications are often reflecting people who think they have the power to push people around and get results. From HOA/COA College Course 101: First, the HOA/COA has much much more power; and second, the psychology of many boards and managers is to retaliate against those members who are abusive to either the directors or managers. Sometimes the retaliation is lawful (e.g. a restraining order); sometimes it is not. Either way it will cost a HOA/COA member a lot.

I know many managers and boards are terrible about respecting members' rights to inspect records. But so help me god, rules are rules, and all factions in a HOA/COA should respect these rules: A Board, director or manager harassing a member is unacceptable. A member harassing a Board, director or manager is just as unacceptable.

LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:494


06/02/2021 11:15 AM  
Augustine,

remember, the property manager is a board member.


My request for the address of the attorney was so I could send the certified letter regarding the improper assessment of charges to my account without due process. I don't know the officers of the board physical address. Sending the letter to only the property manager would not ensure that the entire board received it.

My request for the address was sent to the property manager and cc'd to the presidents of the association.

My response was harsh, but it's true. However, I agree, It was unnecessary and doesn't help anything.
LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:494


06/02/2021 11:25 AM  
For the record...

This is the original request for the attorney contact info. I was very professional. The response telling me that the board had to approve whether to release the info is flat out wrong .
It is the pattern of refusing to provide information upon request.



June 1. 2021

Good Afternoon,

I am the owner and resident of unit ** at ***** ******* drive. I am requesting the Association provide me the contact info and mailing address of the attorney of record for the Pines Condominium Association.

As a former Board member, I am aware that the association has several law firms that handle association Business. I am requesting the correct contact info so that I can cc by certified my mail my request to the board regarding the removal of the charges applied to my account without due process.


SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:242


06/02/2021 12:05 PM  
Looks all the request requirements are met.

Laska, did you by chance check the state corporate commission site ?

One example:

https://mycpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/


HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN WAY ESTATES

Registered agent is usually an attorney but sometimes the management company.

In this case it’s Underwood and Perkins PC


AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 12:39 PM  
Posted By SheilaJ1 on 06/02/2021 12:05 PM
Looks all the request requirements are met.
Except from where I am sitting, the board may have reasonably perceived the purpose to be improper. the purpose was "proper."

LaskaS, I think your original request looks fine. You were honest about the purpose. If the board thinks it is improper, oh well. You did the best you could to get the attorney contact info (on record) without going to court. (And a court might back up the board on this one, with the judge agreeing with the board that it has a right to find your purpose "improper.")

I keep in mind I am the one who said to go ahead and cc the HOA attorney, in the hope that the attorney will explain to the Board that he-- yes, the Board has to give you a proper notice and a hearing.

I do keep in mind the manager is also a board member. I am no sure it changes my thoughts on civility and tone, or just 'better writing,' when speaking with either managers or directors. And believe me, I am not perfect. Some years ago I sent a snarky remark to a manager who was refusing to share certain basic financial records, snapping at her, "You are breaking the law on records inspection. See state statute so-and-so." That not only got me no where. It probably delayed my getting the records another two months.

Best strategy of a manager/board who does not like dealing with records requests: Ignore them. Force the member to hire an attorney and threaten suit. This tactic is extraordinarily effective. Nearly all HOA/COA boards/managers who employ it will get away with it.

God bless the states like Florida and California that by statute, bill HOAs/COAs for every day's delay in sharing records with HOA/COA members.

The Texas Property Owners Association Act actually does have some financial penalties for non-condo HOAs that drag their feet on records requests. I think the penalties are not as good as California's and Florida's, but they are better than the non-penalties in Texas's condo statutes.

I appreciate your humility and hope I am as humble.
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:382


06/02/2021 12:47 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/02/2021 12:39 PM
Posted By SheilaJ1 on 06/02/2021 12:05 PM
Looks all the request requirements are met.


God bless the states like Florida and California that by statute, bill HOAs/COAs for every day's delay in sharing records with HOA/COA members.


And this is based on your vast experience, or just Googling the information. Just because there might be a statue, doesn't guarantee anyone pays any attention, especially the courts.
AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 12:56 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/02/2021 12:47 PM
And this is based on your vast experience,
Speaking of those people who communicate sh-ttily...
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:382


06/02/2021 1:04 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/02/2021 12:56 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/02/2021 12:47 PM
And this is based on your vast experience,
Speaking of those people who communicate sh-ttily...



Nice deflection
AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 1:09 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/02/2021 1:04 PM
Posted By AugustinD on 06/02/2021 12:56 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/02/2021 12:47 PM
And this is based on your vast experience,
Speaking of those people who communicate sh-ttily...



Nice deflection
I am not denying your other points, twit.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11059


06/02/2021 2:13 PM  
In one association I was a member of, the ARC/BOD had denied all shed requests even though the Covenants said out buildings are allowed. One owner that got denied for a shed, pushed back in that he had his attorney write a letter to the BOD. The BOD attorney agreed and said the owner's attorney was right and the BOD should draw up some guidelines. The head of the ARC and President said well let us stall and change attorneys.

Fortunately some ARC and BOD members were cooler headed about the issue and two in particular were pissed at the stubbornness of the ARC Chair and the BOD Pres. They started to lobby against some BOD Members. A long story short, it took two election cycles and a lot of hard work to remove several BOD Members and change the ARC Board. The ARC did draw up some very strict/tight shed guidelines (Natural wood, no vinyl, no metal, look identical to ones house such as same type windows, same type roofing, same style door, etc). In a 700 member association, less then 12 applied for a permit.
LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:494


06/02/2021 2:28 PM  
Johnc ,,

WOW, that kind of doing anything and everything to avoid having to comply with the documents. It's rampant across hoa and condo associations.

It's true that when everything is running smoothly , people don't complain. So we don't hear about the great association boards. But geez. this entire forum, owners coming for help or advive because they are at their wits end.
AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 2:33 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/02/2021 2:13 PM
In one association I was a member of, the ARC/BOD had denied all shed requests even though the Covenants said out buildings are allowed. One owner that got denied for a shed, pushed back in that he had his attorney write a letter to the BOD. The BOD attorney agreed and said the owner's attorney was right and the BOD should draw up some guidelines. The head of the ARC and President said well let us stall and change attorneys.
What total, 200% losers. Plus the member got to pay probably at least $1000 of his/her own money to hire an attorney to write a letter, while the stupid ARC chair and HOA President used the membership's money to pay a HOA attorney.

Good story all told, because of the happy ending.
LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:494


06/02/2021 2:38 PM  
augustine...

this..

Best strategy of a manager/board who does not like dealing with records requests: Ignore them. Force the member to hire an attorney and threaten suit. This tactic is extraordinarily effective. Nearly all HOA/COA boards/managers who employ it will get away with it.

I assume you were being facetious. This is not a good strategy. It's an abuse of process and failure to operate in good faith. The manager/boards who have this attitude are taking advantage of the unfair playing field. Forcing owners to spend their own money to hire an attorney to get an order for the board to comply . Knowing full well, they(board,managers) are using association money to defend the suit.. there's almost zero accountability.

I was talking to an attorney yesterday, he mentioned the legislative changes that were being considered... specifically, Giving owners a right to sue in small claims court for injunctive relief was under consideration. But of course, I remembered reading hear, these prospective legislative changes only would apply to 209. When I mentioned that to him, he said "oh yeah,that's right. Condo's aren't included".


I think that one change if it could be implemented and apply to texas condominiums would go a long way . Many owners just want the association board to carry out the contractual obligations of their association in a transparent, timely, competent manner.

AugustinD


Posts:601


06/02/2021 2:54 PM  
Posted By LaskaS on 06/02/2021 2:38 PM

[AugustinD, pointing out what corrupt boards do: ] Best strategy of a manager/board who does not like dealing with records requests: Ignore them. Force the member to hire an attorney and threaten suit. This tactic is extraordinarily effective. Nearly all HOA/COA boards/managers who employ it will get away with it.

I assume you were being facetious. This is not a good strategy. It's an abuse of process and failure to operate in good faith. The manager/boards who have this attitude are taking advantage of the unfair playing field. Forcing owners to spend their own money to hire an attorney to get an order for the board to comply . Knowing full well, they(board,managers) are using association money to defend the suit..
Yes, this was my point, poorly presented. In other words, I urge boards not to do what I described above.


there's almost zero accountability.
Correct. The little bit of accountability is in the hands of either the members, who can vote out the bums, assuming elections are being run fairly; or the courts, which costs a fortune, bringing us back to near-zero accountability.

I was talking to an attorney yesterday, he mentioned the legislative changes that were being considered... specifically, Giving owners a right to sue in small claims court for injunctive relief was under consideration.
I have been wondering which dude/dudette was lobbying for this in the state legislature. Someone clearly is displeased with the way too many HOAs/COAs are operating.

But of course, I remembered reading hear, these prospective legislative changes only would apply to 209. When I mentioned that to him, he said "oh yeah,that's right. Condo's aren't included".
I see that now. Oh well. Easy (almost) come. Easy go.

I think that one change if it could be implemented and apply to texas condominiums would go a long way . Many owners just want the association board to carry out the contractual obligations of their association in a transparent, timely, competent manner.
I keep in mind that most owners of most COAs/HOAs do not care what their boards do. These owners have all the meaningful power.

MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:382


06/02/2021 3:11 PM  
Posted By LaskaS on 06/02/2021 2:28 PM
Johnc ,,

WOW, that kind of doing anything and everything to avoid having to comply with the documents. It's rampant across hoa and condo associations.

It's true that when everything is running smoothly , people don't complain. So we don't hear about the great association boards. But geez. this entire forum, owners coming for help or advive because they are at their wits end.



Got your panties in a bunch did we?
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:444


06/02/2021 5:12 PM  
Posted By LaskaS on 06/02/2021 2:38 PM
augustine...

this..

Best strategy of a manager/board who does not like dealing with records requests: Ignore them. Force the member to hire an attorney and threaten suit. This tactic is extraordinarily effective. Nearly all HOA/COA boards/managers who employ it will get away with it.

I assume you were being facetious. This is not a good strategy. It's an abuse of process and failure to operate in good faith. The manager/boards who have this attitude are taking advantage of the unfair playing field. Forcing owners to spend their own money to hire an attorney to get an order for the board to comply . Knowing full well, they(board,managers) are using association money to defend the suit.. there's almost zero accountability.

I was talking to an attorney yesterday, he mentioned the legislative changes that were being considered... specifically, Giving owners a right to sue in small claims court for injunctive relief was under consideration. But of course, I remembered reading hear, these prospective legislative changes only would apply to 209. When I mentioned that to him, he said "oh yeah,that's right. Condo's aren't included".


I think that one change if it could be implemented and apply to texas condominiums would go a long way . Many owners just want the association board to carry out the contractual obligations of their association in a transparent, timely, competent manner.





People in Texas need to ask their representatives never propose HOA reforms that apply to condos.
LaskaS
(Texas)

Posts:494


06/02/2021 5:50 PM  
barbara ,did you mean, people in texas need to ask their representatives to include condominiums in the legislative changes?
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:444


06/02/2021 10:09 PM  
Posted By LaskaS on 06/02/2021 5:50 PM
barbara ,did you mean, people in texas need to ask their representatives to include condominiums in the legislative changes?




Yes - I was trying to say “ask why they never propose HOA reform for condos.” You can’t spell “corruption and obfuscation” without CONDO but it’s so funny that they are always exempt from “reform” efforts.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2021


06/03/2021 5:19 AM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 06/02/2021 10:09 PM
Posted By LaskaS on 06/02/2021 5:50 PM
barbara ,did you mean, people in texas need to ask their representatives to include condominiums in the legislative changes?




Yes - I was trying to say “ask why they never propose HOA reform for condos.” You can’t spell “corruption and obfuscation” without CONDO but it’s so funny that they are always exempt from “reform” efforts.



Probably because of sheer numbers. The majority of political donors who yammer in politicians' ears live in HOAs or benefit from them if they work well - while it's mostly big-money outsiders who benefit from having COAs and who don't care if they work well for the folks who live in them. Condo owners tend to be first-time buyers, downsizers, and those who don't have a lot of money to put into housing (although luxury condo developments do exist) - and most of these folks don't have the political clout. Numbers + dollars = political change, although the numbers and dollars are interchangeable to some extent.

Condos are what they are, not what we'd like them to be, and that's what we have to work with right now. If somebody continually bangs their head against the same brick wall with the same outcome, then no matter how much they complain about how much it hurts, you have to assume that they enjoy the process or else they'd stop.

Fix it, live with it, or move. There are no other options unless you have the resources to apply some levers to others - and no amount of complaining will change that.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:444


06/03/2021 8:23 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 06/03/2021 5:19 AM
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 06/02/2021 10:09 PM
Posted By LaskaS on 06/02/2021 5:50 PM
barbara ,did you mean, people in texas need to ask their representatives to include condominiums in the legislative changes?




Yes - I was trying to say “ask why they never propose HOA reform for condos.” You can’t spell “corruption and obfuscation” without CONDO but it’s so funny that they are always exempt from “reform” efforts.



Probably because of sheer numbers. The majority of political donors who yammer in politicians' ears live in HOAs or benefit from them if they work well - while it's mostly big-money outsiders who benefit from having COAs and who don't care if they work well for the folks who live in them. Condo owners tend to be first-time buyers, downsizers, and those who don't have a lot of money to put into housing (although luxury condo developments do exist) - and most of these folks don't have the political clout. Numbers + dollars = political change, although the numbers and dollars are interchangeable to some extent.

Condos are what they are, not what we'd like them to be, and that's what we have to work with right now. If somebody continually bangs their head against the same brick wall with the same outcome, then no matter how much they complain about how much it hurts, you have to assume that they enjoy the process or else they'd stop.

Fix it, live with it, or move. There are no other options unless you have the resources to apply some levers to others - and no amount of complaining will change that.




I don't know... the bills that have passed favor homeowners, i.e. the little guys. I wouldn't think major donors would care about that! For several years the owner of the largest association management company in the country also served in the Texas Senate. Under his influence, legislation heavily favored management companies and boards. He was ousted from office right after the major reform bills in 2011.The reform bill passed this year was heavily pushed by the Texas Real Estate Commission and the Texas Association of Realtors (of course, because TREC will clean up collecting filing fees!). I would think Realtors have plenty of stake in selling condos!

I stopped banging my head against the wall a few years ago, when I chose to stop managing condos. Now I just try to discourage people from buying them.
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