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Subject: Building inspector closes our pools.
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HectorR
(Florida)

Posts:70


06/28/2021 6:24 PM  
Hello everyone,all 3 pools in our community have been closed by the Miami Dade County building on May 18 2021.
The reason for the closure was because a resident claimed to have gotten a small electrical shock from the metal handrail while exiting the pool. The property management posted a sign that the pools are going to be under repair and closed till further notice. I emailed the BOD and property and asked what repairs were needed, these pools were remodeled one year ago. The response that I received was that there is no repairs needed, pools were already checked. Whom ever called to state that they got a shock was not true and because the property manager spent thousands of dollars getting an electrical contractor to inspect the wiring, we may face an assessment. I was in disbelief with their answer, well guess what June 10th gets here and i see another notice from the county and this time is states that the pools are closed indefinitely. I took a photo of the case number and contacted the building inspectors office. I was told that they have no records of electrical permits on file for the new electrical modifications that were made and no records of any inspections for all three pools. The notice states that corrections need to be by Sept. 8th 2021 or face a $500.00 fine per pool and what ever other fees the county decides to collect. I sent a second email on 22nd asking the BOD and property manager when this issue will be corrected but I have not heard from them.
So #1 they lied to me again ( not to my surprise)
And #2 here we are paying our monthly dues and not being able to use our only amenity that we have. Our kids are out for the summer from school and are not able to use the pools. This is the 2nd year in a row that the pools are closed.
If no permits were pulled and no inspection was done to declare these pools safe and if they fail to comply and get fined does the BOA have a right to add an assessment to all the home owners. I think that this is negligence on the property management for not hiring a license electrician. The BOD should be questioning the property manager as to why no permits were pulled and inspection was done.
What can we do, any advise?
Thank you.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:841


06/28/2021 6:55 PM  
Hector,
In my opinion you need to remember that you bought a property in this Association. You are now part owner of all the problems that are found and repaired.

1) Just because they did not pull a permit for the electrical work done does not me they are unlicensed contractors. They should have known better and could have been directed not to bother.
2) The City or County has great power when it comes to what pools have to do to get operational licenses. Every year these need to be paid for and the pools re inspected.
3) If you have an electrical issue in the pool the last thing you should be worried about is your kids going swimming. If someone gets hurt or killed a lawsuit will most likely cost every owner more money than they can imagine.

When I first got on my current board I asked about our pool permit and the PM had know idea what I was talking about. I was inquiring about our pool capacity and when I asked the City if they had this information. Our pool was 6 years old and the Developer had never got a certificate to open or yearly certificates. Just this year another new community in my town got shut down for not having ever been licensed.

Got to follow the rules of the City and County no matter how crazy they make them.

If you want to fix things the easiest way is to run for the board.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10461


06/28/2021 7:01 PM  
1st slow your roll there Hector and take a breath. THINK about the purpose of why the pools are closed. It is a potential SAFETY reasons. Plus if no permits were pulled then again additional LIABILITY on ALL the members. It is NOT a PM thing. Plus you and the other families are putting themselves and others at risk.

Considering what just happened in Miami with the collapse, I would be in no hurry to open up a pool. Supposedly that is where the first signs of the building collapse appeared. So right now I highly suspect your area is going to be undergoing a large amount of inspections and scrutiny.

Plus be careful of what you wish for. You may find yourself calling attention to this issue bringing on a fine by the state or city. That means the WHOLE HOA has to pay for it. It may be a good thing it is closed so your HOA is NOT facing a huge fine.

Former HOA President
AugustinD


Posts:1585


06/29/2021 7:11 AM  
HectorR, from your prior posts, it appears to me you are unable either to win election to the board or to elect a majority of directors who see things as you do. I think your options are to either (1) complain to the Florida agency given in FS 720, and using FS 720 as guidance; (2) hire an attorney; (3) move; or (4) accept these bad things the Board does as something you cannot realistically change and get on with your life.

If you do not know what FS 720 is, then delete (1) above as an option.
ND
(PA)

Posts:631


06/29/2021 7:40 AM  
I don't know exactly how things work in Florida, but your HOA Board of Directors is as much to blame as your MC for the current status of things. Unless MC is given complete autonomy to manage whatever projects you have going on, my feeling is the the HOA Board should be directly involved in things of this nature to ensure that processes are followed and whatever needs to get done (permits for example) is actually done. Of course that requires having Board Members who want to be involved and are actually capable of reasonable/logical/appropriate thinking and decision-making . . . but that could be another issue altogether.

I think you have a right to be upset with the status of things. The Board and MC you have managing your property are doing things poorly if their decision-making resulted in the inability to use your amenities due to their lack of knowledge (and willingness to obtain knowledge), laziness, short-cuts, or outright ineptness . . . but Augustin more or less provided the options available to you.
HectorR
(Florida)

Posts:70


06/29/2021 7:42 AM  
I understand totally that the safety of others is important. We are going to face hefty fines if the issues are not corrected by Sept.8th 2021. The PM should be held responsible, they are the ones who hired the electrician to work on the pools.
So if the PM hired unlicensed contractors and performed a job with no permits, they are not to hold responsible?
I find that hard to believe, why should the HOMEOWNERS pay for their negligence?
HectorR
(Florida)

Posts:70


06/29/2021 7:42 AM  
I understand totally that the safety of others is important. We are going to face hefty fines if the issues are not corrected by Sept.8th 2021. The PM should be held responsible, they are the ones who hired the electrician to work on the pools.
So if the PM hired unlicensed contractors and performed a job with no permits, they are not to hold responsible?
I find that hard to believe, why should the HOMEOWNERS pay for their negligence?
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:841


06/29/2021 7:53 AM  
Hector,
Every homeowner is responsible for the people that they elected to represent the HOA and also manage the PMer.

Sorry that is the way it works. If an individual does anything blatantly wrong they may have some liability I would assume.
AugustinD


Posts:1585


06/29/2021 7:54 AM  
Posted By HectorR on 06/29/2021 7:42 AM

So if the PM hired unlicensed contractors and performed a job with no permits, they are not to hold responsible?
I find that hard to believe, why should the HOMEOWNERS pay for their negligence?
Since the homeowners won't elect a competent board, I do not find the lack of accountability of the PM hard to believe at all.

Justice happens in the movies. In the real world, it takes a ton of money and a year or more in the courts.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10461


06/29/2021 8:44 AM  
Bouncing ball. HOA ONLY funded by its owners for its owners. The PM is hired by the HOA to assist them in certain duties or tasks. If the HOA requires the PM to do the contractor hiring does not mean they pay for them. The HOA pays. That means EVERY member contributes
So if get a fine for violations it is not on the PM. It is on the HOA as a whole.

Former HOA President
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4175


06/29/2021 1:41 PM  
Posted By HectorR on 06/29/2021 7:42 AM
I understand totally that the safety of others is important. We are going to face hefty fines if the issues are not corrected by Sept.8th 2021. The PM should be held responsible, they are the ones who hired the electrician to work on the pools.
So if the PM hired unlicensed contractors and performed a job with no permits, they are not to hold responsible?
I find that hard to believe, why should the HOMEOWNERS pay for their negligence?





What everyone else said. I've also read your prior posts and it seems you want to blame the property manager for everything, forgetting that they work at the board's direction. It's true some are more competent than others, but the BOARD should be reviewing these contracts before signing them, and if the property manager is doing the hiring, they should be looking at whatever documents the property reviewed when doing its due diligence (e.g. checking if the contractors had the proper insurance and licenses).

And who elects or re-elects the board? Yup, the homeowners! You may feel the current bunch is incompetent and perhaps they are, but it appears your neighbors don't know or care, and so you have what you have. Sadly, some people are short-sighted and don't keep the boards in check because they're often doing the work no one else wants to, especially them.

Pay close attention to Augustin's suggestions - it's time you determine how long you want to stay in this community because it would appear that you're not going to get elected to the board, at least not yet. That's unfortunate because it sounds like you really care about the community. However, these people may need to fall on their behind before they wake up - maybe you'll decide you'll be there to pick up the pieces, as they will finally say you knew what you were talking about, or they'll continue to flounder. As for you, life's too short to spend on people who walk around with their eyes closed and ears shut, not wanting to see or hear bad news. If you love your home, you may feel it's worth fighting for - if so, it may be time to change tactics a bit if you want your neighbors to listen. On the other hand, it may be worth your physical and mental health to give this community to boot and move on.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4175


06/29/2021 1:44 PM  
On, and can you PLEASE post using paragraphs from now on? I know you want to get everything out, but sometimes as we write, the angrier we get and then wind up with a really long paragraph that's hard to read because you have to add commas and periods, and then break things out into smaller paragraphs to reflect one idea at a time.
MaxB4


Posts:1210


06/29/2021 1:51 PM  
Based on personal experience, the electrical shock most likely came from the electrical housing for the pool/spa light. The OP mentioned the pools were remodeled about a year ago, most likely re-plastered, in which case, the housing mechanism of the light is removed.

If this had been me, I would have went out an gotten an electrician specializing in commercial pools to fix the issue, without board approval. I would have emailed them the issue, but my contract authorizes such authority. If the job is over a certain amount I get board approval through an executive committee, less than a quorum of directors.

I currently have an issue with the Los Angeles County Health Department and their licensing department for HOA's and the swimming pool/spas they may operate. I took over management of a complex in 2017 and to this date am still trying to get a bill to keep the spas opens. I have contacted them 5 times to update mailing address and management contact info to no avail.

Their competence is astounding.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11421


06/29/2021 2:52 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 06/29/2021 1:41 PM
Posted By HectorR on 06/29/2021 7:42 AM
I understand totally that the safety of others is important. We are going to face hefty fines if the issues are not corrected by Sept.8th 2021. The PM should be held responsible, they are the ones who hired the electrician to work on the pools.
So if the PM hired unlicensed contractors and performed a job with no permits, they are not to hold responsible?
I find that hard to believe, why should the HOMEOWNERS pay for their negligence?





What everyone else said. I've also read your prior posts and it seems you want to blame the property manager for everything, forgetting that they work at the board's direction. It's true some are more competent than others, but the BOARD should be reviewing these contracts before signing them, and if the property manager is doing the hiring, they should be looking at whatever documents the property reviewed when doing its due diligence (e.g. checking if the contractors had the proper insurance and licenses).

And who elects or re-elects the board? Yup, the homeowners! You may feel the current bunch is incompetent and perhaps they are, but it appears your neighbors don't know or care, and so you have what you have. Sadly, some people are short-sighted and don't keep the boards in check because they're often doing the work no one else wants to, especially them.

Pay close attention to Augustin's suggestions - it's time you determine how long you want to stay in this community because it would appear that you're not going to get elected to the board, at least not yet. That's unfortunate because it sounds like you really care about the community. However, these people may need to fall on their behind before they wake up - maybe you'll decide you'll be there to pick up the pieces, as they will finally say you knew what you were talking about, or they'll continue to flounder. As for you, life's too short to spend on people who walk around with their eyes closed and ears shut, not wanting to see or hear bad news. If you love your home, you may feel it's worth fighting for - if so, it may be time to change tactics a bit if you want your neighbors to listen. On the other hand, it may be worth your physical and mental health to give this community to boot and move on.




Well said.
HectorR
(Florida)

Posts:70


07/01/2021 2:05 PM  
Thanks everyone for their inputs, In our governing documents there is a paragraph that reads as follows:

Any director may be removed from office at any given time without cause by the affirmative vote by the majority of the members present or by proxy a duly convened meeting of the association.

So I guess I will have to go and collect signatures from 2/3rds of the home owners and attempt to get on the board.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:841


07/01/2021 2:25 PM  
Hector,
Slow down what that wording means is from the Director position if the person hold one. They remain on the board until their term ends unless a recall is completed.

If it was that easy many board members would be Ex members.

They wording you are quoting seems a little light. The language I have seen in other Docs is much clear.
HectorR
(Florida)

Posts:70


07/01/2021 4:01 PM  
Thank you.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3614


07/03/2021 7:35 PM  

The reason for the closure was because a resident claimed to have gotten a small electrical shock from the metal handrail while exiting the pool.


Issues with pool lights and electricity can end in death. Id say they were lucky.


Whom ever called to state that they got a shock was not true and because the property manager spent thousands of dollars getting an electrical contractor to inspect the wiring, we may face an assessment. I was in disbelief with their answer, well guess what June 10th gets here and i see another notice from the county and this time is states that the pools are closed indefinitely.


I find it hard to believe someone would report getting a shock and it was untrue. Its likely true.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2393


07/04/2021 5:05 AM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 07/03/2021 7:35 PM

The reason for the closure was because a resident claimed to have gotten a small electrical shock from the metal handrail while exiting the pool.


Issues with pool lights and electricity can end in death. Id say they were lucky.


Whom ever called to state that they got a shock was not true and because the property manager spent thousands of dollars getting an electrical contractor to inspect the wiring, we may face an assessment. I was in disbelief with their answer, well guess what June 10th gets here and i see another notice from the county and this time is states that the pools are closed indefinitely.


I find it hard to believe someone would report getting a shock and it was untrue. Its likely true.



Even if the board was unsure about it, they have an obligation to investigate - and since it's unlikely that any of the board members is qualified to do the investigation themselves, that means calling in professionals. Ignoring the issue is inviting a whopper of a lawsuit, and just wait 'til you see the assessment increase if *that* happens - for legal fees and increased insurance costs, among other things.

Given recent news about the condo collapse in Surfside, I'm surprised any owner is still trying to nickel-and-dime this stuff when the board is doing the responsible thing.

HectorR
(Florida)

Posts:70


08/30/2021 8:25 PM  
As per Miami Dade Building inspectors, hazzardous issues were found and the Prop.Manager & BOD need to fix the problems before Sept.5th or face fines. This is what I was told by the Building inpectors on August 2nd 2021, the fines are $510.00 per pool and any other fees on top of the fine.
I emailed the BOD & Property manager twice asking when this will be corrected and instead of them responding to me, they had the HOA attorney send me a letter.
In the letter it states why the county shut down all the pools ( but I already knew that ) and it goes on by telling me that they are working to resolve the issues and that the county is not imposing fines.
He also stated that if I have any questions regarding the pools that I need to direct them to him, any communications to this matter will be ignored and have no legal effect.

Is he telling me that I can no longer ask the BOD & Property manager questions regarding the pools?
Can he do this? is this legal?

AugustinD


Posts:1585


08/31/2021 5:19 AM  
Posted By HectorR on 08/30/2021 8:25 PM
As per Miami Dade Building inspectors, hazzardous issues were found and the Prop.Manager & BOD need to fix the problems before Sept.5th or face fines. This is what I was told by the Building inpectors on August 2nd 2021, the fines are $510.00 per pool and any other fees on top of the fine.
I emailed the BOD & Property manager twice asking when this will be corrected and instead of them responding to me, they had the HOA attorney send me a letter.
In the letter it states why the county shut down all the pools ( but I already knew that ) and it goes on by telling me that they are working to resolve the issues and that the county is not imposing fines.
He also stated that if I have any questions regarding the pools that I need to direct them to him, any communications to this matter will be ignored and have no legal effect.

Is he telling me that I can no longer ask the BOD & Property manager questions regarding the pools?
Can he do this? is this legal?
This instruction from the attorney is legal. You do not have to follow this instruction but in my opinion, you should.

In my opinion you should take this as a warning that the HOA and BoD feel your communications about the pool to the BoD and Manager are either badgering, inappropriate and/or possibly harassing. Whether your communications about the pool are actually harassing is a separate question. If you continue to write the BoD and manager about the pool, the attorney will elevate his/her tone.
HectorR
(Florida)

Posts:70


08/31/2021 7:19 AM  
Can I write to the BOD with other concerns that are not related to the pools.
AugustinD


Posts:1585


08/31/2021 7:32 AM  
Posted By HectorR on 08/31/2021 7:19 AM
Can I write to the BOD with other concerns that are not related to the pools[?]

Posted By HectorR on 08/30/2021 8:25 PM

[The HOA attorney] also stated that if I have any questions regarding the pools that I need to direct them to him, any communications to this matter will be ignored and have no legal effect.
As long as the HOA attorney specified that you are to write him about only pools, I think you are fine writing the Board/manager about other, valid concerns, as long as you are polite and do not badger.

I believe this was not a trivial decision by the HOA attorney. Boards and managers are in general supposed to be responsive to member concerns and should not have to write the HOA attorney on every issue.

You could always contact the HOA attorney and check that it's okay with him if you write the Board and manager polite emails with other concerns. Keep in mind that, if you do so, there is the risk the HOA will try to charge you for the HOA attorney's time.

HectorR, I do not have all the facts here. Maybe you have a lousy board and a lousy HOA attorney. Either way and in general, I advise trying to write only one email or letter on a concern per every two months or so. f the board responds but not in a way you like, then I think you should not seek anymore answers from the Board. Instead, I think you need to consider hiring an attorney. I have seen people angry with their boards move to "bully and harass" mode. Trying to bully or harass to get one's way is counterproductive. I urge keeping communications sugary-sweet, emotion-free and 'just the facts.' Badgering (repeating the same concern over and over) will earn one a reputation that greatly hurts one's efforts.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4175


08/31/2021 7:33 AM  
You can do whatever you like, but the question is, will they listen? I have a feeling there's a lot of bad blood between you and the board and things have escalated to where the association attorney told you if you had questions about the pool, you'd have to contact him or her. I don't know how long this has gone on, but if you're not getting anywhere, it's time to stop and consider what you're doing and perhaps try another approach.

If things got heated, with both sides hurling cuss words at each other and screaming at the top of their voices, one way to start is to apologize for the behavior. Hopefully, they would do the same, but for now, this is about you and how you react.

Now, about these concerns - some things may be more important than others, so instead of saying this, that and the third are problems and YOU need to fix them RIGHT NOW, how about setting some priorities and discussing one or two? You might also want to look at the last few months of board minutes - maybe they are addressing the issues. That doesn't mean they will do it exactly the way you want in the time you want. You should also remember that board members have a lot to work on, and they have to set priorities as well. This isn't just about you, but the entire communityu.
ND
(PA)

Posts:631


08/31/2021 7:37 AM  
You can write to the BOD and/or MC all that you want. However, if you weren't aware of it previously, you should be now upon receiving correspondence from the HOA lawyer, that whatever or however you are corresponding is (as Augustin indicated) "either badgering, inappropriate and/or possibly harassing".

It's likely any other non-pool-related correspondence will be viewed in the same light.

Do what you will, but do so with thought, intent, purpose, and awareness that actions have consequences.

Maybe you can convince others to correspond with the Board/MC on matters that you agree with and support so that your input is indirectly making it to the Board/MC, but not directly from you. Maybe you can find other ways than direct correspondence with the Board/MC to get your points across, input out in the open, or issues addressed.
AugustinD


Posts:1585


08/31/2021 7:39 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 08/31/2021 7:32 AM
Boards and managers are in general supposed to be responsive to member concerns and should not have to write the HOA attorney on every issue.
Change the above to:

Boards and managers are in general supposed to be responsive to member concerns. A HOA member should not ordinarily be ordered (by the HOA attorney) to write the HOA attorney on every issue. The exceptions are maybe when a HOA member is blustering and threatening to sue on every issue or has a history of harassing the management and board.

If communications between a board and a HOA member are heating up to the point where the member has expressly threatened suit on a particular concern, it's not uncommon for a HOA attorney to instruct the member to write the HOA attorney, and not the board or manager, about the particular concern. This is appropriate. It's necessary for the protection of the board and HOA.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11421


08/31/2021 9:27 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 08/31/2021 7:39 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 08/31/2021 7:32 AM
Boards and managers are in general supposed to be responsive to member concerns and should not have to write the HOA attorney on every issue.
Change the above to:

Boards and managers are in general supposed to be responsive to member concerns. A HOA member should not ordinarily be ordered (by the HOA attorney) to write the HOA attorney on every issue. The exceptions are maybe when a HOA member is blustering and threatening to sue on every issue or has a history of harassing the management and board.

If communications between a board and a HOA member are heating up to the point where the member has expressly threatened suit on a particular concern, it's not uncommon for a HOA attorney to instruct the member to write the HOA attorney, and not the board or manager, about the particular concern. This is appropriate. It's necessary for the protection of the board and HOA.



Whenever we receive a Email threatening legal action, we reply based on your threat of legal action we will be turning this matter over to our attorney. We have yet to have one proceed. Most everyone has either apologized to the BOD or gone silent. Not one has ever sued.
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