Get 1 year of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Monday, October 18, 2021











HOATalk is a free service of Community123.com:

Easy to use website tools to help your board
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: Deleting compliance letters in lieu of dealing with them
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
HenryS6
(Arizona)

Posts:71


09/20/2021 6:42 AM  
No one on our board seems to take interest in dealing with compliance issues. When our PM does the property walk, she sends out letters and homeowners respond to her. Some are basic responses like we are dealing with the issue. Some are arguments. Some are extenuating circumstances. Some request hearings which is permitted per the CC&Rs. All should be read by the board and we need to help the PM respond to some of them. Especially the hearings and the extenuating circumstance requests.

However, no one on the board seems to have any interest in dealing with these. Thus, I've been directing the property manager to simply delete the compliance issue if it becomes an argument, because we don't have anyone who is willing to handle these from the board's perspective.

This is clearly a bad strategy, but what else should be done? My personal plate is full, and I have no interest in the compliance issues, so someone else will need to take this on. Any ideas on how to fire up the board and get someone to step up to the plate?
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:764


09/20/2021 7:05 AM  
I don't understand the problem. Close the issue with a statement as to why it's being closed and keep the record on file. Deleting it seems foolish. What is the big deal here?
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:275


09/20/2021 7:25 AM  
Why isn't the Board doing periodic walk arounds? The Board should be aware of how the HOA looks and also answer resident questions when walking around. Our property management rep does a walk around once per week. Our Board discusses what is seen during the site visits at each Board meetings. The position we take as a Board, is that we are responsible to the residents and the Property Management rep works for the Board, to help manage the Association.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4220


09/20/2021 7:32 AM  
Priorities, Henry, priorities. Nearly all of your posts suggest you and your board need to establish a few. Rules enforcement is part of what the board does, so to put it off because you and your colleagues don't have the stomach for it is unacceptable. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder why any of you are there because it seems no one wants to do any work. There's a little more to being an HOA board member than meeting once a month and deciding how to spend money - the sooner you and your colleagues come to terms with that, the better off you'll be.

Rules enforcement IS a pain in the ass and hardly anyone wants to do it, but you have some homeowners who've requested hearings or say they have extenuating circumstances and they deserve to be heard. The latter group may take a little less time - the board can review the letters and decide how much time they want to grant the homeowner, if any, to resolve the problem. I would consider (1) if this is their first offense (2) how long have been out of compliance and what they're being asked to do and (3) the nature of the extenuating circumstances and (4) if they've proposed a date as to when they promise to have the matter resolved. If you find the letters have several things in common, such as personal matters like job loss, have gotten in the way, you could provide the same solution to all of them.

For example, if everyone claims they need more time, why not propose they pay the Association (in advance) to resolve the problem for them, such as tearing down a dilapidated fence? The property manager can give you a price on what this would cost per homeowner and there would be no negotiation - either the homeowner accepts it and open up his/her wallet or they have until X day to get the work done. If it still doesn't happen, the board can take the next step. Put all of this in writing.

For the homeowners who want hearings, you can schedule a certain date and time and it doesn't have to be done in person - that's the good thing about conference calls or video conferences. To save time, give the homeowner X number of minutes to make his/her case, and encourage him/her to send the board supporting information in advance. Since they'd only have a limited time (say, 8-10 minutes, no more than 15), it's up to the homeowner to use it wisely - tell him or her they will be timed because the board will need time to ask their questions. Some hearings may go fast or slow, depending on the issue. The board doesn't have to make a decision right then - they can deliberate and then render a decision. You shouldn't take forever to do this and if you need more information, that should be stated at the hearing and the homeowner would have X days to get it to you, otherwise you'll make the decision based on the information at hand.

If you say no, you should send your decision in writing within a certain amount of time and summarize why you're saying no. You might also offer alternative dispute resolution where both sides agree to split the cost of an independent arbitrator and to comply with that decision. Whoever wins should be reimbursed his/her costs of the arbitrator's fee. If they refuse arbitration and would rather duke it out in court, turn the thing over to your association attorney - and perhaps countersue, requesting reimbursement of attorney's fees and court costs if you win.

At first, this will seem like a lot and it is, but as you do more of these, you'll see what works and doesn't work and can refine the processes. The main thing to remember is to be consistent, fair and not hesitate to drop the hammer if necessary. Some people think they can make excuses all day long and then cry to the media about the big bad unfeeling HOA coming after little ole them and it's a violation of their "freedums" or whatever. You can't run around being scared of that - document everything you do so you can present your side to the court, if necessary. The judge will have the last word anyway, so the best you can do is make your case. As you win these cases, the word will get out to the rest of the community that this is how rule enforcement is done.

Good luck!
AugustinD


Posts:1672


09/20/2021 8:00 AM  
Posted By HenryS6 on 09/20/2021 6:42 AM
However, no one on the board seems to have any interest in dealing with these. Thus, I've been directing the property manager to simply delete the compliance issue if it becomes an argument, because we don't have anyone who is willing to handle these from the board's perspective.

This is clearly a bad strategy, but what else should be done? My personal plate is full, and I have no interest in the compliance issues, so someone else will need to take this on. Any ideas on how to fire up the board and get someone to step up to the plate?
-- It appears the biggest problem by far is the Board is foregoing its duty to conduct hearings pursuant to statute and the covenants. This is likely to lead to covenants that are legally abandoned. The HOA's appearance in general may deteriorate.

-- Apart from hearings, the manager should be able to handle all other aspects of compliance. This includes detailed recordkeeping, particularly of communications; the timeline of these communications; and fining.

-- If this board is not willing to do its job, as clearly stated in Az statutes and the covenants, then directors must be asked to resign. If you are overloaded, then I think you should consider informing the community of the risks it is facing and that receivership is likely if no one steps up willing to do the work that the law and covenants require. If you google "receivership" and "HOA", then there are some choice paragraphs about the expense that you can quote back to owners and directors.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2464


09/20/2021 8:16 AM  
No, don't delete them - they're corporate records. Get a stamp with "CLOSED" or something on it, stamp the ones you decided not to pursue, and file 'em.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


09/20/2021 1:56 PM  
Posted By HenryS6 on 09/20/2021 6:42 AM
No one on our board seems to take interest in dealing with compliance issues. When our PM does the property walk, she sends out letters and homeowners respond to her. Some are basic responses like we are dealing with the issue. Some are arguments. Some are extenuating circumstances. Some request hearings which is permitted per the CC&Rs. All should be read by the board and we need to help the PM respond to some of them. Especially the hearings and the extenuating circumstance requests.

However, no one on the board seems to have any interest in dealing with these. Thus, I've been directing the property manager to simply delete the compliance issue if it becomes an argument, because we don't have anyone who is willing to handle these from the board's perspective.

This is clearly a bad strategy, but what else should be done? My personal plate is full, and I have no interest in the compliance issues, so someone else will need to take this on. Any ideas on how to fire up the board and get someone to step up to the plate?



Maybe a Compliance Committee to aid you in your so difficult burden.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2464


09/20/2021 2:28 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/20/2021 1:56 PM
... snip ...

Maybe a Compliance Committee to aid you in your so difficult burden.



We actually tried that (very briefly until we came to our senses). :-) Two problems: the committee attracted the Condo Commando types, and enforcement actions are supposed to be confidential in my community.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1425


09/20/2021 5:01 PM  
You do not want to delete anything, those letters are the HOA records. What we usually do is just notate our records are violation corrected.
ND
(PA)

Posts:631


09/21/2021 5:16 AM  
So another topic where you are overwhelmed and nobody else is willing to step up and help. This, like most other things, you need to get them to step up or get them to resign so you can nominate someone else who is willing to help (maybe one of those other folks who wanted to volunteer). And/or significasntly reduce the associated workload on yourself by making changes to existing processes.

Aside form that, here are some other thoughts:
1) Provide MC specific instruction on what, IAW the documents, you consider to be violations and what you do not consider to be violations. Lots of time there is room for interpretation in the documents. MC may interpret more strictly, but perhaps it's not an issue for you. Tell the PM to ignore certain things if they are being too picky.
2) Allow for violations to be quickly reviewed before MC starts mailing out letters. Perhaps MC didn't follow your guidance in 1) above and is considering things violations that you do not agree with. A quick review before letters go out gives opportunity to remove those from the "pile", and also remove the subsequent work that will ensue with owners arguing, requesting hearings, etc.
3) Have MC do fewer property walks. Fewer walks should mean fewer violation notices going out and less work for everyone.
4) In addition to 3) above, since the MC should have more time to devote to other HOA things, focus them on areas/jobs/activities where you do need help. Having the MC do less violation management and more of maybe vendor management should help you out.

Making the violation and associated correspondence simply "go away" when someone puts up a fight is a terrible strategy. That's like giving in to a whining child . . . teaches the child that all they need to do to get their way is whine.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11507


09/21/2021 12:33 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 09/20/2021 2:28 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 09/20/2021 1:56 PM
... snip ...

Maybe a Compliance Committee to aid you in your so difficult burden.



We actually tried that (very briefly until we came to our senses). :-) Two problems: the committee attracted the Condo Commando types, and enforcement actions are supposed to be confidential in my community.



My post was actually a "jab" at Henry and his dislike of Committees or anyone volunteering to help.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Deleting compliance letters in lieu of dealing with them



Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement