Get 1 year of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Wednesday, October 27, 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: Proxies and no communication
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
EdP2
(North Carolina)

Posts:5


10/10/2021 1:13 PM  
We have some property that most people use as vacation locations. There are only about 1/3 of the land owners who are there full time.

We had a takeover of our association a few years ago. They have taken away the rights of the owners that do not live there year-round. The new board has said they will be transparent about everything.

This board has changed the bylaws for all the changes that were made, and we don't even know what version they are using. We have no idea what is going on.

We have not had any communication with this board for the last two years. Covid excuses only go so far.

We were informed of the annual meeting just before the cutoff date. We understand this is acceptable by law, but very unfair. Then checking with a few other owners, we find out they never even received the notice.

When we asked about proxy votes and when we would receive them, we were told we would find out the new officers next week. This question was asked on Facebook, then the moderator turned off any more questions for that post. I guess we were fact checked! LOL

What recourse do we have in this matter?

We have asked for financial records, records of meetings and who the treasurer is, as this person resigned a year ago. We were totally ignored. We cannot even get a roster of the other owners in the subdivision.

What can we do? This is our money that we are paying to an association that cannot even tell us what they are sending our money on!
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2475


10/10/2021 2:37 PM  
Posted By EdP2 on 10/10/2021 1:13 PM
We have some property that most people use as vacation locations. There are only about 1/3 of the land owners who are there full time.

We had a takeover of our association a few years ago. They have taken away the rights of the owners that do not live there year-round. The new board has said they will be transparent about everything.

This board has changed the bylaws for all the changes that were made, and we don't even know what version they are using. We have no idea what is going on.

We have not had any communication with this board for the last two years. Covid excuses only go so far.

We were informed of the annual meeting just before the cutoff date. We understand this is acceptable by law, but very unfair. Then checking with a few other owners, we find out they never even received the notice.

When we asked about proxy votes and when we would receive them, we were told we would find out the new officers next week. This question was asked on Facebook, then the moderator turned off any more questions for that post. I guess we were fact checked! LOL

What recourse do we have in this matter?

We have asked for financial records, records of meetings and who the treasurer is, as this person resigned a year ago. We were totally ignored. We cannot even get a roster of the other owners in the subdivision.

What can we do? This is our money that we are paying to an association that cannot even tell us what they are sending our money on!



Gotta be lovin' all of that transparency, huh?

Here's what jumped out at me:

Homeowner rights are usually spelled out in the CC&Rs, aka Declaration, and not in the bylaws which describe how the association is to be run.

Amendments to CC&Rs require a homeowner vote. At a minimum, a majority (over 50%) must approve the changes - usually it requires a super-majority of 67% or 75%. These changes can't be made by the board. Based on the numbers you mentioned, you probably would not have had enough votes to amend your CC&Rs, assuming the non-residents would either have been opposed or would not have voted at all.

CC&Rs typically have to be recorded with the county in order to be in effect. You could check on your county recorder's website to see if there are new documents available. If the website doesn't have a search function, you may have to contact them directly. But these documents are public records, so you're entitled to see them.

Changes to how an election is run, the schedule for the annual meeting, and other governance things are in the bylaws. The board may or may not have been able to change these without a vote - I've seen it both ways in different states. Usually state law specifies the notice period for the annual election. (Are you in condos or in a single family HOA? It may make a difference.)

What you can do:

For any HOA/COA problem, your options will always be limited to either fixing things, living with them, or moving. Everyone will have a different idea of what's workable based on their individual circumstances.

Some concrete suggestions:

1. Write a letter to the association (via snail mail, certified return receipt requested) and list the records you want to see. You should cite the relevant state statutes about records homeowners are entitled to see. In some states HOAs/COAs are required to make the records available within a certain time period after the request has been received, which is why you want the signed receipt. Paper records also create an audit trail should one be necessary.

2. Lawyer up. This is the most expensive option. If your letter doesn't produce any results, then having an attorney write one for you may get some action. Usually, though, this option is more appropriate for serious wrongdoing. In addition, some states provide for things like mediation or dispute resolution for the less serious issues - this is definitely preferable to a full-on lawsuit.

3. If this still doesn't work, the next step in escalating is getting together with like-minded neighbors and get yourselves elected to the board. Time-consuming, hard work, and it may be harder to do with so many absentee owners.

Good luck.




KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8620


10/10/2021 5:28 PM  
Sorry for your troubles, Ed. Cathy's words look solid. I might add to #2, Have other annoyed owners chip in to pay for the Attorney's letter.
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/10/2021 6:19 PM  
If this were me, I would forget the attorney letter.

I would find a real estate office and work with them to get the addresses of all the owners in the complex and hit them where it hurts the most, their wallet. Stop paying assessments, every late one of you. Power is in the numbers.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17785


10/10/2021 6:23 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 10/10/2021 6:19 PM
If this were me, I would forget the attorney letter.

I would find a real estate office and work with them to get the addresses of all the owners in the complex and hit them where it hurts the most, their wallet. Stop paying assessments, every late one of you. Power is in the numbers.





There are consequences to not paying assessments.
Prior to considering not paying assessments, identify the consequences and see if you can live with them.

Typical consequences can include:

Loss of vote
Monetary late charges
legal fees (if turned over to an attorney for collection)
foreclosure (worst case if it goes for too long of a time)
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17785


10/10/2021 6:32 PM  
If your Association is incorporated (most are, but check to be sure) and the board has properly filed their annual report, you can find out who the officers are on the State corporation website.

For NC, see: https://www.sosnc.gov/search/index/csl


The HOA should be providing a list when asked. A work around to get a list of property owners, you may be able to do a property records search from your county or city website. Note: every county/city might not have this info available online. If this is the case, a visit to the county clerk should produce the same results.


MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/10/2021 6:39 PM  
Tim

You really think a court would go against banded together homeowners taking on a rogue board? Are there consequences, yes, but if what the poster stated is true, I would take that chance. Doing nothing means nobody cares.

I've been watching my share of HOA Hall of Shame on YouTube. Time to stand up and take on the bad ones, to preserves the ones that run honestly.

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17785


10/10/2021 7:12 PM  
I think that the court issue would be that they failed to pay assessments.

Why they failed is often ignored by the courts.


Best outcome might be:

1) members are ordered to pay back assessments
2) Board must make documents available for review
3) each side pays own attorney fees and court costs.


MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/10/2021 7:16 PM  
Figured that would be your response.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17785


10/11/2021 12:29 AM  
Always a fan of trust but verify.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


10/11/2021 6:08 AM  


Posted By TimB4 on 10/10/2021 7:12 PM
I think that the court issue would be that they failed to pay assessments.

Why they failed is often ignored by the courts.
This is what I observed personally with on sovereign citizen in a former HOA of mine. The HOA's attorney produced spot-on case law in winning a motion for summary judgment against the HOA owner.

Best outcome might be:

1) members are ordered to pay back assessments
2) Board must make documents available for review
3) each side pays own attorney fees and court costs.
I agree with this opinion.


1. Write a letter to the association (via snail mail, certified return receipt requested) and list the records you want to see. You should cite the relevant state statutes about records homeowners are entitled to see. In some states HOAs/COAs are required to make the records available within a certain time period after the request has been received, which is why you want the signed receipt. Paper records also create an audit trail should one be necessary.
In my experience, the above is the first step to take.

EdP2, is this a condominium or non-condominium? What year was this HOA/COA established?
MaxB4


Posts:1394


10/11/2021 8:11 AM  
My suggestion was to withhold dues, as a group, not as an individual.

People on this forum harp on owners having signed or agreed to the governing docs when they purchased. This applies to the same owners who later become board members. They also agreed to the contract and part of it was providing access to certain documents and records to owners upon proper request.

Trust and verify left the building a long time ago. Power is in numbers, not one individual.
EdP2
(North Carolina)

Posts:5


10/11/2021 8:59 AM  
Only a few absentee members may care. The issue is that the HOA has pushed "following" the laws and regs and black balls anyone who doesn't. But, they can go ahead and do what they want, then fall back on the regs and say they did it the right way.

We have sent contacted them with questions and they answer the ones they want to and ignore the rest.

We have no money. May we just start with a complaint. The question is who do we complain to? And I assume nothing will be done if we do.

The taking away of all rights of the absentee land owners is what they have been striving for now for a year and they have accomplished it. We have not idea what they are doing or where our money is being spent.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


10/11/2021 9:10 AM  
Posted By EdP2 on 10/11/2021 8:59 AM

We have no money. May we just start with a complaint. The question is who do we complain to?
If you used an attorney, the very first step the attorney would take is to send a letter citing the covenants and state statutes that say the HOA must provide certain records. Then the letter should request the records. Such a letter is called a demand letter. The courts expect such communications to happen before filing suit. The HOA's attorney will know that, if the HOA does not comply with the reasonable requests of the letter, then your group may take the HOA to court.

If you are incapable of looking up the statutes and reading what your covenants say about records requests, then google for any free legal clinics that your area's court system may offer.

If you list exactly what records you want, I can probably draft a letter that you can start with.
AugustinD


Posts:1695


10/11/2021 9:15 AM  
EdP2, please answer the question: Is this a condominium or a non-condominium? What year was it established?

The answers to these questions may determine which state statutes apply.
EdP2
(North Carolina)

Posts:5


10/11/2021 10:01 AM  
No they are not condos, this is bare land that we develop. It was established in 2000.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Proxies and no communication



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