Wouldn’t it be funny if those HOA covenants they held so dear basically ended up ruling against them in this case - as I would assume they would.
Sounds like they want to be protected by lese majeste law. What do they think they are? Monarchs? (answer: yes).
I will never, EVER own a house subject to an HOA. Too many horror stories.
X-Files S06E15 Arcadia is a good example.
Ugh. I was this close to setting up an informal message board for residents of my condo community. Due to the pandemic, the common rooms have been shut down since February. The association controls all communication, so there’s no way to reach everyone in a building aside from direct mail or sliding a note under every door.
They also control/filter contact with board members. I read a few months of past meeting minutes, and they are so vague it would be laughable in any other context. So, I could easily imagine online comments quickly becoming complaints - especially after yesterday, when they informed all residents of a special assessment due by the end of this year.
Sorry, this got wordier than I intended.
I worked briefly for a brilliant head of a multi agency / multi jurisdictional conservation entity which, because it prevented development and made moves especially to stop development from encroaching where it could (or already did) divide habitats, had many detractors. His approach to minutes (of public meetings incidentally) was pretty shrewd. No fluff. No conversations. No indication as to how individual board members felt or voted. Very simply, “Discussion about Item xxx. Public was heard on Item yyy. Agenda Item Z approved with the following modification.” Some would consider these vague but this is all that’s required of minutes.
Anything they voted to approve should be spelled out very clearly, have a reference to where the language is found, or include an attachment of the language. Otherwise you could call on them to fix the minutes. There should be a charter with duties of board members spelled out and that should include how to communicate with them. At minimum there should be a catch-all place to send a letter that is to go to all board members. In 2020 there’s no excuse for someone serving a community not to be reachable by email or web interface. And you want it that way so your concerns are documented (vs. a phone call).
I was on a public board myself (appointed by mayor and council) and as it has ventured into FB I have now stepped down after decades. One member keeps sharing posts including one that called for strategies to replace a City Council member in the next election… you just can’t do that on an advisory committee to that same City Council. But for this board you’re talking about, they can let people comment whatever they want to so long as it is clear that this is not considered a formal communication to that entity. To be “on the record,” come to a meeting, fill out a comment card (or zoom, I left before this all started)… or whatever else they have set up. What is the special assessment? This is what the board is doing for all the residents, or a task that each resident must do?
Ousted how? Ousted like a clown? Did I live here to amuse you and you’re no longer amused?
Yeah, we’re talking minutes where the x, y, and z from your example are missing. Haven’t found an agenda among the published documents, either. I saw multiple entries in the minutes that the board discussed “subject from previous meeting [noted month]” raised by “resident from a unit in building number [N]” and “decided not to take further action.” I looked back at the month that was noted and there was no detail about the subject there, either. So, if called upon to describe what any issue was and who raised it, I can’t imagine getting a straight answer. There was one note that they plan to create a picnic area - on land with very little open space, during a pandemic. Of course, that had no detail about where, when, how, or how much it would cost.
Not sure how anyone reached board members in the past, since I’m new to the complex. However, they launched a new portal with a ticket system and resident directory (just names, no contact info.). Board members are listed in the directory with their titles. Anything submitted through the portal goes through the management company, since they own it. I asked the management company if informal communications existed. They said no. I asked if an existing service could be used, and was told that had to be raised with the board. So, I submitted a question for their next meeting, asking how they communicated with residents in the past and if they would be willing to use a service (gave 3 examples) during the pandemic. In response, they said the board wouldn’t participate in informal communication, but I could use a service if I wanted to go ahead. The old, “you raise a problem now you own it” strategy. If I point out the minutes issue, they can’t make me the Board Secretary, right?
The assessment relates to work they’ve been doing on the facade. Repairs and cleaning have been going on all year. Their message states they took out two loans for the project and they don’t want a third. They don’t want to lose the contractor that has done the work on one building, and if they can’t commit to having them work on the other one, that firm will move on to other jobs. There is an increase in the cost of materials (approx. 30%) and contractors are more difficult to find due to the pandemic. They go on to mention that for some reason, work started on the newer building first, that there was “poor maintenance in the past” leading to “structural failures,” and “catastrophic events.” All of that supposedly puts the association at risk for lawsuits in the future.
Before moving here, in addition to a review the financials, I also checked for court records involving residents of the complex and the association. There were very few, and a single entry related to damage (from one unit’s plumbing problem). At this point, given my brief history of interactions with them, I’m digging in my heels. I want pictures, reports, or docket numbers for all of these disasters or they didn’t happen.
Not all HOAs are bad. Most are fine at best, or incompetent at worst. Most just want to keep the community running smoothly. They are volunteers and don’t get any compensation. Some people are unhappy busybodies and decide to play out their big power fantasies as HOA members, and those people are the worst.
I already have an HOA/HRA.
Its called the city council.
Not really knowing how HOA’s work or where there’s transparency vs. privacy, maybe they’re being discrete for the benefit of the resident? Like, it got fixed, no need to drag them into the minutes. They could separate this stuff by putting a firewall between board policy and management. A property manager has the conversation with the owner/resident. It only gets formally discussed in a board meeting if it has to be escalated. But HOA boards tend to involve themselves in every little thing.
you’re definitely in the danger zone.
I agree about the privacy issue, but without a description of the subject they discussed I’m not sure the actual resident involved would remember their participation in the meeting years from now. There’s no way to tell what issue was raised or what was discussed. If I look back next year at the minutes from the month my question was raised and can’t find the words “communication,” “formal,” “informal,” or “pandemic” anywhere, I’d have only my own notes to rely on for the details.
If I did commit to setting up a forum for the residents (and hiring a skywriter to let them know where to find it), the minutes would be among the first topics of discussion. I’d post a few polls asking residents to guess what subjects the minutes from a particular month were referencing. The last choice in every poll would be the same, “Can’t tell - not enough information.”
It’s like they’re telling you to set up a parallel universe where you do all the work they should be doing for outreach, get none of the credit or compensation for your time, and the board has zero accountability to this effort… It seems very difficult to walk that line where it won’t be perceived as a revolution by either the Board or the residents who want things to change.
HOA = Home Owner, Almost.
It depends on the HOA. I have one where I live. Basically, it is a subdivision where several lots couldn’t be built on because of zoning codes. The streets are also private. So for $180 per year, the HOA mows the common areas, and plow snow when it’s needed. The only rule that they have is that garbage cans and recycling bins can’t be visible from the street, except on collection day or the night before. Anyone who can’t fit them in their garage, just builds a small fence next to the garage or house to put their bins behind. Other than that, we have no problems and nobody bothers anyone.
Recently bought my first home, a condo that has an HOA. I would love for someone to tell me how to get something that doesn’t, because I couldn’t find anything decent for less than $450k in this market. Unless the answer is just, “make more money” or “lower your standards” or “move to the sticks,” in which case, yeah, no. I can make do with some busybodies.
You answered your own question. It looks like you chose busybodies. Living in Boston, when it was time to buy instead of rent (kiddos, equity, etc) I chose sticks (1/2 way to NH FFS). Sucks sometimes, but I’m not beholden to any HOA busybodies, don’t need to make more money, and to heck with standards if you’re already in the sticks. You should see my backyard! It ain’t pretty, but I don’t have a Camero up on cinderblocks yet.
X-Files S06E15 Arcadia is a good example.
This. SO MUCH THIS!
When I moved to NoVA, I got a townhouse - not much yard to deal with, hooray!
Then, I discovered exactly what HOA’s are ALL about. Sticking your nose into your neighbors’ bidness. I don’t vote in HOA elections. I don’t send proxies. I shut the door on any idiot stupid enough to ring my bell and ask for my support for their HOA run. I tell them, “I wish the HOA would just GO AWAY!”
That X-Files episode just makes me laugh every time I think of it!
The HOA works for you as a homeowner. They are responsible for how your monthly assessments are spent. They are responsible for upholding and amending the rules and bylaws. Seems like you should be talking at least a passing interest on what they are doing.