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How does HOA owner question fraudulent management and board?

Posted on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 @ 07:56 AM
I suspect our property management company and/or the HOA of fraud. When I've questioned the board about certain expenditures I get blank stares. I've run for the board and then they changed the members required from 5 to 3. Any suggestions? How should I proceed? Money is being mismanaged and residents are being overcharged. We are in South Carolina.

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Why do you think your HOA/Management company is acting fraudulently? Do you have any examples? 

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:42 AM by Victor

Make a formal request in writing to review the condo complex expenses. They are more than happy to provide them during reasonable working hours. You may request specifically the budget, and compare budgeted items to actual item cost. Take your time, you should plan on reviewing the budget prior to your appointment, if you already have a copy. 
Ask what accounting method they use. 
Ask when the last time the association was audited or reviewed by an accountant. 
They can not disclose personal information, but can tell you the number of deliquent accounts they are managing, the number of known foreclosures, and current reserve balance in the association account. 
Best wishes 

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:42 AM by realist

You need to request by certified mail the documents you feel aere in question. If the board refuses to provide these after a certain time period most likely you are going to need a lawyer. Also, there most likely will be a need of a forensic accountant who is specifically trained inm such cases

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:49 AM by Marv Bachman

Along these lines, you should be asking why your association is using current vendors. We find many management companies are very complacent, and are way over paying for vendors products and services, at your expense I might ad. A good vendor is competitive, and has good service that will benefit your association. I think you should challenge your management company on why you are using certain vendors. In our case, with our local service, we can easily justify our pricing and level of service. Another consideration is how many accounts does your vendor service in your area that are similar to your facility. Good vendors will dominate, or have a considerable number of accounts in your area. Why? Because they specialize in this type of products/services. To dominate, they must have a certain level of service, be excellent at what they do, yet have competitive pricing to be a prominent player in your market.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:51 AM by Bill Soukup

Be forewarned Forensic accounts are extremely expensive!  
If your going to attempt this action you better be prepared for a long drawn out battle. I went though it and it took a few years to learn most of the truth.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:53 AM by Victor

Unfortunately, the process is a written request, which they can ignore, and then you have to get an attorney. Yes, it will cost you money to find out they are mismanaging your money. Sounds a lot like government doesn't it? Board elections are more important than most homeowners realize, just like our government at all levels, when you give someone control of your money (and the ability to 'tax' you), you give up control over those areas. Be careful for whom you vote and make sure your neighbors understand just how important the Board elections are. Electing someone just because they are the only ones willing to serve without questioning their qualifications will open you up for the possibility of corruption and power struggles. Good luck!  
Just know that you are not alone. A good friend said to me not long ago, just separate yourself from the infighting, and make your voice heard at Board meetings. You can put something on the agenda as new business, and they cannot refuse you! If you ask before the meeting and it's not on the agenda, don't let them bully you into thinking you cannot bring it up. Roberts Rules of Order allow for 'new business' to be added at the meeting, especially if you asked ahead of time and they didn't do it. Do all by certified mail along with your dues for that month to ensure they open the envelope.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:57 AM by Linda

How did they change the board members from 5 to 3 exactly? Isn't this in your documents about how many officers there are? President, vice president, secretary and treasurer are valid roles.  
3 people making all the decisions sounds like too few unless you hoa only has a dozen or so members. 
In any case, You need to know that you could be right and they will roll over you. The object of the game here is to get you to spend thousands on attorneys to get something you want done. 
Calculate how much this thing is worth first. 10k in attorney fees is easy to rack up. 
I did my own work with the help of some others and it was still like pulling teeth to get things righted. 
Be prepared. You need to understand that until you have written a letter to the board with your complaint , you have done nothing. Next, is your demand letter, stating what you want and why you think you are right . Then, you can take them to court after they respond or do not respond within (usually 3 business weeks), give them a month , then file a law suit. They'll start moving then. 
Be warned, If you've done anything that they can "get you for", watch out. There will be retaliation. 
Nothing makes things move like a law suit though. I hope that you don't live in area where it cost 200.00 just to file.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 10:42 AM by mike

The property mgmt company has to provide a copy of their "independent" audit to you.If they refuse, go to a board member, they should have a copy as well.Neither are going to do this very pleasantly, but, it is your right. 
In addition, pull up the prpty mgmt on BBB. If negative, add your complaint to the BBB list. All the aforementioned can be done without any legal fees involved. Check and re-check your condo bylaws re:board members decrease.Hope this helps.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 12:16 PM by Mwillette

We have a similar situation with a bank controlled board and the management company this board picked. Make appointments every month to go to the management company and look at the associations records. This is your legal right. You also entitled to purchase copies from the records. Use information you have obtained from looking at the records to write reports and give them out at board meetings. Request it be noted in the minutes that you pointed these things out and ask to have your report attached to the minutes. 
We are also writing a letter to the editor of our local paper pointing out some facts. In our case the homeowners were tricked into buying into a condo-hotel by a developer who did give proper documents. Now we are forced by the management company of this hotel to pay $62.50 a month toward costs of the hotel’s l pool, much of it which goes to Management Company for their staff time.  

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 12:47 PM by Judy Gordon

I believe that our condo board and management are up to something. This is because they will not let anyone see more than the minutes,(only what they want to report in them) the budget, and contracts from outside contractors. The secretary's husband is the maintenance man for my cmplex. They will not let anyone see what he is paid. We never have enough money for repairs. He does only patch work not repairs, then it needs to be patched again. For all the advice on this blog, the only thing most co-owners can do is see an attorney. Most states have rules that the board must follow but do not enforce the rules. I am from Michigan.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 12:50 PM by l

I can give you a better answer if you tell me how many condos are in your association?

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 12:56 PM by Victor

We have 132 units.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 1:41 PM by l

Have you talked with other unit owners about issues in the community?  

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 1:53 PM by Victor

Read statute 718. There is a process to contact the Florida State Ombudsman regarding issues such as fraud or when the owner does not feel s/he is being heard or a probem is not eing addressed by the developer or the association.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 2:48 PM by Leo V. Sciarappa

Blank stares and no real answers. Theyll play possum hoping youll go away. 
You have a right to see any corporate document and even the financials if it is a non profit corporation. 
You really need some people behind you. Going at it alone makes you look like an angry member with a grudge. 
It will probably be hard to tell what is going on even with the records. Even if you find that the maintenance man is getting paid $1000.00 a week, if the board decided to pay him that much, it is perfectly legal. You would be able to show this to the neighbors and get people upset though.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 2:55 PM by mike

We have about 6 or 8 people interested. But most of the home owners are very elderly widows. So they are scared of the boared. With what one older women told me I can understand why. She was bullied into paying for her own repairs.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:34 PM by l

What city in South Carolina do you live in? I live in NJ but have family in SC.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 4:06 PM by Victor

I am from Michigan.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 4:21 PM by l

First,the Board and Management company will not thank you for pointing out their errors.Be prepared for retaliation..having said that,it is worth all the effort. One thing I have felt is very effective to start is good communication with the fellow owners.Get everyones emails,go door to door and meet neighbors.Gather a core group and understand that most people are not leaders, but they will sign petitions and they will vote. Besides being able to review financials ,you can get copies of the financials(including itemized bills) by putting the request in writing and by paying reasonable copying fees.If they don't give you copies contact the state comptroller.Having copies are helpful, because to most of us these papers are confusing.It helps to have an accountant look thru them-see if you have a neighbor in the HOA who can do this.(After tax season!)(But for us, an economist and a sales rep were able to connect the dots in our condo financial mess. )As for the blank stares,I started recording the Board meetings.The Board and property manager had intimidated so many people that usually only 3 members of the community showed up.I did a summation of the meeting and put the boards words in quotes and this went out to the owner email list .Another resident started a facebook page for our condo.Both were Clearly labeled as not coming from the Board.Both were factual only.With this information in hand we were able to vote in New Board Member and then a new property manager. It is the beginning of a long process but community members are involved again and every bill is being looked at.

posted @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 6:17 PM by L

As a relevant matter to ALL! All, on computer, if state applicable, can got to website of your state to the, (in my case,) NH Secretary of State and look up Property mgmt's status by name of property management company, at no charge. It will tell you if "Good Standing" or not as well as can pull up some very interesting background info. As a 'head's up' before confronting the board or property magmt company, I've found it helpful to research, get your ammunition, then only ask questions that you already know the answers for before presenting to the board/prpty co. "It" shows them that you are someone NOT to be bullied! (As a sidebar, a few years back, I reported "them" to the State Fire Marshall with lack of "means of egress" in each building, 'fire code violation' and BOY, did "they" jump! The Fire Marshall, locally, sent "them",(cc'ed to me) a letter to remedy the problem ASAP! It worked! Sometimes, you just have to skip the board/prpty mgmt and go to the state or any agencies, even BBB to get results done "they" never imagined you, as an owner, could do! And most of the time, "they" 
will never know who complained so no retaliation towards you. 
Hope this helps.

posted @ Thursday, January 27, 2011 4:45 AM by Mwillette

My nonprofit corporation can guide anyone to study to become a certified condo association manager. At least one state recognize the certification based on state law (Business and Professions Code). 
That code section is more or less adopted from corporations code which corporation's code is very similar from state to state. 
Any interest in a 30 hours' class work (more hours for home work) training for certification ? Let me know. 

posted @ Saturday, March 05, 2011 9:14 PM by BETP Inc

More from BETP Inc.: 
One can see the training outline for certified condo manager by clicking the BETP inc. signature, and further choose click message nos. 31 and 51. 
The training program includes forensic accounting. 
The total time for training is about 30 hours of class work. 
It is free. But donations are welcome.

posted @ Saturday, March 05, 2011 11:48 PM by BETP Inc

We have BOD's that thinks they can do what ever they want. Is it legal for them to buy land with HOA money without a vote from our community? Is it also legal to pay for irragation and electric on land that we do not own?

posted @ Monday, January 23, 2012 7:40 PM by In A Bad HOA

Our condo has a very questionable management company that was given carte blanche by previous board. We have much difficulty with the present board who simply seem to enjoy being difficult. What is the procedure for getting rid of a vendor brought on by this management company. We have asked for a contract and there is none. The management company is trying to scare us by telling us that there has to be a board vote to change. Can the president and V-Pres. make a decision to employ a new vendor? Also, where can we read up to be informed on management companies firing them and vendors who are taking exhorbatant amounts of money on a regular basis. We accepted these board positions and now we are totally stranded by trouble makers in our complex who just want to be heard and are of no help. This past week we informed the management company that we did not want a new vendor they chose over one who has serviced us extremely well over the years. They are putting up a big fight, calling our old company and are now telling us that the vendor can only be fired by vote. That is not mentioned anywhere in the by-laws. We would appreciate any assistance.

posted @ Thursday, February 16, 2012 4:29 AM by MARIE

Tell me about it!! 
We've researched the law, followed all the protocols, req. documents - only to be denied- faced with "constructive obstruction"- believe we're in the middle of a civil conspiracy... held hostage by the property mgmt and a few rogue board members who comply with NONE of the bylaws or open mtg laws.  
Check us out at: (Towns at Remington)

posted @ Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:50 AM by Rose-Scott

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