When the board starts breaking its own rules, documents and stops following state laws it is time to hire an attorney. Nothing seems to get the attention of rogue board nothing more than a lawsuit.
The first thing you need to do is review your documents. Your Declaration should define the property, the common elements and your rights and obligations as an owner. They run with the land. Here is a section that is relevant to you: (7) the proportions or percentages and manner of sharing common expenses and owning common surplus, which for a residential condominium must be the same as the undivided shares in the common elements;..."
I would check to see how payments should be structured and compare it to how it is structured. If it is different than it is supposed to be, then present it by letter (certified) to your board. This will be the opportunity for them to address you without legal action. Give them a clear, reasonable deadline, like 30 days. If there is no response or an unsatisfactory response, your only recourse is to seek legal counsel. Look in your area and state for attorneys that specialize in condominiums, and take along your documents, budget, charges and any other material (correspondence, etc.) to that attorney. They can review and advise you. I understand how you feel about the state and what you percieve as a lack of help, but from the states' perspective and the condominium act in you state, it is mainly a private matter between an organization and a member. The state will only get involved at a certain point, and you need legal advice to know when and if they will get involved.
I also advise that you make sure to pay your fees and pay them on time. Any non-payment would not be looked upon favorably by any judge. You need to understand and make sure that you know what fees you are obligated to pay according to your documents.
Nothing new. Condo Association Laws are a complete failure in most states. Now you have to dig deep, hire your own attorney, etc. Once the lawsuit if filed, the Assn Directors insurance coverage will kick in. They may find the Board negligent themselves and start an action. States impose sometimes ridiculous regulations, then look the other way. What a crazy type of life, especially if you are retired.
"... they decide things by secret meetings ..." Unless your state legally specifies that all HOA meetings should be 'open meetings', your HOA Board has the right to meet in executive session with no other owners present.
"... bullies any condo residents who speaks up ..." Please provide specific, detailed examples.
"My state won't stand up for residents." Your HOA is a non-profit corporation who must conduct business to the letter of the laws for your state. Most states will not become involved in HOA business unless those laws are violated.
"For instance our fees are based on heated sq footage. Bigger units than mine are paying far less." If your fees were based on 'heated sq footage' then the larger units would pay more, do the math. Sounds like the assessments are the same per unit which would make the larger units pay less per square foot. Most HOA assessments are the same per unit. Assessments pay for the upkeep of the grounds and common areas. Do owners of units with greater square footage use the grounds or common areas more than the owners of units with smaller square footage? I think not. HOAs whose assessments are based on heated square footage do so because heating and cooling costs for each unit are paid for by the HOA.
"Whats really an eye opener is that sc doesn't care if we are being cheated." Based on the facts, or lack there of, that you have presented I find no justification to accuse your HOA of cheating its members.
The fact of the matter is that your article shows your general lack of knowledge of HOAs, the laws of your state, and the governing documents of your HOA. To improve your knowledge of HOAs I would recommend investing in some books, attend classes by CAI, HOA-USA, and others, watch YouTube videos, and more.
The situation you describe is similar to my own. The latest wrinkle is to be handed yet another bill for the repair of my neighbor's unit. No meeting, no budget, just the bill. i It is maddening. I have gone through all the choices available to me in a state which does not back up their condominium laws. Yes, everyone says to hire a lawyer and when I look into it, the costs could easily exceed $30,000. That would fall on me as the neighbors just look the other way. So my current thinking is to take the latest bill to the Small Claims Court and collect up to $5000. If I do that a couple of times, maybe the message will come across. Meantime, good luck and great sympathy to you. You are not alone.
sure, roque board members do this all the time, illusions of grandur - do as they say, not what they do, they act above all others. to bring them down, yes you might have to do this ur self - or try and get others paying members to assist- as it is said, the squeakee wheel get lubed-- you might just say this at a meeting, "I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore -- good luck
1) RYDF.. Read Your Documents First
2) Write, email, call on the phone , talk to your fellow association coowners and get together and take actions like communicating with the BOD. arranging for a dismissal of BOD members, electing BOD members who will enforce the rules.
I live in an HOA in Scottsdale, Arizona which does not inforce the CC&R's. The management company informed me that they look the other way for some neighbors. For example, a big black truck parked overnight in a driveway is against the CC&R's but our management company said it is ok for him to do this because he is too tired at nights to walk from our (private compound) RV/trucks lot to his unit, all of a short block! I live 2 blocks from the lot and I have to do it, as the Manager, Merlene, told me she would fine me! I told her this is discrimination! Lots of this goes on here, what would you suggest, superior court with damages, or small claims in local court of Scottsdale. I am para-legal/attorney pro-se, I can handle and filings fees only $85.00 plus cost of a process server, just wonder which court would be suggested. Thank you, Peggy J. D'Amato
I do not understand how some of these associations operate. We had a dead beat manger that did not run our 15 unit association as I wished it should have been. I took the bull by the horns, got a petition going and demanded a meeting (something we did not have for almost 3 years) and got to work with what was being done to our building and the badly needed repairs. I was not liked by the manager, but then again it was not a popularly contest. I did recruit 3 people to stand up for me and as it stood the manager said some really nasty words to me at our meeting and stormed out. If the shoe fits wear it.....LOL!
We then hired a management service and now 2.5 years later we now have money to do repairs with and a honest manager who goes out of her way to help us. We hold a yearly meeting with every 4 months the main board meets with her. Active email accounts to stay in touch in between meetings and a happy area very livable to be in.
Did I mentioned the old manager has since vacated, went bankrupt, went into forclosure and is no longer a a threat to our association. Makes you wonder why we had no money's and all along 3 people were very behind in their dues (years might I add). We now only have 1 person seriously behind and that person is next on our list.
People stop being afraid to step up. This is your investment and your looses. Stop it before it leads into years like us.
If I would have known this was going on when I moved here 7 years ago, I old not have waited so long to create some nois.
Step up and do your association a favor and might I add get on the board and fire those that aren 't doing their job.....best of luck you can do it.
I appreciate somone speaking up instead of telling me to re-read our by-laws & declarations. I did finally take matters in my own hands. The new Board had all the owners sign a petion preventing any legal action. saying I was IMPERSONATING THE PRESIDENT! Now that I have read your blog and people are starting to speak up against these owners who don't want rules period. I will try to get to PRO-SEC COURT. Just the threat of PRO-SEC COURT rattled one owner last year.
The proper term is 'pro se' and as per Wikipedia; "Pro se legal representation means advocating on one's own behalf before a court, rather than being represented by a lawyer."
Your comment of 2/14, 9:30 AM has several statements that I find troubling and incoherent:
1. "The new Board had all the owners sign a petion preventing any legal action"
2. "saying I was IMPERSONATING THE PRESIDENT!"
3. "people are starting to speak up against these owners who don't want rules period"
4. "Just the threat of PRO-SEC COURT rattled one owner last year."
While I have additional comments and suggestions regarding your situation, I will refrain except to say that you should consider local professional guidance in this matter.
Sounds like we are neighbors!
There is no such thing as a PRO-SEC court.
There is small claims court, county court, federal district, appeals and supreme courts, state district, appeals and supreme courts.
Linda Genco, your writing suggests some mental or substance abuse impairment, so it would be highly doubtful you could handle your legal options pro se.