Saturday, April 13, 2013

HOA Accountability Bill Stirs Debate at Capitol | The Texas Tribune

HOA Accountability Bill Stirs Debate at Capitol | The Texas Tribune:
"A bill aimed at making nonprofit homeowners associations more financially accountable and transparent pitted homeowner activists against people representing for-profit HOA contractors on Tuesday. House Bill 3803, by state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, would require homeowners associations, which have government-like powers to levy assessments and foreclose on homes, to better safeguard the money they collect for the common good of the neighborhood. And it would for the first time introduce state oversight of HOAs — an elusive goal of Texas homeowner activist groups. The legislation would allow the attorney general to investigate breaches of fiduciary responsibility by board members and levy penalties of up to $20,000 per violation. That would go up to $250,000 if the violation was intended to harm an elderly Texan."
Thanks to a kind correspondent in Texas who sent me the link to this story. It seems that money has become the root of many HOA and condo association problems, something that Tyler Berding has been saying for years now.  In addition to the inadequate reserves problem that Tyler has written about, there are all the conflicts over assessment collection, attorney fee-shifting and excessive fees, questionable charges by management companies, embezzlement, and people taking over associations to milk them.  During the real estate boom the slack was taken up by rising property values that made people feel flush with home equity and made sales easy.  These days, money is tight, property values are stagnant, home equity is a fond memory for many people, and everybody is more easily drawn into conflict.

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