Friday, June 07, 2013

Residents sue to maintain road - City & Region - The Buffalo News

Residents sue to maintain road - City & Region - The Buffalo News: SILVER CREEK – Residents on a stretch of Stewart Avenue in Hanford Bay are going to court to force the Town of Hanover to maintain that section of the road.

Robert Whalen, one of the residents, said the town has maintained the roadway for more than 50 years, and he and 10 other residents are asking that the town continue the practice. Whalen said the group of residents filed a suit against the town, a case that will be heard July1 in State Supreme Court.
Another dispute over who pays for costly road infrastructure maintenance: the local government via property taxes or the HOA via HOA assessments. Either way, the property owners are going to pay since they fund both sources.

8 on Your Side: Residents Upset About Faulty Gate - 8 News NOW

8 on Your Side: Residents Upset About Faulty Gate - 8 News NOW: "You keep hitting the button, and you think, ‘Did I forget my code?'" she said. "You finally just sit there and say, ‘Well, let's try this again,' and after several attempts, it finally worked."

Despite numerous complaints by her and other residents to their homeowners association, the gate was never fixed.

"He told me they needed a new box, and no one wants to fork out the money for the box," she said.

Frustrated, Kudo contacted 8 on Your Side.
Your HOA assessment dollars (not) at work. When the citizens of Privatopia don't get help from their HOA, they turn to TV news call for action lines.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Mesa HOA out of control? Homeowners accuse board of misspending funds

Mesa HOA out of control? Homeowners accuse board of misspending funds
And when they starting asking questions about this, they discovered some interesting expenditures:

“I mean, they bought laundry detergent and almonds and vodka and baby wipes and, just about every time, they bought air fresheners!” Daurio said.
All of these purchases were reimbursed – with HOA money – to board President Michael Cassady. And Daurio said she could find none of these items were used by the HOA for the benefit of the condominiums.
“We found out that the president turned in receipts for items that he purchased in New Jersey!” Daurio said.
That’s not to mention the restaurant receipts.
Daurio and her fellow homeowners listed out the restaurant expenses. “Old Chicago’s for $79, P.F. Chang’s for $100, On the Border, $85, O’Sullivan’s, $73, Old Chicago’s $116,” she read from the list.
Records obtained by the homeowners show Cassady was reimbursed for these and other meals with HOA funds and listed many meals as “HOA meetings” on invoices.
“One of the biggest things was we saw $640 to the Salt Cellar for the annual meeting, and there’s three board members,” Daurio said.
One receipt Daurio found even included $121 for alcohol.

No CID mandate provision passes

Behold Arizona HB2518:

"The legislation prohibits cities and counties from requiring home builders to establish “planned communities'' as a condition of getting the requisite permits and zoning for a new development. Instead, that would be an option decided solely by the developer."

Nancy Marquez: Condo president gambles away community's money, police say - South Florida

Nancy Marquez: Condo president gambles away community's money, police say - South Florida

"Luck finally ran out for a Pembroke Pines condo association president accused of gambling away the community's maintenance money at a casino. Nancy Marquez, 58, was arrested on charges she stole $148,012 from the French Villas condominium association, Pembroke Pines police said."

The isolated instances are piling up around here.  Is there any need for more oversight of condo/HOA finances?  Not in the eyes of the industry, it seems.  Or should we just paraphrase the last line of the movie Chinatown?  "Forget it, Jake. It's Florida."

Town mails discarded dog poop back to errant pet owners | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News

Town mails discarded dog poop back to errant pet owners | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News: Well, a small town in Spain, reports the Telegraph, has decided to remedy the situation by mailing the discarded dog excrement back to the offending owners.

The paper reports that the town council of Brunete, located about 20 miles from Madrid, has undertaken a complex effort to crack down on the disrespectful dog owners. Twenty volunteers have been enlisted to approach dog owners who leave their pet’s poop behind, and to strike up a conversation with the goal of finding out the name of the dog.

"With the name of the dog and the breed it was possible to identify the owner from the registered pet database held in the town hall," a spokesman from the council told the Telegraph.

Once the owner’s address was confirmed, the dog poop is scooped up, placed in a box containing the town hall’s insignia and delivered via courier to the owner’s home. And to top it all off, the box is labeled, “Lost Property.”
Will HOAs create pet registries in order to replicate this amusing solution to a smelly problem?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Mesa HOA out of control? Homeowners accuse board of misspending funds

Mesa HOA out of control? Homeowners accuse board of misspending funds: MESA, AZ - A routine Homeowner’s Association meeting at Superstition Lakes Condominiums in Mesa turned ugly recently.

One of the homeowners, Kathleen Daurio, said her phone was hit out of her hand and her face was brushed with papers by another homeowner just after the meeting.

“I was frightened,” she said. “They had kept my husband out of the meeting and I had no idea what was going to come next.”
Trouble in Privatopia -- film at ABC Channel 15 Taking Action.

Some years ago, there was a civil case wherein someone brushed with papers at an HOA meeting alleged it amounted to assault and battery.  Seriously.  Keep those papers to yourself.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

HOA Documents: Are They Worth the Money? | Fox Business

HOA Documents: Are They Worth the Money? | Fox Business: Reviewing all those documents takes significant time, energy and effort. You probably should get your lawyer and accountant involved in this review, too. Critical information can be found in the pages, and if you don’t review them, you may miss an issue that will cause you significant financial pain down the road.

In fact, many smart buyers won’t even consider properties in HOA-governed communities.

So before you spend money on the documents, ask yourself: Am I willing to put in the time necessary for due diligence?
For most homebuyers, probably not.  Homebuyers concentrate on (and fall in love with) the home's feel and features and aren't inclined to want to deal with another layer of legalities.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Report: Bieber’s Neighbors Withhold Dues in Protest | KTLA 5

Report: Bieber’s Neighbors Withhold Dues in Protest | KTLA 5: CALABASAS, Calif. (KTLA) — Pop star Justin Bieber’s Calabasas neighbors were reportedly fed up with his behavior and were banding together to do something about it.

A group of residents in Bieber’s gated community, “The Oaks,” planned to withhold their monthly homeowners association dues until something was done, according to TMZ.
Then when the protesters' homes are foreclosed by the HOA, Bieber will buy the properties and get more voting power in the HOA.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

State bill aims to resolve confusion over unaccepted roads - Brookline, Massachusetts - Brookline TAB

State bill aims to resolve confusion over unaccepted roads - Brookline, Massachusetts - Brookline TAB
: Turner said many private developments include agreements, or covenants, by which residents agree to abide when they buy homes. These agreements often require fees for maintenance of private streets, he said, but many covenants expire after 30 years – and along with them, the responsibility to pay road fees.

Turner said his bill would spell out that responsibility to pay for maintenance remains with property owners as long as a road remains private, regardless of a covenant’s expiration.

This would put down in law a precedent from a Massachusetts Appeals Court ruling in a 2003 case in Sandwich, Samuel v. Scorton Shores Association, Turner said. The lawmaker, who represented the homeowners association in the case, said the court found the requirement to maintain a private road lies with the landowner.

In cases where there was no covenant, Turner’s bill lays out a process by which property owners could set up an association to collect fees to maintain the road.
This is public policy favoring the privatization of local government in formation.  You benefit from the road, you pay for its upkeep with a non tax deductible fee on top of your property tax bill.
From the Maryland Homeowners' Association comes some good news. I testified before the Judicial Proceedings Committee of the Maryland State Senate in support of the attorney fee limitations and it is refreshing to see a legislature taking a serious interest in protecting home owners.


A new bill limiting foreclosures and attorney fees passed the Senate 46-0 (SB 161) and the House 134-4 (HB 286) and has been signed by the Governor. The law will be effective October 1, 2013.

Basically, HB 286 and SB 161 are identical consumer protection bills whose purpose is to:

1. Stop the financial abuse of Maryland HOA and condo owners when attorneys advise boards to run up legal fees over trivial matters and then pass those fees onto targeted HOA and condo owners.

2. Prohibit foreclosure on any property based merely on fines and/or legal fees.

The new law is a partial response to recent association scandals, such as a Maryland condominium association that ran up attorney fees of $200,000 to fight a condo owner's lawsuit involving $225 or the homeowner who was asked to pay $50,000 in attorney fees and fines for not getting proper approval for a new driveway that others in the community already had in place. 
MHA thanks and applauds Senator Anthony Muse, district 26, Prince Georges County for his work in chairing the Conference Committee and for co-sponsoring SB 161 and Senator Delores Kelley, District 10, Baltimore County, for sponsoring SB 161.
According to this new law, only "reasonable costs and attorney's fees directly related to the filing of the lien and not exceeding the amount of the delinquent assessments may be the subject of a lien.” For example, if $1000 of assessments is owed, the lien can only ask for $1000 in reasonable legal fees. Other HOA/Condo stipulations of collecting money owed would still be available to a governing body. 
MHA’s thanks also go to Delegates Doyle L. Niemann, District 47, Prince Georges County; Pamela Beidle, District 32, Anne Arundel County; Cheryl D. Glenn, District 45 and Stephen W. Lafferty, District 42, Baltimore County, for sponsoring HB 286.