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Old 09-03-2008, 04:08 PM   #1
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HOA Advice

The communication has always been very poor with the HOA (Board of Directors). They either don't reply to emails, hang up on me, lay the F bomb on me etc. & give nasty/sarcastic answers (when they do reply). Fewer & fewer owners go to meetings. As usual, I had to ask 3 times for the Minutes for 2008 to date. Here are two different responses from two different Board members. How would you take it, would you reply, & if so what would you say?

First - I sent a memo to a lady who has a foreign first & last name. I inadvertently addressed her by her last name first. Her reply was - my name is SO and SO -- please don't forget it.

Next - memo from another Board member.
I made a few suggestions on how to cut costs re an upcoming 2nd whopping assessment. Re one of my suggestions, in writing, he said it was a "stupid" idea.

Would you reply, & if so, what would you say? TIA

ETA: Not long ago, I consulted with an attorney re several matters here. Pretty much, his advice was to get out, it would be very expensive to pursue anything legally, & he could not help me. I've gone to Schwartzenegger's site (Ca. HOA), read through as much as I could, but don't see anything re specific situations that would apply; or how to vote members off the Board etc. Several of the same people have been on the Board for years - off and on.

There's much more, but I'm so upset & shakey right now from the last several weeks of stress with the HOA, I'm about to cry.

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Old 09-03-2008, 04:57 PM   #2
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While it might make you feel good to respond, it would not change anything. Unless you are ready to move out then I would keep your mouth shut unfortunately.

If you are ready to move (have a placed lined up etc.) then i would inform the woman that it was an honest mistake and he lack of manners is disturbing. To the man I would tell him that there are no stupid ideas, just stupid people as is evident from his reply.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:05 PM   #3
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I would not stoop to their level....I would not respond!
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:11 PM   #4
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Ah, democracy in action. Amy, I understand what you are going through. 0i own a home, but, dealing with small town Govt. is very similar.

I agree w/GB in that responding will not do much other than single you out for scrutiny and more grief.

The only two options that I see are leave, which I believe that you indicated you were not prepared to do and replace the board.

I am not aware of the exact procedure where you are, but, the byLaws or whatever they are called for have to spell out term lengths and how to get on the ballot.

This should have been given to you at closing, however, the HOA must provide you with same upon request.
Be forewarned, you should be willing to sit on the board yourself. You will need to recruit others as well to do the same. To effect change, you will need to garner a majority.
You will need to form a group or committee, of sorts to didtribute information to all the residents.
It is a lot of work and it may take more than one election. You CAN do it. Yse the time and effort as a tool to vent anger.

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Old 09-03-2008, 05:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I would not stoop to their level....I would not respond!
I have to concur with Uncle Bob on this one, Amy. But, if you must act, find Chico Bullers thread entitiled "life imitates art"!!!
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:20 AM   #6
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We have powerful HOA's. Whether you like them or not, they are volunteers from your community. If you don't like what they are doing, get a group of like-minded homeowners and start attending meetings.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:09 AM   #7
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Thank you GB, Bob & Adillo. I agree, & so far I have not said anything. I have a bad feeling the other shoe is about to drop - on their behalf. Guess I will have to sit tight & wait to see what happens.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:36 AM   #8
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amy, just last weekend, I was listening to a guy who gives legal advice on the radio, and someone had a similar situation, in which their HOA was brutal. His advice - Join it and become one of the heads of the group. Otherwise, you'll never be heard and you'll eventually have to move.

PS - why didn't I know you lived in LA? For some reason I thought you were in SF
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:10 PM   #9
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You need to speak directly with your property's actual owner.
If the HOA won't give you the information as to who exactly owns your property, there is a way to find out. First try an internet search. If that doesn't work, go to the city hall records. That should help.
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:32 AM   #10
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*amy*, you are in a tough place. This is what I would do. If any of it is helpful, use it. If it's not, just throw it out. I have lots of dumb ideas. Just ask my friends.

Forget attorneys. You may have a good case, but there's little payback for them, so they don't want to deal with it.

Forget the HOA. Right now they hold all the cards and you will be labeled a troublemaker.

On the flip side, there are other homeowners certain to be dissatisfied. They don't want to get involved so nothing ever changes. Talk with a few people and ask them to talk with a few more. Even if there are 3 or 4 have a short meeting around the pool. Spread the word. Make a plan.

My only experience in this is unseating one board member. The majority of us , through grass roots efforts, appointed one man as proxy. He went to the board meeting and took another homeowner along. He nominated himself, the other homeowner seconded the motion, then he cast all the proxie votes for himself. It worked.

Good luck.
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:53 AM   #11
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Simplicity - What a cool idea. - AC
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:53 AM   #12
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The first thing to do is get hold of the documents that establish the HOA - bylaws or whatever - so you will know what the procedures are and so what your options are. Just having that information is empowering Then, if you decide to do something about it, finding other like-minded homeowners is the next step. Think of it in terms of the steps that need to be taken to accomplish a goal, and take them one at a time. Good luck.
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplicity View Post
...My only experience in this is unseating one board member. The majority of us , through grass roots efforts, appointed one man as proxy. He went to the board meeting and took another homeowner along. He nominated himself, the other homeowner seconded the motion, then he cast all the proxie votes for himself. It worked.

Good luck.
This is why you need to know what the bylaws say. The bylaws of the volunteer organization I'm part of prohibit proxy or absentee voting.
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:58 PM   #14
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We used to be able to vote by proxy. The nominations/votes are supposed to be secret, I requested this years ago. The votes are sent to our management co. I have read & reread the CC&Rs, & there is nothing related to unseating/voting off a Board member. I have read in Minutes that the Board voted a Board member off, because we fined her (duh) for violating the CC&Rs - & eventually sued her. Not clear on the details. I have to ask repeatedly to get election results. They posted them once in the common area, & never saw them posted again.

The other option of selling went through my head again. Unfortunately, there is one unit that is up for sale, similar to mine, that has been on the market for months. The realtor keeps dropping the price. (He's moved out. My guess is, he may be paying two mortgages.) If I listed mine now, I would have to list it lower than his... won't get market value. Trying to ride out this market - if & when it levels out. Hope his sells. There's an umpteenth Open House again this weekend.
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:08 PM   #15
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I thought I heard somewhere that if a homeowner requests minutes, the HOA is required to post them or send them via mail. But of course, I cannot remember where I heard/read this info....sorry!

I really like what simplicity said.
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:10 PM   #16
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We used to be able to vote by proxy. The nominations/votes are supposed to be secret, I requested this years ago. The votes are sent to our management co. I have read & reread the CC&Rs, & there is nothing related to unseating/voting off a Board member. I have read in Minutes that the Board voted a Board member off, because we fined her (duh) for violating the CC&Rs - & eventually sued her. Not clear on the details. I have to ask repeatedly to get election results. They posted them once in the common area, & never saw them posted again.

The other option of selling went through my head again. Unfortunately, there is one unit that is up for sale, similar to mine, that has been on the market for months. The realtor keeps dropping the price. (He's moved out. My guess is, he may be paying two mortgages.) If I listed mine now, I would have to list it lower than his... won't get market value. Trying to ride out this market - if & when it levels out. Hope his sells. There's an umpteenth Open House again this weekend.
Do the bylaws say anything about Robert's Rules of Order? Ours specify that the latest revision of RR are to be used when an issue isn't addressed in the bylaws.
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:31 PM   #17
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Do the bylaws say anything about Robert's Rules of Order? Ours specify that the latest revision of RR are to be used when an issue isn't addressed in the bylaws.
As I understand it RR of Order are about how to conduct a meeting - has nothing to do with individual CCR's etc. There is something I caught called Sterling's law - would have to read up more on that topic. The sect takes the Minutes, they just don't give them out until I request them 3 times. Guess I'm the only homeowner that is interested. In my old condo, every HO was given Minutes w/i 48 hours of a meeting. The people in charge here are renters, that are learning, feeling their way through as to how a Condominium operates or should operate. The "power" has, I am sure, gone to a few of their heads.

FWIW, don't make the mistake I did with this one. As I understood it, it was an apt complex. As each renter moved out, the units were sold as Condos. Most of the Board are renters that stayed on. I paid off their outstanding earthquake loan - with no disclosure, & a new roof, etc. They can never meet the budget, & once they learned the word assessment, they've been charging us for repeated assessments (for painted doors etc.). This new one will probably come in at a total of approx $20,000, while they diddle w painting doors & sending a plumber door to door. Mispent monies by idiots in charge. This is week two of repainting my front door. Meanwhile there's a hairline crack in my ceiling from the deck above (earthquake damage?), that they never address thru nine years of memos.

Thought of getting like-minded homeowners together, but some of the owners are off site (live in another state) and are renting their units. So, don't know if I'll get the homeowner or a homeowner's renter. The majority of the Board has always been, left over renters who put themselves in charge when the bldg went Condo.
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:33 PM   #18
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Calf. should have open meeting laws. I can't image they don't, you should be able to see anything other then personnel matters, at any reason business hour, maybe by appointment. If they refuse, or try to give you the royal runaround, they are in violation of state meeting laws. Calf. should have some type of HOA watch dog group, work through them. Go Luck, I know what you are feeling been there.
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:43 PM   #19
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Have you looked here?
California Condo & HOA Law

Amy, I hope you keep us updated on what happens. We're rooting for you.
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:56 PM   #20
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ugh, the house Nazis. You've received plenty of good advice here. Get on the board and make things change! or find someone at the state level who can run interference for you.

good luck.
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