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Old 11-18-2016, 11:45 AM
 
4 posts, read 4,668 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi,

I am looking for recommendations for an attorney to sue an HOA management company.

Long story short, we own a rental house in a Charlotte subdivision with an HOA. We used to live in the house, but a few years ago my husband's job transferred him so we turned our house into a rental. We have never had any issues with the HOA before this.

Last year our HOA sent all the homeowners a letter saying that they were now using an HOA management company and that basically everything (all dues and communications) were going through the management company now. Last winter we received a letter from the HOA management company that our house had an area that needed to be painted. We knew that and had already planned on having new windows, siding and paint done in the spring when it wasn't raining. We emailed the HOA management company back to get an extension. We explained that we were planning on painting, but because we were installing windows and siding too, that windows needed to be done first, then siding, then paint. We were in constant contact through email (there is an email trail for all of our communication) with the HOA management company giving them updates every few weeks. By the time our extension was up (our extension was 30 days) only the windows had been installed because the weather had been so rainy off and on and we needed multiple days of sunny weather for all the siding to be taken off the house, new siding put on and the whole house painted. During this whole time we were in constant contact with the HOA management company letting them know what was going on and making sure everything was okay with our HOA board about our progress. We always received answers like from the HOA management company like "If the HOA board has any issues we will let you know" etc (again we have proof of all of this in email) Anyways, all the work on the house got finished and we thought everything was fine.

About a month later we get a letter from our HOA board fining us thousands of dollars! Apparently the HOA management company never communicated ANYTHING to our HOA board about our communication with them and what had been going on. The only thing our HOA board knew was that they had requested a letter be sent out last winter and never heard anything back from us. The HOA management company had communicated NOTHING to them! We emailed the HOA board directly explaining the situation and attaching the email communication with the HOA management company. About a month later we received a letter back reducing our fine by a few thousand dollars, but still fining us and stating the dates that they were fining us for even though those dates were during the time the HOA management company said there were no issues. So now we have to pay a big fine or our house will have a lien filed against it and could go into foreclosure. I have a feeling the HOA management company realized how bad they screwed up and tried to CYA and make us look like the bad guy and that it was our fault.

This whole situation has caused my husband and I enormous stress and anxiety. The HOA management company needs to be held accountable for what they have done to us.
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:53 PM
 
5,048 posts, read 9,616,978 times
Reputation: 4181
Wow.

Have you talked with your neighbors there to see if this happened to anyone else? See if anyone else is working on a house.

You could get a class action suit going. There is strength in numbers. When you find an attorney, it may be that a single letter from him to the board and mgt company will end the board and mgt company's ridiculous behavior.

Media likes a story once it goes to lawsuit. Makes it official and more reportable. Do you have a consumer advocate in the media there? A "Channel 8 on your side" version. You'd think there would be an advocate in your area. Families lined up in front of one of the homes could make a good picture. In fact, take such a picture now before the weather changes.

Some people may be so scared they'll pay. But that should not happen.

Love that you have an email trail. REmember even if you speak by phone, to reconfirm everything by email.

Looking forward to keeping track of this topic.

All the best.
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Old 11-18-2016, 02:21 PM
 
4 posts, read 4,668 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by cully View Post
Wow.

Have you talked with your neighbors there to see if this happened to anyone else? See if anyone else is working on a house.

You could get a class action suit going. There is strength in numbers. When you find an attorney, it may be that a single letter from him to the board and mgt company will end the board and mgt company's ridiculous behavior.

Media likes a story once it goes to lawsuit. Makes it official and more reportable. Do you have a consumer advocate in the media there? A "Channel 8 on your side" version. You'd think there would be an advocate in your area. Families lined up in front of one of the homes could make a good picture. In fact, take such a picture now before the weather changes.

Some people may be so scared they'll pay. But that should not happen.

Love that you have an email trail. REmember even if you speak by phone, to reconfirm everything by email.

Looking forward to keeping track of this topic.

All the best.

No, we haven't talked to neighbors because we don't live in the house anymore. We rent it out. Unfortunately we couldn't show up at a board meeting and explain what was going on because we live many states away. Funnily enough I looked up the HOA management company on Yelp and someone reviewed the company and their situation was almost identical to mine.

We have a property manager and both him and the contractor who we hired to do the windows, siding etc said there were homes in need of more work than ours in the neighborhood. One of the ways we found out there had been no communication to the HOA board from the management company is a couple people in our neighborhood hired our contractor after they saw his work on our house (he put a sign in the yard when he was working) and he was told the board thought we had ignored them for six months and that is why we received a huge fine. I don't really hold our HOA board responsible. I don't think they really did anything wrong. It was the property management company who dropped the ball. The only thing about our house that members of the HOA really don't like is that we turned it into a rental. We have always had great long term renters in there that keep the house looking really nice.

It's also frustrating because we have put a lot of money into the house. Within the past two years alone it has gotten a new HVAC system, new circuit board for the stove, new roof, new windows, new siding and new paint.
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Old 11-18-2016, 05:30 PM
 
5,048 posts, read 9,616,978 times
Reputation: 4181
Actually, it is the board's fault as far as hiring this mgt company. Accident, mistake or not, they need to take responsibility for the lack of their choice in their hire. You and other residents trusted the board to hire someone who would not damage you. Of course, you want to sue both. And see how it shakes out.
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Old 11-18-2016, 07:32 PM
 
847 posts, read 1,351,390 times
Reputation: 762
Have you even bothered to call and talk to the HOA board members? That seems the most logical thing to do.
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Old 11-20-2016, 11:07 PM
 
5,048 posts, read 9,616,978 times
Reputation: 4181
Since you already sent all the line of communication to the board and got a reduced fine, but not by much, if you do want to send to the board once again all your communication with the mgt company, I'd contact an attorney in that area at the same time. The way that board is acting after all you've already let them know, you need some good representation right in that area quickly.

Last edited by cully; 11-20-2016 at 11:26 PM..
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Old 11-22-2016, 06:21 AM
 
501 posts, read 528,551 times
Reputation: 442
Why didn't you simply phone or visit the management company or call for a special HOA meeting?
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Old 11-22-2016, 08:30 AM
 
5,048 posts, read 9,616,978 times
Reputation: 4181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lassielad View Post
Why didn't you simply phone or visit the management company or call for a special HOA meeting?
She explained the visiting part and actually the written line of communications will prove to be better given the mgt company's own inability to perform their duties.
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Old 11-22-2016, 12:25 PM
 
501 posts, read 528,551 times
Reputation: 442
Quote:
Originally Posted by cully View Post
She explained the visiting part and actually the written line of communications will prove to be better given the mgt company's own inability to perform their duties.
Saw nothing about a "visit." I only saw where communications were by email. A special meeting should have been initiated and/or the Homeowner's Association Board in Raleigh could have been helpful. They stand on middle ground and can give valuable advice. If negligence can be proven against the HOA for not keeping up with the issue and responding inappropriately, they can be sued and the HOA has insurance to cover them. The HOA is the liaison and has a responsibility to do their job and to follow-up on issues. HOAs can be really good or they can be really bad. Fortunately, homeowners have the power to control who is on the board. This is a unfortunate situation, and I hope all works out.
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Old 11-23-2016, 01:06 AM
 
5,048 posts, read 9,616,978 times
Reputation: 4181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lassielad View Post
Saw nothing about a "visit." I only saw where communications were by email. A special meeting should have been initiated and/or the Homeowner's Association Board in Raleigh could have been helpful. They stand on middle ground and can give valuable advice. If negligence can be proven against the HOA for not keeping up with the issue and responding inappropriately, they can be sued and the HOA has insurance to cover them. The HOA is the liaison and has a responsibility to do their job and to follow-up on issues. HOAs can be really good or they can be really bad. Fortunately, homeowners have the power to control who is on the board. This is a unfortunate situation, and I hope all works out.
She said they couldn't go to a board meeting and explain what was going on because they live several states away and don't live in the house anymore.

Yes, this is a mess with a few people covering themselves and each other and the owners not right onsite.
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