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Old 12-14-2016, 11:16 AM
 
23,052 posts, read 42,182,624 times
Reputation: 23494

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In our HOA in COLO SPGS we had a homeowner who refused to pay the HOA dues. We filed a lien and served it to them at their front door. Eventually they paid the $425 plus another thousand in legal fees. If they hadn't paid we were set to enforce the lien and if necessary force a sale of the property. This old lady was just nuts.

The following names are fictional but the story is true, and illustrates the daffiness of this person: Our homes were built in the typical manner that developments are platted and filed for construction, such as Artsy Fartsy Filing #1, Artsy Fartsy Filing #2, etc. The HOA name was Fresh Air Meadows HOA. The old gal refused to write her check to Fresh Air Meadows HOA; she insisted on writing her check to Artsy Fartsy Filing #1 and put a restriction on her check that it was void after 5 days. The bank refused to take it. We had no choice but to file a lien. She finally paid, making her check payable to The Crooks at Fresh Air Meadows HOA....the bank took that check. She had a neighbor who was her biggest fan, claiming that because this old gal "was a businesswoman from NYC that she knew what she was doing." Oh brother.

She was bizarre to say the least, thought everyone was a crook, that it was all conspiracy to rob people. I can assure that every cent was accounted for in our small HOA and nobody made a killing on anything. Our finances were reviewed by residents and no one ever found anything out of order. But you get those kind of people in HOAs, the ones who think everything should be free FOR THEM. The city of COLO SPGS is full of this thinking, that ALL taxes are a waste, that the guv'mint is out to get them, etc. We live in wacky times, to say the least.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Denver CO
23,283 posts, read 14,506,664 times
Reputation: 35925
I've never heard of an HOA where someone was allowed to just not pay their fees - every one of them started a legal collection process for unpaid fees and placed a lien on the property that had to be paid off when it was sold. I don't know if it affected someone's credit rating, probably not because I doubt HOAs report to the credit bureau (and an HOA fee is not a form of credit) but it certainly affected their finances.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:26 AM
SQL
 
Location: The State of Delusion - Colorado
1,337 posts, read 956,527 times
Reputation: 1492
Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74 View Post
I've never heard of an HOA where someone was allowed to just not pay their fees - every one of them started a legal collection process for unpaid fees and placed a lien on the property that had to be paid off when it was sold. I don't know if it affected someone's credit rating, probably not because I doubt HOAs report to the credit bureau (and an HOA fee is not a form of credit) but it certainly affected their finances.
That particular guy I mentioned bought a new home, so he was certainly concerned about his financial standing at the time. Nothing happened to him at all. I thought that was crazy that he got away with it.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:30 AM
SQL
 
Location: The State of Delusion - Colorado
1,337 posts, read 956,527 times
Reputation: 1492
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
In our HOA in COLO SPGS we had a homeowner who refused to pay the HOA dues. We filed a lien and served it to them at their front door. Eventually they paid the $425 plus another thousand in legal fees. If they hadn't paid we were set to enforce the lien and if necessary force a sale of the property. This old lady was just nuts.

The following names are fictional but the story is true, and illustrates the daffiness of this person: Our homes were built in the typical manner that developments are platted and filed for construction, such as Artsy Fartsy Filing #1, Artsy Fartsy Filing #2, etc. The HOA name was Fresh Air Meadows HOA. The old gal refused to write her check to Fresh Air Meadows HOA; she insisted on writing her check to Artsy Fartsy Filing #1 and put a restriction on her check that it was void after 5 days. The bank refused to take it. We had no choice but to file a lien. She finally paid, making her check payable to The Crooks at Fresh Air Meadows HOA....the bank took that check. She had a neighbor who was her biggest fan, claiming that because this old gal "was a businesswoman from NYC that she knew what she was doing." Oh brother.

She was bizarre to say the least, thought everyone was a crook, that it was all conspiracy to rob people. I can assure that every cent was accounted for in our small HOA and nobody made a killing on anything. Our finances were reviewed by residents and no one ever found anything out of order. But you get those kind of people in HOAs, the ones who think everything should be free FOR THEM. The city of COLO SPGS is full of this thinking, that ALL taxes are a waste, that the guv'mint is out to get them, etc. We live in wacky times, to say the least.
Thanks for sharing, Mike. It sounds like you may have been part of the HOA board. Do residents have any "due process" for getting maintenance requests performed in a timely manner when they are reasonable and part of the outdoors maintenance responsibility of the HOA? What can one do when they submit a request for maintenance and it is largely ignored by the HOA board?

They cut down an existing, large evergreen in front of my unit that provided shade/privacy for my west-facing bedroom. I asked that it be replaced with some form of small tree/shrubbery, but they have pushed back saying that trees are expensive. Also, a door broke on one of the nearby garbage areas, and they said it was being fixed. That was over two months ago, and it still hasn't been fixed. I feel like my HOA is ignoring requests for repair, and I can't understand if they don't have the budget for maintenance or what...

Is there typically any recourse that you're aware of? This is my first experience with an HOA. I feel like my apartment communities that I lived in were far better at the outdoors maintenance than this HOA.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:47 AM
 
23,052 posts, read 42,182,624 times
Reputation: 23494
Due process was an email to the HOA operator who resolved issues asap. I was often info'd on those requests to the small local corporate concern that was our HOA's property manager. These folks had been in the business many years, had great contacts, good legal resources, and were very affordable. Key thing is they knew the state and local laws so well that they were able to explain these realities to our people.

Our only truly unresolved issue was people parking overnight on the streets, which are public streets and the city has no power to enforce HOA our restrictions. We only had a few violators and decided to not buy cameras and set up shop overnight to catch people and fine them. Otherwise we didn't have any real unfixed issues. Our HOA board of 5 were elected and every year there'd be two up for renewal or replacement except that every 3rd year only one board spot was up for election. People were free to replace us if they were unhappy; they never did, we had to plead for new blood all the time.
__________________
- Please follow our TOS.
- Any Questions about City-Data? See the FAQ list.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 12-14-2016 at 09:17 PM..
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,421 posts, read 1,334,230 times
Reputation: 1751
Quote:
Originally Posted by SQL View Post
Thanks for sharing, Mike. It sounds like you may have been part of the HOA board. Do residents have any "due process" for getting maintenance requests performed in a timely manner when they are reasonable and part of the outdoors maintenance responsibility of the HOA? What can one do when they submit a request for maintenance and it is largely ignored by the HOA board?

They cut down an existing, large evergreen in front of my unit that provided shade/privacy for my west-facing bedroom. I asked that it be replaced with some form of small tree/shrubbery, but they have pushed back saying that trees are expensive. Also, a door broke on one of the nearby garbage areas, and they said it was being fixed. That was over two months ago, and it still hasn't been fixed. I feel like my HOA is ignoring requests for repair, and I can't understand if they don't have the budget for maintenance or what...

Is there typically any recourse that you're aware of? This is my first experience with an HOA. I feel like my apartment communities that I lived in were far better at the outdoors maintenance than this HOA.
It's in the apartment's best interest to have high upkeep on the exterior. If tenants aren't happy, they'll leave. Plus they need to recruit new tenants.

With an HOA, they could care less as the units are already sold/paid for.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Denver CO
23,283 posts, read 14,506,664 times
Reputation: 35925
Quote:
Originally Posted by SQL View Post
That particular guy I mentioned bought a new home, so he was certainly concerned about his financial standing at the time. Nothing happened to him at all. I thought that was crazy that he got away with it.
Finances and credit aren't the same thing. It would be very surprising to me if he owed several thousand in unpaid fees and was able to just sell without that money have to be paid when the property changed hands, meaning it would have reduced his net proceeds from a sale even if it had no impact on his credit rating.

It's of course possible that a particular HOA just completely dropped the ball and never filed any lien, but at least in my experience, that would be very much an exception and not the norm.
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:04 PM
SQL
 
Location: The State of Delusion - Colorado
1,337 posts, read 956,527 times
Reputation: 1492
Quote:
Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
It's in the apartment's best interest to have high upkeep on the exterior. If tenants aren't happy, they'll leave. Plus they need to recruit new tenants.

With an HOA, they could care less as the units are already sold/paid for.
That's what I've concluded as well. They simply don't care. And why would they? You bought the unit and you're required to pay them a fee regardless of the quality of service they provide. And if you ever want to sell your home, you're not going to say anything negative about the HOA. So you're pretty much handcuffed in the situation. The most you can do is demand that the current members of the board step aside and be replaced by a more effective board.

Conclusion: HOAs are a terrible thing when they are managed poorly. Just something to take into consideration if you're looking to buy into a covenant-controlled community. Learn about them prior to moving in, and get involved with them when you move in.
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Denver CO
23,283 posts, read 14,506,664 times
Reputation: 35925
there is no "they" in an HOA, it's a "we." The unit owners own the complex, not some nebulous "they." If the HOA board and/or a hired management company aren't doing a good job, then the owners who are dissatisfied need to take action. I've lived in two separate HOA complexes where we kicked out boards who were not acting in the best interests of the owners overall. In one case, they were trying to force through unnecessary and extremely expensive upgrades, in the second case, they just were not providing enough oversight of the management company and things were not getting done in a timely and satisfactory manner. In both cases, it took a group of concerned owners to come together and make sure things were being done the way the majority of owners wanted. People who blame "the HOA" generally prefer to complain rather than do any work to change things.
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:05 PM
SQL
 
Location: The State of Delusion - Colorado
1,337 posts, read 956,527 times
Reputation: 1492
Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74 View Post
there is no "they" in an HOA, it's a "we." The unit owners own the complex, not some nebulous "they." If the HOA board and/or a hired management company aren't doing a good job, then the owners who are dissatisfied need to take action. I've lived in two separate HOA complexes where we kicked out boards who were not acting in the best interests of the owners overall. In one case, they were trying to force through unnecessary and extremely expensive upgrades, in the second case, they just were not providing enough oversight of the management company and things were not getting done in a timely and satisfactory manner. In both cases, it took a group of concerned owners to come together and make sure things were being done the way the majority of owners wanted. People who blame "the HOA" generally prefer to complain rather than do any work to change things.
First off, calm down before you go on a generalization tirade about what certain people do and don't do. I've done plenty of complaining/voicing my concerns to the HOA in the short time I've lived here. So you tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Firstly, I've reached out to the community management company via phone and email to voice my concerns several times, as that is our first line of contact when we have a maintenance issue. I told them about the tree replacement, the garbage area door falling off, and the potholes on our roads. They sent me a request to the board for the tree replacement, since it pertained to a common area. I sent that in, and received a response that it was approved that I put potted plants around my area, but that's it. Well, that's not what I asked for.

Secondly, they acknowledged the garbage area door, and told me it was being worked on. That was more than two months ago.

Thirdly, they've said and done nothing about the pothole issue. It got so bad in one area, that one of the residents filled it in with rocks.

Fourthly, sometimes the community management company straight up ignores my emails. They tend to respond better with phone calls. But even then, they tell me there's not much they can do and to address the HOA board with my complaints.

Fifthly, I've gone to a couple of HOA meetings since I've started having some of these issues. I expressed my concerns over the garbage area and the tree replacement. The board told me that the garbage area door was being worked on. That was over two months ago. They pushed back again on the tree replacement that they cut down, saying that A) it was a common area, and B) that trees are expensive. I plan on going to the next meeting in a couple weeks to keep pushing on these issues.

This is my FIRST property under an HOA covenant. It is a learning experience for me. Just as I'm sure that you've gone through life making your fair share of mistakes and learning about new things that you weren't previously exposed to, I am doing my best to do the same. So don't go on pretending like this is something that everyone knows about when you probably have 20+ years of life on me. We all have to go through a learning curve on these things. You're no better than anyone else regarding that. So instead of acting all smug and omniscient, you should learn to politely and civilly explain concepts that are new or foreign to people who have limited experience with them. Trust me, it'll make you a better, more respectable human being.
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