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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I have a big problem with my HOA I have been living in a

Customer Question

I have a big problem with my HOA
I have been living in a townhouse for 12 years. My monthly dues have increased 66% over these 12 years. Proposed monthly dues for 2016 is $332 per month.
This due does not include any utilities , we do not have any amenities either ( tennis courts , pool or recreational room. For the past 3 years, I have been attending only the annual meeting , trying to discuss proposed budget . Every time when I try to ask questions on this meeting, I have been told that they are not going to discuss the budget with me and been asked to leave the meeting . Today they were so rude that even said to me not to bother them to have their pizza at the meeting and to leave immediately. I have tried to explain that having this assessment very high will hurt the properties value but was told that they are not able to control the values of the homes. People on the Board have been the same for so many years . Couple of years ago, when I went to the annual meeting, I requested to see peoples proxy for the Director of the Board , because I knew that this lady was not elected from most of the owners but she refused to show it to me. When I go to these annual meetings there are just of few people there . What really surprised me a lot was that 60% of the proxy were sent to senior people with prepay envelopes. This year when I went to the annual meeting and receive proposed budget I was surprised that 38% of the budget was going to a capital reserve. We do not expect any major repairs . We are 64 units and have a reserve of over $500000 . Our units are 25-28years old. At the same time the values of these properties is going down , assessments of 332 per month , $300 real estate taxes per month , utilities (water , gas, electricities) over $200 per month ....
I would like to find out if anyone from the board has a right to ask me to leave the annual meeting , also I have read online that Annual Meeting is not about eating pizza and wine , but discuss what was accomplished and what will be accomplished to keep the values up or at least not decreasing them to a cost value.
If someone can help me out and give an advise I would really appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry that you were treated this way.

You should have more transparency regarding what is going on with your Association (HOA records are open to all owners - so you can review meeting minutes, budgets, election results, etc.).

You should also have the right to raise issues during meetings.

While there is no format for a meeting, you are correct, annual meetings should review the business of the HOA (such as budget, construction/maintenance issues, etc.) and not simply act as a meet and greet.

You do not identify the state that your HOA is located in, but each state has its own individual statutory code which governs HOA (or "Common Interest Developments") law and this is where you would look to see the specifics for what is required in each year's annual disclosures, and what must be included in meetings (some states do have specific items that must be included, most do not).

Often, the most effective way to deal with ineffective leadership is to run for the board yourself, or find a more suitable candidate (if you don't want to run, but you have a neighbor that would make a good board member, talk to them about running in the next election).

Finally, if they are violating your state's HOA laws, or your own HOA's governing documents (this is the biggest source substantive claims for homeowners), you can sue the HOA in civil court - if you choose this route, I would recommend hiring an attorney to represent you.

Short of filing a lawsuit, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.