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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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I am seeking advice on the actions of my Home Owners

Customer Question

I am seeking advice on the actions of my Home Owners Association. Over the past 3 years they have decided, on their own, that certain community projects needed to be done. After reviewing all relevant documents, it appears to me that they did not/do not have the authority to make those decisions.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.


Here at Justanswer, we "justanswer" questions from customers. I see that you have provided some information, but you haven't actually posed a question -- so, I don't know what to address in my answer

What specific question do you have about your circumstances re the homeowners association?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
After reading the disclaimer, my situation probably falls into it.However, more specially, the Association is responsible for the "common areas" (street repair, landscaping and snow removal). Each townhouse, including the exterior, is owned and maintained by the homeowner. The typical easements are in place for things such as utility lines, drainage, etc. We have HOA fees. The Association consists of 3 members of the community. They hold a meeting once per year.Approximately 3 years ago the Association decided that many of the townhouses needed to be power washed. Therefore, they took it upon themselves to hire and pay for a company to power wash all of the townhouses in the community. I am not certain as to how and if homeowners were notified, because I myself never received notification. Since I just had new siding and windows installed, my house did not need to be power washed. More importantly, the windows could not be power washed and if they were, the warranty would be voided. I happened to be home that day and was able to stop them. At a subsequent Board meeting I was told the power washing was a “one time thing.”Two years later the board decided again to power wash all of the townhouses. Shortly thereafter the Board then decided that since many of the townhouses had faded green shutters, they would hire and pay for a company to paint them. I had already replaced my shutters and therefore they did not need to be painted. Again I did not receive notice. I stopped the painters before they reached my house.At the Board Meeting I asked the president, in passing, if they were still notifying members by mail and postings at the mailbox because I had not received anything. He responded that the information was on a private Facebook page. I asked if Facebook was the only notification available because I did not have it and did not wish to. He responded that it was the easiest way to communicate with people, so yes. Although I did create a Facebook account using my middle name and notified the president I did so, my friend request was not accepted by the treasurer.That brings us to the present situation. 2 weeks ago I stopped a tree service the Association had hired to "trim" (butcher) all of the trees in the community even though a majority of them are on private property. I happened to pull up just as they were about to take 4 chain saws to my pear tree. The treasurer was there telling them to cut it as I told them not to. I proceeded to tell her I did not want the Association making decisions about my property. If there was a problem, they should notify me and I will rectify the situation. 8 months ago I paid a high end tree company $1000 to "properly" trim, prune and cable the tree. I did this for 2 reasons, 1) in the Rules and Regulations it states that Owners are responsible to have all trees on his/her property pruned and trimmed, and to assume the expense for tree removal due to damage, disease, or age. 2) At the Association Meeting in December, I specially asked about the trees and the Board members stated that we were responsible for them.I have read all of the relevant documents and cannot seem to find anything that gives the Board the authority to hire companies of their choosing and authorize them to perform work on my house without my permission. In addition, the Regulations set forth what our HOA fees can be used for (common areas) and the above referenced projects do not seem to remotely fall into that category. The Regulations provide an avenue by which problems could/should be resolved, specific fines for non-compliance. However, it appears the Association has chosen to create their own remedy.Unfortunately, the president is very "laid back" (his own words). The treasurer has an extremely abrasive personality and has no tolerance for opinions which differ from her own. So I am left to decide what issues to address. Thus far, proper notification (via mail not Facebook) is not up for debate. Other issues are not as clear, such as how they are spending the HOA money (the streets desperately need to be paved, the Association has admitted this). Or how they appear to be making decisions on their own rather than by a majority vote (they have never taken a vote). And lastly, I think they are setting up a precedent for homeowners to NOT take care of their own property. I can't help but feel that my HOA money is being used to provide my neighbors with thousands of dollars of free services. I touched on this topic briefly at the Board Meeting but was told beautifying other houses around me was to my benefit.The fact is I have to live here and the Association members are my neighbors, so I have to pick my battles.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
After the long discussion we had at the meeting in December, I never would have guessed they would have taken on such an expensive project. They personally paid to have 3 dead trees removed from private properties.I now wonder what other projects they may decide to do. I am going to notify all of the Board members that they are not permitted to authorize work to be done on my property. If I am in violation of any rules or regulations that they should notify me and I will take care of it. However, if they hire a company to perform work on the entire community and exclude my house, there is no guarantee that the workmen will remember.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

A different Professional here.

What is your specific question?

You have not asked a question?

Thank you for your cooperation,