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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12205
Experience:  JD, MBA
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My builder has un sold homes in my sub division. The builder

Customer Question

My builder has un sold homes in my sub division. The builder currently manages the HOA for the residents pending full build out. The builder/HOA changed our water rates (+75%) increase. I spoke to the Ultility company and was told even though each house has separate metering, the builder put in a master meter at the gate to meter all water into the sub division and then sub contracted the utility for metering services and billings on individual homes.
Essentially, the rate water comes in at the master meter is unchanged, but the Builder 'was loosing money' and decided to internally increase the rate. 88 homes are expected when the community is built out. Today only about 33 are built of which 20 are sold. All the home owners are paying their water bills, no one is delinquent. The builder is charging the home owners for the difference which was assume is all the irrigation of the un occupied/ unsold homes in the sub division nod possibly the electricity bills on those homes( the lights are always on in those homes). We have a very small common area in the sub division, just 2 circles with trees and flowers, and the front entrance. There are no shared facilities; no pool, play area, nothing.. I have asked the builder to give me a copy of the CC&R, I admit I was ignorant and did not know to ask for it when I closed on the home about 15 months ago. I have since asked for it and the builder is yet to give me a copy. Is any of what the builder doing legal? Can he impose water rates above what the municipality is charging elsewhere in the area and directly next door to our sub division?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to help if I can. Please bear with me a few moments while I review your question, conduct any necessary research, and type a response. Thank you.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hello again. Thank you for your patience.

The key here is whether the bylaws or declaration allows the HOA to make the changes that you described. If so, then the builder’s actions are lawful. If not, then you certainly have legal recourse.

Accordingly, you need to get your hands on copies of the bylaws and declaration. The declaration is recorded with your county’s land records. Therefore, you can get a copy by visiting the land records office. The HOA must provide a copy of the bylaws upon request. If it does not, then note the following law:


(m) A property owners' association composed of more than 14 lots shall adopt and comply with a document retention policy that includes, at a minimum, the following requirements:

(1) certificates of formation, bylaws, restrictive covenants, and all amendments to the certificates of formation, bylaws, and covenants shall be retained permanently;

(n) A member of a property owners' association who is denied access to or copies of association books or records to which the member is entitled under this section may file a petition with the justice of the peace of a justice precinct in which all or part of the property that is governed by the association is located requesting relief in accordance with this subsection. If the justice of the peace finds that the member is entitled to access to or copies of the records, the justice of the peace may grant one or more of the following remedies:

(1) a judgment ordering the property owners' association to release or allow access to the books or records;

(2) a judgment against the property owners' association for court costs and attorney's fees incurred in connection with seeking a remedy under this section; or

(3) a judgment authorizing the owner or the owner's assignee to deduct the amounts awarded under Subdivision (2) from any future regular or special assessments payable to the property owners' association.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, please remember to provide a positive rating via the stars (and note that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so it is much appreciated!). Thank you. :)

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hello again. I didn't hear back from you, so I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue.

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