Deputy Accused Of Taking HOA Money

Some residents of the Trailwood Home Owners Association told WFTV’s Myrt Price that they can’t believe that someone they trusted, a law enforcement officer and someone who had been their HOA president for seven years, could be accused of something like this.
Read more here: –>HOA Theft

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Can HOA Board Forgive Unpaid Assessments?

Q: Our homeowners association’s board of directors forgave homeowners who were two to three years behind on their assessments. This was done without our knowledge, and we found out about it before our annual meeting. Is this legal? This seems unfair to the homeowners who pay their dues every year.

Read the answer here:
Read more here: –>HOA Financial Responsibility

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Court Decision Helps Community Organizations

Q. I received a legal update via e-blast from a local law firm that specializes in real estate and condo association law. Apparently there is a new court decision that provides relief for banks and third party investors who buy a property at foreclosure sale. As I understood it, a condo or homeowners association will no longer be able to pursue past due maintenance fees if the association foreclosed its lien and owned the property for a period of time. Can you better explain the court decision and what it means for community associations?

Q. We have an owner who has not paid association fees for almost three years. The bank that financed the unit was apparently involved in “robo signing” and the delinquent owner has successfully fought them every step of the way. Does the association have any recourse against the bank, and if so, do you think it would be worth pursuing?

Q. Our condo association has a management company that uses the same vendors for all of their associations. Many of these vendors are handymen who are jacks of all trades (electrical, mold inspections, painting, plumbing, tile, etc.). The management company does not seem to require proper licenses or make sure they have insurance. Consequently, our board thinks these things are unnecessary. What is the association’s liability if something goes wrong?

…. Read The Answers Here

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Abuse Of Power

At Monday night’s HOA meeting, residents spoke out against the board.
One man said, “Shame on you. Shame on you board members.”
“I mean, it’s just wrong,” homeowner Judith King told 10News outside the meeting. “It’s wrong.”  Neighbors said Evolfo applied for a city permit to build a backyard “deck” before receiving HOA approval. After getting the permit, the HOA president called an emergency HOA meeting solely for a vote on his “deck.” Fellow board members approved construction.

–> Read Complete Story

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HOA Accountability

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Gated HOA Gated Community Streets Responsibility

By Robert Lee Long
Citizens say streets in Cross Creek, a private gated community in Hernando, are in need of repair and one of the ways to upgrade their condition is to make them public. One way to achieve improvements and upgrades is to turn the streets over to the city. At issue, however, is the fact that plats of the subdivision will have to be changed, and if the streets are taken into the city, they will have to be accessible to the public.

Leigh Pegram, president of the Cross Creek Homeowners Association, said the group is exploring their options and has retained an attorney. She plans to brief Homeowners Association members on information she received at Tuesday’s board meeting at an upcoming meeting of the Homeowners’ Association.

City Attorney Kenneth Stockton said Cross Creek is platted and recorded as a private gated subdivision. Stockton is seeking an Attorney General’s Opinion on the public access issue. Pegram disagreed slightly, saying the word “private” never appears on the plat. However, at present individuals must have an access code to gain entrance into the subdivision. There are presently two active gates and an emergency gate to allow law enforcement officers and firefighters access to the subdivision.

–> Read Complete Story

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Who Pays For HOA BulkHeads

By Gretchen Wenner
One of Oxnard’s premier neighborhoods, where boats nose up to million-dollar homes and the ocean beckons just beyond the harbor, has a problem borne of its marine environment: Sea walls are getting old. The reinforced concrete walls that protect Mandalay Bay’s 743 homes were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They had a projected life span of roughly 40 years — time that’s about up.

A group of homeowners is advocating pre-emptive repairs that would cost a fraction of the estimated $118 million needed for total replacement. A recent evaluation found some stretches are at risk of catastrophic failure, but targeted resurfacing could keep the structures standing 25 more years or so.

The challenge is determining who pays for the repairs, expected to cost millions of dollars.

Bill Scarpino, a resident and member of the Channel Islands Waterfront Homeowners Association, thinks the city owns the sea walls and is responsible for maintenance, just as it is for a public street. He has a folder stuffed 4 inches thick with old city resolutions and court rulings that he says prove it.

–> Read The Complete Story Here

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Homeowner Association Attorney Ethics

By Jan Bergemann
In a perfect community association world the association attorney would make sure that the interests of all members of the community are represented when acting on behalf of the association. The actions of the attorney would benefit all members of the community – since all are paying the legal bills equally. Board members and owners should be able to rely on an attorney, who acts as the professional the association hired to represent its legal interest.

But since we are not in a perfect community association world, we see lots of problems caused by association attorneys who make it their main objective to protect the members of the board who signed their retainer agreement and who sign the checks – no matter what. It should not be the task of the association attorney to find ways to circumvent the statutes and the governing documents in order to please the board members who may have a private agenda or try to defend their personal egos.

We see frivolous lawsuits filed all the time, filed by overeager association attorneys – just because some board member has something to hide and doesn’t like an outspoken owner to challenge his/her “private agenda.” These lawsuits are definitely not in the best interest of these associations or the paying members.

–> Read Complete Story Here

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HOAs Adjust To Texas Law Changes

Want to go green by harvesting rainwater and installing solar panels at your house? Your homeowners association can no longer stop you, even if it considers the projects eyesores. Religious symbols under a certain height and flagpoles with United States, Texas or military flags are now also fair game.

And if your homeowners association wants to foreclose on your home for missed dues and unpaid fines, there are new hurdles it must clear. That is because of a series of new laws passed during the 2011 legislative session that have shaken up how the state’s numerous and sometimes controversial homeowners associations operate.

The laws cover much more than the regulation of members’ yards. Now, all associations must follow open records and meetings laws, meaning they are subject to freedom of information requests, are required to give 72 hours notice before each board meeting and must take meeting minutes.

They now must obtain an expedited court order to foreclose on a house. And they must offer payment plans for their dues and follow new regulations for how they collect and apply payments.

–> Read Complete Story Here

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13 Helps Condo Owner Get Action From HOA

By Loni Blandford
Water can cause quite a lot of damage when it leaks, especially if you are living in an apartment. So when it happened at one Valley condo, the owners turned to their Homeowner’s Association. But when they couldn’t get an answer, they turned to Action News.

“Apparently, there was a leak upstairs,” explained Darlene Castello.

Water started leaking into the Las Vegas condo owned by Darlene’s parents. It damaged the walls and even the carpet. So Darlene called the Homeowner’s Association for help. “I started calling daily. Leaving message after message after message,” said Darlene.

Darlene says she knew who she needed to speak with but he wasn’t returning her calls. “Nobody’s calling back. Let me talk to a supervisor. Well I’m sorry the supervisor is not available would you like to leave a message. I mean that’s all I ever got,” said Darlene.

Darlene says after three months with no response, she decided to call Action News. Our Call for Action volunteers reached out to HOA for her. To her amazement, it worked almost instantly.

–> Read Complete Story Here

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Texas Homeowner Association Laws

By Bill Oliver
With more than 60 homeowners associations (HOA), the city of College Station TX is devoting staff time to staying on top of new state laws. Barbara Moore of College Station’s neighborhood services office says additional requirements for HOA’s will affect how she does her job. Before new laws took affect January 1st, Moore says they worked with recruiting and training new HOA officers. Now, she will be assisting HOA’s with complying with new open meetings and records requirements among other things.

Moore says a recent meeting with 80 HOA representatives and members of a HOA trade association generated some surprise from HOA leaders about the increased responsibility caused by new state laws.

–> Original Article Here

–> Link To Texas HOA Laws

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Tomball TX Police Connects Homeowner Associations

By Catherine Dominguez
Despite a small turnout, area residents along with the Tomball Police Department are moving forward with an initial email list to get local homeowners association leaders connected. Administrative Sergeant Rebecca Carlisle with the Tomball Police Dept. met with residents March 8 to provide them with information about what they can do to increase security in their communities and discourage crime.

Carlisle said it was important for local communities to establish an electronic system to communicate with each other, including using social media like Facebook and Twitter along with an email blast list. She also said it was critical for HOA officials to enforce HOA regulations, ensure landscaping is maintained and make sure all lights are working in their neighborhood. “This is up to (community members),” Carlisle said.

The meeting was organized by Councilman Mark Stoll, who lives in Spring Pine Estate of Zion Road. After recent reports of two scams in local subdivisions, Stoll decided to put aside his status as a councilman and help organize a community policing system.

–> Read Complete Story

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Legislator ‘oops’ on HOA Legislation HB-2160

by Kathleen Stinson
Arizona House Bill 2160, authored by Scottsdale Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh and approved by the state House earlier this week, sets new standards for condominium and HOA board elections. It will now go before a Senate committee.

Kavanagh said his bill guarantees secret ballots, prohibits an HOA from including endorsements in official board mailings, prohibits counting ballots before the close of an election, allows for a representative from each candidate to observe the counting, and provides that any identifying information be placed on the outer envelope and not on the ballot itself.

Kavanagh said his bill does not require HOAs to disclose the vote counts to its members “because I never imagined an HOA not announcing the vote numbers.

–> Read Complete Article

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Associa Announces Opening of Texas HOA Collections Service

There was a recent news article that announced that – HOA Collection Services (HCS), an Associa company, launches this week in Texas and California, providing collection services to community associations.

“When community association Boards find collections services necessary, it is paramount to provide efficient, respectful service at a competitive cost,” said Paul Reyes, president of HCS.

Associa is the largest Homeowner Association and Property Owner Association companies in the United States and is moving into Canada and Mexico. It is a diversified company with branches in every aspect of HOAs, including homeowner association management, insurance, and now collections. Associa also owns a homeowner shopping enterprise, a political PAC, finance corporation,  .

At the same time that John Carona, owner and founder of Associa, was building up the company, he was also building up a political career. He is a Texas state Senator and his company, Associa, also founded a Political PAC – Associa PAC. Senator Carona currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, Joint Chairman of the Legislative Oversight Board on Windstorm Insurance and as Co-Chairman of the Joint Interim Committee to Study Seacoast Territory Insurance. He also serves as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting and the Senate Criminal Justice, Education and Jurisprudence committees.

Personal comment begins….. I don’t think that legislators, through their private corporation ownership, should be allowed ‘PAC ownership’. And, I really question the sanity of allowing legislators to own companies that would benefit from their own legislation, especially when they have a way to funnel their own company funds, through a political PAC, into their political candidate choices. This is just too much ‘ownership’ of enterprises that can effect every citizen in that geographic area.  I believe that this type of activity may be at the core of the ‘disgruntled voters’ in this country. …. end of personal comment.

What do you think?

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Are All HOA Monies Tax Exempt?

By Gary Poliakoff
A Las Vegas HOA is currently fighting with the IRS over the question of whether $2 million held in the HOA’s savings account is subject to a 30% sales tax as corporate surplus.

Associations are generally organized as not-for-profit corporations (some older associations are not incorporated) and therefore must file tax returns like other not-for-profit corporations. Associations are not entitled to tax exempt status like charitable organizations. To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in the Code. To be tax exempt under IRC 501(c)(4), a homeowners’ association must operate for the benefit of the general public, i.e., it must provide a community benefit – not a benefit to the owners or residents.  However, homeowners’ associations are still taxed on any income or support received that did not constitute dues or assessments paid by its property owner-members for maintenance and improvement of its property.

–> Read Complete Story Here

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Big Money To Be Made In Foreclosures

By John Gittelsohn
Private equity firms are jumping into distressed housing as the U.S. government plans to market 200,000 foreclosed homes as rentals to speed up the economic recovery.

GTIS Partners will spend $1 billion by 2016 acquiring single-family homes to manage as rentals, Thomas Shapiro, the fund’s founder said. That followed announcements this month that GI Partners, a Menlo Park private equity fund, expects to invest $1 billion, and Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management LP will spend $450 million on similar housing. “It’s a massive market,” Shapiro said in a telephone interview from New York. “We’re starting to see this as a billion dollar opportunity to buy rental housing.”

–> Read Complete Story Here

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Disturbing New Trend Impacting HOA’s

By Donna DiMaggio Berger
Two recent legislative attempts signal a disturbing trend that has the potential to negatively impact Florida’s community associations.

The first is this year’s construction defect bill, HB 1013, sponsored by Representative Artiles and its Senate companion, SB 1196, sponsored by Senator Bennett. These bills would take away a homeowner’s rights to pursue a developer for defects to the driveways, roads, sidewalks. utilities, drainage areas and other so-called “off-site” improvements that are not located on the lot on which a home is constructed or which are located on such a lot but do not contribute to the “habitability” of the home.

–> Read Complete Article Here

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Texas HOA Law Changes

By Jennifer Slewer
A slew of changes are now in effect for the state’s homeowners associations, the love-’em-or-hate-’em groups that everyone seems to have an opinion about. The changes grant homeowners more freedoms when it comes to outdoor decorating and installation of environmentally friendly systems. The changes also make it harder for HOAs to foreclose because of unpaid fees.

Now, HOAs won’t be able to keep you from displaying the U.S. or Texas flag, or flags of military branches. Free-standing flagpoles 20 feet tall or less will be allowed, too — legislation filed in response to an HOA that sued a Marine veteran for flying the Stars and Stripes on a flagpole.

HOAs also won’t be able to keep you from hanging a religious display on your front door, but they can require you to keep it at 25 square inches or less. That legislation was filed after a Jewish couple was threatened with a recurring fine for displaying a mezuzah, a parchment with Hebrew verses enclosed in a case affixed to the doorpost.

–> Read Complete Story Here

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Preparing For HOA Annual Meeting

By Stan Riddle
Over the next few months, a number of homeowner associations will be holding their annual meetings. Of all of the HOA meetings held during the year, this one probably has the most members in attendance due to a number of important issues that are likely on the agenda, such as election of officers.

In an effort to assist HOAs in making this meeting run both effectively and efficiently, the Green Valley Council offers a few suggestions:

–> Read Complete Story Here

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Round Rock TX HOA Confuses

By John Salazar
Construction on the Patton family’s backyard shed began in August 2010. At that time, Brian Patton said he was given the green light from his neighborhood’s Homeowners Association. “They came out and did the first inspection. That’s a line inspection (he said pointing to the outline of where their shed would go) where they set out ropes and they check the lines to make sure we are not on easements. They passed it,” Patton said.

The storage building was nearly completed when the postman delivered a letter of bad news. “The letter says we were not in compliance with HOA rules,” he said.

–> Read Complete Story Here

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