Thursday, May 9, 2013

HOA Wars

I had all intentions of blogging every day, but right now I have some interesting and time-consuming cases and a trial coming up shortly. I have had to actually turn down requests for consultations, which I absolutely do not want to do because owners do not have many association attorneys in Florida willing to represent homeowners. The money is in representing the associations. I will represent associations if they want to operate fairly and not get abusive or obnoxious. I guess it doesn't need to be said my list of association clients is short.

So why do I fight for owners and turn away good paying associations if they do not meet my standards? After all, I have been accused of being a little nuts for ignoring the "cash cow." The thing is if you have ever lived through HOA Hell, and I have, you would understand. I don't have to wonder what it was like to live during the Civil War -- it goes on in associations all over Florida every day. It's the association versus the owners -- those with power versus those who are powerless. It's also like being back in high school and you have to deal with the popular kids. The movie "Mean Girls" springs to mind.

To summarize my fight:

1. Fighting a HOA who refuses to acknowledge the Florida-friendly landscaping statute and my client's right to conserve water and not pollute the planet with fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides (while letting board members use HOA resources to maintain their St. Augustine grass).

2. Fighting a HOA with the "popular kids" in charge who changed the Declarations by simply retyping them and passing them off as the official documents.

3. Fighting a HOA controlled by a developer who has been arrested on 8 felony counts of stealing $539,000+ from the HOA and he's still in charge!

4. Starting a fight with a condo association with a board that steals money by doing business with companies owned by the board members, charging the expenses of these companies to the condo association, and reimbursing themselves lots of $$$ for "supplies." If Governor Rick Scott signs that HOA Reform bill come July 1st the property management company helping them will be in big trouble too.

And then there's the usual cases of illegal fines, illegal assessments, HOAs insisting they are mandatory when they are not and just all out bullying.

So, I'll be real busy for the next four or five weeks, but I'll get back to posting my usual "how to stay out of trouble with your association" blogs on a regular basis after that.

In the meanwhile, stay safe, pay attention to the rules so they can't be used against you, and never withhold assessments (even if the board is lining their own pockets with the money).

2 comments:

  1. Keep up the good fight! We need more attorney-advocates of your caliber.

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  2. As the Secretary of my Homeowner Association in Fort Collins, it’s sometimes a challenge trying to maintain work, family and my HOA duties . However, when I discovered Association Online all of that changed. No need to worry about piles of paperwork, their software is quite easy to use and all our HOA documents are stored and managed online. This allows our Board of Directors to operate in a more effective way. You should check them out at www.associationonline.com or call (970-226-1324). I highly recommend them for all Homeowner Association needs.

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