Wednesday, March 5, 2014
How To Tell If You Bought Into A "Bad" HOA (Or Condo Association)
When potential clients tell me they think they made a mistake and bought into a "bad" HOA or COA, if it's a condo association, I tell them right away, without hearing their issues, they have a 95% chance they are thinking correctly.
So how do you tell if your association is "bad?" Most of the time you can't tell until it's too late, but here are a few signs:
1. The Declarations are more than 20 pages (sign of over regulation by the association);
2. The Rules and Regulations have more restrictions than the Declarations (sign you have contracted away any constitutional property rights you think you have);
3. The association owns its own maintenance company, landscaping company, rental company, security company, or any other for-profit company (sign of corruption and/or fraud);
4. A board member is the community association manager (CAM), a.k.a. property manager, or any other paid position (sign of corruption and/or fraud plus harassment and bullying);
5. The board members' homes look nicer than everyone else's (sign the board are getting freebies from contractors, such as free landscaping);
6. Board decisions are made on an issue by simply voting with no discussion of the issue at the board meeting (sign the board is conducting business by closed meetings -- most likely email, which is a violation of Florida law);
7. Your board tells you that you will do as they say, when they say it (sign the board has a really nasty law firm representing them and you life as you know it is over. Welcome to Hell. This is otherwise referred to as a dictatorship if you could convince the State of Florida these really are quasi-governments. At this point items 1 - 5 probably apply.);
8. You're welcome to the neighborhood is loaded with F-bombs (I should have sold my home and moved then, which was three days after my move-in date). Oh yeah, this is a sign your board is made up of people who failed miserably at their careers and they get an ego boost by thinking they can intimidate you.