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.

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This site is intended for general information regarding Florida laws governing community associations and should not be used to solicit legal advice. Please consult with an attorney licensed in your state to answer legal questions concerning your association.