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HOA

Real estate Q&A: Why Won’t My HOA Board Listen to Me?

Question: I live in a beautiful community that is well maintained by the board and its various committees. All is great, except for the roads – they are ugly with oil marks and patched areas. I have asked after this, but it does not seem to be a priority of the board of directors. How do I get the board to address this issue? – Philip

Answer: Most people who want to get their board's attention try to bring up a new issue at the public board meeting. This is not a good idea and will most likely not work.

A board meeting is a business meeting and should be run from an agenda of items known to all in advance so that the members and directors have ample time to research and consider the issues to be dealt with during that meeting. The common tactic of trying to embarrass or ambush the board at the meeting almost always backfires. Simply, the board meeting is not the time to introduce a new issue.

The better method is to send your board a letter outlining your concern. Try to be detailed and propose solutions. Explain why you think it is an essential use of the community's resources, bearing in mind that other residents may have differing priorities. Send the letter by certified mail to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.

If it still does not make the agenda, try again, or even better, get some neighbors to write in, too. Many voices will hold more sway than just one.

Finally, if, after all of these efforts, the existing board does not share your priorities for the community, you should consider running for the board at the next election. When you are a board member, you are able to help set the agenda and get your ideas pushed through. At least, that is, if enough of your neighbors agree with you.

About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation.

source: Sun Sentinel

Unpaid HOA assessment can lead to foreclosure

Question: What can happen if several homeowners in [an] association do not agree with a special assessment and refuse to pay it?

Answer: Homeowners who do not pay their regular and special assessments are subject to foreclosure. They also could have a personal money judgment entered against them.

If the community takes action, the homeowner would be responsible for attorney fees, interest and administrative fees, in addition to the assessment amount. These costs can add up, and I have seen many instances in which the costs are much more than the unpaid assessment.

This is a serious matter, and many homeowners don't understand the consequences. If you receive a bill you don't agree with, contact the association. If it is not quickly corrected, in writing, pay the bill before continuing to fight the charge. This will stop additional costs from accruing.

I know how frustrating it is to pay for something that you're disputing, but it's important to stop additional fees from building up. You can continue to seek reimbursement without digging yourself into a deeper hole on the chance that the charge is indeed valid.

If enough members of your association dispute a special assessment, or if you think it might have been levied improperly, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options.

Copyright © 2016 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. source