Complaints and Concerns

If you have a complaint or concern, submit it as a comment below.  If it is brief, and written using a reasonable tone and family friendly language then it will likely be approved so others can see it on the site.  The editors reserve the right to deny approval for any reason, and even edit any complaint for taste, brevity, or other reason.  Over time, groups of complaints may be categorized and tallied for review and submission to our elected leaders.

  1. This HOA hasn’t done anything in 6 years. The building is unpainted and weeds are growing. The club house has been closed for years and the pool is full of garbage. I stopped paying my dues because of this and now it’s worse. I’m trying to sell my condo but because of its appearance and loitering around the complex most people won’t even come to the unit. What can I do? They have over 50,000 in bank and we’ve gotten a new management company but after 4 months they have yet to do anything.

  2. Our board has two members who are not registered as owners according to the county taxing authority. Can the spouse of an owner serve on the HOA board, even though they are not considered an owner?

  3. When I was buying my new home I was told it had an HOA. I also found out that we have a levy tax that they can raise yearly and there is no cap on it. The HOA can raise taxes for a park and recreation with out informing us or even putting it to a vote. They said that it is called a free vote. I did not buy a home so I can be paying extra taxes when ever they feel free to implement them. I want to know what are our rights as home owners. It seems as though Texas has forgotten about its people and the right to own a home in peace. Also, the meetings are held at 10:30 am even though their web site states that the meetings are at 6pm. If you have a job to go to, no one can attend these meetings. I have spoken to quite a few neighbors and no one has been able to attend a meeting. How unfair!

  4. We are trying to oust our non active HOA president who is the only contact and person that handles HOA money, deals with management company and decides who the management company goes after. Upon being told that some owners are organizing, the owner of the management company ( who is also the hired atty- allegedly) has filed liens and is now threatening foreclosure. I don’t even think he can double dip as it should be a conflict of interest.

  5. Ever since we moved into our condo we have been targeted by another owner and it is escalating into a night mare. The management company is protecting the other owner and we need help. There is more to the story but where do we turn?

  6. I just sold my condo 3 months ago. I was President of the HOA for 7 years through multiple elections. While I have received a couple of innocuos emails from the existing board members, the management company which I attempted to replace twice has been threatening me regarding receipts for expenses they can no longer locate.
    I have resent the original emails from up to 3 years ago with receipts attached. Three weeks later they came back looking for a new one. I am so angry I am ready to hire an attorney. Is there any effective alternative solution that will not cost me the expense of an attorney? The existing board is very green and I do not think they will ever stand up to this management company.

    After 7 years of voluntary service, I felt very proud of the state of the property (both structurally and financially) when I handed over the reins. I just want this to end!

  7. Some years ago I reported my HOA for ordering our onsite maintenance man to litter in our local watershed. Ever since then we’ve been having problems getting equal treatment and have even been targeted by older and much wealthier home owners. We believe they are using the leverage of the association to deny us basic services that our monthly fees help pay for. Is there any official source I can complain to other than the better business bureau or local ombudsmen?

  8. Aren’t there state laws limiting the amount of increase in annual dues per year an HOA can impose? My HOA increased their dues from $22 quarterly 2014 to $100 quarterly in 2015. That seems rather excessive to me. The only reason provided for the increase was that there are several residents in the subdivision that do not pay their dues and repairs still need to be made. The burden falls on the homeowners who pay their dues regularly.

  9. Because of personal vendettas no one would take the HOA presidency because of all the lawsuits. Eventually, someone took the position.
    A Real Estate Lawyer in the HOA has filed suit against neighbors and the association for approving things such as a fence. We tried to dismantle the association but this “particular Real Estate Lawyer” manages to manipulate and throw legislation around during the votes to instill fear into residents. Even though we had over 50% of the votes to dismantle it, it was not valid. Two weeks after the meeting (to dismantle the HOA) I received a letter from the association requesting more money “additional assessment” requesting an additional $250 (Even though I have paid my dues for 2014).
    The description of the fees states the following: “Enclosed you will find an invoice for $250 per lot owned. This is an additional assessment in compliance with section 8.2 of the Restrictions to cover reasonable and necessary expenses incurred to administer and enforce the Restrictions, including defending the association in ongoing legal matters and to do other things considered to be for the general benefit of the owners and community.
    Part of this assessment is being levied in order to bring the Association into compliance with Section 6.1 of the CCRs and purchase D&O insurance, if still available and/or to build a reserve for legal expenses for issues that may arise in the future if insurance is not available”
    The current President wants to dismantle the HOA but this person that continues to sue has made our HOA uninsurable and we the homeowners have inherited that debt due to frivolous lawsuits. Our HOA is broke. What can we do end it ASAP?
    The person that continues to sue the HOA loses nothing because this is their field (Conflict of Interest) and just racks up the fees. This is manipulation and this person is encouraging other neighbors to sue the HOA. I’m not sure what the strategy is here but we have no pool, no park, nothing just a sign that has the name of our neighborhood.

  10. We are a small development of less than 250 homes. During our recent vote for president, a candidate (a realtor) brought his votes with him. He then caused his new board to pass an amendment increasing the number of board members from 4 to 9. I was unable to attend this meeting but I believe this act was cronyism. We’ve been here for over 18 years without need of a board increase. They have already sent out letters of lawn violations to people during a drought. We have no significant common areas other than two entrances. He has already posted a long message on a neighborhood web-sight saying he will approach his new position the same way he does his real estate transactions. He calls his takeover a “prodigious undertaking”. Is it a conflict of interest at this point? Is there anything I can do to protest this?

  11. Our new HOA president and secretary opened the secret ballots prior to our meeting.They counted the ballots(?????????) then presented the number to the rest of the Board. When we asked to see the ballots, they repeatedly refused. The old Board and Management Co. are starting a LAW SUIT against us. We do not know what to do. If the ballots are compromised, we have no knowledge.

    Where can we get help?

    • Evan McKennzie recently commented:
      What this massive fraud (in Las Vegas) reveals is how vulnerable HOAs and condo associations are to being taken over or manipulated into becoming ATMs for fraudsters.
      It makes no sense to put untrained, uncompensated, and often unqualified volunteers in charge of billions of dollars, based on a bogus ideology of privatism.

      http://privatopia.blogspot.com/

    • Typical! My board is threatening a suit against me. Why? Because I’ve asked too many times to review the docs the state statutes say I’m entitled to review. They’ve spent thousands keeping docs away from me. The last three Amended CC&Rs were never recorded. That means that the last valid recorded CC&Rs date to 1996. Are the CC&Rs enforced? Sure they are. SELECTIVELY! Do the ByLaws mean anything. NO!

      Keep making noise. Anyone writing on a site like this is trying to get positive changes made to a private government that is lopsided in favor of attorneys, management companies, and HOA boards. There’s no support for the homeowner.

  12. As a Realtor I am to post the fees associated with the costs of HOA dues, transfer fees, resale certificates,etc. It wasn’t long before this management company figured out Resale Certificates were a great source of income and added a fee called a “Statement of Account” if a full resale packet was not ordered. Annoying but legal. But the worst happened today, when they would not even disclose to the owner or to me as a Realtor the set up in their system what the costs of those fees were so we could post them on our Multiple Listing Site (MLS). Who pays is negotiable and buyers have a right to know what the costs are. I finally was able to find out but not without a fight. It seems to me it ought to be public knowledge and easily accessible.

  13. In theory taking back your HOA information should work. Reality: the way the system is set up right now this does not work. We have tried many of these suggestions to no avail and have been fighting our HOA with their own documents for over 5 years now. We have many stories about how they..change ballots.. taped opened and resealed. They don’t abide by the IRS ruling that allows the votes of residents to return money to the owners when profit is made. They have not had a quorum at any annual meeting from inception till 2010. They passed a golf course via survey and not actual votes that loses $90,000 annually. The list goes on.

    • Incredible! How can something so destructive of family life and of the American system of governance continue to dominate American housing? MARKETING! Chant the lie over and over: HOAs protect property values. THEY DON’T! Promise Utopia but hide the reality. Deny every plea for full disclosure – for openness. In 2004, two realtors were discussing on an industry blog how to ensure a buyer knew “what he was getting into” and concluded “…if ALL the potential pitfalls are enumerated, no one in his right mind would purchase.”
      Homeowners: Contact your legislators. The HOA laws must be changed. Homeowners must demand Open Meetings & Open Records- Government Codes 551 & 552. Homeowners must demand independent Government oversight.

  14. My HOA is not enforcing all of the residents to pay their HOA dues. Isn’t this unfair to those of us who are? Also, I have made numerous complaints to the HOA about an excessive number of dogs in the home next to mine. These dogs (now 4 in #) are extremely aggressive and attack and scratch the fence that is between the houses (which is my property too). The HOA has told me that they have sent a letter to the home and there is nothing more they can do. I know for a fact that according to our CC&R’s they have the ability to go as far as removing these animals for being aggressive, destructive, a nuisance, and for exceeding the allowed number (2). Who can I report the HOA to for not enforcing the Deed Restrictions and for not making everyone pull their weight by paying HOA dues?

    • As we have often stated, the legislature gave all powers to HOA boards but failed to establish an oversight agency. If City ordinances prohibit such conditions, you might seek help there. Texas homeowners must contact their legislators and state the need for an oversight agency. The voice of the People must be heard.

  15. My HOA took a non-used piece of our common area and changed its use or really non use without the consent of the owners. The HOA BOARD took it on themselves to take a beautiful grass meadow and turned it into a park complete with a play ground, picnic benches, and a walking path. The HOA Board did not ask any of the homes that surround the newly created park if they wanted the park to go there.

    HOA board claims that they did not have to get a vote from the community to change the use of the common area and they have the right to “maintain and improve” the common areas. I argue that the HOA Board is limited to my rights as a member to have the right to oppose such changes as the newly created park adds a burden to the surrounding homes.

    The Board has also mishandled our elections by not following our By-Laws which require a majority vote to be elected and a nominating committee to nominate potential officers. They did not have a nominating committee. The Board expecting dissent arbitrarily expanded the size of the board form 5 to 7 to dilute the vote. The board does not have the authority to change its size.

    Then at the elections the HOA board used Acclamation to elect the board. This would be fine except that I did not vote for three of the four candidates. Which would make Acclamation (unanimous consent), not an option.

    At one time, we had a play ground by our pool, it was destroyed by a hurricane and the prior board voted to replace the damaged play set and place it where it was before the hurricane . The board also limited a budget to $5,000. The new board ignored the prior board and spent $37,000 on the play set and new play ground and did not have that expense for the playground in the income and expense sheet. When the board purchased the play ground they did it in a closed meeting and then told the community that it was an emergency because they could save $19,000 on the play set so they had to act quickly.
    In Texas, we have an open meeting policy and all meetings of HOA Board should be opened to members. Later, the same board signed a contract to convey a part of our common area to a gas company in exchange for $32,000, this required a 2/3 approval from the community. When the HOA members contested the conveyance, a board had a vote and it did not pass.

    At the same time, the HOA board tried to convey more land to the CIty to build a hike and bike path thru the same common area that they have placed the play ground and walking path.

    The HOA Board had on its agenda to vote for the conveyance by a majority vote of board and not the community. When the community called foul, they had a vote. That vote failed and they are still conspiring to figure out a way to convey the land to the city.

    The board is abusive to the members at the meetings, At one meeting the VP was so out of control that the President had to adjourn the meeting.

    What can I do?

    • You might find this paper http://www.hoadata.org/ReclaimHOA.pdf helpful.

      Homeowners must learn that apathy is destructive. To protect themselves and their rights they must unite – they must act – both within their own HOA and on the state level. The laws must be changed and homeowners must keep after their legislators to right the wrongs that have been done. Join with the HOA Reform Coalition.

  16. I recently bought a house in Texas and rebuilt the fence with multiple kick boards to help offset a big slope in my backyard. The ACC Committee says I have to get it down to 1 kick board. Only 4 of 8 members heard my hearing in person. They broke their own rules and didn’t achieve a 2/3 quorum per the declarations and bylaws. They also had the hearing more than 30 days after my appeal which also broke the declaration and bylaws they established. Do I have any recourse?

  17. Has there ever been a successful lawsuit against an HOA BOD’s? I have been asking to review the HOA docs for well over 6 months. My attorney has written two letters asking for them. Their attorney doesn’t even respond, and I can’t get access to docs I’m legally entitled to see. My next step “I think” is to sue the BODs for willful misconduct. I am waiting to hear from my attorney, but thought I’d throw this up on this website. My HOA website has the State Statutes posted. Every one of them they have violated. In 8 yrs there hasn’t been an audit and I think it’s overdue. The Board selects what CC&Rs they care to follow, and are selective in enforcing them. I’ve involved state Legislators and they can’t get the BODs to budge either. I do not expect to find any funds have been embezzled; what I do expect to find is some level of voter fraud and intentionally misleading HOA certs. My Board does not care to be transparent.

    • This website alone is evidence of Texas’ need for an independent agency to oversee HOAs to end the injustice and abuse of homeowners. HOAs should be subject to Open Meetings and Open Records according to Government Codes 551 and 552. Fraud and embezzlement are daily reported across the nation. Many homeowners in Texas suspect their HOAs of such, but have no access to financial records.

  18. My neighbor had a gate installed on his driveway. I decided to follow his lead. I submitted my application and was denied for the reason: I needed to get into compliance with the city. I responded, “I was not aware the Texas Legislature had given HOA’s permission to enforce city code, ordinances or laws.” I then constructed my gate with wheels so that it is not a permanent structure but rather a temporary screening wall. HOA is suing me now.

  19. I’ve been trying to find out about Texas HOA Fee policy. They tried to keep people from voting if they’re not current on assessments but new law says they can’t do that anymore.

  20. How can I find out if HOA Committees in Texas are subject to Open Meetings — or is this requirement just for HOA Boards?

  21. I live in Texas and I was wondering if our HOA dues can go up more than 200% ? We were paying $120 dollars and now the board members are wanting to raise it to $ 400 dollars with a special assesment to be added later this year to fix a retention pond (possibly 200 dollars)
    It does not state in our BYLAWS or restrictions on how much of a percentage our dues can be raised. Is there a Texas law that can help out our association on this ?

    • Section 209.0051 listed issues that a board could not consider or vote on without prior notice to owners. Increases in assessments and special assessments were listed.

  22. The Board of directors for the HOA are returning my checks each month for the monthly dues and are charging me late fees at 10% interest along with the months not paid and currently they are saying I owed over $3.000.00. Can I bring a discrimination lawsuit against the Board of Directors for the HOA????

  23. We’ve had no meetings, no financial reports in years in our subdivision in Fla, how can we go about dissolving the HOA?

  24. By laws state my HOA can enter to maintain, repair, and maybe even to ensure my unit (above another) is not going to leak, or collapse onto the unit below.
    The problem is, I can tell when they’ve entered. Something is out of place. Food is missing.
    I resent this and asked the association president (in a voice message) if they can make an appointment when they come. She hasn’t answered and I just wondered what my rights are for when she does call. I couldn’t find a similar situation addressed anywhere after a short search on the internet.

  25. Our area was in foreclosure twice and picked up a third developer via the FDIC; (the bank foreclosed on the property and then the Bank was closed by the FDIC ). The area has 4 streams that flow to the Gulf. Unfortunately, all three developers platted between the tributaries and left the streams as tracts with no final Master Plat filed. One stream was made into two retention ponds. They remain Unplatted. According to our CCR’s, and the City, tracts cannot be part of the common area. In fact, we have no common area, as the electrical/telephone etc. encroached on Owners’ lots with an easement signed by the City. The brick fences were placed 10’ft into the owners property to borrow the easement from the owners to get electrical to the Unplatted pond area., but repair and maintenance was assigned to the whole association.
    Multiple problems and questions.

    • We must hope that the 2015 legislature will provide government oversight of HOAs to help homeowners who have been neglected for almost two decades. It must be an independent group with no connection to the CAI/HOA industry.

  26. When we moved into our community it had a pool. After a year or two, money was missing from the HOA and the pool eventually closed. I don’t know what happened to the money but the pool is still closed and our dues have actually gone up. Any advice on this situation would be appreciated.

    • Fraud and embezzlement cases are constant. HOAs should be subject to Open Meetings and Open Records per Government Codes 551 and 552, and subject to government oversight to protect homeowners.

  27. My HOA refuses to meet…it’s been 2 months , now going into our third since the board and property management have met. At the last meeting the board and property manager got called out in mismanagement. They left the meeting very angry and haven’t met since. Is there anything we the home owners can do to force a meeting…or have our own?

  28. Our HOA assessed us a $50 fine for not submitting architectural plans for a pergola built before we bought the home. The HOA refused to remove assessment and will increase assessment. I am being bullied with the HOA’s ability to increase the fine. Can I sue?

  29. In my HOA, the past president of the HOA quit his position. He then started an HOA management company. Shortly thereafter, our HOA Board hired his management company to be responsible for our HOA. He is the one who makes the rounds and writes and sends violation letters. He still lives in our development and now makes money off it. He also can obviously pick and choose who gets the violations. Its a great buddy system. Is this legal, or just unethical business? This has been going on for a while and no one has been willing to fight the board.

  30. Can relatives from different households be on the same board or is that a conflict of interest?

  31. Can an HOA come on your posted no trespassing property and tear down a building legally?

  32. We just sold property in Texas just after we paid the upcoming property owners assn dues for 2014-2015. When we asked for the POA to refund our dues and fees, they said it was a matter between the new owners and us. I don’t believe that could possibly be true since the POA has our money…right?

    • Advice that I have received is that such matters are often adjusted at closing for the sale. Refund would not be expected from the HOA.

  33. I am so unhappy in my Community that I am selling a beautiful home in a beautiful park like setting to get away from the neighbors who are both on the board and ACC which is part of our board

    I think every HOA should have a buy out option to allow everyone to choose whether they want to belong to the HOA. It could be renewed annually.

    I am in two HOAs right now as a result of owning multiple properties. Both are operated by corrupt people. It’s true absolute power corrupts absolutely!

  34. I was not able to submit a message on our HOA message board. I sent an email to the board member responsible for the message board, and got the response all my emails will be under review, and I am placed in a “moderated” status.

    I have posted subjects critical of the HOA board and our management company. These have been deleted from the message board.

    When a person creates a message on the board, and presses send, it is immediately posted on the board. My messages take one or two days to appear on the message board, and only those that are non political.

    Is there anything I can do about it?

    PS: Will I not be allowed at future HOA open meetings?

    • Here is another example of HOA control – and the need for independent governmental oversight. Homeowners should not have to incur the expense of hiring an attorney when denied their rights.

  35. My HOA is using an attorney(?) to write threatening letters that are not based on our by-laws or on Florida statutes. These frivolous lawsuits serve no purpose other than to harass homeowners and possibly get the owners to pay because they fear the board may obtain a lien on their property.

    f

  36. Can my homeowners’ association spend our money on state lands maintenance?

  37. If an HOA holds its annual meeting with a quorum, and now indicates that not enough votes/proxies were submitted to pass the Covenant’s new amendment, what is the percentage of households that have to vote? If they did not get enough households, does this constitute a disapproval of the proposed amendment?

  38. How often do you have to have an HOA meeting ? I have lived here for 14 years and have never had a meeting . I pay 240 dollars a year.

    • See: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/PR/htm/PR.209.htm

      Sec. 209.014. MANDATORY ELECTION REQUIRED AFTER FAILURE TO CALL REGULAR MEETING. (a) Notwithstanding any provision in a dedicatory instrument, a board of a property owners’ association shall call an annual meeting of the members of the association.

      (b) If a board of a property owners’ association does not call an annual meeting of the association members, an owner may demand that a meeting of the association members be called not later than the 30th day after the date of the owner’s demand. The owner’s demand must be made in writing and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered agent of the property owners’ association and to the association at the address for the association according to the most recently filed management certificate. A copy of the notice must be sent to each property owner who is a member of the association.

      (c) If the board does not call a meeting of the members of the property owners’ association on or before the 30th day after the date of a demand under Subsection (b), three or more owners may form an election committee. The election committee shall file written notice of the committee’s formation with the county clerk of each county in which the subdivision is located.
      (Read more on link)

  39. I am in the process of following through with a suit against my HOA, for not following the CC&Rs as well as the ByLaws. I’ve spent 2 yrs asking questions to which I’ve received no answer. The little I’ve learned leaves me alarmed. I have to follow the contract I signed with them, but apparently they do not, and I want that corrected to maintain my property values. All that said, I want others to know that living in an HOA where others have control is not healthy and my suggestion for anyone who reads this is to find a home community with as few amenities as possible or preferably to live free and independent outside an HOA. They’re very seductive until you have a problem. It’s not easy or financially feasible to have to pick up and move nor is it easy to switch out the Board and get on the team. Live free.

  40. We live in a neighborhood with an HOA but our house is grandfathered out. The HOA continues to send us renewal notices and violation letters. We call them everytime to remind them we are not part of the HOA. Is there a way to get them to stop harassing us?

  41. Are there any HOA legislators or lobbyists we can reach out to?
    Today the manager of the HOA (who is not a homeowner) told a homeowner that it would not matter if she got 50% of the home owners to vote because the property manager still would not let the homeowner on her board. WHAT GIVES HER THAT RIGHT?

  42. Please tell me how to find out if it is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain fence that was constructed by the developers of a subdivision, and previously maintained by the HOA. This fence is the length of a major street and serves as the border line of the northern section of the subdivision. The fence is not connected but it is directly aligned next to a stone column that is located at the entrance of a section of the subdivision. There are new people in the office now and they are sending letters to the homeowners demanding that we repair the fence.

  43. The activity on this forum has prompted me to contact my state representatives, senators, etc. Here is the email I sent:
    I am an angry homeowner who lives and abides by HOA regulations. I keep a beautiful home but yet am harassed by an intrusive HOA. The reforms that were passed last year have done NOTHING to protect homeowners from micro managing HOA’s that are operated by people who have nothing better to do than to nit pick their neighbors.

    If you check out the website http://hoareformcoalition.org on the complaint section you will see multiple complaints on a daily basis from HOA members who are being harassed and abused by their HOA’s.

    I implore you to put a stop to the fascist tenor that HOA’s have become in this state. We are suffering from too much government on every level. Please help us to have quiet enjoyment of our homes by limiting HOA’s. Pride of ownership should suffice with living within a community. Make HOA’s voluntary.

    It is becoming impossible to own property without mandatory HOA membership. What happened to freedom to choose? Please help homeowners who are being harassed to the point we can’t enjoy our homes any longer and it’s putting neighbors at war with each other.

  44. Where can a unit owner put a complaint against the Board if we know that Board members are not paying monthly assessments? The Property Manager is aware but lets it go. We also think they are doing other illegal activities. Who can we get to audit the books?

    • There is absolute need for an oversight government agency for HOA problems. This agency must have no connections to the HOA industry.

  45. Are there laws stating that homeowners associations have a certain timeframe to respond to a request such as a pool being put in? Are new homeowners required to get a copy of the association’s bylaws and statutes when purchasing a home?

    • Texas Property Code:
      Sec. 207.003. DELIVERY OF SUBDIVISION INFORMATION TO OWNER. (a) Not later than the 10th business day after the date a written request for subdivision information is received from an owner or the owner’s agent, a purchaser of property in a subdivision or the purchaser’s agent, or a title insurance company or its agent acting on behalf of the owner or purchaser and the evidence of the requestor’s authority to order a resale certificate under Subsection (a-1) is received and verified, the property owners’ association shall deliver to the owner or the owner’s agent, the purchaser or the purchaser’s agent, or the title insurance company or its agent:

      (1) a current copy of the restrictions applying to the subdivision;

      (2) a current copy of the bylaws and rules of the property owners’ association;

  46. The HOA at my condominium complex has $5000 in reserves and the assessment has risen from $155 to an astounding $287 in 6 years. None of the units have been painted in over a decade; no new roofs in 15; and only power of street lights, water, grass cut, trash, sewer, and a disgusting joke of a pool for 3 months a year. The last year there were over $500,000 of dues collected and the property is NOT that big. My house is on the market and for three months no board members or members of the property management company will provide documentation of appropriation of funds for my real estate agent. I don’t know what to do and my home is beautiful because I painted and landscaped myself. Even after that people can’t justify my dues. What should I do?

  47. Our HOA has deliberately scheduled the annual meeting at 2 in the afternoon. It is going to be downtown 20 miles away from the subdivision in a different city. This will make it where most of the homeowners cannot go. Can anything be done?

  48. Our HOA in the community I live in Plano, TX is in chaos. We just had a questionable election and the Management company has not given us the final vote count or will allow us to review the proxies. Not only that, but the Management company will not allow us to look at our finances to show us transaction history or balances. What can we do?

  49. Our property management group in Dallas keeps billing homeowners for extra fees $1,200 and $800. No legitimate reason.
    They are now billing all homeowners for a major office fire. $800.
    Should be insurance paid.
    Is there a board in Austin who we can complain to? Who are they accountable to?

  50. Is a BOD legally seated if there is no election as a quorum could not be established? Essentially, our Board is self-appointed.

  51. Every board member (except the treasurer) of my HOA voted “yes” to purchase a bench for our pool area. The treasurer is refusing to purchase it even though we have $25,000.00 set aside for pool projects. The bench costs $800.00. What can I do? Our president asked him to make arrangements with me to purchase it, but when he said, “No” our president backed down and will not stand up to him. I have documentation (all the yes votes were emailed) that we have an overwhelming majority FOR the new park bench.

  52. Tired of 1 person controlling the board.

    • According to a recent CAI paper, you are enjoying one of the “…private governing boards composed of homeowners who are elected by their neighbors to lead their associations.”

  53. Can some real, experienced attorneys in fort worth, TX and also other areas, who are not builder-title company-HOA associates, post their contact information. This will help for the concerned home owners to file lawsuit to get written the survey correctly with correct property acre size given in the builders advertisement. Fot first time buyers, it is impossible to get written a property with property correct acre size by the current system. All the home land will go in the name of easement in one or other way, if the home buyer is a first time home buyer.

    • I am having issues with my HOA regarding a drainage easement that runs between my property and my next door neighbor’s who also happens to be the HOA president. He has used the HOA attorney to represent him in harassing us with letters to cease and desist on trying to stop water velocity from washing away our lot! He refuses to allow the board approved repair plan to proceed because he doesn’t want the easement to be on his property as it was originally platted. We are paralyzed by his resistance to do anything other than to keep us from trying to keep our property intact. Instead of talking to us as a neighbor, he just went straight for the legal approach (he is an attorney too). At the very least I think it is misappropriation of HOA resources or conflict of interest. Our board is not responding to ANY communication from us; no calls returned, answered or email replies. We love our home but HATE what this has done for our quiet enjoyment of our home. They oppose my husband hauling rocks from a nearby creek to support our retaining wall. It would be a simple solution to just allow the $5k plan to proceed that was proposed by a civil engineering company.

      I would love to have legal resources available here that are NOT representatives of HOAs but have experience in how to overcome adversity caused by the HOA that is “non profit” and self managed. I live in the Denton area.

      Additionally the HOA has postponed the general membership meeting that is required by the by laws to be held twice a year in Oct and March. We agreed to a postponement to April and still no HOA meeting.

      • Total power with no accountability was the legislature’s gift to HOAs. Homeowners must unite and exert the Power of the People. Demand an oversight agency independent of all HOA influence to provide justice to homeowners. Contact your state senator and state representative to demand this agency.

  54. When we purchased our home, we were informed it was part of an HOA, but neither our agent or the title company could verify who the management was. We closed on the house and never received any info about the HOA and even asked neighbors whom to contact. Nobody knew whom to contact. After the first year we received a past due letter for $300 with no contact information other than a PO box. We researched and finally found the phone number and address of the management company. We made a partial payment, explaining that we had never been notified what the dues were, never received deed restrictions or anything. They never came forth with any documentation, other than a month later sent a notice for payment due and $50 late fees. We made the payment, less the $50 late fee and the management company emailed the board to see if they would agree to drop the late fees. That was 5 months ago and we never received a reply. We did receive a statement that the board had voted to increase the fees to $350 annually now. For reference there are about 42 homes in our community. I think the fees are outrageous and feel kind of cheated and unwelcome in the community. Any suggestions on where to go from here, or are we just stuck?

  55. I have an issue with my HOA in Dallas, Texas, not fixing a slab water leak. According to the bylaws, the HOA is responsible for fixing the problem. Now, 5 months later, they still haven’t done anything except send out a mold company which stated I now have mold problems. I need help. I am paying dues but can’t rent, sell, or do anything with the empty property.

  56. I have been cited with a violation not included in the Documents by the corporation of my Florida deed restricted community–for not trimming my bushes and trees that overgrow my property line into my neighbors property. What recourse do I have?

  57. Can a townhouse/condominium HOA keep investors from purchasing a unit or units for rental?

  58. I just moved into a new home and I wanted to extend my fence on the sides. I am on a corner lot and there is new construction all around. I have my sister and mother(disabled) living with me and wanted to protect them while I am at work. I was advised during the construction of the house to wait to extend the fence as it would probably be cheaper.I had checked with other fence companies for estimates and realized the company the builder uses is cheaper, so I signed a contract with them. They came and put up the post and immediately I got a call from the HOA attorney telling me to stop or a lawsuitwould take place. I told him the extensions have been done with other neighbors in the neighborhood. But he insisted I put in for an approval from the board. I went immediately to the HOA office and put in a request. I told the community manager that there were several owners in my area that had moved their fences up. She kept saying she didn’t know of others. I told her that an aerial view of the subdivision shows all whose fences are extended. The board gave me only permission to put the fence on the street side but not the interior side. I have windows on both sides that I am trying to block easy access to. Will getting an attorney be the only way to fight this if a lot of the people in the subdivision have fences extended?. Is this discrimination?

  59. I need help. My HOA has not contacted me in more than 3 years. They have not returned my attempts to contact them, though the manager will deny this. There was a secret BOD meeting and where she was elected her to the board. Now I am being sued (I found out by being served). I don’t mind paying back fees but I do not want to pay fines because they have not contacted me. Also, there are many things listed in the deed they are not doing/enforcing. They went 2 years without having a meeting. They elected the manager (who gets paid) the owner of the lawn company (who gets paid) and a lawyer (who gets paid) to the board. Two of these don’t even own property here. There has been a homeowner requesting to be on the board for 3 years and they have flat out told her there were no openings. Any ideas on how I can fight this?

  60. I live in a Texas HOA community. We read the deed restrictions and there is nothing in them that pertains to play structures. We were served with a notice that our play structure violates deed restrictions because we built an improvement to our property without approval. There is no definition of improvement in our deed restrictions and the structure is not considered as such by the county, city, real estate appraiser, IRS or title company. There are many similar play stuctures in the neighborhood which are visible from the street. Ours is not. None of them are in violation nor did they get approval. I have asked. So can they pick and choose what defines an improvement on a per case basis? The only recourse they’ve given us is to request a hearing. Do I need an attorney for the hearing?

  61. Until recently I had never thought any thing about HOAs. I feel that people who chose to live in an area governed by a HOA was a choice and could be a good thing, if run properly. At present I am a member of an HOA that has not had a meeting in at least 4 years. Today I spoke with the named president and was told, ” I have washed my hands of the HOA. You can direct any concerns /questions to the treasurer’s husband”. Now if my understanding of an HOA is correct, the officers of an HOA are elected. If a president steps down, then a meeting should be held to elect a new president. Since there have been no meetings in over 4 years, this has not been done.

    One thing that should be required of any HOA is to be registered with the state. A correct list of all officers of the HOA should be listed. I am unsure how others feel but I know for myself that trying to locate a person responsible for the HOA and being told that person has stopped all duties and handed the position over to someone else is not good order or good government. There needs to be some governmental entity that has regulations in place. Meetings should be required at least annually, and all records should be available to any member when requested. Members of the same household should not serve concurrently. Having a treasurer and a president married does not uphold the integrity of the HOA.
    A governmental office is needed that would oversee all HOAs in the state of Texas. When dues are paid on time and work that should be getting done is not being done, then either an HOA should be abolished or someone needs to be held accountable.

  62. It is hard to know where to start! We are in Dallas. My HOA board has not had a meeting with the owners since November 2012. The management company does not answer calls, and when we go down there the PM is never in. There are 5 owners who live on site and all of them are scared to even walk around the property. There are drug dealers sitting in cars in peoples’ parking spots all day selling drugs. There is trash all over the property and at night, lights are out and it is dark. The building was painted wrong 5 years ago and now the wood is rotting off the building.

    When I bought my unit in Jan 2013 they raised the HOA dues from $250 to $383 a month. Then in April 2013, they added a special fee of 48 dollars a month so they could pay for painting the building. They have not yet done any painting. It is a year now. My value is $70,000 on my unit however no way I could get $35,000 for it because the outside looks so bad with the people sitting in cars selling and smoking drugs.

    There was a fire across the way from us 2 months ago, and they had to bring in security to guard the units and clean things up. The insurance from HOA paid for security, and it was starting to get safer. The owner of the management company has now told the security company they are no longer needed because he thinks it is safe now. Since they have been gone, 2 cars have been broken in to. People are going in to the units where the fire happened, taking stuff with no one to stop them. There are people staying in the units at night.

    There are 5 owners who live onsite that are tired of what is going on, but since the President and the Board own more then half of all the 52 units we can’t do anything.

    Is there anything we can do? or are we going to have to take a loss on our unit when we sell it for $30,000. We prefer not to have to move, but we feel our lives are at risk living here.

  63. Here is my problem. I asked the board president for the name of the architectural committee’s chairman, and he said “no.”

    Using the HOA web site I e-mailed every board member a request for the ACC chairman’s name and the names of the committee members. I included the fact I am entitled to these records per state law as a member of our home owners association.

    No answer from anyone, and, I expect no one will ever reply.

    In addition, two years ago I attended a seminar on the 209 law with a few board members and the presenter stated a HOA does not have to comply with the law because there is no penalty for not complying with the law. Why has the legislature imposed penalties on homeowners and not on boards that violate the law?

    And when will the legislature acknowledge its error and correct this injustice?

  64. Who enforces the texas property code ? The HOA has violated at least four statutes. Who do I report to?

    • The HOA laws were written by the HOA industry to benefit the HOA industry. The legislature, in enacting these laws, has neglected to provide any protection for the homeowner. There is no agency to provide justice. When homeowners are deemed in violation of any law, there are provisions for immediate penalties. When HOA boards, management companies, or attorneys are in violation there are none. The HOA industry has lobbyists constantly working the halls of the Capitol to ensure HOA control. It is time for the “Power of the People” to regain homeowner control.

  65. I heard a rumor, that I hope is true.
    If the HOA or POA has not filed a current Management Certificate with the county Clerks office, the association is not operating legally and in effect they are powerless over us the home owners.
    Please tell me this is true, also when are they required to refile? Are there any other documents that may not have been filed that could be used against them?

    • Sec. 209.004 of the Texas Property Code on Management Certificates should answer most of your questions.

      • No, I don’t understand. It says they should file but doesn’t seem clear what it means if they don’t and what exactly is a management certificate?

      • Sec. 209.004. MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATES. (a) A property owners’ association shall record in each county in which any portion of the residential subdivision is located a management certificate, signed and acknowledged by an officer or the managing agent of the association, stating:(1) the name of the subdivision;(2) the name of the association;(3) the recording data for the subdivision;(4) the recording data for the declaration;(5) the name and mailing address of the association;(6) the name and mailing address of the person managing the association or the association’s designated representative; and(7) other information the association considers appropriate.

  66. Can a Board member of our Home Owners Association own our website? The board member claims that she personally owns the rights to the community’s website domain. She refuses to relinquish the “rights” to the members, and is forcing the association to purchase a new domain and to suffer the related costs of creating a new website, after the community had supported the site for over 10 years. She has become disgruntled since she lost her position of President and when it came time to update the website, she refused to allow changes and that is when she told the remaining board that she owned and ran the website and she would not give permission for any changes to be made in the website. The board then was forced to pay for a new website host and the rebuilding of the site. We the members are required to pay for the expenses. Can this board member do this legally and or ethically?

    • One attorney stated:

      Ethically I would say the answer is NO. Legally the answer is more complicated. But, if they already have a new web site, and already have paid, then the only question is whether to sue the former board member. Is that really a good use of time and money?

  67. We were told as I am sure many others have been, that the home we were buying had no HOA . The closing attorney agreed with agent there was none. A few months after moving in neighbors started rumbling and talking and complaining . Long story short we are caught in this now . This was to be our retirement home and our budget did not support HOA dues . We are searching for anyway to get out of this legally or we may be forced to lose our retirement dream home we have worked to get for 45 years.

  68. I’m in a Texas HOA and I was wondering if I’m allowed to have a playset built in my backyard. If so, how do I go about getting permission to do so? First time home owner and I don’t want to start with a conflict with my HOA.

    • Individual HOAs have their own by-laws and other governing documents. Adhere to these and see if there are forms that you must complete before any activity is started.

  69. Our board of directors will not hold regular meetings according to Texas state law.
    They will not deliberate or vote on issues at the regular meetings. The board only tells the decision that has been made at the regular meetings. Decisions are made privately and the board tells members what they decided at the next regular meeting.

  70. I own a home in a Texas HOA. Our meetings have always been open to all who happen to be in the hall when the meeting starts. I received memo in my mailbox titled “General meeting policy”. It states this is a private meeting for members of the association. It welcomes visitors; renters. As a private meeting the board is requestng NO RECORDING of the meeting other than the secretary, who will delete the tape when minutes are written. Members who speak at the meeting have a right not to be recorded. Leave recorders off and out of sight. Also cell phones must be off and out of sight. By directors of association.

    Does this contradict Texas one consent law for recording? Can we record meetings for our own personal use – ( hard of hearing )

  71. If a board member is contesting an election because there are missing votes what is the current state of the board?

    • Texas Property Code 209.0057 (d) should answer this. Further: “Any action taken by the board in the period between the initial election vote tally and the completion of the recount is not affected by any recount.”

  72. My HOA has a committee that is rewriting the covenants which will require a vote of the homeowners. This is a perfect opportunity for the homeowners to fight for protections. Do you have a list of protections that should be included; sort of a homeowners bill of rights?

  73. I just attended a meeting of our POA. I was hoping to get information about elections.
    I have lived here for almost 8 years and the same people have always been on the board.
    I was told the election would be at the annual meeting, but they did not know when it would be held. I was told there would probably not be any open board positions as they stagger the terms so that only one or two are available at any one election.

    I have never been notified about how to get on the ballot, or what positions are opening up.
    I was advised to send a request in writing or to go to the title company that handled the closing when I bought the house and get all the information from there.

    How could my neighbors and I go about removing these people and getting some representation on the board?

  74. Are there ways to limit HOA expenditures to strictly maintaining the common areas and enforcing covenants? My HOA wants to spend money on social activities. There is no mention of social activities in the covenants.

    • Property Code 204.010 gave all power to HOA Boards. The people must unite to elect board members who truly represent them. The people must unite to elect legislators who will truly represent them and not the lobbyists.

  75. Our HOA Treasurer has served two consecutive three year terms. Is this allowed? (Texas Non Profit HOA)

    • Consult your ByLaws for length of term and number of consecutive terms that can be held.

    • Our Bylaws do not place any term limits on Board members. We have had Board members serving for 15 years in a row. Our Board elects Officers after each Annual Election.

      I also want some form of term limits imposed, but it has to be done in the HOA’s Bylaws or CC&Rs.

  76. Are proxies considered a ballot?

    • Sec. 209.00592. VOTING; QUORUM. (a) The voting rights of an owner may be cast or given:(1) in person or by proxy at a meeting of the property owners’ association;(2) by absentee ballot in accordance with this section;(3) by electronic ballot in accordance with this section; or(4) by any method of representative or delegated voting provided by a dedicatory instrument.

  77. Do proxies that homeowners assign to other homeowners become the property of the HOA and therefore become public information available to other homeowners? Can copies of the proxies be given to another homeowner?

    • According to the Texas Property Code:
      Sec. 209.00594. TABULATION OF AND ACCESS TO BALLOTS. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or any other law, a person who is a candidate in a property owners’ association election or who is otherwise the subject of an association vote, or a person related to that person within the third degree by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Chapter 573, Government Code, may not tabulate or otherwise be given access to the ballots cast in that election or vote except as provided by this section.(b) A person other than a person described by Subsection (a) may tabulate votes in an association election or vote but may not disclose to any other person how an individual voted.(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or any other law, a person other than a person who tabulates votes under Subsection (b), including a person described by Subsection (a), may be given access to the ballots cast in the election or vote only as part of a recount process authorized by law.
      Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1217, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2011.

  78. I bought my condo 3 years ago and my condo fee was $237.00. We were told there was not enough money to do repairs. My fee was then raised to $273.00, and again there was not enough money to do repairs. The fee increased to $306.00 and then to $328.00 and still no work has been done. Now they are asking $10,440. special assesment. None of us know where we are going to get all that money or if the work will be done. There are many questionable factors, e.g. the builder owns the association plus 42 other complexes besides this one.

  79. In order for my HOA board to maintain control after a resignation, they have appointed a non-member to the Board. The appointed board member does not own any property within the subdivision. However she is a friend of the other Board members. Now our Board is looking at a bylaw amendment to change the requirements to be a Board member. Just seems wrong that a person who is not a member of the Association, who doesn’t have a vote per the DCRs is now deciding on what the members are to comply with. How can this be legal for a non-member to be on the Board?

  80. My HOA will not take care of a simple recurring sewage issue until we have been exposed to nasty sewer water bubbling up through the manhole covers in front of our home. Last year it took getting the Health Department and the Mayor’s office involved.
    I lived in a community with a great HOA in Corpus Christi. All self run, no property management company. The board was the best. Any time you had a problem or an issue they were there to serve. WHAT A NOVEL IDEA.

    Fast forward 2 years. We have been here for a year and the annual meetings are a joke, more like elder abuse. The president is all full of herself and the other board members never speak. If you dare ask a question you will be told that you should have let them know ahead of time. Silly YOU!!!! ASK A QUESTION? REALLY????

    I think that HOA’s should be reined in and fast. We need laws or we need to disband them all. Actually, we pay taxes for trash pickup and city services, and we pay again for the HOA to hire private companies to pick up our trash, and no recycling. The more I think about it I do believe declaring HOA’s illegal and disbanding them all is the only way to go.

    • Homeowners must exert the “power of the people” to end this uncontrolled abuse. For too many years the HOA industry has paraded its Board officers “the controllers” at legislative hearings, claiming they represent “the people”. They do not. The people are the tens of thousands of homeowners who are harassed, fined, and targeted by the industry.
      The HOA industry works unceasingly to maintain its income – your money. Join with the Coalition to regain your rights and your income.

    • This is an update. It has been 10 days since my original post. Unfortunately, we had to get the city Health Dept as well as our City Councilwoman involved before the President of the HOA felt compelled to get the plumber out here to clear the sewer lines. She did inform my husband that there is a broken sewer pipe and she is in the process of getting bids for replacing it. This was almost 2 weeks ago. She also promised to let us know what is going on. My husband called her this morning and she seemed to think the problem is fixed. He then called the Health Dept person who was waiting to hear from him and they came out with a city works truck. Now there is a plumber with a big tank sucking out the sewer lines. This is only a bandaid. The problem will continue until that broken pipe is replaced, I feel certain. All I can say is thank goodness this was a public health issue that we could actually get help with. HOA’s have way too much power and should be disbanded.

  81. How many times in a calendar year can the same CCR be amended in Texas?

    • Section 202.006:
      Public Records
      (a) A property owners’ association shall file all dedicatory instruments in the real property records of each county in which the property to which the dedicatory instruments relate is located.

      (b)
      A dedicatory instrument has no effect until the instrument is filed in accordance with this section.

      Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

      There is no reference to frequency.

      • Are condo association policies and procedures that pertain to fines, pets, late fees etc., considered dedicatory instruments that require filing with the county clerk?

  82. We are trying to build in a NC beach community.There hasnt been a house built since the 90′. The covenants are old but we do have a copy. The requirements for the Architectural Committee are short and we were thinking we could comply. Then the committee emailed us a list of 7 items. One is a check for $300.00 for them to hire an architect to review our plans. They pick the architect and we also agree to pay for any additional time spent by him at his regular rate. There is absolutely no mention of this in the covenants. Can they change the requirements?

  83. MY HOA is trying to restrict us from doing short term rental (<30 days) with our home, although other properties are allowed to do short term rentals within our gates and the club hours and operation openly cater to renters. The HOA document (over 650 pages) did not clearly state the restriction. We are phase 1 and after searching for this restriction for hours, we finally found a convoluted reference to it in the phase 4 supplement. It seems discriminatory to allow some properties to rent within our gates and not allow others, especially given the situation. And, the vast majority of home owners do not live here full time. We already have legal obligations from folks who booked our home and invested money to enable it as a short term rental property.

    Selling is not really an option. Our developer went bankrupt and less than 1/3 of the lots in this 2005 subdivision have houses. The closest home is several lots down. More than half the homes in this community have been for sale at some point in the last few years and only a couple were actually sold. One home on our street foreclosed after trying to sell for four years.

    • Our founders fought for our Bill of Rights. Americans now surrender to multi pages of restrictions in their daily HOA life. WHY? What benefits do HOAs provide? Harassment, intimidation, control, and selected enforcement do not produce happiness, peace, and harmony. When will America once again become the land of the free and the home of the brave?

  84. Does Texas Law require that an HOA prepare a Reserve Study covering the major Common Area Assets? If yes, where and how can I find the law.

  85. I too received a notice informing me I needed to stain my garage doors. I had just done so two weeks earlier on my own without prodding. They had the wrong address on the notice as a board member riding around the neighborhood admitted and apologized.
    Management companies of these HOAs seem to have nothing better to do than
    harass others. Bet not one at the management company lives within the neighborhood they oversee? Double standards run rampant in these neighborhoods. I will soon show photographic proof of them.

  86. I just received a notice from my HOA, fining me $150 for having two cars parked in my driveway. The notice is upsetting to me for 2 different reasons: (1) the plates they cited in the letter are for my neighbor’s two cars. Their error tells me that they are an organization with too much power and too little oversight; and (2) it doesn’t sit well with me that they have a right to fine ME for having a car parked in MY driveway.

    It feels like an invasion of my rights and privacy and it seems like some of these rules were disingenuously created — they serve no purpose other than to provide an additional source of revenue for the companies that manage them.

    I understand that I am beholden to their bylaws if I want to live in that neighborhood and that gives them some bizarre quasi-governmental authority, but I don’t agree with the legality of it all. What about my right to the private enjoyment of my personal property?

    Plus, there is no official mention or point in time, prior to closing on a home, where you are given a chance to review the HOA’s bylaws. (BTW, my HOA’s bylaws are SEVERAL HUNDRED pages long.) I would not have purchased a home in this neighborhood had I known I could not park in my driveway, have only 1 row of shrubs, have a wooden fence, have a swingset that is visible from a street (impossible in a hilly neighborhood), put a political sign in my yard, get Dish Network, have Christmas lights up past January 10th, have curtains without white backing, paint my house a color other than a specific Sherwin Williams colors, etc. It’s like I live in Stepford land where all houses are identical and each street should look beautifully vacant with no cars in people’s driveways.

    As long as my actions are not resulting in damaged property, interfering with someone else’s private enjoyment of their property, or impacting the value of my neighbor’s homes, then my behavior should be both socially and legally acceptable. I see HOAs as organizations that people pay to keep the entrances and common areas looking nice and send polite “would you mind not…” letters to people when they do something that negatively impacts another property. When my neighbor blew his leaves into the street instead of bagging them up, I didn’t call the “HOA Police”, I just wrote him a polite, friendly letter explaining that blowing his leaves caused drainage problems and gave him a couple leaf bags as a goodwill gesture. It worked! Whatever happened to civility? We have forgotten how to talk to eachother like human beings — you can’t be a society without socializing.

    • Your letter well describes so much that is wrong in Privatopia, however you state that they have “too much power and too little oversight”. There is no oversight. HOAs have total power and no checks or balances. Please join us at the 2015 legislative session to get laws enacted to restore homeowner protections. The CAI/HOA industry has the lobbying dollars. We have the people – but the people must unite and act.

  87. Florida: Our By Laws state that only full time residents can be on the Board. We just had an election and the President and Secretary are here 6 months out of the year and the Vice President though a full time resident goes up North from June thru September. We have monthly board meetings. There will be times when neither of these 3 will be here especially the President who goes up North from May until October. How can this be enforced? Should we have a new election? They think they can run these meeting via cell phones, they will not be here to see the attending residents. There will be times when none of the three officers will be present. The majority of our resident are elderly and now that the election is over this concern has surfaced. The only two that will be here are the Treasurer and an elderly person who refuses to use a computer which is used in discussions between board members. He also refuses to take the educational certification course. So when voting is done via email he is not an active participant and usually votes the way that the treasurer votes.

    • Jan Bergemann advocates for homeowners in Florida at http://www.ccfj.net and

      http://www.ccfjfoundation.net

      Jan states: Law disallows restrictions demanding that board members have to be full time residents. And if the board doesn’t have a quorum when some folks are up North in summer, they can’t hold board meetings. Computer knowledgeable or not: They can’t make decisions by e-mail — not here in Florida..

  88. My Texas HOA is sending out official HOA emails using a fake (non-existent) email address for a board member. How do we ensure that HOA’s are required to use REAL email addresses on official HOA emails? Here’s the problem, with more and more SPAM filters becoming more sophisticated, when a fake email is used these email are either automatically deleted or put into someones SPAM folder. No everyone looks at these folders. Texas requires that 72 hour notice be given to all residents via email about Board meetings. When a HOA sends an email using a fake email address, residents who have registered with the HOA may not receive the email.

    What a better excuse for an HOA, yes we sent the emails out….who cares if we (the HOA) used a fake email address to send it out under……if you (resident of the HOA) didn’t get it, it is your own fault….talk to your email provider….not us (the HOA)…..

    So how are HOA’s complying with the law when they knowingly use fake email return addresses in their communications with the residents? The HOA says well we sent it. But residents are not necessarily receiving these emails because the association is knowingly using a fake email address. Why are there not laws requiring that all HOA communication be on an real email account that can be replied to as well as ensuring that emails are not blocked due to SPAM filters knocking out emails from false accounts?

  89. Our HOA of XXX, STATEN ISLAND, NY doesn’t exist, – Only one lady that says she is the treasurer, sends us every year the total amount that we have to pay for that incoming year, without sending us, for at least last six years, any explanation, proof or records of where, when how the money was spent etc… Funny thing, even the increases on the HOA fees for at least two years came from the same lady on a notice page without any signature or even HOA stamp telling us that HOA fees just went up to $400 from $250. No meeting of the people living here was held; nobody knows who decided for that increase etc… I dont know what is going on here. Please help us with any thoughts or suggestions on this issue. Thanks very much

  90. My HOA doesn’t keep accurate records. The company decided to ask homeowners to produce their receipts from the time lived in the home. This is almost 9 nine years of receipts.

  91. I am not in an HOA of Houston and was thinking about moving towards The Woodlands or Spring or Jersey Village to be closer to my husband’s job. After reading all this and hearing other nightmares on the television, I will stay right where I am. I came from an area in Florida that also had no HOA, so I wasn’t really aware of what it is. !!! Sounds like Nazi Germany. WHO GAVE THESE PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO IMPOSE THEIR WAY OF THINKING HOW AND WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR OWN HOME? I thought you pay city taxes to enforce neighbors to keep up their properties. This is really obscene.

    • The Texas legislature empowered HOA boards by Texas Property Code Section 204.010. Click on the OPINION tab “A Layman’s View of HOA Land”. HOAs have been empowered and are subject to NO oversight. Other states are beginning to establish government agencies to give some protection to homeowners. The time is long overdue for the Texas legislature to protect its citizens. The time is long overdue for the Federal Government to protect its citizens. The single instance of the FBI prosecuting HOA abuse in Nevada is only a beginning.

  92. Do homeowners in Texas have any rights or protection from BODs who “bully” and single out members based on race or because they are “new to the community”? Who regulates BODs and how are they able to get away with so much corruption in Texas?

    • There is no oversight agency for HOAs, but there are organizations and agencies who work to defend against bias and for rights of individuals, e.g. the Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, the ACLU.

  93. Do Texas HOA members have any help other than having to pay legal counsel to get HOA records, bank accounts,etc? Our former BOD resigned and refused to hand over bank records,etc so the only recourse we are aware of will cost our association money that we currently do not have (our BOD was very “unethical” and corrupt in its handling of our money and records). Who regulates corrupt HOA BODs and how can they be held accountable without having to spend money for legal counsel?

    • Again, the Texas Legislature gave HOAs unchecked power. There is no agency overseeing this abuse. Please contact your state senator and state representative informing them of your problem – but get all of your HOA members to contact them. The power of the people must prevail. Unchecked power of HOA Boards must end.

  94. Our HOA in Virginia is now being administered by a company (instead of just neighbors) and they have just written us up for three violations (in the 10 years prior, we never were written up). Two of the violations are extremely costly to fix (garage doors need to be replaced and the roof needs to be re-shingled). The combined cost is about $10,000 (we are already in new debt because we just replaced the HVAC over the summer after going 3 years w/o A/C and had to take out a 5 year loan to get it. We didn’t know the HOA would suddenly be on us about these other issues). I agree the work they cited needs to be done and I will have to spend our emergency fund to hire contractors to do the work. Question is: Is there any kind of limit to how much an HOA can ask of someone in a 12 month period? What is to keep them from just adding on more and more stuff to replace after these things are done? What happens if we can’t afford all the stuff they want done? We are already trying get by on just one salary since I lost my job and we have still have stuff on the inside of the house that is in more urgent need of repair, like a leaky basement. Is there anyway to get relief from too many costly requests made back to back? If it was still neighbors managing these issues I feel like I could get a break, but when it is a company managing it, I am not sure. Is there an limitations or regulations on what is reasonable for them to ask/expect of someone in our situation?

  95. My wife and I bought a condo on January 1st 2013. Since we have owned, there has not been one single meeting. It is almost one year now and the HOA management company gives me a run around on that they will let me know when a meeting will happen. My 1st question is, how many meetings do there have to be if any at all? When we bought the condo on purchase date the HOA raised the fees from 250 to 380. Then in June they raise our fee to 426 a month. The last rate increase they say was to fix property because they are being fined by the city. We live at XXX Condo in Dallas. I have met the President of the HOA 2 times: 1st time when I bought unit he was onsite because he owns 4 units and rents them out. 2nd time I saw him and asked him about putting up a replacement fence on the back of my deck in April. He said no approval needed; I could just replace it; so I did. Out of the 51 units, 47 are rentals. There are about 6 units that sell drugs in the parking lot, however management company says call the police. It does no good. My wife and I love our unit since we have remodeled most of it inside, however the extra cost for a bad HOA and not knowing what is going on with our money drives us crazy.

    • When you last wrote on October 14, 2013, we mentioned the need for an independent oversight agency for problems such as yours. At this time it is important that you contact your state legislators and the media. Your question about meetings should be contained in the BY-Laws and CC&R’s.

  96. My HOA board president puts himself above the rules. Here in xxx, Texas, under xxx management, my board president has ignored the rules and regulations now for as he admitted three years at least,
    Attempting to squeal on his neighbor when he reported her for building a playhouse for her grandchild, he notified the management company of her starting without permission.
    The architectual committee was notified and went to her home, spoke with her and she was very sorry and accommodated our every request. She complied to the letter and got her construction approved.
    Since they are neighbors, and she openly admitted our board president has not been very friendly to her, we stood in her backyard looking at her playhouse, noticing the next door neighbor’s playhouse/swingset, basketball goal, blacked off fence portion separating yards – aLL without local appropriate approval. The installation of solar windows was done without approval and, and installation of a french drain between houses highly likely was installed without any consultation with ACC or Town of xxx compliance or approval.
    On 4 separate incidents the board president presiding over our HOA, has skirted the rules, yet he expects everyone else to repair or correct their violations within 30 days of receiving a letter or postcard via USPS.
    He is being sequestered before the board soon, and I’ll return with more later if anyone is interested.
    Arrogance, double standards abound here in xxx under xxx management.
    How can a board president expect others to abide by the rules if he avoids them now for as far back as 3 years right up to last August when the solar screens were installed without approval?
    If we are going to have rules, shouldn’t everyone be governed by them? I do not like or support HOA’s, but this, to me, takes the cake.

    • Evan McKenzie in PRIVATOPIA states that HOAs “…exalt the status of rules…above the fabric of the community.” Richard Louv is quoted (in PRIVATOPIA) as saying, “We have a generation in this country that doesn’t know you should be able to paint your house any color you want.”

  97. I bought a condo in Seattle in 2011. The agent told me the the $35,000 assessment had been written off on my unit since it was bank owned. I emailed the property management company before closing to verify this and they said it would say in the “resale document”. It does not say anything in the resale document about a current or approved future assessment. It does not say anything about repairs exceeding the 5% annual budget. Now I am being assessed $39,000. I have known about it for a year and tried to first argue that it was not disclosed in the resale document. The response is that they didn’t know the amount and that I didn’t do my due diligence. When I ask why there was no vote (the declarations say the board has to have 2/3 approval for repair exceeding 5% of the annual budget) the response I get is that they are operating under some kind of emergency clause. That “the attorneys have ordered them to do the work”. Part of the work is urgent but not an emergency. A lot of the work is “upgrades” that can be done later. The board has known about these needed repairs since 2006 and has had plenty of time to budget and build a reserve. I will lose my condo over this. Is there any help I can get?

    • Buying into an HOA is far worse than co-signing a note with strangers. A note has a fixed amount, defined terms, and can be paid off. In an HOA there is a lien that can never be paid off. The homeowner is a guarantor for all debts incurred by the HOA, and his house is security for their spending sprees.

      There have been so many foreclosures in condos that with insufficient income from assessments, maintenance suffered and some condos were condemned as uninhabitable. Owners who had been paying their assessments then suffered. Another problem was caused by investors who purchased the foreclosed properties and then acted in their own interest to the detriment of the owners still there. There were numerous complaints of condos controlled by a very few. By-laws were changed illegally – not with the required percentage of members. There have been many cases of condos demanding special assessments in excess of $30,000.00.

      Other than your consulting an attorney, we do not know what help is available in Seattle.

  98. I purchased a town home with 26 units built in a 120 unit community. The builder pulled out and sold to company who has not maintained the property. Grass was waist deep for weeks on the lots that are not built on and repairs are being given the run around because the association is “broke”. The siding is coming off from my unit and the roof leaks and has missing shingles you can see from the road. The management company for the HOA as been notified at least 3 times and tells you a crew will be out that NEVER comes. Now it has been sold to a corporation that wants to put up dissimilar units for rental purposes. 95 in all. They have 2/3 of the votes for the HOA and have told the owners of existing units “too bad”, but they will allow us to have one member on the board. They have also let it be known that they will have 95 votes as opposed to our 26. They will buy our units at a rate far below retail if we don’t like it. We are all stuck and can not afford to sell at a loss. The pool of buyers will be limited as FHA requires less than 48% lease rate. I live in Texas. What can I do? We believe that they are going to make the rentals section 8.

  99. I live in an HOA located in north Texas. Earlier this year (April), I discovered that the HOA had been involuntarily dissolved by the Secretary of State back in 1994. I brought this to the attention of our Board of Directors, and they are slowly trying to rectify things, after I found them a good HOA Lawyer.

    In addition to this seemingly huge problem on now being an unincorporated Nonprofit HOA, our Board somehow overlooked a package from their former HOA lawyer sent 2 years ago, which informed them of the Property Code changes that went into law in 2011 and 2012. I have also detailed these changes to them and their first response was that I must want to sue them. It is still not off the table as they are dragging their feet, as usual.

    Add to that the Board Secretary finagled things so that he could hire his wife as the replacement office person; it was all a setup that everyone but the board will admit to. In addition, his wife wouldn’t know accounting if it bit her, something that is driving their CPA crazy. And yet, no one will terminate her, even though I have written proof the Board never voted to hire her, in the first place. A lot of it has to do with the fact that all 4 of our Board’s Officers are all buddies and vote together. I hope this all changes at the next elections in early 2014.

    So far, I have had 2 Records Inspections, pursuant to 209.005, and have discovered more problems, conflicts of interest, collusion and duplicity. Had I a pile of money, I would have lawyers all over them, but it would result in the Association footing the bill. I have told them I will be filing Records Inspection Requests on a quarterly basis until such time as they are compliant with state laws.

    If I had the money to move, I would at a minute’s notice. I will never again buy property in any HOA/POA. I am writing to my state reps and senators and demanding that they get some meaningful oversight and penalty legislation voted into law.

    • Demanding that our legislators get meaningful oversight and penalty legislation is the first step. Then get all of your neighbors to unite with you in this demand.

  100. I live in Texas and recently found out that the HOA placed cameras on privately owned town homes. No one knows about these cameras which are apparently installed for “security” reasons. Are they allowed to put these up without any consent or signs on the property?

  101. Is it true that there is a statute of limitations of 4 years for HOA’s and COA’s where if your Texas property association has not taken legal action, filing a lawsuit, then they cannot collect assessments that are 4 years or older and cannot enforce restrictions if the “violation” has been in existence for over 4 years?

    • One attorney’s comment:
      There is no simple answer to this. At one extreme it is simple. If you paint your door green, and it should have been blue, then after 4 years you should be OK. But there is a concept of continuing violation that may, or may not, apply. And there are things associations can do that weaken the four year statute of limitations with respect to assessments.

  102. I recently moved into a community and just found out our homeowner association is run by the developer. There aren’t any of the community residents on the board. Is this legal? Also, can they charge the residents homeowner fees if they are still building in the community? I was under the impression, the developer has to be completely finished building in the community before charging any homeowner fees. How do we find out at what percentage of completion is the community? the developer will not give us any straight answers.

    • HB 2761 – Sec. 209.00591 – (Passed in 2011)

      (c) The declaration may provide for a period of declarant control of the association during which a declarant, or persons designated by the declarant, may appoint and remove board members and the officers of the association, other than board members or officers elected by members of the property owners’ association. Regardless of the period of declarant control provided by the declaration, on or before the 120th day after the date 75 percent of the lots that may be created and made subject to the declaration are conveyed to owners other than a declarant, at least one-third of the board members must be elected by owners other than the declarant. If the declaration does not include the number of lots that may be created and made subject to the declaration, at least one-third of the board members must be elected by owners other than the declarant not later than the 10th anniversary of the date the declaration was recorded.

  103. In December 2006, amended deed restrictions were put in place. Because the original deed restrictions had no procedure to amend and were to “run with and bind the land for 40 years” with automatic renewal of 10 years unless the then owners voted to annul them, it is our understanding that Chapter 211 of the Texas Property Code would apply. Further, our County has less than 65,000 inhabitants required by Chapter 211.

    The 2006 Amended Deed Restrictions were authored by an individual who was on the Board of Directors and an attorney the rest of the Board knew nothing about. The 2006 Amended Deed Restrictions provide many benefits to the author who included himself as “declarant”, owns approximately 500 lots in the subdivision and pays assessments on only 10 of them. He IS NOT the Developer, nor has he ever been the Developer, but has all the rights and benefits of the Developer, as well as many more.

    A member of the Property Owners Association filed suit to have a declaratory judgment ruling the 2006 amended restrictions invalid. This suit was filed against the author for many injuries to our Association and against the POA for failing to curb his injurious behavior.

    The POA claimed we, as members of the POA have no standing and that we must have been “uniquely” harmed before we could sue the organization. A judge ruled that we have no standing.

    Are we, the individual members of the Property Owners Association, truly at the mercy of a POA that holds us in so little regard?

  104. Yes, the Texas Legislature should place HOA’s under the umbrella and control of a State agency along with laws governing the operations of HOA’s. However, if an HOA is committing criminal acts, homeowners can presently go to the county DA and the local police department to file a criminal complaint about the acceptance of pay offs from contractors in exchange for HOA contract work, embezzlement etc.

    • Not many homeowners have the courage, stamina, or time to navigate the legal system. With no independent State Agency to protect them, homeowners suffer the abuse of harassment, liens, fines, foreclosure, fraud, embezzlement, etc. The HOAs have the power and are not hesitant to use it.

      • The county DA, and the current AG of the state of Texas all refuse to become “involved” in an HOA matter, despite the Texas Constitution specifically stating (under Article 4, Section 22) that the “Attorney General shall take all steps necessary in the courts to insure that no private corporation (HOA in Texas) attempts to collect any species of tax, toll, freight or wharfage unauthorized by law”. A special assessment is a tax. I proved the so called “vote” for this assessment was bogus. I proved the HOA kept ZERO records. And yet, the AG refused to prosecute the actors. The DA of the county has failed to return numerous calls, for a period of four years. Yesterday, they came on my private property and clear cut 32 trees, and simply said “oops, sorry you are “concerned”. I urge everyone to never purchase property which an HOA is even REMOTELY associated with.

  105. I live in a condo in Dallas Tx. We bought the condo in Dec 2012. Since we bought it, there has not been one HOA meeting. All the neighbors tell me that they can not even remember when the last meeting was held. They raised my assessment when I bought the condo from $220 to $383; then in August, they raised it again to $426 a month. I call the management company and they just give the run around on next meeting and never get back to me. The city of Dallas has fined our condo complex since I have been here. The wood siding needs to be replaced; they need to fix landscaping and the list goes on.
    From what I am told, the President of the HOA owns some 5 units and rents them all out and seems to get HOA to pay for the up keep of them. Most of the condos are rented out but about 5 , where owners live in them. I am at wit’s end and have no idea what to do. Basically put, what can I do? Can the state or city do anything about this?

    • The need is urgent for an independent state agency overseeing HOAs. It has been needed since Property Code 204 was passed by our state legislators. When will homeowners unite and demand this independent oversight agency?

    • The only way to get the HOA’s attention and get the legislators to take responsibility is to put the issue on the news and in public print. I have had a run around and fight with my HOA and have turned the story over to my local TV station. The last thing the boards and the HOAs want is to have what they are doing publicized. You will need to have documentation and photographs, printing out emails and keeping a telephone log. The more documents you keep, the better your position sounds. Be factual, support your facts with written proof, be concise and logical when writing or commenting. You can also contact the BBB, the Housing and Urban Development Dept., file claims against the HOA’s insurance carrier. Send letters to the state attorney general and your state senators. If more people being crushed under HOA feudal law, would speak out loudly and clearly, change would occur. I am only one voice, I need help-but I cannot get it, even from my neighbors who are quick to complain to me. One voice sounds like one disgruntled homeowner. But you cannot give up. After all, that is what too many homeowners do.

  106. Everybody in my community pays their HOA dues once a year in September, but now the HOA has voted for an extra fee of $300 to be paid in April to fund the rest of the fence for the community. I get nothing out of the HOA. We have no pool or rec center. The only thing they do is maintain the area in front and side of the community. I really don’t want to pay an extra $300 to them. They claim it is to take advantage of current prices. I believe they take enough money from us to fund it because we get nothing else out of it. Is there any way to fight this?

  107. Can the HOA board refuse to let one homeowner do something and ok other homeowners that have the same requests?

    • http://hoareformcoalition.org/a-laymans-view-of-hoa-land/

      “Far from fulfilling the fantasy, this privatization of government denies HOA members their basic Constitutional rights. The cry of homeowners is always, “They can’t do this, can they?” The answer is, “Yes, they can, because the CAI industry wrote the laws.” Property Code 204 places HOAs under corporate law – outside of our Constitutional law, and totally empowers HOA boards. All homeowners should read the Texas Property Code – 204.010.”

      Call upon the legislature to establish an agency to oversee HOAs – an agency independent of CAI/HOA influence.

  108. We purchased a home 8 years ago that included a shed in the backyard. In the past year the HOA has begun sending notices that our shed is not in compliance and that we: (1)Have to place it on a slab, change the materials to the same as the house and make sure the shingles are the same or (2) tear it down at our expense. This shed was built by the previous owners long before we bought the house. Now, because we painted the shed for upkeep, they’re demanding we do 1 or 2 or face a fine of $100 and $25 per day until we do something. Why all of a sudden is this shed an issue and why was this not addressed when we first bought the house? This shed was one of the reasons we bought the house and we find this nothing more than extortion and not in full disclosure for our sale.

    • Why is there no government agency to assist homeowners who are faced with such unreasonable demands? Why are boards allowed to harass and fine homeowners? HOA boards should seek the welfare of their neighbors as their goal. HOA boards are not improving the neighborhood when they harass and fine.
      Contact your state representative and your state senator, as well as the news media, advising of this harassment.

  109. What course of action does an owner have if their HOA fails to enforce basic CC&Rs and those failures have been documented repeatedly? Can an HOA still assess an annual dues requirement if they are NOT enforcing policies?

  110. Do HOA’s have the right to raise property association fees by 10%?

  111. My problem is with a neighbor who is feeding ducks which is against the condo and the master association rule. I complained to our Property Manager because the ducks are eating the insulation off my A/C tubing. So I went to the Master Association and they contacted the Property Manager and eventually the condo Board said that they will have the ducks removed and contact the unit owner who is feeding them and have my A/c repaired. Well it is not a day short of their dead line and pretty much nothing has been done. The property manager put a note on a few doors, including the door of the one feeding the ducks advising that the ducks are not to be fed. But that person does not read or speak english and they are fully aware of that. They had a company come out to give an estimate on the removal of the ducks. Now I was informed by a board member that they don’t intend to follow through on the agreement. What can I do at this point? I can not use my patio and my air conditioner is getting damaged. I am not the person responsible and the other unit owner is still feeding the ducks.

  112. Do HOA’s have the authority to force you to water during a stage 2 drought? I have received a letter from my HOA threatening to”forward this matter to its attorneys or assess fines to your account”. It goes on to say they will also try to make me pay their attorney’s fees.

  113. Our HOA is broke. The mangement compay fired THEM, they raised our dues by 57% with out a meeting or 2/3 vote. They just elected a new board without paper ballots; they refuse to follow the new laws. They started a pool project 2 years ago and it’s still not finished. Whom do we report them to? How can one request a state investigation? How can the HOA be placed into receivership?

    • Being apathetic is no longer an option for homeowners if they want to reclaim their freedom – if they want to keep their homes. What can homeowners do?
      •Know what needs to be changed. Homeowners know what is wrong, whether it’s exclusion, lack of transparency, harassment, fraud, embezzlement, etc.
      •Call their State House and Senate members and tell their story. If neighbors are united, invite the Senator/Representative or staff member to come to a home and invite neighbors to explain the problems. Every call to a legislator is a positive step toward better laws.
      •Call the press. Every story is gold.
      •Know how your legislators vote. Do they support homeowners or the HOA industry? Let them know you and your neighbors are aware and need their support.
      •Tell your legislators of the need for meaningful legislative regulation with penalties for HOA boards that do not follow the laws. There must be teeth in the laws to be effective.
      •There is an absolute need for legislative oversight – an agency to receive homeowner complaints of HOA abuse – an agency independent of CAI/HOA control.

    • I appreciate your reply, but WHO do we report HOAs that are not following the Texas Property Code? HOW do we request that the HOA be placed into recievership with the State? THere are all these “laws” that HOAs are supposed to follow, yet no information about how to report them to the state. What State Agency oversees these HOA laws?

      • There is NO state agency to oversee and/or enforce HOA laws. Our last paragraph to you above: There is an absolute need for legislative oversight – an agency to receive homeowner complaints of HOA abuse – an agency independent of CAI/HOA control.
        You share our frustration, but until all Texas homeowners unite to demand this independent agency, the only avenue is legal – a most expensive avenue. Inform your neighbors about the need to demand legislators enact laws to protect homeowners – especially to establish an agency to receive homeowner complaints – an agency independent of CAI/HOA control.

  114. Our HOA Board of Directors in Northwest Houston, TX. repeatedly resists complying with the organization’s Bylaws in the Area of Open Meetings (even to the point of having closed meetings at private residences), Notice for Meetings and Election of the Board and Board Officers. Additionally there appear to be possible improprieties between Board Members and Contractors for, though their work is shoddy, they are repeatedly recommended by particular Board Members. Two members announced themselves as Advisors to Board and usurped the power of the President of the Board of Directors.

    • http://hoareformcoalition.org/a-laymans-view-of-hoa-land/

      As Evan McKenzie stated in PRIVATOPIA, “The ideal was that of self-governing local communities living the fantasy of the New England town meeting. The reality, too often, was an undemocratic oligarchy in which an apathetic body of residents was governed by a few…who were told what to do by property managers and lawyers…”
      HOAs are private, corporate governments. When will Americans demand the return of their constitutional government?

  115. We live in a large single dwelling home neighborhood in Conroe TX. Due to the economy we are looking to refinance our home for a lower payment. The bank asked us to get a statement from the HOA verifying we are in good standing and what the quarterly dues are. We did.

    HOA sent the lender a statement showing we had a zero balance and what the dues are. Probably took 20 seconds to download this one page and send it. We are now told after the fact that we owe the HOA a $150.00 refinance fee for sending that verification.

    Needless to say, the Lender went ballistic and in fact told the HOA that it is outrageous to charge us 150.00 for emailing her a simple one page statement…..I checked the Bylaws and FAQs of the HOA. The Bylaws state that one of the functions of the Collector of Revenues is “to respond to title holders wanting to know homeowners status”. The FAQs on the HOA website state that quarterly dues paid by homeowners go in part to pay office staff to respond to homeowners requests and complaints.

    Nowhere is there any mention of Refinance fees or charges to provide homeowner status to lenders. Nor were we told about it until after it was done. Nevertheless, the HOA President responded to the lender that “the charges are very justified because it takes staff away from their regular duties and the fee is very common in the industry.” Our lender says in the many years she’s been writing mortgages she’s never heard of such an outlandish charge.

    Does anyone out there have any insight into this? I figure with the number of foreclosures and home abandonments (which our neighborhood has certainly suffered from), HOAs are resorting to extortion to raise revenue by nickle and diming the remaining members. What’s our best recourse? Just keep our mouth shut and pay the this unjust fee?

    • When a homeowner wants to refinance his mortgage, SOME HOAs DEMAND a refinance fee. The HOA industry unashamedly lobbies at the legislature for the right to collect every fee, charge, fine, etc. that it can. HOAs live off the backs of homeowners.

      • That’s what I thought. “We won’t tell your lender your good status unless you pay us $150.00; otherwise we’ll tie your mortgage up in litigation causing them to turn down your refinance.” This takes “living off the backs of homeowners” to another level.

  116. If the HOA management company does not file a management certificate or an amended management certificate (when the management company changes) in the county where the HOA is located, can the management company collect transfer fees when a house is sold in a neighborhood?

    If they cannot collect the transfer fees due to no management certificate, how can homeowners get their money back?

    Secondly, if there is no management or amended management certificate filed, can the HOA collect liens which the HOA has filed against homeowners for not paying their dues?

    If these liens cannot be collected, who pays the HOA for the loss of this money? If it was collected, and there was no management certificate, how can homeowners get their money back?

  117. My rights to use common areas have been revoked based on a denial of an ACC request. There was no proper 209 letter sent, just a denial letter. I have the right to an appeal but that notice does not give the same 30 day notice allowed by state law. It grants me 15 days to appeal. Why is it that the HOA doesn’t have to follow state law and the homeowner has no agency to appeal to for help?

  118. Things have gotten so bad now that it’s time to repeal the whole thing.

  119. Can the President of a Condo Association go “door to door” to obtain answers from Unit Owners as to whether they favor or do not favor an action that a Condo Board took relative to an assessment???

    • This could be a “positive” with a personally involved Board President who seeks another perspective. A counterexample could involve intimidation.

  120. Can an HOA use funds to have social parties in their homes for numerous events throughout the year? They do not disclose during the annual meeting what the
    funds are actually used for.

  121. Is is possible for a property owner in Texas to force a Board of Directors of a POA to enforce the deed restrictions?

    • Possible? Probable? Remember, Property Code 204 was written by the HOA Industry, for the HOA Industry. A lawsuit could be very expensive. There is no independent agency where homeowners can file abuse claims.

  122. I am currently on the HOA BOD. Our contracted management company’s agent attended our Friday’s meeting. 48 minutes after the meeting started, the agent stood up, announced she was emmotionally unable to stay and walked out. That agent locked the board out of the “task manager” site, where all BOD’s conduct business and respond to inquires from homeowners. The president and agent refused to answer calls on their company cell phones; emails have been ignored. We wrote to our attorney, questioning if he would continue to represent the HOA BO or if he would represent the management company.
    Our assessments should be mailed out in a week, but we currently are in limbo.

    Hopefully we will soon find out if we have legal representation. Can you please advise how we can proceed? We have given the management a lot of the responsibilities; mailed a 60 day termination letter on Saturday, as written in our contract. The mgt co has crippled the BOD; we fear more spiteful recourse from the mgt co. Please help.Thanks,

    • From Opinion page: A Layman’s View of HOA Land:
      Evan McKenzie in PRIVATOPIA states: “The ideal was that of self-governing local communities living the fantasy of the New England town meeting. The reality, too often, was an undemocratic oligarchy in which an apathetic body of residents was governed by a few…who were told what to do by property managers and lawyers…”

  123. There are squatters in our complex and the squatter recently purchased a used car, but she knows that all water provided is paid for by each owner with their HOA dues. We asked her if she would contribute to this bill but she refused. She will not move or pay. What can we do?

  124. I applied for a landscaping proposal to my front yard that was bare dirt as almost half the front yards in this community are. I filed a complaint with the BBB. I lost; the BBB sided with the HOA even when they made no improvements. The HOA responded to my complaint with a lawyer letter. Lawyer letter comes to my home or email whenever I send an email to the management company about any issue or suggestion. Thirty days passed after I submitted my detailed landscaping, I received no approval or rejection. According to law, that meant that I could go ahead with the project. I did and five months and $800 later I was finished. The HOA waited until I was finished then sent me a letter telling me to pull out all my plants or they would do it for me and charge me $75 an hour for their landscaping company to do it. I contacted a lawyer who said I was in my right and had the support of the new xeriscaping law in Texas. The HOA continues to refuse. The homes of the board members have beautiful front yards and plants that are not on the approved list. Many of the units have the same plants that the HOA has told me to pull out. I have told them that they are discriminating against me and it is retaliation because I filed a BBB complaint. I am planning to file a discrimination complaint with the HUD and another BBB complaint. I have contacted the Texas attorney general and two state senators about the legalized feudal system that is the HOA and how they are crushing the very people that are paying them! For the life of me, I do not understand how Texas, with its history, can look away from this problem. Good people fought and died at the Alamo to protest an entity that wished to occupy them, yet Texas is allowing the HOA system to do the same to good, hard working people. I am a public school teacher and a veteran and I cannot believe that in America this kind of “fourth government” is allowed to flourish and commit legalized stealing of private property for just a few hundred dollars. If anyone has any ideas of what I can do, I would be most grateful.

    • The homeowners of Texas must pull their heads out of the sand and admit the error of allowing HOA boards, management companies, and HOA attorneys to control their property. HOAs do NOT protect property values. HOAs protect the interests of the HOA industry. Apathy and indifference of homeowners benefit the billion dollar industry.

      • Similar to JT, our HOA has for many, many years pulled this kind of power trip stuff but a small group of us have fought them for two years and have actually made headway by replacing three of them on the board with our own people. People who will actually listen to ALL homeowners, not just those to happen to have property on the lake. If you want to make a difference in your HOA, get involved and pay attention to what they are doing. If you do not, they will continue pulling the same power plays on you. It is amazing how those of the old guard left on the HOA are now being forced to actually listen, especially since they know ALL homeowners are watching them.

  125. The management company for my HOA never notified me of an unpaid annual fee. I paid it, but they never received it due to change in address. two years later, they hire an attorney of collect it. When I found out it wasn’t paid, I paid it immediately along with late fee. They have a lien on my house for unpaid attorney fees. I do not believe I should have to pay attorney fees when I was never noticed from the management company or HOA in the first place. I told them I could have cleared this up immediately if I had received notice. Am I responsible for their legal fees and can they put a lien on my property?

    • As I am not an attorney, I cannot answer legal questions, but perhaps this part of the Property Code may be helpful:
      Sec. 209.006. NOTICE REQUIRED BEFORE ENFORCEMENT ACTION. (a) Before a property owners’ association may suspend an owner’s right to use a common area, file a suit against an owner other than a suit to collect a regular or special assessment or foreclose under an association’s lien, charge an owner for property damage, or levy a fine for a violation of the restrictions or bylaws or rules of the association, the association or its agent must give written notice to the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested.(b) The notice must:(1) describe the violation or property damage that is the basis for the suspension action, charge, or fine and state any amount due the association from the owner; and(2) inform the owner that the owner:(A) is entitled to a reasonable period to cure the violation and avoid the fine or suspension unless the owner was given notice and a reasonable opportunity to cure a similar violation within the preceding six months;(B) may request a hearing under Section 209.007 on or before the 30th day after the date the owner receives the notice; and(C) may have special rights or relief related to the enforcement action under federal law, including the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. app. Section 501 et seq.), if the owner is serving on active military duty.
      Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 926, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.Amended by: Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 252, Sec. 3, eff. January 1, 2012.

  126. I’m from Houston, TX and I am curious if anyone knows if an HOA Board can make and use written and/or unwritten policies or by-laws, not known by any of the homeowners, that conflict with the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. It appears to me I have caught them (HOA Board) making some policy decisions that are against what is stated in our Covenants, but I don’t know how to stop them and reverse what they have done. If anyone has the answer, please let me know.

    • After passage of HB 1821, some associations decided to change deed restrictions by Board resolution. Here is the HOA Industry claiming that it is necessary to read the DR’s before buying but unashamedly changing those DR’s without owner consent.

      HB 1821 passed in May 2011; effective January 1, 2012
      SECTION 2. Subdivision (1), Section 202.001, Property Code,
      is amended to read as follows:
      (1) “Dedicatory instrument” means each document
      governing the establishment, maintenance, or
      operation of a residential subdivision, planned unit
      development, condominium or townhouse regime, or any similar
      planned development. The term includes a declaration or similar
      instrument subjecting real property to:
      (A) restrictive covenants, bylaws, or similar instruments governing
      the administration or operation of a property owners ’ association;
      (B) properly adopted rules and regulations
      of the property owners ’ association; or
      (C) all lawful amendments to the
      covenants, bylaws, instruments, rules, or regulations.
      SECTION 3. Section 202.006, Property Code, is amended to
      read as follows:
      Sec. 202.006. PUBLIC RECORDS. (a) A property owners ’
      association shall file all dedicatory instruments
      in the real property records of each county in which
      the property to which the dedicatory instruments relate is located.
      (b) A dedicatory instrument has no effect until the
      instrument is filed in accordance with this section.

  127. Can an hoa board vote by email and not in an open meeting?

    • HB 2761 (Garza) passed in 2011:
      209.0058 – (b) Electronic votes cast under Section 209.00592 constitute written and signed ballots.

  128. Our HOA president has mismanaged the paying of HOA bills for months because she has failed to call meetings to discuss our monthly expenses and now the association has large past due water bill that the president failed to inform us about.

  129. Over a year ago we were told we would have a community website. Are we out of compliance not having one?

    • HB 1821 was passed in 2011 and went into effect January 1, 2012.

      SECTION5.Chapter 207, Property Code, is amended by adding
      Section 207.006 to read as follows:
      Sec.207.006.ONLINE SUBDIVISION INFORMATION REQUIRED. A
      property owners ’ association shall make dedicatory instruments
      relating to the association or subdivision and filed in the county
      deed records available on a website if the association has, or a
      management company on behalf of the association maintains, a
      publicly accessible website.

  130. Are there any guidelines to the posting of HOA open meetings? The local board of officers in my area post the meeting notice the day of meeting at the community mailbox drop. Therefore short notice is given to residents to make arrangements to attend. The HOA management company has not established a community website in order to inform residents of any changes or meeting information. Over a year ago, we were told we would have a community website.

    • HB 2761 – Garza – 82nd Session was passed by both the Texas House and the Texas Senate in May of 2011 and became effective January 1, 2012.

      Sec. 209.0051 – Open Board Meetings
      (e)Members shall be given notice of the date, hour, place,
      and general subject of a regular or special board meeting,
      including a general description of any matter to be brought up for
      deliberation in executive session. The notice shall be:
      (1)mailed to each property owner not later than the
      10th day or earlier than the 60th day before the date of the
      meeting; or
      (2)provided at least 72 hours before the start of the
      meeting by posting the notice in a conspicuous manner
      reasonably designed to provide notice to property owners ’
      association members.

      • Good luck with getting anyone to pay attention to Texas laws. We got an agenda that said they were going to discuss a public improvement district and what ever else they wanted. It is a joke. The board is run by the developer for the past 9 years and the community has no say in where their money is spent. No meetings to discuss it, no audits, nothing. Beware in Texas of any HOA as they do what they want.

  131. Our HOA sent us $700.00 fees for the storm door. We installed the door 4 1/2 years ago at the time we built our house. They sent two letters and one certified letter to us. They said it is unapproved improvement and we have to send an application or after 30 days they will send the file to the attorney and there will be fees. Letter was on Aug 2, 2013. On Aug 10 we took the door off. But they sent another letter that shows $700.00 fees. Can they do that by law? Do we have to pay this $700.00?

  132. I moved into my house mid January. Our HOA fees were included in our escrow. I am now receiving a certified letter in August stating that I have not paid a maintenance fee dated January 1. I never received any letters prior to this letter. The letter states I also owe interest that has accrued since January and $25 for the certified letter. What actions should I take to keep me from paying more than the original maintenance fee?

    • One attorney’s advice is to call the management company, explain that you thought this was paid, and ask that they check the records. If you can get the closing sheet, you can refer to that for the precise amount. Presumably they will say they will look into it. You should then document your call with a polite letter, and enclose supporting information. Ultimately, if it is on the order of $50 and you cannot prove that you paid, you can then ask for a hearing with the board.

  133. If an HOA board does not either properly create an agenda, post the date of the meeting on their website, or properly contact the residents about the meeting per the Texas State Laws, can the actions taken at that meeting be considered invalid. For example, my HOA rescheduled a meeting, they did not post the rescheduled meeting on the website as required by the Texas state law. The executive meeting action just said “legal issues”, yet the state law requires that a general description of the executive session discussions be listed. If during the executive session, if there was a vote taken to file liens against homeowners or any other issues that required attorney action then could the affected homeowners have the attorney actions against them (filing of liens or other lawsuits) tossed out of court because the HOA did not properly meet the requirements of the Texas State Law when considering the requirements for Open Meetings?

  134. My wife and I and two (2) additional homeowners, one (1) of which has been fined $25.00, have received deed restriction violation letters for having a sign in our front yards. These are not signs, but white crosses 24 inches high by 18 inches wide, and we consider them religious symbols, part of our sincere religious belief. Our HOA in Houston, TX, has not adopted the Texas Property Code Section 209.018, which only restricts the location and size of religious symbols, to the front door and/or door frame. Since this has not been adopted and/or voted for inclusion into our Restrictive Covenants of our HOA, I need some help on how to proceed against our Board and Management Company. As I read the law, no HOA can restrict a homeowner from displaying a religious symbol, which I view in a similar manner as displaying the U.S., Texas and/or Military flag/s. Please help.

  135. I own a townhouse in NY. My son, who lives in my house called me and advised me that approximatley $400,000 of dues paid by homeowners are missing. The firm that was handling the receipt of the dues for the HOA, closed shop and disappeared. Is the HOA liable for not having an audited financial statement done on the firm that was handling the dues? I received a bill now for $140.00 for the month of July without disclosure of the missing dues. Should I pay dues without an explanation? A HOA meeting is to be held ON 7 Aug, but no mention on the missing dues.

  136. My HOA is controlled entirely by the developer. The subdivision was established in 2004 with a total of 150 lots. As of 7-1-2013 there are 90 homes and 60 unsold lots. The residents have no board representation and are not advised as to annual meetings etc. The developer maintains control of the HOA until the last lot is sold. Do we (residents) have any legal recourse?

    • In the 2011 Texas Legislative Session, HB 2761 (Garza) – Sec. 209.00591 (c) : Regardless of the period of declarant control provided by the declaration, on or before the 120th day after the date 75 percent of the lots that may be created and made subject to the declaration are conveyed to owners other than a declarant, at least one-third of the board members must be elected by owners other than the declarant. If the declaration does not include the number of lots that may be created and made subject to the declaration, at least one-third of the board members must be elected by owners other than the declarant not later than the 10th anniversary of the date the declaration was recorded.

  137. Moved in to a condo in January. The HOA assessment went from 250 to 389 dollars. I have not seen any repairs at all, even know Dallas is fining the complex. Today I got a letter saying they are raising it another 44 dollars next month. They say for the violations. Since I been here there has not been one meeting, even as I ask every month when the next meeting is going to be. The president of the HOA does not live here but owns 3 units and walks around calling the shots. He does not discuss anything with the other board members or owners. The person who works for HOA company is very stand offish and does not even answer my emails or calls. Last week in the parking lot the light fell on my wife’s car and messed the paint up, about 500 in damage. I took pictures before clean up, the pictures of paint and got quotes for repair. My insurance company says it is HOA’s responsibility and to forward all info to President and HOA manager. Their response is they need to talk about it. I know suing HOA is hard to do . I don’t know what to do.

  138. We live in Indiana and our HOA sent us a letter regarding “arrearages due”. Now the dues in question were from 2010 (I have the documentation that they were paid) however the fact that they thought they overlooked it and are just now catching it? We live in a middle class area and have no pool and no club house. We have approximately 170 homes. They are threatening to put a progressive lien on our property immediately if the dues are not paid. My question is this: Should we not also be entitled to proof of the HOA paying their dues? Should we not be informed about where the $13,680.00 a year goes to? If we are not able to get this information are we able to put request (for) a lien on their property?

    • As we are not familiar with Indiana laws it would be best to consult an Indiana attorney. Your questions and problems are the norm for HOAs across the United States.

  139. Our HOA has failed to reach quorum month after month this year. After another owner and I went door to door, we discovered that many residents say they are giving their proxy ballots either to the management company or various current board members. The numbers are high enough that we suspect board members are withholding proxies to prevent quorum. We also suspect that the next meeting will be canceled as we have not received formal notice and it is two days away.

    Can anyone tell me what set of laws applies to a pre-1979 condo association in Texas for formally requesting records of submitted proxies and meeting attendance for the last 6 months?

  140. Our HOA keeps changing our CCR’s without anyone knowing about it, adding additional companies (which he owns) and more restrictions. The latest had to do with firearms. We are out in the country, outside of city limits. All have acre + lots, but now, kids can’t shoot BB guns, and we “aren’t allowed” to shoot snakes (we have water moccasins) Coyotes (that are killing our pets) etc. This is all without the knowledge of our community – even our “homeowner board member”. Is this legal?

    Ironically, he owes the HOA where he lives thousands of dollars.

  141. Our HOA board has decided to implement its own new by-law that is not in the DCCR’s to have two trees in our front yards in order to increase property values. I have responded to the committee stating this is not in the DCCR’s but they say the builder was required to plant the trees and we must replace them although this is not stated.
    All landscaping located on any Lot, including grass lawns, must be properly maintained at all times by the Owner of such Lot in a trimmed, well-kept and clean condition, as determined by the Board of Directors, in its sole and absolute discretion. Each Owner will keep all shrubs, trees, grass and plantings of every kind on his or her Lot cultivated, pruned and free of trash and other unsightly material. In addition, each owner shall on a regular basis remove weeds from the yard. including, without limitation, flowerbeds and planter areas. Removal of live native trees is not permitted without the approval of the ACC.

    I stated my trees had died two years ago and they are just now harassing me.

    This is their response:
    Since the DCCRs state that all landscaping be maintained, as I stated before, the City required the Builders to plant two trees in the front yard of each house; the Board is just requesting that these trees be maintained.
    If you had trees and they died, then they need to be replaced.

    I am at the point of bringing a civil suit…Any other advice?

  142. Today is June 11, 2013. Our local school system’s last day of school was May 24. Our neighborhood pool is still not open. Earlier this year, they charged each member a one time assessment fee, in addition to our annual dues, to have the pool resurfaced. After months of waiting on that to be completed, it was FINALLY complete the week after Memorial Day. At that point, the pool was filled up, but it STILL isn’t open! Five different e-mails have been sent out requesting information as to why the pool still isn’t open, with no response from the HOA board. What, if anything, can we as a community do?

  143. Does the statement from our “Deed Restrictions” below mean the HOA has 30 days to respond to our submitted plans and if they do not respond within those 30 days we no longer require their approval?
    (B) No building shall be erected, placed or altered on Any building plot in this subdivision until the building plans, specifications and plot plan showing the location of such building have been Approved in writing as to conformity and harmony of external design with existing structure in the subdivision, and as to location of the building with respect to topography and finished ground elevation. By a committee composed of Ira Berne. Geraldine Dunman and I. Mark Westheimer, or by a representative designated by a majority of the members of said committee. In the event of death or resignation of any member of said committee, the remaining member or members shall have full authority to approve or disapprove such design and Location, or to designate a representative with like authority. In the event said committee, or its designated representatives, fails to approve or dis-approve such design and location within thirty days after said plans and specifications have been submitted to it, or, in any event, if no suit to enjoin the erection of such building or the making of such alterations has been commenced prior to the completion thereof, such approval will not be required and this covenant will be deemed to have been fully complied with. Neither the members of such committee, nor its designated representatives, shall be entitled to any compensation for services performed pursuant to this covenant. The duties and powers of such committee, and of its designated representative, shall cease on and after ten years from date. There-after, the approval described in this covenant shall not be required unless, prior to such date and effective thereon, a written instrument shall be executed by the then record owners of a majority of the lots in this subdivision and duly recorded appointing a representative or representatives, who shall thereafter exercise the same powers previously exercised by said committee.

  144. Our covenants establish “one vote for each acre owned”. The subdivision has lot sizes from <1 acre to 43 acres. 10 owners (18% of total owners) with several lots have 52% of the total votes, while 18 owners (33%) with single lots have but 8% of the total votes. Thus, most owners are discouraged from participating in the HOA. As President, I don't believe a vote of 75% to amend the covenants is worth attempting or possible. Any input/remedy is desired.

  145. Who do I turn to if my condo HOA will not enforce their own bylaws? I have made requests in writing and was told “no” in writing. Would appreciate any help.

    • We know of no government agency. Depending on the issue, one answer might be your neighbors; another might be an attorney.

  146. We had a recent vote in our neighborhood for a special assessment. A few days before the meeting, several residents complained that the directors and their volunteers were calling and harrassing residents who have already submitted their ballots to change their votes. The property manager said that anyone could have accessed the ballots before the meeting. The measure passed, but this seems so wrong. Thoughts?

  147. Can an HOA kick you out of the community if you’re the owner of your garden home??

  148. I am the President of the COPS program in a South Side Community of San Antonio, TX. Crime in this Custom Home community is on the rise and the HOA will not respond to the requests of the residents for gating, cameras, reliable security patrols, etc. If we ask for support for our COPS program or consistent quality community maintenance we receive the minimum if anything at all. Mostly because the HOA Board leaders don’t live in the community or even in the city! Secondly because they are more concerned about MONEY in their pockets as developers.

  149. In response to DB on 4/28 — Almost all HOA’s have the right to assess a “special assessment” which has no limits and does not require a vote of the membership. The Board can do it themselves with no cap. I have heard of associations assessing communities 3-$500 special assessments in order to do a project. I know this doesn’t answer your question, but everyone should know that HOAs can do special assessments without any restrictions and without input from the membership. Buyer beAWARE.

    • For an association to have a special assessment, the board must call a special meeting of all members for that purpose. The meeting notice must be sent out just like an annual meeting notice and must state the purpose of the meeting and a brief summary of what the special assessment is for. At the meeting in order for the assessment to happen there must be a majority vote of the owners to approve it or deny it. The board cannot have a special assessment any other way. They can have a dues increase up to 15% yearly but thats it. You must have a meeting and vote on it or it cannot happen.
      That is Texas state law!

  150. Our HOA just had the Board elections. According to the proxy that was sent to the membership, all of the proxies had to be turned in the day before meeting. At the meeting, the Board’s candidate and her friends were allowed to turn in proxies at the meeting. When questioned, the response was that the Board was now going to allow people to turn the proxies in at the meeting. However, this was not communicated to the entire community, including the other candidates who were on the ballot. Only the Board and their friends knew of this rule change. The Board was changing the election rules as they went to benefit their selected candidate. Other states require that HOAs must adopt a written document concerning how elections are to be held. How come Texas doesn’t require the same thing? Even when asked what the rules are governing the election, it is impossible for people to have a fair HOA election when the Board keeps changing the rules as they see fit with absolutely no communication to the membership.

  151. If a management company was court appointed; what is the proper way to fire them? How or where would one go to find out if any HOA cases have been brought against the management company?

    • Advice given to me:
      It probably depends on the terms of the Court Order.
      One can check for lawsuits on a county-by-county basis.

  152. The “DECLARNT” (sic) of our Community, a Non-Profit Corporation, wrote the DEED RESTRICTIONS in 1985. The BY-LAWS that I received at time of 1987 purchase were written in 1985. The ARTICLES of INCORPORATION were written in 1987 and filed with the Secretary of State of Texas. In or about the late 1996 the “DECLARNT” (sic) NO LONGER owned a majority of the properties in the Community. It was at that time that the Declarant turned the Community over to the HOMEOWNERS of the AREA.
    It is my understanding that when an organization is reformed such as the one described above, the Organization was supposed to have revised the By-Laws, The Articles of Incorporation, and exclude the Declarant from the new Deed Restrictions in a timely manner. If these actions were not taken at such time, does the Board of Directors have the right to make the changes or revise any document without the vote of the people?
    In the Deed Restriction written in 1983 it states “The Committee or the Association (when formed) in its discretion may exercise the limited right to approve minor (minor) deviation in these Restrictions without the actual amendment where, in its opinion, such deviation well beneficial (sic) to the common good.” Does the Board of Directors have the right to Revise the BY-LAWS and make major changes?

  153. Before we signed a purchase agreement in May of 2012, we requested and read the HOA rules for the house under consideration. These rules were dated 2006. At closing we received an exact copy of the same set of rules. We had no reason to keep checking for updated rules as there had not been an annual meeting in a while so there should have been no changes to look out for. A few days ago we were informed at the annual meeting that the Board was not required to get or follow a vote from the membership before embarking on a major capital project. This appeared to be a direct violation of the rules we received from the HOA before/at closing. After some research we found that the rules were changed in 2007, alomost 5 full years before we bought! Does anyone know if we have a cause for action? It seems like the current rules were intentionally withheld, because any reasonable person reading the new rules would buy somewhere else rather than into a subdivision where they could be spent into large debts without their permission.

  154. My HOA threatened to take away my family’s access to the pool for the entire season this year because my son jumped the fence while it was locked. It is my understanding we are part owner’s of our pool that we pay for. How can they take away our access? Is that legal? Also, they violated my Constitutional Rights by prohibiting me from a news interview. They came to my house and blocked the newscaster by threatening to sue them. They also did not permit my husband to serve on the pool committee when it was open to any member who wanted to serve. They didn’t allow him because I am his wife and I make them accountable. They also imposed new fees at the pool without any notice of a meeting to members. Can they take away our rights to our pool?

  155. I am having a problem understanding the HOA POA concept. Under THE TEXAS BILL OF RIGHTS
    Sec. 19 DEPRIVATION OF LIFE (RIGHT TO LIVE FREE): Are not the HOA POA violating the law and interupting the peoples’ rights?

  156. I have a question concerning proxies under Texas rules. Is the owner of the proxy the only person who can turn the proxy into the association? Or can proxies be collected by others and submitted by others to the association? The proxies require a signature, date, and property information. Our bylaws and DCRs are silent on the topic.

    • HB 2761 passed in the 82nd Session states:

      Sec.209.00592. VOTING; QUORUM. (a)The voting rights of
      an owner may be cast or given:
      (1)in person or by proxy at a meeting of the property
      owners ’ association;
      (2)by absentee ballot in accordance with this
      section;
      (3)by electronic ballot in accordance with this
      section; or
      (4)by any method of representative or delegated
      voting provided by a dedicatory instrument.

  157. Please support HB 3803. It is time for the American people to get their rights back – their rights to live free.

  158. My HOA Board has sent our proxy out for the upcoming election. According to the proxy, you can be nominated to run but your name will not show up on the ballot unless you attend the meeting. How is this a fair election? If someone has a work commitment on the night of the election why can’t their name be on the ballot? I thought that during the last legislative session it became against the law for a HOA to prevent people from running except in the case of being convicted of a moral turpitude. Isn’t this just another way of preventing people from running by placing arbitrary requirements for having your name placed on the ballot? Isn’t this against the law and the intentions it had for creating fair elections?

    • HB 2761- Sec. 209.00591. Board Membership. (a) Except as provided by this section, a provision in a dedicatory instrument that restricts a property owner’s right to run for a position on the board of a property owners’ association is void.

      Once again it is evident that because the Texas legislature does not enforce a penalty on HOA boards, management companies, and HOA attorneys for non-compliance with Texas’ laws, homeowners are the victims. How long will Texas homeowners endure this abuse and injustice?

  159. Where do I go in the Property Code to find rights of homeowners in an HOA who have contiguous lots to build a detached garage or building on that lot when the HOA ARC is rejecting plans because it is not a single family home?
    I am the President of this HOA as well and I know I read somewhere that the HOA cannot restrict this type of building if it adds value to the primary structure and is used for the owners quiet enjoyment.
    I want to make sure we are doing things correctly.

    • Senator Robert Nichols proposed a Committee Substitute for Senator Bob Deuell’s SB 593 which received approval by the IGR committee. http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/SB00593S.pdf#navpanes=0
      This bill relates to the authority of a property owners ’ association to regulate the use of certain lots for residential purposes. It was recommended for the local and uncontested calendar on April 3, 2013.
      The bill reads:
      (f) A provision in a dedicatory instrument that violates
      this section is void.
      SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
      a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
      provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
      Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
      Act takes effect September 1, 2013.

  160. Do HOAs have any say over installing solar panels?

  161. I own two lots which are next to each other, one with my house and the other is empty. I want to build a detached garage on the empty lot and the HOA Architectual committe is bucking me on it pointing to a section in the CCR’s stating “all lots in the subdivision shall be used, known and described as singly-family residential”. Also states other places that “all lots are designated as “residential lots”. Have you ever seen a definition of what a residential lot means? There are already several detached garages and shops in the subdivision. This is a remote subdivision out on a lake.

    • Senator Robert Nichols proposed a Committee Substitute for Senator Bob Deuell’s SB 593 which received approval by the IGR committee.
      This bill relates to the authority of a property owners ’ association to regulate the use of certain lots for residential purposes. It was recommended for the local and uncontested calendar on April 3, 2013.

  162. I have resided in an upscale gated community in NE San Antonio for nearly 19 years. The area is governed by a highly restrictive association which treats residents and their guests rudely and continually enacts rules that make it impossible for people to feel that they can live in their homes comfortably. I do not understand why and how these organizations have become so powerful in controlling such communities in the state of Texas.

    • HOAs have become so powerful because they were empowered by the Texas legislature and cities have benefited by being spared providing many services. Thus homeowners in HOAs are frequently “double taxed” by city taxes and the HOA assessments. Homeowners have been participants because they often sought exclusive property through this privatized corporate government which has no checks and balances. The cost has been the constitutional rights and freedoms that were the foundation of our country. The cost has been devastating to many homeowners. Here is a paper by Professor Gary Solomon: http://www.hoasyndrome.com/Article__HOASyndrome9_12_10V4.pdf

      HOAs control by the false claim of “protecting property values” and by fear. HOA boards have all powers and homeowners fear being the target of anyone on the board, the management company, or the HOA attorney. See http://www.HOAdata.org to see what power HOAs have exerted on Harris County homeowners.

      The HOA industry exists with a myriad of specific purpose fees, such as resale certificate fees, document fees, collection fees, inspection fees, and violation enforcement fees plus many other fines, fees, and charges. How long will homeowners accept this trade-off? Buying into an HOA is far worse than co-signing a note with strangers. A note has a fixed amount, defined terms, and can be paid off. In an HOA there is a lien that can never be paid off. The homeowner is a guarantor for all debts incurred by the HOA, and his house is security for their spending sprees.

      Every Texas homeowner should pay close attention to every HOA bill filed at the Texas legislature. The industry always wants “more”. One of the very dangerous bills filed in this 83rd Session is:
      HB 2928 which creates a “power of sale” for all HOAs and so:

      Would enable the HOA to foreclose when it had no such authority,
      Would entitle all HOAs, including newly empowered HOAs to use an accelerated foreclosure process, and
      Is designed to prevent homeowners from terminating foreclosure power because the legislature is eliminating this power by statute not by restrictive covenant. By doing this, the bill would eliminate any ability of the homeowners to have any say on HOA foreclosure power. If there is an HOA, it could foreclose irrespective of what the restrictive covenants said.

      Two other bills bad for homeowners are HB 2978 and HB 2749. It is time for Texas homeowners to wake up and act! Contact your state legislators and tell them to represent you and not the HOA industry. Do not allow these bad bills to become law.

      One good homeowner bill is HB 3803. Tell your legislators to support HB 3803.

  163. My recently deceased mother was foreclosed on for $5,000 for a special assessment when she had a pending claim for hurricane damage repairs against the HOA for the same amount (although not filed in court). The HOA sold her condo unit subject to the mortgage lien for about twice the amount due and never collected a monthly maintenance fee on it again. The buyer (hoping to flip the unit for a profit) was later foreclosed on. Two years later, the HOA is selling the unit for a potential $25,000 profit that they plan to keep. (The mortgage company never foreclosed). I am told that in the state of Texas, this is perfectly legal. Is there no recourse for her estate? Unfortunately, I live in the same building. Am I able to sue for mismanagement?

  164. Can you please direct me to the section of the Texas property code which states that a HOA can hold a vote of acclamation without meeting the quorum requirements as specified in the bylaws? According to our bylaws you must have a quorum to conduct business as the HOA, including the election of a Board members. In the past, if we didn’t have a quorum even with only one person running,we would hold a follow up election meeting until a quorum was reached to elect the person. Now our HOA attorney said that if a candidate is unopposed you can do a vote of acclamation without a quorum and this was allowed under the Texas property code. I was unable to find this reference. Can you please help?

    • Perhaps the reference is to 209.0058 Ballots

      (c) In an association-wide election, written and signed ballots are not required for uncontested races.
      [HB 2761, 82nd Legislature]

  165. I have a question concerning the development of an agenda for my HOA in order to meet the State Law. I understand that the agenda that is sent to the residents and is posted on our website needs to contain the general subject for what will be discussed. Does the agenda below meet this requirement? Or does there need to be more specific information provided under sections such as old business, new business and executive session in order to meet the requirement of “general subject” or “general description”?

    Homeowner Forum
    Approval of Minutes
    Financial Report
    Legal Report
    Deed Restriction Report
    Old Business
    New Business
    Executive Session

    I just have a hard time believing that new business, old business and executive session meet the requirement of general subject. I thought the purpose of this law was to allow homeowner insight as to what was going to be discussed in the meeting to determine if they needed to attend.

  166. Houston, Texas (Harris County) the HOA fines the homeowners for expired registration. This is a separate issue from towing a car. I thought the Department of Transportation or the local city government is the only entity authorized to collect fines for expired registration? If the homeowner doesn’t pay the fine then addtl fees are assessed (interest and penalty) then forwarded to the HOA Lawyer with threats of not only tow but possible foreclosure on the condo for “unpaid auto fines”, Does anyone know if this is legal in this county or state?

  167. In our HOA, cars have been towed illegally from public streets. We did get the constables to investigate and the County Commissioner stepped in as well and it seems some of the illegal towing has stopped. Unfortunately, we discovered many more concerns.
    The board did not follow deed restrictions about meeting notification requirements instead opting to ignore them and follow “state law”. The board posted handwritten cardboard signs and posted on a website so many could not go to the meeting as they didn’t know.
    The board hired two contractors (towing and lawn) with the same last name on Aug 13 last year. Same Name Towing made quite a bit of money off our community for the towing. If the rumors and estimates are correct over 400 tows in less than 4 months making $65K. Same Name Care made a killing as well. The budget set for our very unusual “forced weeding” deed restriction was $6500 in forced mows. In 2012 the forced mows that were collected was $23,881 with $19,000 of that collected with the new board in position.
    Members quit the board and now we have the President of the Board who holds a majority between him and his appointees. There is no hope in sight as they are appointed through 2015.
    There is continued harassment with Board members publicly posting information about homeowners on a website that is harassing and negative. The board then takes it down and claims they were “hacked”.
    A group of us sent a newsletter to the community and now we are getting threats that we will be prosecuted for crimes, sued, etc. It is concerning as a former board member’s husband is a constable who lives in the community.
    This is the situation we are in. At least with the towing we had a state agency that investigated and helped. With our own HOA we have no recourse unless we have unlimited funds to go to court and unreasonable amounts of time to pursue this which no one has, especially in a working class community.

  168. I live in Florida and our HOA with about 200 or so homes has a property management company. We have 3 small ponds and a very small common area in the front neighborhood. The HOA brings in around $30,000 a year. About half or more goes to so called reserves but we can’t see the statements showing this. We have 5 board members plus the management company. The problem is I’ve lived here 8 years and we have the same board members. I was asking when the next election would be and was told it was 2 months ago. The board members voted themselves in yet again and awarded the contract to the property management company. My question is how do you replace board members and the management company when you can’t vote them out? There is nothing in the bylaws that say board members can vote themselves in and no one else gets a voice. Our HOA President has done construction work (that never went out for bids) on the front area. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Please help.

    • Legislatures enact laws enabling the HOAs and empower them with no checks and balances. When homeowners protest the abuse and injustice, the HOA Industry response is usually “You agreed to the HOA control – you knew what you were getting”. This statement is to imply that you agreed to the By-laws and CC&Rs.
      However, the insatiable desire for even more power and control now witnesses laws that enable the governing documents to be changed by the board as a resolution or amendment without any homeowner input. So by buying an HOA property one surrenders everything to this unknown board.
      These are not “isolated incidents” as the Industry claims. This is life in HOAs. As Shu Bartholomew states on http://www.onthecommons.us: “You have left the American Zone.”

  169. Currently we have our builder-acquired HOA and they are collecting over 445 dollars for at least 130 homes. I know in the beginning this was to assist with building items and standard things to build the community. But, after 2 years of this and also now the builder completing all the homes, they have chosen to collect this same sum once again and not in the regular two payments semiannually, but one lump sum. This question on the continued amount was raised at our last meeting in March 2012 and we received an accounting sheet from the agency that had exorbitant fees for landscaping. We have no amenities in our community and now have empty homes being built in every open location in our area, making us unable to possibly place any new areas such as kid park, dog park or anything else. This also leaves empty homes with no yard up keep and the time for this agency to leave quickly approaching. We have asked when the meeting to elect new board members, now to be from our community would be held (it is a month past all previous meetings) and they continue to put us on hold. What can be done to help our community from being scammed out of funds to be used for our community? How do we get invoices proving what has been spent and to whom this money they speak of has been going to? We have not had any cooperation in the past 3-4 months.

    • Because the Texas Legislature has failed to provide an oversight agency of HOAs, homeowners must unite to protect themselves. Communication is essential – between homeowners and between the homeowners and their state representatives. Advise the state senators and state representatives of your problems. Setting up a website is a good first step. Here is a link that may be helpful: http://www.hoadata.org/ReclaimHOA.pdf.

  170. When will the Legislature make HOA’s accountable for the harm they have caused so many homeowners, especially the elderly, minorities, and disabled vets? I live in a townhome in Houston, TX. HOA paid $338,000,000 for roof coating which started coming off in less then 3 months. It’s been getting worse ever since! There is exposed molded, rotten wood and water coming into homes. HOA says: interior damage is at owners’ expense and will not fix the roofs! We have siding with holes which allows water into homes. Again, damage is at owners’ expense! When will HOA nightmares end?

  171. I am being denied access to HOA records and books. The executive director claims the financial records (invoices) are privileged because there is a non disclosure agreement between the vendor and the CA. I am being denied access to the non disclosure agreement and invoices from the vendor. The vendor is the “Sole Source” vendor for computer equipment and services to the HOA. Has anyone else been through the Justice of the Peace appeal process, as allowed by Texas law?

  172. OUR BOARD DECIDED WITHOUT VOTE OF MEMBERSHIP TO REVISE DEED RESTRICTIONS TO ASSESS CONTIGUOUS LOTS AN ADDITIONAL MAINTENANCE FEE. MANY PEOPLE PURCHASED MULTIPLE LOTS FROM THE DEVELOPER AND BUILT HOMES. NO ADDITIONAL MAINTENANCE FEE WAS ASSESSED FOR THE LOTS. NOW 40 YEARS LATER THE BOARD IS ASSESSING THESE HOMEOWNERS FOR THESE LOTS. NO ONE WAS GRANDFATHERED IN. MANY OF THE HOMEOWNERS ARE SENIORS AND HAVE LIVED HERE FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. THIS IS UNFAIR. OUR MAINTENANCE FEES FOR 81 HOMES (MOSTLY SENIORS) HAVE INCREASED AT LEAST 75%! IS THIS A NEW FORM OF ELDER ABUSE?

    • The HOA industry does not limit itself to “Elder Abuse”. Its motto must be “more” because it is never satisfied with what it exacts from homeowners. Texas homeowners cannot ignore what transpires at the legislative session in Austin. They must hold their state senators and state representatives responsible for their votes. When they vote against bills that would help homeowners, they must be voted out. In Austin, right now, there are a few bills very hostile to homeowners.

    • TE in reply to vb

      When it was election time did they remember to send you ballots equal to the fees they tyrannically assessed? Probably not. Deed Restrictions affect Real Estate and in a civilized society any changes affecting something as expensive and essential as a home should be done by a written super majority vote of the membership. But that would be transparent, reasonable, democratic and protect seniors/the vulnerable and you are referring to an HOA. You paid taxes for 40 years maybe your legislator owes you some service?

  173. I served as president of my HOA for a few years and have read the Bylaws and CCR’s. In the Bylaws it states the owner must reside in the home 6 months out of the year. The current president has not and recently made a couple of questionable moves and passed rules and regulations through a voting process where only a little more than 25% of the association was present. Being he acted while not meeting the requirement of the bylaws as mentioned above, can these changes be overturned? What course of action can I/we as the other 75% take? Are there any groups in Texas that can help us out? Thank you for your advice.

    • When apparent illegal moves have been made at HOA meetings, the statement, “So sue me!” has been heard. HOA industry coffers are greatly increased by lawsuits – see http://www.HOAdata.org for not only actual lawsuit statistics but also information helpful to homeowners under “Papers” and the FAQ’s.

  174. In Texas is it a legal conflict of interest in a HOA community for mineral rights owners to control, enforce and run the HOA board, it’s funds and function? The mineral rights owners do not live in the city of the HOA community however, they do own rental properties in the community. Homeowners have little to no voice in the bylaws or the overall maintenance of the community. Do we as homeowners have a right to vote in our own Officers to head and run our HOA to protect our interests? Many community members feel helpless to the control of the mineral rights owners as heads of our HOA. What can we do to protect our interests as homeowners?

    • Unchecked power was given to HOA boards by passage of Property Code 204. Community owners are helpless because there is not the needed governmental oversight. America’s founding fathers wisely established a tri-cameral government. Homeowners’ only option is expensive legal help because the HOA industry fights every homeowner attempt for governmental oversight.

  175. I live in Illinois and we have the same problems here. When will the homeowners rights be restored and oversight and accountability be imposed on these out of control boards? They continuously break their laws and state, corporation laws. When will homeowners be represented for after all we pay the bills? This is a system gone wrong and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Let’s talk about property values. I purchased my home in 2005 for $142k. There is an 85% distressed property rate out of 1800 homes and homes are being sold through foreclosures and short sales for $35k to $75k. Where is the maintaining of property values? Our board can’t see that they are the cause or they simply just ignore the fact that no one but the sheeples wants to live under these conditions. We need a lemon law. If they don’t abide by the laws then buy back my house for what I paid and I will be happy to move out of this place. The American Dream is no longer under these regimes.
    Does anyone have any information on HOA data in Illinois and how much is paid out to lobbying efforts to CAI?

    • I live in Illinois. It is pretty clear that the HOA/Condo Boards and their Lawyers are out of control. Thus it seems that the only real practical gains can be made at the level of protecting the HOA/Condo/Coop owners in the courts by requiring the association boards and their lawyers to provide proper evidence “beyond reasonable doubt” to prevent homeowners from losing their homes under potentially fraudulent circumstances. And the question is, what is the role of the local courts?

  176. Our HOA was recently turned over after the development period ended. It was decided at the same time that we would terminate our relationship with the Property Management Company the builder used and hire a new one. After this process a new board was put in place that made some changes. Without notice the board enacted a 15′ tree height standard to preserve the views of downtown Houston and the property values of our homes and then notified us of the change.

    I had asked why this was not something that was not further discussed. The answer I got is below.

    The Board is not obligated to seek community referendum on every single request/issue, especially if the request/issue is well-defined and also adequately regulated by the CCRE & By-Laws. It would be pointless to have a Board and CCRE if referendum is needed on every single request/issue.

    The Board does not have the liberty to create or change the CCRE & By-Laws but is given the prerogative to provide further clarifications and refinements to any existing clauses of the CCRE & By-Laws.

    The tree height is based on the following CCRE provisions: the Board can regulate the exterior esthetics, the appearance of trees/plants and set a “Prevailing Community Standard” when needed, and to regulate and the owner to responsibly maintain the appearance of his trees to not negatively impact his neighbors.

    While I see this is technically a clarification of what the prevailing community standard is, I find it a bit oppressive that this was done without the consent of the community. Is this within their bounds? This change is likely to cost me a few thousand dollars. The builder put a stand of bamboo in my backyard that grows to almost 30 feet in height. In the summer a new stalk can grow past 15 feet in a couple of weeks. Do I have any recourse?

  177. Re: SSS – Read your Declarations of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. Board members often believe they can vote on what to enforce, but the DCCRs do limit powers somewhat.

  178. One of our homeowners who was on the board also owned many rental properties. He kicked off all the original board members somehow and put his friends up for election and he had many violations for not keeping his homes up to par. He also got his relatives to work on the club house etc. Interesting! I think that homeowners’ associations ought to be abolished completely and the justice of the peace courts interpret the deed/covenants. It is harmful to have a potentially biased person on the board who is holding a grudge against someone in the neighborhood and applying his/her own interpretation of what is not allowed. I grew up in upstate NY and no homeowners association was needed. People were considerate of one another and no one kept old tires in the back yard which are not seen anyway as a fence is around the property. No one complained that the roof was discolored and sent threatening letters saying to correct it in 30 days and mailed the letter five days after it was written!!!! Threatening fines, and suspension of rights to use the common areas, also failure to request a meeting with the board of directors who sent the letter with no signature on the letter would lead to referring the matter to an attorney and pay his fees and court costs. Perhaps independent auditing of their books is needed as well as abolishing the whole home owners association.? I think a neighbor is able to determine if there is a blight on the neighborhood and if so take it to jp court or if seeing beyond the fence could be causing unsanitary conditions and perhaps taking that to the jp court and save homeowners many hundreds of dollars in homeowners association dues payable to biased people on the board who may hold grudges.

  179. I recently moved into a condo complex with HOA. It’s an older community with individual storage units on site. It’s clear based on the design of the complex that each unit should be allocated one storage unit. The previous board president confirmed ths. However, the Board has allowed residents to start ‘taking’ storage units as they come available when people move out, die, etc. And, I’m convinced a few of the board members have multiple storage units. I’ve approached the board several times, in writing, to request clarification on their storage policies. They have consistently refused to provide any information and simply say there is no storage available. They have also treated me quite badly. I am now contemplating taking them to small claims to request reimbursement for a portion of my monthly dues based on inequitable services rendered for my monthly dues. Any recommendations?

    • It has been understood that it is always wise to pay first. Contest after.

    • In response to sss. In condos any storage areas are designated one to each unit. Look at your documents and you will see which one is designated for your unit. It’s listed just like your designated parking spot or your patio, They are all considered limited common areas. This means it is owned by the association but is limited to only your use. If somebody has your designated storage than you have every right to file an eviction on the person using it and throw the stuff out, but be sure and do it legally. Look at your docs and you will see a diagram of all the storage areas and which one is assigned to you. It’s part of your unit and you purchased it with the purchase of the condo. If these were by chance added after initial construction then you might not own one. You bought it; it’s part of your condo; so throw them out by an eviction.

  180. I live in Harris County, Texas, and the Association has sent me a letter saying a violation is: discoloration on the roof; needs to be removed? The shingles are blackish gray and some are discoloring or turning darker. So where is that a violation? Also when the house was painted, some paint from the painter got on some of the shingles but has not devalued or made the property or lot unsanitary, unhealthy or unattractive! I consider this harrassement as the same homeowners’ association at one time tried to tell me my pickets were too far apart and that I had to tear down part of the front of the house to put in a garage! I bought this house in 1990 and it was owned by someone else so it was not new. Originally it was built in 1983, and it was a model home. The office was a garage and never converted when the first buyer bought the house! It was a grandfathered thing. So you can see that they are actually harassing me and probably others in this neighborhood. I think their books should be thoroughly looked at and their potential undue coercion as well. Perhaps favoritism and harassment could be a major issue in this subdivision. I am almost 65 years old and was divorced in 2008 and have been putting on hardi plank siding and painting the house to make it more up to date! I have no idea if they have harassed my neighbor telling him to replace parts of the siding on the west side of his house that is falling off or to make the siding all one color. Part of the siding on the chimney is a different color than the rest as part of the chimney fell off with the old masonite siding. He then put up hardi plank and that does not match in color. I feel that should not be an issue. They are complaining about my roof which was replaced in 2006 after the first hurricane and then some shingles replaced again of a different color yet Texas does not require matching of siding or shingles! I feel that that they are overstepping their boundaries and something should be done to protect not only me but others in this subdivision from this organization. Thank you.

    • The so-called “stakeholders” – those who live off homeowners – CAI attorneys, management companies, vendors of all sorts – need homeowner money to survive. Harassment precedes the fines, fees, liens, and foreclosure. Your statement about your neighbor’s property’s imperfections “I feel that should not be an issue” is a most commendable response. Too often, when a neighbor is harassed, resentment builds up and turns neighbor against neighbor. Ward Lucas has just published a book this year: NEIGHBORS AT WAR – The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association. What is needed is for neighbors to unite against the CAI/HOA industry and reclaim their Constitutional and homeowner rights. Every Texas homeowner must become active and contact his/her state senator and state representative explaining they are the true stakeholders. Their money is invested in their homes. The HOA industry is parasitic – it lives off homeowners.

  181. My story is a little different than most posts in here. I moved out of an updated, completely paid for home in a non-covenanted community so I could live in a society that had rules to prevent people from partying in their garages every weekend or working on their cars hours on end in their garage which amplifies the noise sending it directly into my home. I had neighbors who would throw their garbage close to the garbage can but not into the garbage can…the list is endless.
    When we purchase our new home the covenants were important to us and we studied them to make sure they covered everything we were trying to get away from but were also something we could abide by. Being seniors and on a fixed retirement income we wanted to make the best, most informed decision possible.
    Now, several years in, it seems that my HOA Board will not enforce any covenant other than garbage cans and length of the lawn. Not only that but they don’t seem to have any fine system set up so while they may send endless letters the offense(s) never ends because no one is ever fined.
    My CC&R’s are very clearly defined…not convoluted like some communities have and I have had to hire an attorney to get my HOA Board to even listen to me and then the Management Company hired an attorney to deny half of the requests we made for documents regarding the case. It’s confusing to me on who really runs this turned over community…the Management Company OR the HOA Board.
    It’s frightening to think that the next step is probably court and thousands of dollars in legal fees just to get the HOA to follow the covenants. At this point if I had to do it over again I would probably not move into a covenanted community because while they look good to some of us mine certainly isn’t what I bought into.

    • You sought strict deed restriction enforcement and neighbors who shared your values. You were willing to surrender control of your home to a board you did not know – a board that could incur debt that will burden your home forever. For buying into an HOA is far worse than co-signing a note with strangers. A note has a fixed amount, defined terms, and can be paid off. In an HOA there is a lien that can never be paid off. The homeowner is a guarantor for all debts incurred by the HOA, and his house is security for their spending sprees. You sought Utopia as did those who bought into Celebration City, Florida – a master planned community that imitated a version of pre-World War II small town life. The false notion that “planning, planning, planning” could create such a community exploded with the burst of the housing bubble. Then city problems became reality as foreclosures, murder, and suicide invaded this fake city. The gated community designed to exclude disorder, poverty, and crime now manifested the same reality and denied the promised Utopia.

    • In response to rc: If you are a home owner you may know the real role performed by HOA associates are, fence jumping, plotting unwanted underground cable lines, putting cable boxes and electric meter boxes in home owners yard and so on, in addition to HOA fees and fines. Thus to avoid all these nuisance, government oficers needed to protect home owners.

  182. My HOA is having Board elections. Which is great, but they never solicited the entire membership to see if anyone else besides their “chosen one” would be interested in running for the Board seat. Seeing that the ballots were pre-printed with the “chosen one’s” name it is a difficult task to get anyone else elected. It seems that there should be some laws created to ensure that all members have an opportunity to have their name printed on the ballots. This is just more abuse by Boards to maintain control. What can we do to change this?

  183. A DILEMMA: IF ONE HAS RENTAL PROPERTY AND RENTERS GET FINES, THE OWNER PAYS THE FINES. THE RENTERS NO LONGER LIVE ON PROPERTY AND NOTICE WAS GIVEN IN WRITING AND IN PERSON THAT THEY DO NOT LIVE THERE ANYMORE, YET THEY CONTINUE FINING ME SAYING I MUST GET SHERIFF TO EVICT. HOW CAN I EVICT SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT LIVE THERE? AFTER RUNNING 1900.00 IN FINES THEN TAKES THEM OFF LIST. (NOTE) RENTER GETS ORIGINAL COPY AND OWNER GETS COPY IN MAIL. I GOT ORIGINAL COPIES BECAUSE THEY KNEW NO ONE LIVED THERE. ALL OF THE FINES WERE FOR RUNNING THE GATE @ $150. EACH TIME.

  184. I have been conducting a research online to ascertain what my rights are as a homeowner since I fall under an HOA here in Fort Worth Texas. We have signs posted at the entrance /exit of our community and meeting notices are being written on these signs although the passerby can hardly read these signs due to the light markers used.

    My question /issue is relating to the 2011 82nd Texas Legislature ruling where a change was made to the Community Association laws stating that our HOA Board can now post the notice of a Board Meeting at least 72 hours before the start of a meeting as long as the notice is posted in a conspicuous manner in the community.

    First and foremost; I didn’t even notice the writing on this sign until well after the meeting took place because you can barely read the sign. Now I am afraid that my fellow homeowners are not being given fair notice so that we can attend these meetings should we desire to because our Board is using these signs to meet the intent of this new ruling.

    Is there anything that you know of that we can do to adequately address this concern to both our property management company and our current HOA Board of Directors?

    • Section 209.0051 (e) Members shall be given notice of the date, hour, place, and general subject of a regular or special board meeting, including a general description of any matter to be brought up for deliberation in executive session.

      Once again it is very clear that an independent oversight government agency is needed to provide justice for homeowners in Texas. This agency should have been set up when Property Code 204 was passed in 1995, so that homeowners would have an authority to enforce the HOA laws. The legislature also needs to attach fines to state HOA laws. No penalty = no enforcement. Legislators claim they want to have balance, yet there is no balance. The laws were written for the HOA Industry by the HOA Industry.

    • In response to RF: If you are in fort worth, you are caught up by HOA in several names. First you will get one HOA name what you have now. Thereafter they will tell as follows. You are automatically enrolled in meadowcreek south HOA to Associa HOA to providence HOA to North texas HOA to principal management group HOA and so on. In fact, all these people are same. To better serve our young generation government office is needed as I described earlier. HOA fees/fines and any other types of fines on home owners by builder-title company-HOA must be abolished completely. Builder-title company-HOA must not have any right to go back to the sold home. Be aware of several underground unwanted cable lines. Mineral right retained by the builder-title company-HOA is enough for them to dig the home owners land, according them.

  185. I just reviewed HB 818. It is an important bill and you might want to add it to the list of bills filed.
    In our POA every vote has to be signed, including lot numbers, etc. Of course, once the Board of Directors knows who opposed them … I leave it up to you to imagine the consequences.
    On the other hand, the POA President has 74 voted in a community of ~120 homes. Again, use your imagination to calculate the odds of making any changes that the POA Board does not agree with.

    • HOA Filed Bills for the 83rd Session are now listed as follows:
      Go to Home Page. Click on Legislation Tab. Click on link “The 83rd Session” – then on The 83rd Session – Bills Filed.

  186. According to our new management company, the HOA is now assessing a new administrative fee of $20 if a homeowner receives a third violation letter. According to the management company representative, the management company is not assessing an additional fee for sending the third letter to the Association. The $20 is being given directly to the association. Essentially, this is a way for the association to “fine” homeowners and raise money for the Association. Therefore it is in the best interest of the Association to see that third letters are sent to residents so that the Association can get more money.

    This fee will then be applied to the owner’s account. It may be subjected to interest charges. If the association chooses it can turn this $20 unpaid fee over to the attorney for collection which then means that the homeowner will be responsible for attorneys’ fees on top of everything else. This $20 can turn into thousands of dollars and lead to a lien or foreclosure of one’s home by the Association.

    The Board has not made homeowners aware of this new fee. This is a fee that is solely a means to “fine” residents and raise money for the association. How many more “fees” will residents be subjected to that we will stumble upon? The real cost of living in the Association has now gone up although the Association will state that the dues have remained the same. Homeowners be aware and on the look out for additional “fees”.

  187. I am living in a condo in Utah. In May 2011, I received a HOA statement that showed an additional $1493 added to my HOA fees with a letter claiming that I ran into the garage door. One letter claimed they had me on video. Two days later, I received a notice a lien was placed on my property for $3261. It took me over a month to get the repair bill detail and the video which showed another car running into the garage door. However meeting with a 35 year old garage door installation firm in Salt Lake, informed me the repair bill demonstrates the real problem was worn out garage door springs that should have been replaced by the HOA. The HOA finally removed the bill from my HOA statement, but now claims that I was in arrears in my HOA fees. I then get an independent accounting firm to audit my Bill Pay account with the HOA statements. Everything is accounted for May 2011, except a $212 late fee that was assessed in 2009 when dues were increased. BTW: The property management firm has not sent me HOA statements for years. I have been fighting this battle for 2 years over attorney fees even though the attorney, property management and HOA confirm that I have kept up my HOA fees all the while. The HOA attorney cannot provide invoices but claims $20,000 in legal fees that he claims occurred within a 3 month time frame. The Property Management firm cannot even connect the dots; the HOA wants to keep this matter under a sealed lid to the Home Owners, and I am fighting this out in court not to mention recovery of my own attorney costs. I should note, that even though I was paid in full, to resolve this HOA problem, I asked for a pay off amount. I was told $500, asked for it in writing which then came in at $1109.04. I wrote a check to the attorney, who then rejected it to proceed with the foreclosure. I then had to pay $2100 to keep my home from being sold and am now fighting to present evidence to a District Judge. At a hearing to argue to have the right to present evidence, my own attorney showed documents that demonstrated double billing on the HOA attorney. The HOA knows the details and allows this to continue. Current status: waiting to see if the judge will allow me to present evidence in a law suit against the HOA, their attorney and the attorney’s law firm. Jan, 25, 2013.

  188. Did that surprise you that no new ones were written? It didnt surprise me at all. They will now wait another 5 or 10 years and than change them all. It seems to be pattern for them. I am surprised that none were written to get rid of the ones passed last year. I guess I will have to sit and watch my association go bankrupt before anything can be done. I think I will move back to Wichita Falls where I grew up. They seem to want to do a little investigating when someone reports money missing unlike here in Dallas, as I was informed by the DA. They don’t get involved in HOA issues.

  189. We recently found out that a homeowner who was NOT on with the board filed liens against homeowners. He used the title “business manager” when he had the liens filed. The board is trying to stop this, but this quy sent out a letter to all the homeowners accusing the board of incompetence, mismanagement, and disregard for the By-Laws, and urged them not to vote for us. He created 4 deed restrictions amendments without the proper signatures, filed them at the court house, and forced 2 homeowners to tear down their carports. He wasn’t even on the board. He is a bully. It took us 20 years to realize this was going on. The board is trying to stop him, and he is trying to stop the board. Board elections are next week. It will be interesting. I started a blog to communicate to people. Right now it addresses XXXX Club Association members. There’s “Comments” if others have similar issues or ideas on how to deal with it.

    If we fail to get on the board, I know I’ll get discouraged, but I intend to keep the blog up anyway. The more homeowners that know their rights, the less power HOAs have.

    • A government agency is urgently needed to correct HOA abuse and injustice. It is past time for the Texas legislature to correct its oversight in empowering HOA boards and failing to provide protection for homeowners. The legislature of the state of Indiana has given the Attorney General this authority. It is past time for the Texas legislature to correct its error by providing an agency to receive complaints and enforce laws. Read this link to understand the power structure of the Texas House: http://info.tpj.org/Lobby_Watch/pdf/HOABobPerry.june2011.pdf

    • Update: The group who was filing the liens collected 75 proxies and worked another 50 homeowners, mostly in their 80s, into a frenzy by claiming the current board acted illegally. The non-board member who gave himself the title ‘Business Manager’ motioned to remove the entire board, the group held up signs that had already been prepared to ‘Vote Yes’, and it passed. The board was removed in 2 minutes. Most of those cheering for the removal had not attended a board meeting or volunteered an hour to the association in 20 years, and were completely ignorant of the issues. It was a mob mentality.

      I also learned that the treasurer used the title ‘Legal Liason’ when signing legal documents to foreclose. The board knew nothing about his actions or his use of that title.

  190. After new Board elected for 2012, the past Treasurer cleaned out the account. Said that a law suit that was filed was paid by one of the home owner’s own money and they were paying her back. Her dues for the Association were now paid for life.

    • Life in Privatopia. HOAs rule. No government oversight. No checks and balances. This is what happens when state and local governments hand over major responsibilities.

    • No Liberty or Justice for home owners by builder-title company-HOA

      In response to TS: HOA people’s associates are living in some homes pretending to be home owners to spy on real home owners. Thus your HOA treasurer paid money in the name of ‘other home owner’ should be ‘their builder-title company-HOA associates’, and not a real home owner.

      HOA fees/fines should be abolished. HOA fees/fines are similar to “taxation (fees and fines) without representation (no government officer in title writing, home inspection, survey plat drawing or to measure the land when citizens buy a home). Even cable subcontract is taken by these local people and thus builder-title company-HOA associates put cable lines and cable boxes in the home owners land, wherever they like even through backyard of the home, when the home is with the builder. Thereafter they sell the home.

      Our younger generation must have the right to live in a “really owned home” without any disturbance such as HOA fees/fine etc. When a home owner pays more value than the land value which the home deserves, why should home owner have to pay HOA fees/fines? Is this Liberty and Justice to the home owners when they bought a home? I assume that significant number of homeless people seen today are at least partly ascribable by conspiracy of builder-title company-HOA associates’ fees/fines resulting in foreclosure and thus evicted from their own home.

      Therefore Government title company is needed. These government officers must inspect the homes , inspect cable lines, appraise the property and draw survey plat. Builder(s) should not be allowed to put cable lines through back yards of the homes. This will affect privacy of the home owners. Important cable lines should go through front yard underground near the road within a small area ( preferably within 1ft) without affecting the property value. Government title company must monitor. HOA fees/fines or any other fees should not be charged on home owners. Builder-HOA associates must not have any right to go back to the sold home.

  191. In Pennsylavania they protect homeowners associations. CAI chapter claims they have both parties’ interests but that is not so. All the laws that are introduced to protect homewonwers are shot down by them, so if you have them in your state, good luck. Federal government should get involved because there are too many fraud cases out there and good luck getting local authorities to look at them because they have no accounting experience or they have personal relationships with people in the community. Transactions in our HOA have no back up documentation to them especially checks made out to people and businesses. The homeonwers have NO rights unless you have 100k to fight them. They also have refused audits and have never had one. Our state allows you to view the records and it cost me 2,000 to see those records and they were incomplete. The lawyers are right there to violate your fiduciary rights as well and they hide behind their client -attorney privilege. Why do you think they do not want laws to protect homeowners? Because the association’s money, which you pay for, can generate more income for them just keeping the fight going. Our state has a mandated law which says the association has to have one audit at least and they bypassed that. There is only one reason someone would refuse an audit. They have something to hide. The problem is most people in HOAs are intimidated or just don’t want to be bothered. They say it is cheaper to have the association steal from them. I guess when the amount gets too large they will understand.

  192. I have been following the posted concerns and replies for some time.
    Today I searched for bills filed for the 2013 (83rd regular) legislative session. Using the criteria “HOA” and/or “POA” yielded no matches.
    Have no bills beeen filed to protect property owners from the POA’s? Or has the wording been changed to favor the POA’s once again by hiding the filings?

    I composed a letter to the legislators with specific examples based on our experience with an East Texas POA. This includes substantiating data, not just some general comments.
    It would be helpful to know whose office to address.
    I feel that all legislators need to be informed, not just our Representative and Senator. Especially in light that our Senator [owns] is involved with one of the largest HOA management companies in the US and our Representative feels that Contract Law is involved and needs to be enforced.

    =====================

    • My last check of Texas Legislature Online did not have the 83rd session listed. As soon as it is updated, it will be good to post all information wanted to keep up to date on the latest bills filed, committee meetings, etc.

      • I have been sending emails since last session ended about condos not having any protection against HOAs and it did no good what so ever. They are not listening. Now they are all being true politicians showing us all that money talks.

    • In response to RW question: as major reform is needed, the letter may be sent to The president, The supreme court judges, HUD director and governors of all 50 states. Creating government title company and government HOA will solve all these problems.

    • So far two HOA/POA related bills have been found:

      HB 35 (Jose Menendez) – Relating to the authority of a property owners’ association to regulate the use of certain lots for residential purposes.

      HB 449 (Dawna Dukes) – Relating to restrictions on xeriscaping by property owners’ associations and certain political subdivisions.

  193. Our HOA has now decided that they will have a committee that will take resumes for open postions on the Board. They will then decide who can run and whom to endorse and then will advise homeowers. There is nothing that states this is in the deed restrictions. The deed restrictions and bylaws are up for renewal. The Board is going to make the decisons on changes with no input from the homeowners, whereas the old deed restrictions and bylaws state that homeowners have to approve the new restrictions by 67 percent. All control has been taken away from homeowners but who can afford an attorney to fight them?

  194. My HOA prevented me from having solar panels installed on my house despite the passage of HB 362 passed in Texas in 2011 to prevent HOA’s from prohibiting solar panels. They used the “developer period” loophole so that even though my subdivision has been fully built out for several years, they claim that since my residence is part of a master planned community, they can claim my subdivision is in the developer period indefinitely. I checked with my Texas representative, and their office claims that the developer is free to do this.

    Is anything being done to close this loophole in the upcoming legislative session?

    • You might double-check what is written in your declaration. According to 202.010(a), the development period must be stated in the declaration.

      As far as HOA legislation in this 2013 session, all Texas homeowners must unite to get the laws to protect homeowners. A loud homeowner voice will be heard!

  195. Government title company and Government HOA needed to save home owners and our young generation

    I bought a classic Century home in Fort Worth, TX. I am a first time buyer and I do not know how to buy a home. I signed all the documents given by the title company. The builder advertised that my home does not have HOA. Then also I was enrolled in HOA by the title company. The title company did not give me the mineral rights. The builder-HOA-title company all are family members or friends. The builder placed others’ home electric meters and cable boxes in front of my home and put several underground cables to reach the other’s home where the meter and box belong. If they put the meter and box on the owners’ land, they can not put cables on home owners’ land. If they do not have cables they can not come and dig the home owners’ land. Therefore this is a strategy handled by these people. In addition, they put the underground cables along fences between homes. When home owner is not at home, they go to the backyard of the home owner and dig the land. I hope these people misdirect electric companies and cable companies to put cables and meters by saying this land is their own land while it was with the builder and therafter they sell the home. The meter they placed in my front yard belongs to the plot almost 90 homes away from my home. All these people I met as builder and HOA both are foreigners probably from two different countries. Whether they have USA citizenship or not. I do not know.
    To better save our young generation, the government must open a title company. The Government title company staff must ask the builder to remove all cable lines intentionally plotted by the builder and thereafter write the property to the buyer. New home buyer does not know anything about home buying. The new home owners will put signatures wherever the title company people instruct. In old age, people do not even have power to read documents. The same government title company must have government HOA officers to inspect the homes. Private people must not handle title comany and HOA jobs. I have given complaint to the Fort Worth city about these boxes and meter placed by the builder in front of my home and asked the city to remove. I hope the city will take action.
    -Fort Worth, TX

  196. A lawyer told me of a new Texas law effective Jan 1 2012 which allows a plaintiff or defendant to appeal to a higher court when appearing before a justice of the peace, and, almost without question, if a homeowner files in JP court against a HOA or management company, the HOA or management company will appeal to a higher court and cause increased costs to the homeowner….and the HOA or management company will be using the homeowner’s money to appeal the case,

    • I have heard nothing about that but will check into it. I think the purpose for using the JP is for not having access to documents or in my case to force them to do audits or force them to have an annual meeting. If a JP would even consider allowing that to go to an appeals court then I would be reporting him before ink could dry on the paperwork. Plus at least now homeowners can be reimbursed for any monies spent if they win the case. When I took all of my information to the District Attorney’s office about my HOA, that’s when I found out about laws and having to have remedies to enforce them. I was also told that it was a civil matter. The courts are already so overrun with severe crime cases that cases dealing with HOAs are not a priority. This is one reason these laws were passed and if, by chance, the HOA did appeal to higher court, I would fight it by using that reasoning. If they won appeal, that would tell me to sell and move, confirming bigger problems than HOA corruption.

  197. Explain to me why HOAs do not have to follow the Texas State Laws. Especially when the management company managers KNOW that their HOAs are not in compliance. Yet, residents are required to follow the DCR and the rest of the governing documents.

    If HOAs feel that they don’t have to follow the rules that govern them, then why should residents have to follow the rules that HOAs have?

    Maybe we should have more enforcement rights not only against the HOAs but also against the management companies and attorneys that represent the HOAs? If enforcement was done where HOAs were fined or some other punishment, then the associated management company and attorney should also be fined for the same amount for allowing the HOAs to continue to break the law.

    • If the Texas legislators truly sought the “BALANCE” they profess in the homeowner laws they enact, they would file a bill to insure enforcement rights not only against the offending HOAs but also against the management companies and attorneys that represent the HOAs.

      But, once again, consider this affidavit given by a DFW CAI attorney in the 428th Judicial District Court on August 14, 2012: “I personally attended or monitored all meetings of committees of the Texas House and Senate at which most amendments to Section 209 of the Texas Property Code were considered. I also personally attended or monitored all floor debates and votes which most amendments to Section 209 of the Texas Property Code were considered.”

      The CAI has written all of the HOA laws and continues to control the writing of HOA laws in Texas. We have the above affidavit not disputed. How can the legislators claim they seek “balance”? There is no balance. In 2013, homeowners must unite and demand their legislators restore their rights. This abuse of homeowners must end.

    • For any law written there has to be a remedy written as a way to enforce it. If there is no remedy and even though it is a law the only way to enforce it is to file a civil suit against the board. For the HOA if you don’t pay your dues required by your documents and state law, then there is a remedy to cure that, it’s called foreclosure.

      HOA attorneys claim they work for the association but they take direction only from the board. My condo assoc. is self managed and our attorney has made several excuses for our board defending their actions. Three years ago I found out we hadn’t had an annual audit done in about 6 years. Since than we had one done. In defense of the board his response was, one way to get around that is get a compilation of 2-3 years done even though it says annually. With his response to the owners the board had one audit done and think all is good now. If he worked for the association he would have seen a problem and advised them to follow the law not ways to get around them. There is a reason why they wont get any audits done, they have too much to hide. Since the board is the one that is in contact with attorney, that’s who he represents,even though my dues money helps pay him. In order for me to get my audits annually I would have to file a civil suit to get it done. No remedy for that law either unless you are a member of a housing community you can go to JP court to get it done,(remedy).

      • HB 2761 – 209.005 – Sec. (n) A member of a property owners’ association who is denied access to or copies of association books or records….may file a petition with the justice of the peace…

  198. (Previous email 8-14-2012)

    Our 30 year deed restrictions expired on Dec 6th, 2012, which state that changes to the rules and deeds need 67 percent of homeowners for things changed and to re-file. Well guess what! A group of us decided to let people know they have rights, but the HOA board called the elderly home owners scaring them and threatening them. One threatened a homeowner that if he signed anything other than a HOA Board doc he would get his barn burned down. No one wants to talk. The HOA Board did all the changes without any input from any one; changed the deed and filed it themselves and said they will pass out the new deed at the next general meeting. We have three positions open next year. We asked about the openings and the HOA board said they are going to stay on. There will be no election or no proxies. Nice group of people huh ?? Can’t afford an Attorney but when you do get an Attorney most Board members are connected with judges and police. One guy said he can’t testify because his business was threatened and he would lose this business from people that are in the HOA and on the board. They covered all of their bases – even elected people who are some how connected.. Texas needs help..

  199. What are the committees this session to monitor and what bills have been filed? What elected reps are supporters of homeowner rights and protections?
    There is another beast of servitude out there under the radar – limited districts, a revenue stream for boards, attorneys and property management in great need of oversight.

    • The two committees concerned with HOA issues are: Senate: The Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) – New Chair is Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa.

      House of Representatives: The committee concerned with HOA issues is the Business and Industry Committee. Until the house members meet and choose a speaker, the new appointments are not known.

      How I wish we could give you a list of legislators who are supporters of homeowner rights and protections. This past summer we submitted a survey to most of the legislators and candidates. Here is a link: http://hoareformcoalition.org/issues-survey/. What we can provide is information on legislators who have voted against homeowners in the last session and how much money they received: http://info.tpj.org/Lobby_Watch/pdf/HOABobPerry.june2011.pdf. Do read all of the tables and graphs. Then please unite with us in our efforts this next session.

  200. I too have issues with our HOA (and management company), particularly in the last six years. But, after reading many of these “comments” it sure sounds like home owners have little or no recourse for resolution for the failures of said entities. Very disheartening. Maybe we should all move in to halfway houses. There’s bound to be one either presently or “coming soon” to your neighborhood. They’re REALLY protected. Unbelievable.

    • David vs. Goliath? Of course. The HOA Industry/CAI have had decades of controlling the laws of Texas. The Industry controlled with the false claim that HOAs “protect property values” – which they don’t. Even the legislators would parrot that statement at hearings. Of course the powerful HOA lobby, TCAA, is ever-present – not just during legislative sessions – but year round.
      We are slowly educating homeowners, but so long as homeowners are apathetic and/or fearful, the Industry will continue to control. Ward Lucas’ new book “Neighbors at War” – The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association, and a new documentary to come out in 2013 – THE HOAX by Rodney Gray – should help to educate homeowners. It is important to remember: Buying into an HOA is far worse than co-signing a note with strangers. A note has a fixed amount, defined terms, and can be paid off. In an HOA there is a lien that can never be paid off. The homeowner is a guarantor for all debts incurred by the HOA, and his house is security for their spending sprees.
      Texas homeowners must have their rights restored, but it will take all united. There must be government oversight from the Attorney General’s office. This stream of money to CAI attorneys must end.

  201. I fought for these new laws to get passed and it’s a start but they left one important issue out and that was condo associations. I have been fighting ever since then to get that changed only to get ignored. Unfortunately I think I am the only one to notice this oversight. I have yet to hear or read any other complaint about this issue. Am I the only condo owner out there with a rogue board that keeps total control over our hoa? I have written letter after letter to legislators and no answer. I just want a reason because we have board problems also.

    • Condos and townhomes where owners actually share in their common construction pose unique circumstances but certainly deserve the rights of open meetings, open records, the right to vote and to hold office – the rights of citizens that too often are denied those living in HOAs. There should be government oversight to protect those living in all forms of HOAs so that owners do not have to seek legal help thereby enriching the coffers of HOA attorneys.

      It is especially important for those living in condominiums or townhomes to attend all meetings and be cognizant of the financial condition of the common interest property. There have been too many cases recently where investors buy multiple units and take control. In many cases, assessments are immediately raised, no repairs are made, or expensive repairs made without owner approval. Then huge special assessments are levied, which may be beyond the ability of owners to pay.

      And no, you are not the only condo owner “out there”. Every homeowner who has a problem must contact his/her state senator and state representative. The legislators must be educated to the state-wide problem of HOAs. And then homeowners must unite at this coming legislative session to demand their rights. In my previous answer I wrote: Consider this affidavit given by a DFW CAI attorney in the 428th Judicial District Court on August 14, 2012: “I personally attended or monitored all meetings of committees of the Texas House and Senate at which most amendments to Section 209 of the Texas Property Code were considered. I also personally attended or monitored all floor debates and votes which most amendments to Section 209 of the Texas Property Code were considered.”

      The CAI has written all of the HOA laws, and yet the legislators claim they seek “balance”. There is no balance. Homeowners must unite and demand their rights.

      • I have spoken to Senator xxx’s legal aide several times about this matter and always got the same response. Which is only section 209 TRPOPA was addressed and condos can’t be covered under the same laws. Nonsense, none of the new laws would have to be changed to incorporate condos into them. HB472 and HB 2761 have nothing to do with the structure of any hoa. They cover common issues like meetings and board control issues, unlike the solar panel or rainwater retention laws that did include condos. Once I mention this and the fact that townhouses are more similar to condos than houses, the aide never responds. Now as far as the CAI, their biggest financial supporter is sitting up there in Austin doing everything he can to keep these bills from passing and they will support whatever he says to support. Why should it matter to them if new laws are put into place to protect homeowners? The ones who are benefiting are the attorney members of the CAI and of course the management companies. They are the ones that have so much to lose if condos are included.

  202. The following agenda was printed on our HOA web site. I went to the meeting that night assuming the following agenda was open to the public, because there was nothing on the agenda list that meets the executive meeting agenda requirements. In so many words I was told to leave because this was an executive meeting. I stated there is nothing on the agenda that requires discussion in an executive meeting. I was told the board can discuss anything in an executive meeting they desire, and I must leave. (or else)

    Every single discussion item on the executive meeting agenda should be in the open meeting.
    How can this total disregard for transparency be stopped?

    AGENDA (executive meeting)
    6:00 I. Call to Order
    II. Establish a quorum
    6:05 III. Approval of minutes
    6:07 IV. Management Report
    a. Financial Report
    b. Collection Report
    c. Site inspection
    d. Action items
    6:25 V. Old Business
    a. Pool
    b. Tennis Court
    c. Security System
    d. Budget
    6:45 VI. New Business
    6:55 VII. Open Discussion
    7:15 VIII. Open Meeting
    (HOA open board meeting agenda)
    a. President’s Report
    b. Open to Homeowner’s
    Each homeowner will be allowed 5 (five) minutes to address the
    Board of Directors regarding his/her concerns. Any owner that
    exceeds the five minutes will be asked to place any concerns or
    issues in writing.

    From Tx 209 law
    (c)Regular and special board meetings must be open to owners, subject to the right of the board to adjourn a board meeting and reconvene in closed executive session to consider actions involving personnel, pending or threatened litigation, contract negotiations, enforcement actions, confidential communications with the property owners ’ association ’s attorney, matters involving the invasion of privacy of individual owners, or matters that are to remain confidential by request of the affected parties and agreement of the board.

    • Why are homeowners bound to obey the CC&Rs suffering immediate penalties for non-compliance whereas HOA boards ignore state laws with no penalties? State legislators recently stated that their goal is balance. There is NO BALANCE! Why is this so? Consider this affidavit given by a DFW CAI attorney in the 428th Judicial District Court on August 14, 2012: “I personally attended or monitored all meetings of committees of the Texas House and Senate at which most amendments to Section 209 of the Texas Property Code were considered. I also personally attended or monitored all floor debates and votes which most amendments to Section 209 of the Texas Property Code were considered.”

  203. Our HOA has allowed residents to pay quarterly dues for the past 6 years. This week, we received a letter stating that the annual assessment is due 1/1/2013. This gives us 30 days notice to pay $880. Our normal quarterly dues are $220. They stated that if we do not pay the balance, interest will accrue on unpaid assessments at 10% per annum. If we need a monthly payment plan, we can contact the board of directors and ask for one, but a $5 charge will be added to every payment.

    Are there any laws that protect our residents from the changes being imposed? There was no notice that the dues were going from quarterly to annual.

    • The answer will probably depend on what is in the restrictive covenants. Some specify annual payments, some quarterly, some other. If there is no specification, other than an amount, current law possibly gives directors discretion to change the plan and impose some charges. If the restrictive covenants do forbid the charge, one suggestion might be to get a group together to try to lobby the board to change.

    • 2012/12/16
      Good news! We are allowed to make quarterly payments again. Homeowners received the following:

      “Dear ___ Property Owners,

      There has been concern expressed by members regarding the annual billing of the 2013 assessment that was recently approved by the Board of Directors at the recommendation of the management co. Further, in 2011, additional requirements were passed per the 82nd Legislative Session that was interpreted to mean that each owner is required to receive an itemized statment per billing period. After further review, legal counsel does not find the previous quarterly payment arrangement to be problematic as long as delinquent owners receive an itemized bill prior to the Association taking third party collection action.

      Therefore, based on this information, the Board of Directors has approved quarterly billing for 2013. All assessments will be due January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st. All payments not received by the 10th day of the month each quarter will be considered late and interest and late fees will apply. Each owner will receive four coupons to be used each quarter throughout the year. Please be advised that no additional notifications will be mailed and all owners are fully responsible for ensuring that their payments are received on or before the 10th of each quarter. (January 10th, April 10th, July 10th, and October 10th). Payment plans for 2013 will no longer be required unless you wish to make monthly payments. Should you require a payment plan, please notify our office accordingly as we will not send out payment plans based on requests received prior to this notification.

      The management co. made recommendations with intent to help ensure that the association is compliant with the Texas Property Code recent changes. The management co. and the Board of Directors regret any confusion and frustration caused to the members of the association. We can assure the members that ____ will continue to receive the level of attention and service required to maintain the community’s success.”

  204. My concern is that under my HOA here in Texas, I am obligated to pay for cable, telephone, internet and alarm services that I don’t want. I am contracted with my cable service that I have had for years and I’m happy with. I have been charged an additional $800.00 bundle charge on top of my HOA fees.

  205. Can an HOA in Texas with deed restrictions regarding parking on private streets and private alleys authorize a tow service provider to tow from public streets? What legal statute applies? Notification was given to homeowners of a towing policy for private streets and alleys and signs are posted at the entrance of each alley and private street. Harris County owns the public streets many vehicles have been towed from without law enforcement authorization. What can be done? Many homeowners have suffered significant financial penalties.

    • CC&Rs are designed by HOAs to control homeowners who have little recourse. Enforcers drive through the community looking for infractions to allow fines and fees to provide an endless stream of money to the CAI partners – whether attorneys, management companies, or in this case a towing company. HOAs are their business. Fines, fees, liens, and thousands of foreclosure filings do not make strong neighborhoods. Rather they instill fear and destroy neighborhoods. If the CAI truly wanted strong neighborhoods they would prohibit foreclosure, cap attorney fees, demand that HOAs be subject to Open Meetings and Open Records per Government Codes 551 and 552, and recommend that HOAs be subject to government oversight.

  206. I am the guardian for my parents who are in their 80’s and were burned out of their condo in Austin, Texas almost 2 years ago along with all the other residents on the 8th floor. To date, none of the residents are able to begin building their homes back and move in.

    The HOA, managed by the Board , hired the general contractor to demo and reconstruct the hallway and the condo walls so that residents could then hire their own contractors to build back their individual homes. This first phase being managed by the condo requires approval by the City of Austin before the residents can bring their own contractors in. To date, this first phase project is not finished and my parents are required to continue paying $661 a month for HOA fees or have their home repossessed. My parents are on a limited income and can’t afford the HOA fees.

    The Condo Board told us that we can have our own contractors start bringing materials up to our floor to start work on our units, but the first phase is not completed and there is no safe place to store any materials.

    Are we required to pay HOA fees into perpetuity? My parents have already paid more than $14,000 to date in HOA fees due to this incompetence. Is there a law limiting what they can continue to charge us? We don’t know what to do. Is there anyone that you can direct us to that can help? We can’t afford attorneys.

    • Wrongs are done by commission and by omission. By commission the Texas legislature caused great harm to Texas homeowners by passing Property Code 204 in 1995. (www.HOAdata.org) The Texas legislature continues to err by omission in not providing an independent (NO CAI) oversight agency where homeowners can protest HOA injustice without consulting legal help. This independent agency should have the right to see that HOA boards, management companies, and attorneys obey the laws. Indiana has given its state Attorney General the power to pursue HOAs for criminal acts. Now is the time for Texas’ Attorney General to be so empowered.

  207. My homeowners assn. has sent me two fines now for my trashcans being on the side of my house, $50 each and then 2 $12 fees for certified mail. The fines state that I am in violation of my CCR’s,however when I looked at my CCR’s it has nothing in there about them not being able to be on the side of my house. The only thing that the CCR’s say is that all trash must be kept in a sanitary container. The assn. has posted a fines and fees schedule on the website that has the trashcans in it. What I am wanting to know is if they say that I am in violation of the CCR’s but its not in the CCR’s am I in violation of them, and are the fines legit?

    • Fines assessed against homeowners benefit the HOA industry. A “myriad of specific purpose fees” have been designed for industry enrichment to the detriment of homeowners. They do not benefit the neighborhood but create ill will and dissension.

  208. We have filed lawsuit and never win. Most Judges have ties to the HOA and would not allow certain discovery that was presented in time and part of the case. The HOA took our land and made it their new emergency spillway for flooding because some Board members wanted more water front property for their land. They told us to flood proof our home, because they need the water for their property value to stay up. We even called TCEQ and they told them we have the right to move the new emergency spillway but TCEQ can’t do anything until 2015 because of new madate laws that were voted on in legislation. Its like living in a third world country. You have no rights even on your land. I have written my representatives and senators with no response.

    • You had written us about this problem on August 14. Our suggestion was to please contact your state senator and state representative and explain the urgent need of an independent state agency – with no ties to the CAI Industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse. Now you state, “I have written my representatives and senators with no response.”

      After enacting Property Code 204 and giving all power to HOA boards, the Texas Legislature has turned its back on homeowners. At the October 8, 2012, Interim House Committee Hearing, two legislators expressed “concern” but stated they were seeking “balance”. There is no balance when this law has resulted in tens of thousands of liens and foreclosure filings. There is no balance when fear, harassment and injustice are constant factors in homeowners’ lives. Lobby Watch

      http://info.tpj.org/Lobby_Watch/pdf/HOABobPerry.june2011.pdf

      has produced evidence of significant “contributions” to legislators and statistics on this vote on a crucial homeowner bill. Do read this Lobby Watch report. See which legislators truly represent Texas homeowners and which represent lobbyists.

      It is past time for legislators to truly represent Texas homeowners by establishing this independent state agency – with NO ties to the CAI Industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse. It is past time for legislators to place HOAs under Government Codes 551 and 552 – Open Meetings and Open Records. It is past time for legislators to correct the years of injustice caused by Property Code 204. Indiana has given its state Attorney General the power to pursue HOAs for criminal acts. Now is the time for Texas’ Attorney General to be so empowered.

  209. I added a handicapped extension to the side of my driveway. The HOA and management company in Houston came after us. Not knowing what to do eventually we removed the extension. But they are still suing us for thousands and in the petition it says they will force a sale of the house. I was contacted by someone that told me the HOA and management group had no right in the first place to make us remove the extension because of handicapped laws.

    Who can help us deal with this situation?

    • Once again your question accentuates the need for an independent state agency – with no ties to the CAI industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse.

  210. Now our HOA has decided that you can’t vote if you are behind on dues or, get this, not in good standing with the HOA board. Good Standing, this is crazy. If someone on the board does not like you, you can’t vote. Now we have a board member out getting proxies from the elder residents. The election is 4 months away but no email or information has been sent out about this. Last year they told everyone there would be no proxies, but the board had already gotten proxies so they could stay in office. Seems the Texas Attorney General should step in or at least have a department in his office to oversee such violations.

    • Seems the Texas Attorney General should step in or at least have a department in his office to oversee such violations.

      YES! Homeowners all across Texas have written stating that their pleas to the Attorney General were denied. Our pleas to the legislature are always tempered by the HOA lobbying group,TCAA. There is no provision for justice for homeowners. HOA laws have immediate fines for violations. Texas’ HOA laws have no enforcement penalties and therefore ARE NOT ENFORCED. The Texas legislature authorized all powers to HOA boards, and the industry – attorneys, management companies, and vendors have reaped the benefits of unsupervised power. See: http://www.HOAdata.org. to see the multi thousands of HOA judicial foreclosure filings in Harris County alone. Attorneys threaten foreclosure, owners’ knees buckle, and they pay whatever they are told. HOAs are a multi billion dollar industry. See this link: http://info.tpj.org/Lobby_Watch/pdf/HOABobPerry.june2011.pdf
      Millions are paid in lobbying. Great expectations! Great results for the HOA industry. Disaster and injustice for homeowners. It is time for justice for Texas homeowners. Some members of the House Business and Industry Committee declared on October 8, 2012, that they sought “balance” in Texas’ HOA laws. There is no balance

  211. Why are the HOA subdivision names not listed here? I want to know what complaints are out there against my HOA.

    • Why are the HOA subdivision names not listed here? I want to know what complaints are out there against my HOA.

      Your request is certainly valid. The legislature empowered HOAs but has failed to provide an agency where homeowners can file grievances citing abuse and injustice. There should be an agency where homeowners can learn about complaints against HOAs. There should be an oversight agency with power to enforce state HOA laws. This is our constant request also and why we have set up this link.

      By publicizing the problems, we are working to show the legislators the need for such an agency.

  212. At the first of the year there were 4 executive board meetings where the agendas were published on our HOA web site. There now have been 11 executive board meetings to date, with 7 not having agendas published.

    Now the president has announced the board will not ever publish any executive board meeting agendas, or any executive board meeting minutes. This is in direct violation of Texas 209.0051, but what agency has the legislature authorized to enforce this law?

    There are 4 executive meeting agendas’ topics which should have been discussed in open board meetings. Are the following topics even allowed to be discussed in executive meetings, or, by law, should have they been totally discussed in open board meetings? Executive board meeting agendas are required by state law to be published at least 3 days before the meeting. There have been 9 meetings and only 4 have had published agendas. All the below are listed items on the 4 published executive meeting agendas. Which of the below meet the closed meeting requirements?

    Election of officers
    Minutes of previous meetings read and approved
    Management company
    Checks to sign
    Financial statements
    Banking business
    Budget 2013
    Deed restrictions update
    Security – Vehicle decals
    Clubhouse: rules for renters, Maids, Checking clubhouse after rental
    Pool
    Tennis courts
    4th of July events
    Deed restrictions
    Events
    Notebooks for events, jobs, responsibilities
    ACC
    BOD tasks and duties,
    Discussion on contracts for each section
    Website
    Committee standards

    It appears that the real board meeting IS the executive board meeting.

    HOAs should be held to the Texas Open Meeting act to provide justice and transparency. The untold loss to fraud and embezzlement must be ended.

  213. (HOAs are using private management companies to charge fees for services that HOAs have typically provided for free or little expense.)

    I really oppose the so called “quote fee”. When selling your home you must show proof of payment for any taxes or fees on your property. This information must come from the taxing entity itself. The title companies will not accept this information from anyone else. The county provides this information for free, the MUD provides this information for free, but many HOAs are charging very large fees for this. In most cases, they allow their management company to initiate the charge and then the HOA passes the charge on to you.
    In my case, the HOA is self managed. The homeowners are charged an annual assessment to cover the expenses of operating the HOA office, including salaries, equipment, and supplies. When I wanted to sell my home, the HOA charged me $100.00 to provide me with a one page, unsigned, receipt showing I paid my annual assessment. It took the clerk (whose salary I had already paid for) less than a minute to produce the document. At closing the HOA charged another $100.00 to change the name of ownership on their records. This should also take less than a minute. That’s $200.00 for less than two minutes work (or $6000.00 per hour) for office administration work I already paid for with my annual assessment. I made a written request for a refund to the HOA which was denied, stating they were looking for additional sources of revenue. They justified the fee by noting that other HOAs with outside management companies are charging similar fees.
    HOAs may claim that deed restrictions and by-laws are there to protect the homeowner. They may or may not limit what the HOA can do, but they certainly have no control over what the management companies do and HOAs seem happy to use their authority to pass those outrageous fees on to the homeowners. People don’t realize they are paying so much for so little. Unfortunately, these fees are becoming part of a standard fee schedule used by HOAs, management companies, realtors, and title companies. How can these parties justify these fees?

  214. Limited Districts are proliferating below the radar – they are a revenue racket – taxing districts, paying the boards, attorneys, property mgt. The Legislature must address these banana republics and emancipate the indentured homeowners.

  215. How practical is the idea of dissolving a HOA in the state of Texas?

    • How practical is the idea of dissolving a HOA in the state of Texas?

      One homeowner had written:
      “…Our section, one of five, was able to dissolve itself from the HOA…..It cost each of us $300 to do the legal paperwork. Our CC&Rs allowed us to amend it with 2/3 of the HOA members of our section. Since we didn’t have any amenities, we went ahead and amended our CC&Rs to delete the HOA and Liabilities pertaining to the HOA. We kept our CC&Rs as Deed Restrictions only.”

      Another effective means to stop HOA abuse is to establish a homeowner website to educate neighbors and find neighbors who agree. HOAs rule by greed and fear. Greed goes with the false claim “HOAs protect property values.” Fear is instilled in owners because of the uncontrolled power of HOA boards. See http://www.HOAdata.org to see the legal power wielded by the HOA industry.

      Another very important result of the last session was Rep. Dutton’s HB 1228 – Sec. 209.0093:
      Sec. 209.0093. REMOVAL OR ADOPTION OF FORECLOSURE
      Authority. A provision granting a right to foreclose a lien on real property for unpaid amounts due to a property owners’ association may be removed from a dedicatory instrument or adopted in a dedicatory instrument by a vote of at least 67% of the total votes allocated to property owners in the property owners’ association. Owners holding at least 10% of all voting interests in the property owners’ association may petition the association and require a special meeting to be called for the purposes of taking a vote for the purposes of this section.

  216. We live at a lake subdivision in Texas. Neither our By Laws nor Deed Restrictions contain architectural home exterior or yard landscape specifications. Our homes are all different, mixed together…old and new. Last month at a board meeting, the President, VP, Sec, Treas, and three Trustees, added the first new rule to our Rules and Regulations pertaining to basic yard maintenance and a three tier fines assessment. They explained in a letter to members that they hoped it would make our yards “uniform in appearance”. I was shocked that they could do this and even more shocked two weeks later when I received an unsigned letter sent by regular mail telling me my yard was in violation and I had “ten days to mow, weed eat, mow, trim, prune…everything needed to establish a healthy lawn”. In my opinion, my 1.5 heavily wooded lot looks fine and it’s planted with native pines and drought resistant plants.

    Can they do what they did?

    • Can they do what they did?

      Should they have done what they did?

      Is it right what they did?

      Does (what they did) help the neighborhood?

      “Uniform in appearance” enables fines – “three tier” in your neighborhood. “Uniform in appearance” does not protect property values. “Uniform in appearance” enables the HOA industry.

      Many associations claim their stated purpose is to protect property values and enhance the lives of its members. With the burst of the housing bubble and the economic downturn, it is evident POA/HOAs do not protect property values. Homeowners’ lives are not enhanced by rules, regulations, fines, fees, harassment, and certainly not by suing neighbors and foreclosure. Homeowners’ lives are enhanced by respect for neighbors and neighborhood values.

  217. I noticed your inquiry to the TX House District xx candidates.
    We both seem to have similar interests when it concerns HOA / POA regulation. So far only one candidate responded to my inquiry. The reply is below.
    It seems that he fails to understand that the HOA / POA Board of Directors have the authority, and use it, to unilaterally change the terms of the “contracts” without property owners’ inputs, notifications, open meetings, or discussions.
    The POA we belong to, simply because we own property in the development, increased the size requirements for the living area and garage space. This was done without any notice and rendered almost 50% of the existing dwellings illegal.
    It is a lake side community, but the POA does not allow boats in the driveway. Another restriction that was not in the original “contract” signed by property owners.
    Now the rumors are that the POA will require a certain foundation construction technology. Will requiring marble countertops and stainless steel appliances be next?

    Response from candidate for Texas State legislature:
    Subj: RE: HOA / POA Inquiry

    I am against infringing on the rights of property owners but am in favor of enforcing contract law in Texas, including HOA contracts.

    • Contract – A document containing the terms of an agreement.

      The usual complaint from homeowners has always been that they never saw the “contract” or Deed Restriction documents that most legislators maintain must be enforced. Buyers contracted for a home. Most had no idea of the control that would be exerted on their homes by the developer, HOA, management company, and/or attorney. But now since the HOA laws enacted by the 2011 legislature, these “contracts” have been changed without property owner input, notification, open meetings, or discussions. Those changes have been filed with the respective counties and typically initiate additional fines and fees. How can these changes be considered a “contract”?
      Homeowners seek statewide protection from a host of abuses that have long ago been addressed for all other forms of government. Extraordinary powers given to HOAs should be replaced with more limited powers to address what HOAs really need, as opposed to the power they want.

  218. Most boards do what they want and not for the homeowners. For instance our board took all speed limit signs down and the gate because some didn’t like the speed limit signs and the gate. So now we have a race track in our subdivision. The board does what ever they want. There’s no law to protect us from board of directors.

  219. I know thare are several HOA members in the past and presently that are convicted felons. What are the guidelines if any for convicted felons holding office in a HOA? Is it any type of felony or is it only money issue felonies?

    • HB 2761 – Sec. 209.00591 – Board Membership. (b) should be helpful to you.

      • I read that but it says Moral Turpitude which does not give a certain type of crime, so it leaves it wide open to what ever they (board) decides. Which would be Ok if its their friend but no if its a someone they don’t like ..so how do we understand the type of crime ?

  220. I am the Secretary of our HOA tasked with sending out proxy ballots prior to the annual meeting in January. I am told that they must now include specifics regarding votes. Where can I research this so that the ballots comply with current law?

    • HB 2761 – Section 209.00592 – gives information that should be helpful to you – especially under (c) – A solicitation for votes by absentee ballot must include….

  221. I belong to the Olympia Hills Neighborhood Association (ONA). There are currently no written rules whatsoever that govern what any of the various committees that are part of the ONA may do or not do. As a result, they arbitrarily refuse to approve requests to members they don’t like for fences or changes to one’s house that they approved for other members. They then lie about having approved the other projects so they can continue to deny those requests.

    Now they have passed a policy to restrict flags in the ONA but have only sent out one letter to inform a member they were in violation while dozens of other flags are not targeted and members informed.

    What can we do about these abusive practices?

    • You have a most unusual situation. The HOA offers different categories of membership and a Voluntary to Mandatory Incentive Plan to those who would like to become a mandatory member of the Association. This plan rewards homeowners for making their property a part of the mandatory association. Of course, who willingly wants to be a guarantor for all debts incurred by the HOA, and have his house security for the board’s spending sprees?

      The arbitrary response to different members could well be related to the membership status.

      Please contact your state senator and state representative informing them of the injustice in your HOA. The legislators must constantly hear of this injustice so that laws are passed that attach penalties to HOAs that abuse homeowners and there must be an agency that enforces the penalties on the HOAs.

      • I am a Mandatory Member. I am current with my dues.

        This has been happening from the first day I moved here. It started with the Association manager and seeped down to the various committee chairmen all of whom were under the influence of a local city councilman who then turned around and got the city code compliance officer involved. None of them could cite relevant code or written rules that I had violated and turned to that specious claim of Community Standards but had no response when I informed them that I was a member of the community as well and I have standards that cannot be dismissed out of hand.

        That’s when every request I made (in accordance with their written rules) was denied and when pressed for reasons they lied and quoted the unwritten rules that were never rules in the first place. Others in the neighborhood were granted these requests without the months of delays and numerous inspections and re-inspections that I went through.

        I am of the belief that this is a personal vendetta since no one else that I have spoken to here has had to deal with anything like what I have encountered. I am considering legal recourses at this time because I am not sure our legislature will step in to help stop these abuses.

  222. I am a homeowner in Wylie, TX. I continually receive notification from my HOA that my lawn needs to be mowed, when I mow it approximately every 7-10 days and edge it every other mowing. I follow guidelines for water conservation and have been leaving the grass 2nd from maximum height setting on my mower so I have to water less. I also received a letter because I have an ORANGE hose on the side of my house; a drive thru my neighborhood will show multiple homes with hoses on the side of their homes in view.

    I have done home projects where items were left in the driveway to dry and received warning notifications from the HOA. My neighbors (yes multiple) complain about harassment as well.

    At what point did owning a home feel like still having a landlord?

    Who can I talk to about this? What are my rights? I am waiting on response from the City of Wylie, as I want to know what enforcement rights the HOA has in the city, especially when involving lawns.

    • As a responsible homeowner, you state that you follow guidelines for water conservation, yet continually receive notifications from your HOA about your lawn. The following is from the CAI:

      “CAI in Community Green has a strong commitment to thoughtful environmental stewardship, a commitment that is shared by millions of community association leaders and residents. We abide by three fundamental principles:

      Collaboration with our neighbors is the best way to develop sustainable, consensus-driven decisions.
      Respecting property rights and honoring private agreements between associations and homeowners are compatible with sustainable environmental practices.
      Vigilant consideration of our actions can minimize our environmental footprint.”

      You also state that you have received notifications about other home projects and that your neighbors complain about harassment as well. It would be good if HOA boards, management companies and attorneys would respect property rights and homeowners’ efforts for sustainable environmental practices. Harassment of homeowners for normal living does not contribute to neighborhood good will nor does it help to minimize our environmental footprint. Normal living does not destroy property values.

      As stated in the Conclusion of the Coalition Platform: ” Homeowners seek statewide protection from a host of abuses that have long ago been addressed for all other forms of government. Extraordinary powers given to HOAs should be replaced with more limited powers to address what HOAs really need, as opposed to the power they want.”

      All Texas homeowners must unite in contacting their State Senators and State Representatives stating the HOA abuses and injustices they have suffered. There must be penalties assessed against HOAs for their violations and an independent state agency must be established – with no ties to the CAI industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse.

  223. I am a concerned homeowner. I was on our board of directors until Feburary of 2012. I know that the new laws took effect in January of 2012. My question is how can our property owners get our board of directors to give us a copy of the By-Laws? I have asked many times. All I get is the run around. So as a homeowner, what can I do?

    • HB 1821 – Section 207.003, Property Code entitles an owner to receive copies of any document that governs the establishment, maintenance, or operation of a subdivision, including, but not limited to, restrictions, bylaws, rules and regulations, etc….These documents must be made available to you by the property owners’ association or the association’s agent on your request.
      SECTION 3. Section 202.006 Public Records. (a) A property owners’ association shall file all dedicatory instruments in the real property records of each county in which the property to which the dedicatory instruments relate is located.
      (b) A dedicatory instrument has no effect until the instrument is filed in accordance with this section.

      Copies of the restrictive covenants and dedicatory instruments may be obtained from the county clerk.

      The above is all found in House Bill 1821 which became law January 1, 2012. As usual there are no penalties, fines, etc. against the HOA for not providing documents. There is no agency – no authority that HOAs are subject to. The legislature gave HOAs all power and then turned its back on homeowners.
      Homeowners need Open Meetings and Open Records according to Government Codes 551 and 552. The laws passed in 2011 are purposely convoluted to confuse and intimidate homeowners. Homeowners need access to an independent state agency that has authority to receive homeowners’ complaints and to enforce just laws.

      It is absolutely necessary for you and all Texas homeowners to contact your state senators and state representatives alerting them to the fact that all of the HOA laws passed in 2011 were HOA laws NOT homeowner laws.

  224. How far can an Architectural Control Committee go in deciding or declining a homeowners request to make an external improvement to their home? For instance, can they deny a roof because they (the ACC members) don’t think it matches (is not in harmony with) the color of the brick? Can they write guidelines such as listing allowable fence colors and implement those with just a board vote or does that require a vote of the homeowners?

    • To further explain my question – if the ACC writes “guidelines” that are more restrictive than the covenants in an effort to “simplify” the process for homeowners is that allowed without a vote of homeowners? Their reasoning is that these are just “guidelines”.

      • Your comments/questions:

        Can they write guidelines – “guidelines” that are more restrictive than the covenants – such as listing allowable fence colors – deny a roof because they (the ACC members) don’t think it matches (is not in harmony with) the color of the brick? – and implement those with just a board vote or does that require a vote of the homeowners?

        reveal the HOA industry at work. The new HOA laws apparently are being circumvented. Too many associations have just decided to change deed restrictions by board resolution. This practice of changing deed restrictions without a member vote further endangers homeowners in HOAs. Homeowners are told to “read the CC&R’s” before buying in an HOA, but when the rules can be constantly changed, prior knowledge is no advantage when subject to new “guidelines”.

        As stated in the Conclusion of the Coalition Platform:

        ” Homeowners seek statewide protection from a host of abuses that have long ago been addressed for all other forms of government. Extraordinary powers given to HOAs should be replaced with more limited powers to address what HOAs really need, as opposed to the power they want.”

        All Texas homeowners must unite in contacting their State Senators and State Representatives stating the HOA abuses and injustices they have suffered. There must be penalties assessed against HOAs for their violations and an independent state agency must be established – with no ties to the CAI industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse.

      • So these new guidelines are changes to the deed restrictions then, correct?

  225. I just found out that our HOA on January 31,2012 conducted elections with secret ballots. Secret ballots have been outlawed in Texas with section 209.0058 effective January 1 , 2012. What can the homeowners do about this law breaking by our Board?

    • HB 2761 states:
      Sec.209.0058.BALLOTS. (a)Any vote cast in an election
      or vote by a member of a property owners ’ association must be in
      writing and signed by the member.
      (b)Electronic votes cast under Section 209.00592
      constitute written and signed ballots.
      (c)In an association-wide election, written and signed
      ballots are not required for uncontested races.

      Homeowners are assessed penalties for any real or imagined infraction. HOA Boards are all powerful and subject to no oversight and no penalties.

      Please contact your state senator and state representative and explain the urgent need of an independent state agency – with no ties to the CAI Industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse. All homeowners must unite in reclaiming their homeowner rights.

  226. If a dedicatory instrument is amended by approval of the homeowners, the law says that it is not valid until filed in the county records. Is there a deadline for filing the approved amendment in the county records? Does the amendment expire after a certain amount of time if it is not filed?

    Thank you

    • HB 1821 includes the following:
      SECTION 3. Section 202.006, Property Code, is amended to read as follows:

      Sec. 202.006. PUBLIC RECORDS. (a) A property owners’ association shall file all [the] dedicatory instruments [instrument] in the real property records of each county in which the property to which the dedicatory instruments relate [instrument relates] is located.

      (b) A dedicatory instrument has no effect until the instrument is filed in accordance with this section.

      SECTION 9. Not later than January 1, 2012, each property
      owners’ association shall present for recording with the county
      clerk as prescribed by Section 202.006, Property Code, as amended
      by this Act, each dedicatory instrument governing the association
      that has not been previously recorded in the real property records
      of the county.
      SECTION 10. This Act takes effect January 1, 2012.

  227. We have a developer who constructed the by-laws and organization such that he is the sole decision maker. Every organization the owners would use to seek redress is controlled by his one vote. On top of that, there are no annual meetings or communication to owners that is not vetted by him. Other directors are his direct employees. The homeowners are meeting to form an organization to represent the residents. The deliverables like a rec-center are 6 years overdue. The HOA act will force the first ever vote of the membership. If he is able to count lots while we count residents, we will be goners. Can he open new phases to rig the win or can we force a super majority quorum? How do we change by-laws? His old method did not allow floor participation but that is the part he wants to change.

    • Developers exerting total control over homeowners in an HOA is too common a problem throughout the state of Texas. Developer control for a few limited years is reasonable but this “temporary power” soon becomes so indispensable and profitable that too many developers cannot relinquish control. Many times buyers are told that the developer will cede control when a certain number of homes have been sold and then find that the developer buys additional property and plans more houses. All this time the developer controls the board, the By-Laws, and all HOA documents.
      The solution is to be found where the problem began – at the legislature. Although the CAI and builder industry have the $$$$$, we have the people. The homeowners of Texas must unite to defend themselves against the injustice of HOA laws. Every homeowner must write to his state senator and state representative demanding that the laws be changed. Telling the HOA Reform Coalition of your problems will help in determining the 2013 Coalition platform.

  228. Seems like a lot of people don’t distinguish between $20 a year neighborhood associations, which have no power to compel anything and are voluntary, and deed restriction HOAs. Also many of the postings from you are links to articles but seem to be totally focused as anti-HOA (or implied to be that). Is it really acceptable to most of the people who are anti-HOA to allow 20 cats in a one bedroom condo?

    • Buying into an HOA is far worse than co-signing a note with strangers. A note has a fixed amount, defined terms, and can be paid off. In an HOA there is a lien that can never be paid off. The homeowner is a guarantor for all debts incurred by the HOA, and his house is security for their spending sprees.

      Reasonable deed restrictions, approved by the members are beneficial to a community but HOAs should not be permitted to micro manage families. HOAs should support the rights of homeowners – not deny them.

  229. Boards will no longer be able to legally keep homeowners from voting or running for the Board. Many HOAs require that members be “in good standing” a process that can be used to keep people from voting or running for the Board, whether or not the “issues” against them are legitimate.
    Our covenants do say that a member in good standing is a member that has paid their dues. Is this no longer a valid statement. We do not allow folks that have not paid their dues to vote or run for the board. We are a new group of board members and are here to solve some of the abuses of the past. Which bill addresses this issue. We have not seen anything that we did not welcome, we will be able to develop our HOA as it should be. It looks like even more work to dissolve it.

    • Section 209.0059 of H.B. 2761 – Right to Vote – states that a provision in a dedicatory instrument that would disqualify a property owner from voting in a POA election of board members or on any matter concerning the rights or responsibilities of the owner is void.

  230. We are in a serious battle with our HOA; they made their new emergency spillway in my front yard and my neighbors’. Now my house floods; the damages are over $200,000.00 between my house foundation, the interior, one other small office home, and barn all flooded. I can’t find anyone legally to help us. I can report them but to whom? There is no governing body that can help..any answers ??

    • Please contact your state senator and state representative and explain the urgent need of an independent state agency – with no ties to the CAI Industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse.

    • I will ( … contact {my} state senator and state representative and explain the urgent need of an independent state agency – with no ties to the CAI Industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse.)
      The problem is most of the HOA board are friends with senators and represetatives in our area. Its an election year so nothing will be done. We even have a Board member that says you can’t come to the meetings to complain about their board. If they don’t like it they can dismiss you from talking.

      • Since Property Code 204 was passed by the Texas legislature in 1995, the odds have always been against homeowners. The CAI Industry and its lobbyists have controlled with the false mantra “HOAs protect property values” – which mantra has been parroted incessantly, despite all evidence to the contrary. HOAs protect the Industry at the expense of homeowners. Homeowners from all over Texas must unite in demanding just laws such as Open Meetings/Open Records per Governments Codes 551 and 552, and an independent oversight agency.

  231. nice information, many thanks.

  232. We have 2 serious concerns over the conduct of our 300 unit Hoa Board. A. Tranparency…our Board meets several times a week and never posts a notice of these meetings. All decisions and commitmentsare made without homeowner input or voting( including the selection and hiring of a new Management Company). B Conflict of Interest 1 board member is a contractor who regulary receives contracts on building work from the Board…over $62,000 to date. There does not appear to be proper competitive bidding and when there is he is listed on the RFQ as the person that any other bidder is to contact with questions.

    Please offer any advice, suggestions, etc. for the concerned home owners.

    • How the CAI Industry can continue to claim HOAs are the models of democracy in action when it is evident NO input is wanted from homeowners on any board action. Homeowners must contact their legislators to this “board disregard” for HOA laws. There must be immediate penalty for this flaunting of the laws. Why does the legislature understand and approve penalty for homeowners’ failures but not for the board’s, management’s, or attorney’s failures? This injustice must be corrected in the 2013 session.

    • I’m in a subdivision of 500 units and we are having the same transparency issues. Even our management company is stating that the board is making decisions outside of meetings and they are not being told what the decisions are. Our HOA is flat out disregarding the laws. Even when it is pointed out to them, they make excuses and say well the laws are so difficult to understand that we are going to wait and see what happens when lawsuits occur

      • So long as the CAI Indusry is allowed to write “laws (that) are so difficult to understand” its goal is achieved. Why does the CAI fight Open Meetings and Open Records as in Government Code 551 and 552? Why are homeowners in HOAs denied the rights to open government enjoyed by all other citizens?

  233. My biggest concern is there is no enforcement mechanism of the new 2011 HOA laws. Our HOA pretty much ignores the new laws, especially those associated with transparency. I pray the 2013 legislature will write into the 2011 laws penalties for failure to comply similar to the Texas open meetings law….(or, of course……require the HOAs meet the Open Meeting law.

  234. I wish we knew where to turn so that our HOA would abide by the state laws. The Legislature passed some new laws to try to help homeowners a little, but our association completely disregards the new laws and is doing business as before. What are our options? Do I have to hire a lawyer or can the District Attorney help?

    • Your problem is shared by tens of thousands of homeowners across Texas, i.e. association boards disregard HOA laws and have no accountability. Homeowners are penalized for any real or imagined infraction. Association boards answer to no one unless a homeowner seeks expensive legal help in fighting laws framed by the industry.
      What is the solution? An independent state agency – with no ties to the CAI industry – where homeowners can file their complaints of abuse.

  235. Title 11. Restrictive Covenants, Chapter 209. Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act, Sec. 209.002 (6) defines “owner” as a person who holds title to property in a residential subdivision and includes the personal representative of a person who holds record title to property in a residential subdivision. Some HOA bylaws state that only a homeowner whose name is on the deed can be a part of the homeowner’s association. What about the second half of that sentence. Does this mean that a homeowner can designate his own personal representative? Does that mean this person would have the right to vote and participate on the board? What are your thoughts on this?

    • H.B. 2761

      Sec.209.00591- Board Membership – concerns a property owner’s right to run for a position on the board of a property owners’ association. The law only states owners, not non-owners, which subject could be addressed in the Bylaws.

      Sec.209.00592 – details how the voting rights of an owner may be cast.

      Sec. 209.005 (e) – an owner or the owner’s representative, fulfilling all of the requirements, may access information.

  236. Why can’t I find out how much a resale certificate is? I have been directed to the closing portal. I am not closing. I am just a realtor trying to find the cost for my buyer or seller which is negotiable who pays.

    • HB 1821 requires that an HOA provide a purchaser of a home with a “resale certificate” upon request. The cost of the resale certificate is unlimited and the amount of time the HOA has to prepare it has been extended. For full understanding please refer to HB 1821, Section 207.003.

  237. We are a small HOA, $20.00 a year. What Texas Agency can answer HOA questions. We have a tresurer that we are trying to remove and she claims to have information from Texas regarding HOA rights. Meanwhile our small bank account is at risk.

    • What Texas Agency can answer HOA questions? There is none. The Texas Legislature empowered HOAs but failed to provide an agency with oversight. Homeowners are subject to injustice and abuse but have no where to turn. Join our Coalition as we once again seek laws that will restore homeowners’ rights. Also, write to your State Senator and State Representative explaining the need of a State Agency to oversee HOAs.

  238. Hello,
    It would be helpful to hear your response to the issue we are having in our HOA. Based on the new Texas laws, owners in arrears on their HOA dues are still able to vote in elections.

    Last year, a group of homeowners organized and forced the original developer out of the HOA. To say there was HOA mismanagement under this developer would be an understatement. With the new HOA team, made up of homeowners, they have collected over $150,000 in past due developer HOA dues and filed suit against the developer(s) who are in arrears on their dues.

    The original developer I mentioned above still owns lots. He has organized with another developer, also in arrears on HOA dues. Combined, they have enough votes and have called a special meeting to remove the current HOA board members. They want to replace the current board so they can appoint members (even themselves) who will cease with the collection efforts and law suit against them.

    So, the new laws which were designed to protect homeowners are actually working to the benefit of disgruntled developers who are in arrears on their dues and fines. While the majority of the home and lot owners do not want the original developer to take control of the HOA, thanks to Texas law, we may be powerless to do anything about it.

    Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on this issue?

    • Your problems confirm the fact that there are still major flaws with Texas’ HOA laws and the need for legislators to cure them. That is why we have asked Texas homeowners to write us telling us what they need and want so that we can construct a platform that will be truly representative. If the homeowners of Texas unite, writing their state senators and representatives telling of the abuses they encounter, then perhaps 2013 will see legislators who will vote to represent their constituents and not the lobbyists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 456 other followers