Author Archives: Beanie

TEXAS – Behind in association dues? Your neighbors may foreclose. Behind in association dues? Your neighbors may foreclose.

By R.A, Schuetz

June 19, 2020

The family that rented a condominium from Dana Peterson for nine years was among those who lost work to the novel coronavirus. When they began missing rent payments in March, Peterson said she understood.

They had never missed a payment before, and she had heard that, during a period of historic unemployment, government policies protected renters from eviction and homeowners from foreclosure.

So she couldn’t believe it when the family called at the end of April, saying they had received notice at the condo that their home was being foreclosed on and felt forced to move out. Read:

FLORIDA – HOA says Graduation sign in violation of HOA rules must come down

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 2 NBC News
By Joseph Ojo
Published June 2, 2020

 COLLIER COUNTY – A mother said a sign honoring her daughter’s accomplishment for graduating high school must come down because it’s in violation of her HOA rules. They received a detailed letter from their HOA after they put up the graduation sign saying they are in violation of the rules: the Barron Collier High School class of 2020 sign on their front yard, is not allowed.When Meadow Phillips’ graduation was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Collier County schools came up with a different way to honor their seniors —the district provided front yard signs, which spread the good news for graduates.

Meadow and her mother Amber Phillips received a detailed letter from their HOA after they put up the graduation sign saying they are in violation of the rules: the Barron Collier High School class of 2020 sign on their front yard, is not allowed.

The letter from the HOA also states that for each day the sign is up, the family will be fined $100 and up to $1,000 if the sign isn’t removed.

Mom and daughter said the sign isn’t offending anyone, so they plan to keep it up.We reached out by phone and email to the HOA for comment, and we have not yet heard back.  Read:

TEXAS – Houston’s most outrageous HOA rules, according to KPRC readers  Houston’s most outrageous HOA rules, according to KPRC 2 readers

We asked KPRC 2 readers to share their most outrageous dust-ups with local homeowners associations and what we got back were hundreds of grievances.

Some of the tales are humorous up until the moment when you think on what it would be like to face a fine, receive a citation or get a warning for hanging an American flag on your porch, laying down brown mulch in your flower bed, leaving Christmas lights up until New Year’s Eve, drawing on your driveway with chalk, mowing your lawn sans a shirt or placing a pinwheel in your yard.Here are 60 of the grievances against homeowner associations we received from KPRC 2 readers:

“Our HOA sent my neighbor a warning regarding too many birds on her roof. Birds. Wild freakin birds. Seems they were a nuisance and an eyesore. She was ordered to rid them or be fined. People are crazy.” – Aimee Casas

 “We had a bad storm a couple of years ago and lightening struck a tree next door. That tree fell and landed across our driveway luckily barely missing our vehicles. So the next day our neighbors and us spent the day cutting up the tree and moving it from our driveways. We got a letter from HOA that we were being fined because we did not ask them permission to cut down the tree. After a call from us and our neighbor, they decided to waive the fine.” – Adrienne Morales Rodriguez

“I bought a new house and 3 years later got a letter stating I didn’t get approval to install screens over all my windows. I wrote a letter back kindly telling them that the house had screens already installed when we bought it 3 years ago. I didn’t receive another letter after that.” – Ron Wills   Read more:

CALIFORNIA – California HOA removes yard sign congratulating 2020 graduates California HOA removes yard signs congratulating 2020 graduates

By: Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Updated: May 20, 2020 – 2:02 PM

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. — Rules are rules, according to a homeowner’s association in California. That means signs heralding a high school senior’s graduation in a common area is not allowed.

Mirasol, a townhome community in Mission Viejo, apparently removed several signs of graduating students, KCAL reported.

Sofia Muratella, a senior at Santa Margarita High School, said this should be an exciting time, even though this year’s school term has been held under unusual circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. Signs were a way to end the school year with a flourish.

“We put it up and we’re so excited. You walk around your neighborhood and get excited to see which school each of the seniors are from.” Muratella told KCAL. “There’s fifth graders graduating from elementary school and the eighth graders.”

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told the television station his son’s school sign is missing from their front yard. During a virtual HOA meeting Monday night, the man’s wife asked about the signs. A board member admitted that the signs were taken down because their placement in a common area violated HOA rules, the homeowner told KCAL.

“They either walked around and took them down or had the security company do it,” the man said.

According to Mirasol’s Community Association rules, which were last revised in 2018, U.S. flags are allowed on common ground. But according to Rule 14A, “No other flags or banners of any kind are permitted in the common area.”  Read more:

FLORIDA – Venice homeowners association fines resident $2,500 over legally-protected clothesline

Venice homeowners association fines resident $2,500 over legally-protected clothesline

Article and Video Courtesy of FOX 13 News Tampa
By Photojournalist Corey Beckman
Published May 16, 2020

VENICE – Venice resident Denise Wuetcher loves the Florida sunshine, especially when it comes to drying her laundry.
“The fresh air makes the clothes smell great. It’s just a wonderful thing to do and it’s also helping the environment,” she told FOX 13 News.

In 2018, she submitted paperwork to the Verona Reserve Homeowners Association for approval to install a clothesline, which is actually protected by Florida law.

“You’re allowed to basically place a solar panel or line dryer in the place where it’s most efficient, where you can make the most use of the sun,” explained Wuetcher’s lawyer, James Potts Sr.

Wuetcher believes that place on her property is a specific spot in her backyard.

“In the morning, the sun is in that spot, but it’s not closer to the house. The other thing is, if I put it too close to the house, sheets or towels will rub up against the lanai screen and get dirty,” she said.

Per Florida law, the HOA approved the request to install the line, but then rescinded it.

The location of the clothesline — the perfect, sunny spot in Wuetcher’s backyard — is visible from the road, which the HOA does not like.

“In February of 2019, I got a violation letter saying, ‘You didn’t do what you were supposed to do. We can see it from the street. You have to move it,'” Denise recalled.

From then on, she was fined $100 a day.

Records show the fines accumulated up to the maximum allowed, $2,500.

Wuetcher filed a lawsuit against the HOA, arguing she’s not breaking a specific rule.  Read more:

INDIANA – Yard signs honoring grads, front line workers to be allowed after HOA relents

Yard signs honoring grads, front line workers to be allowed after HOA relents

PUBLISHED: MAY 14TH, 2020 – 9:07PM (EDT)UPDATED: MAY 15TH, 2020 – 2:09PM (EDT)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – It’s an example of what can happen when neighbors unite.

Haylee Whitener is graduating from Lawrence North High School. Her proud Dad put a graduation sign in the front yard, which resulted in a letter from the Admirals Bay homeowner’s association. He was told the sign was a violation of neighborhood covenants.

Dad then went to the Nextdoor app to share his story and found he wasn’t alone. Other signs, like two in Amy Bush’s front yard, also got flagged.

Amy is a teacher and her husband is a school principal. She says the people sending the notices are tone-deaf, wasting time, energy and resources during a crisis.

“I think right now, people need empathy and grace,” Bush said. “So have you a yard sign up. We’re celebrating, we are celebrating our healthcare workers, we’re celebrating our seniors, we’re celebrating our teachers, our essential workers.”

“I mean, these people are risking their lives and their family’s lives to help people, and all the HOA had to do was nothing,” said Ray Peck, an Admirals Bay resident. “It was the easiest thing in the world. All they had to do is not send these letters out, but they chose the opposite.”  Read more:

FLORIDA – Woman claims application was rejected by condo board in Boca because she is a nurse

Coronavirus Florida: Woman claims application was rejected by condo board in Boca because she is a nurse

Article Courtesy of  The Palm Beach Post

By Larry Keller

Published May 5, 2020

BOCA RATON – Hardly a day goes by without doctors and nurses being hailed as heroes for working dangerous and mentally and emotionally exhausting hospital shifts caring for coronavirus patients.

That admiration apparently has its limits. 

Jennifer Piraino may be a case in point. A nurse in the intensive care unit at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, she submitted an application April 24 to rent a two-bedroom, two-bath condo at Boca View in Boca Raton that she wanted to share with her boyfriend and 9-year-old-daughter. She and the owner of the unit say her application was rejected outright because her job brings her in contact with COVID-19 patients.

“You can’t discriminate against people trying to help other people,” Piraino said. “They won’t take my calls or return my emails.”

That’s also been true lately for the unit’s owner, Greta Tremmel. So on Friday, Tremmel organized a picket line of about a dozen people outside Boca View. Several demonstrators were residents of the 72-unit building. They carried signs such as “ICU Hero Denied Housing” and “Shame on Boca View. Shame!!!!!”

One of those residents, Eileen Breitkreutz is an emergency room nurse at Bethesda Hospital East in Boynton Beach. She has lived at Boca View for about 17 years. She said in mid-March, the property manager phoned her and asked if she had tested positive for COVID-19.  Read more:

FLORIDA – ‘More power than a bank’: HOA uses loophole to foreclose on Beulah dad’s home, lawyer says

‘More power than a bank’: HOA uses loophole to foreclose on Beulah dad’s home, lawyer says

Kevin Robinson, Pensacola News Journal

Published 5:39 p.m. CT May 4, 2020

Caleb Leitch’s wife passed away unexpectedly in 2013, six months after they bought a new home in Beulah. Leitch, now 31, has spent the last few years putting himself through school, working as a counselor for folks trying to quit tobacco and raising his elementary school-aged son. The last thing on his mind was his homeowners association fees.

Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is about to lose his $230,000 home over an $8,800 debt to his HOA and its attorneys

.According to Leitch’s attorney, the First Judicial Circuit appears to be one of the few court systems in Florida that is proceeding with lien foreclosures despite an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis suspending foreclosures and evictions while more than one million Floridians are out of work.

Christine Kelly Fausel, a senior attorney for Legal Services of North Florida, is representing Leitch in his foreclosure case. Kelly Fausel said she believes this case and others are moving forward based on a hyper-literal interpretation of the governor’s order, an interpretation she thinks is both legally flawed and contrary to the spirit of the document. “Obviously the intent is not to have people homeless during COVID-19,” Kelly Fausel said.

Issued April 2, the governor’s order put a 45-day suspension on any statute providing for a mortgage foreclosure — the process which allows a lender to evict a homeowner and sell their property if the homeowner defaults on their payments. However, the governor’s order contains no explicit prohibition on “lien foreclosures.” That process allows homeowners’ associations and condominium associations to place liens on the homes of members with unpaid fees and assessments. The process can ultimately result in a “lien foreclosure” where the home is auctioned off to pay the HOA or COA.

Kelly Fausel said the state statutes that govern the lien foreclosure process are interdependent with the statutes that govern the mortgage foreclosure process. She believes both should be paused under the governor’s order.
Via email, a spokesperson for the First Circuit said it would not be appropriate ethically for judges or staff to discuss their interpretation or application of the law in this case, since it relates directly to a pending case and cases that could arise in the future. Read more:

TEXAS – Homeowners want HOA dues refunds for amenities they can’t use Homeowners want HOA dues refunds for amenities they can’t use

Amy Davis, Reporter/Consumer Expert

 Published: April 29, 2020, 8:18 am

HOUSTON – Neighborhood pools, gyms and clubhouses are closed. These are amenities most homeowners pay for in their HOA dues. Now, some of you want to know if you will get a break or a refund for the amenities you can not use.

Homeowners want money back for services they couldn’t use

C.C. Sutton lives in a townhome community near the Texas Medical Center. She pays $720 every quarter in HOA dues. These days, she’s walking for exercise while the community gym is closed. When she reached out to her HOA to ask about a possible refund for the months she couldn’t access the gym and other amenities, the response was quick.

“They said that it was still required that we pay it, even though the City of Houston has mandated that the pool and the gym be closed,” Sutton explained. “At this time, they have not discussed any refunds or anything like that.

”Attorney David Kahne represents homeowners in court and in our state capital, in efforts to regulate homeowner’s associations and their power. Just like auto insurance companies are giving customers back some of their premiums, Kahne believes HOAs should refund homeowners part of their dues.

“So for example with the pools, the boards don’t need to pay for lifeguards if the pools are closed. At least give that money back,” Kahne explained.

KPRC 2 has not heard of any HOA that is offering refunds or a break in fees, but Kahne said your chances of getting one are greater if your HOA board separates your amenity fees from the rest of your dues. Some HOAs even hold that money in a separate account.

  • Homeowners have the right to see the HOA budget if you request it. Many boards post them online.
  • Kahne says you should use forums like Nextdoor and neighborhood Facebook groups to coordinate with your neighbors.
  • Put your request for a refund from your HOA in writing as a group.

“If the owners go to the board as a group, they’re much more likely to get a fair response and also, of course, having groups is a good way to build the strength in the community,” explained Kahne.  Read more:

TEXAS – HOA asks Conroe family to take down daughter’s ‘stay home’ art from window

HOA asks Conroe family to take down daughter’s ‘stay home’ art from window

First Service Residential sent the family a violation notice calling 4-year-old Giuliana’s colored pictures “unsightly articles” that would drop property values.

Author: Marcelino Benito (KHOU)

Published: 10:23 PM CDT April 27, 2020 Updated: 10:25 PM CDT April 27, 2020

CONROE, Texas — A Conroe family is standing up to their homeowner’s association after they were sent a violation notice instructing them to remove their daughter’s quarantine art from their windows.

The HOA described them as “unsightly articles.”

Staying home has been an adventure for many families. Andrea’s 4-year-old daughter Giuliana has found her purpose in color filling in coloring books with joy.

Her mom started sharing her pictures with the neighborhood.

“I thought, ‘Let’s put a couple of pictures on the window to share,'” Andrea said. “And it gives her a little extra pride to say this is the picture of the day that I did.”

“Why did we put them on the window?” Andrea asked her daughter.

“To make our neighbors happy,” she replied.

On Friday, a letter arrived in the mail.

“Immediately I see the red font: Violation.” So my eyes are like what could we have done,” Andrea said.

First Service Residential HOA that serves the Fosters Ridge subdivision in Conroe said Giuliana’s drawings had to go.

“The violation is the colored pictures and it (the notice) referred to them as unsightly articles,” Andrea said. “My daughter’s pictures are not unsightly articles. She may not be a Picasso, but she’s a 4-year-old coloring pictures to make neighbors smile.”

Andrea decided her daughter’s joy was worth fighting for.

“As a mama bear I got defensive and upset that they were trying to squash that type of feeling,” Andrea said.

So Giuliana’s colored pictures are staying put.

“I’m honestly a big rules follower,” Andrea said.

But rules like this, she said, are meant to be broken, especially when it means a little girl can keep smiling during this pandemic. Read more: