Power hungry HOAs. Clueless HOA directors and management companies. We’ve probably all heard horror stories about Home Owners Associations abusing their power and acting like fools.
Not too long ago, I blogged here that I actually LIKE my HOA. And I do. Everything I said in that blog is true. But I’d be naÃ¯ve to think all HOAs are like mine. Fact is, they aren’t. And here is living proof”¦
Kelly recently commented here about what’s been happening with her HOA in North Carolina. I found her story to be a compelling example of an HOA gone very, very bad.
Seems Kelly was running a web site for the Millstone Ridge Homeowners Association, http://www.millstoneridge.org. She was PAID BY THE ASSOCIATION to maintain this site. The HOA Directors PROVIDED her with their bios and additional content for the site. The HOA Directors were involved in the selection of the domain name. The HOA Directors approved promoting the web site via distribution of the domain name to residents on magnets.
Sounds like this HOA was all for this web site, doesn’t it? Could any reasonable person possibly come to any other conclusion?
Well, get this”¦
Kelly recently received a “cease and desist” letter from an attorney representing the Millstone Ridge Home Owners Association. In his letter, the attorney for the HOA requested in no uncertain terms that Kelly remove “official” documents from the web site as well as post prominent disclaimers on every page of the site that the site wasn’t authorized by the HOA, nor connected to it:
As incredible as this sounds, it gets worse!
Kelly’s husband is ON THE HOA BOARD OF DIRECTORS! He had *no clue* this was being done! It seems the President of the HOA board likes to have votes on issues outside of meetings. There are five members on the board, and the President will “take votes” over the telephone. When he gets the required majority of three votes, the voting ends. Sometimes he’ll tell the two members who weren’t even approached for a vote about it, sometimes not. So much for open discussion of board matters! Has this guy ever stopped to think that the board should DISCUSS matters in front of them before a vote is taken?!? I find this behavior appalling, and if I lived in Millstone Ridge, I would be livid at this type of behavior.
So apparently, the HOA president, and one could safely assume the HOA management company, get some wild idea they no longer want this website around. So they take a “vote” and decide to spend homeowner’s money to get an attorney to draft a letter to Kelly. Hmmmm”¦ Wonder why they didn’t just ASK Kelly (or her director husband) to change the site? Going WAY overboard and getting an attorney involved sure seems like a misuse of the HOA’s funds (funds that are supplied by guess who””the homeowners).
Looks like the board is up for re-election in ten days. I hope the residents of Millstone Ridge come to the meeting in droves and vote these jokers out of office. Even if they’ve already mailed in a ballot casting a vote for these people, they should be able to attend the meeting, retrieve their mailed-in ballot and cast a new vote. I don’t know the North Carolina HOA laws, but I’d be surprised if this wasn’t an option. And if the mailed in ballot is locked in, then it’s time to dig out the CC&Rs and follow the provisions to oust the board. If it were my HOA, I’d be looking for a new management company as well because any management company that condones the use of HOA funds for a legal solution to a petty problem like this is wasting the HOAs money. What else are they doing to waste your money?
This rediculous abuse of power is not the only example either. How about the board deciding to put barbed wire up around the swimming pool? Again they spent time and effort getting estimates before it was pointed out to them that what they wanted to do was against city ordinance. These people have no clue. None.
This cluelessness, abuse of power, and misuse of funds is what gives HOAs across the country a bad name. If it can happen in North Carolina, it can happen anywhere. There are great HOAs, and obviously there are lousy ones too. Come on residents of Millstone Ridge, get up, get the word out and vote these bozos out of office! Hey if nothing else, ask them how much of YOUR MONEY they spent getting the lawyer to write the letter when all they had to do was ask Kelly or her husband to “fix” the site! (They HAVE to tell you what it cost. And don’t buy some excuse like “it’s included in the management fee”. Trust me, no lawyer writes a two page cease and desist letter without lining their wallet.)
My wife is concerned that I’ll get myself in trouble posting this blog. I don’t care. The whole freaking world should know what these morons are trying to do. The attorney for Millstone Ridge wrote to Kelly, “you most assuredly have the right to freely speak your mind on issues, including those relating to the community and the Association. You can not do so in a way that leads visitors to believe that you are speaking on behalf of the Association, or with its knowledge, consent, or cooperation.”
Well, I’m freely speaking my mind about the Association. And I’m certain no visitor to this blog will be led to believe that I’m speaking on behalf of the Association, or with its knowledge, consent, or cooperation. I welcome any and all comments, and would love to hear from some Millstone Ridge residents on how they feel about this. You can comment here anonymously, so no need to fear retribution. I’d love even more to hear from some of the directors and even the attorney and management company, but I’m not holding my breath. It’d be a chance for them to defend these deplorable actions in a public forum. But given their blatent disrespect for the residents of their own community, I don’t see them stepping up here.
(you may need to click on the images to expand them for reading.)