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I currently live in a 9 home HOA, the monthly payment is about $100. The amount isn't great compared to larger HOA's that I am aware of on condo's etc. The thing is the entire HOA budget is swallowed by accountants fees, admin fees, bank fees, survey fees, with no reserves for maintenance, repair etc. It's low because of that, I guess.
The point is that my house is one of three in a separate area of the estate, the other 7 are in a half circle. In the Summer, there is water for irregation of the common area, very little and electricity for one lamp in the half circle. My side of the estate has no benefits whatsoever from the HOA.
I have proposed several times to the president that we disband it but he said it cannot be done because we don't have unanimous agreement with the other homeowners.
I have also suggested that we break away and form our own 3 houses HOA, because we still share the same driveway and we can get umbrella policy to cover for common accidents on the driveway etc... but I am not getting a positive answer from the association.

Does anyone here have experience and knowledge they can share with me on how else to deal with this?
TIA

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My condo is also in Dallas, which helps. It has 114 units, so it has a healthy cashflow. (mine is the smallest floorpl... (more)

RedWolfe01 (Jan. 14, 2010 @ 6:10p) |

Another HOA went nut story:

Kids are EVIL!

ZenNUTS (Jan. 14, 2010 @ 11:17p) |

qcumber98 (Jan. 15, 2010 @ 12:35a) |

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so who is disagreeing? Just 1 home or more?

with only 9 homes it should be easy to figure out who doesnt want to disband and address their concerns.

The three of us on this side of the estate.
We know the objecting homeowner and I think because of the low monthly fee, he knows he is getting the benefit and simply does not want to get out for that reason.

What benefit is he getting for his $100 for this association?

I suspect you would need to actual get a lawyer who specializes in such things to look over your agreement and let you know what your potential options are.

Have you read the agreement cover-to-cover? If so, what does it say about any of this? If nothing I might research what is common in your state and how such issues are normally handled.

Is there a board for your HOA? If so why not get on it, so you can help influence change that can help benefit the three of you.

pt95148 said: The three of us on this side of the estate.
We know the objecting homeowner and I think because of the low monthly fee, he knows he is getting the benefit and simply does not want to get out for that reason.
If its just one guy why havent you sat down with him like neighbors to address his concerns, so there will be a unanimous vote?

It sounds like you 3 are up against more than just one dissenter though

Sounds like we need to do more homework but in your opinion, is it possible to disband an HOA if all owners agree?

Sell the house and buy a new one that isn't in a HOA.

pt95148 said: Sounds like we need to do more homework but in your opinion, is it possible to disband an HOA if all owners agree?

Anything is possible...

You need to review the HOA documents. They will no doubt tell you what needs to happen to change the agreement.

tripleB said: Sell the house and buy a new one that isn't in a HOA.
Kind of If you got a splinter in your foot, replace it with a new foot.

NorthStar2020 said: tripleB said: Sell the house and buy a new one that isn't in a HOA.
Kind of If you got a splinter in your foot, replace it with a new foot.


This is more like - buy shoes with a nail stuck through the sole - throw the shoes out and buy proper shoes.

Buying a house thats part of a HOA is a mistake. Cut your losses, sell the crap house, and buy a real house that is not part of a HOA.

Eventually people will realize HOA are an abscess and no one will buy HOA covered homes and they will fade away into oblivion.

Secede from the Union! The South shall rise again!

My HOA has a hard time getting people to serve on the Board. I was told that if the Board dissolves, then the City takes over. If that's true, I'm not sure it's a better alternative.

We had our HOA disbanded - its existence was for sole purpose of owning/managing a draining basin near our development and then they (well, we) managed to get transfer that responsibility to the town. My memory is fuzzy on any details - all I remember is our president collecting signatures from all homeowners.

Looks like the HOA phenomenon has come full circle. More and more homeowners seem to prefer homes not tied to HOA. I don't know the logistics behind disbanding HOA, but I do know it is possible and the actual logistics may depend on your HOA's bylaws and your county's policy for land development.

What would happen if you simply stopped paying HOA fees, considering there doesn't seem to be much motive within the HOA for your neighbors to go after you? It sounds like the biggest disadvantage would be potentially damaging relations with your neighbors. How easy/time-consuming would it be for them to sue you/place a lien on your house/etc?

Not paying your dues is bad advice. What would happen? You would be sent to collections and a lien would be placed on your title. You signed up to pay dues, don't be a deadbeat. Your board should be funding reserve expenses for the next 30 years, if they aren't and something has to be fixed you are on the hook for a "special assessment". If you don't like what your dues are going towards, tell the board what you want to see changed, if they don't do it, get on the board and fix that - in a small HOA no one is going to do it for you, you and your neighbors are almost 1/3 of the ownership, act like it, don't let the current president or one owner in the complex make bad decisions for everyone else. Tell the president you want the HOA to hire a lawyer to look at the issues you are raising - you are paying dues and should have a say on what they are spent on.

Unfortunately, suing the board when you are a part owner may be a bad idea since you are suing yourself and would have to pay part of the settlement.

Have you talked to an attorney? If you put a measure on the annual meeting ballot you may not need unanimous agreement. Put two measures on the ballot - one to disband the HOA, another to let your 3 units leave the HOA. You probably have to talk to an attorney either way because of the zoning. You may have to have your 3 units form your own HOA that keeps up its end of whatever the city requires, but in your HOA you could limit what the HOA is responsible for - so that dues are low. No matter what you aren't going to be able to cheap-out with FW advice instead of a lawyers...

The three of you should find a lawyer that specializes in condos and get a few hours of their time - the lawyer can review what needs to be done and prepare any proxy stuff so that it's legal. Call local HOA management companies and ask who they use.

An insight into why there are so many HOA's that maintain infrastructure in single family (and townhouse) developments:

When I was with local government (in PA), we had ordinances that set the requirements of facilities (roads, drainage facilities, landscape islands, entrance monuments, streetsigns, streetlights, etc.) to be taken over by the township. These requirements were set to ensure that the township would be able to take care of things in a long-term cost efficient manner. Some examples, we required roads to have a certain amount of base materials so that garbage trucks would not destroy the road prematurely. We required certain streetlights because those were the lights that the local utility would maintain and stock parts for. We required that stormwater drainage basins taken over only serve roads and public facilities not individual homes. etc. (If they served multiple homes, we required an annual assessment fee plus a huge initial deposit to maintain them.)

Developers who thought these requirements were too costly formed home owners associations to maintain their facilities, and built lesser quality/cheaper infrastructure. This enabled the developers to offer homes with a purchase price a few thousand dollars less than if the roads and other facilities were built to the public standard. Of course, over time the sweetness of saving a few thousand dollars on the purchase price was more than eaten away by additional costs to maintain the lesser quality infrastructure. Disbanding the association would require those facilities to be brought up to current public standards, which was often a cost that the majority of the residents of the development didn't want to bear. As a result while we had the interest from a few neighborhoods in disbanding their HOA's very few HOA's (I recall only one) were eliminated during the eight years that I was involved in local government.

Who sets up HOAs? Developers.
Who profits from shoddy construction? Developers.
Who pays for the shoddy construction in the long run? Homeowners.

Just another way for rock bottom developers to pad their bottom line.

To the OP: its time to lawyer up. You have 2 controlling areas over your HOA. The bylaws and the law. Bylaws are written out but subject to whatever interpetation you can come up with. The laws definetly vary by state, but may vary my municipality as well. A local hoa SPECIFIC lawyer *(not just a RE lawyer) will be able to guide you through the feasability of this idea.

pt95148 said: The thing is the entire HOA budget is swallowed by accountants fees, admin fees, bank fees, survey fees, with no reserves for maintenance, repair etc. It's low because of that, I guess.
The easiest solution would be to get involved in the HOA. If there are BS admin fees and accounting fees someone in the HOA should volunteer to do these things for free for the HOA. My guess is that your HOA has contracted out to a property management company. You can either stop using such a company or find a cheaper one.
It always amazes me how most HOA start acting like the government and spend 2-3x more than the market rate to do stuff that the actual homeowner should do themselves. How much does your HOA spend to cut the grass and blow leaves? Couldn't everyone just spend 30 minutes a week taking care of this? Or if everyone doesn't want to do any work you could spend 60 minutes rate shopping various landscapers to find a cheaper one. Only one time did I actually see a HOA that organized work days where the actual homeowners could come out and cut down dead trees and do other outdoor work so the HOA didn't have to spend big money to get someone else to do it.

It always amazes me how most HOA start acting like the government and spend 2-3x more than the market rate

Agree here. In my HOA most people don't pay any attention to anything. They just pay the monthly fee. Even when serving on the board, there was lots of time spent on coordinating with others that wouldn't have been wasted if I owned a property that didn't have an association.

Like, you, I lived in a community where 75% of our HOA fees were eaten by our management company, some minor common area landscaping, and lawyers jacking making $2000 debts out of $200 debts.

How you disband the HOA will depend on what state you're in. In my state, the HOA is a non-profit corporate entity, and the following had to be done:

1) Sell off all common property / common interest (this requires all holders of the property).
2) Liquidate all HOA assets.
3) Follow your states procedure for dissolution of a non-profit corporate entity.

Problems with this:
1) If anyone has an FHA or Fannie-May back mortgage, they signed a PUD rider. This rider says that the mortgage holder agrees not to vote to disband or self-manage any in-place HOA, otherwise the mortgage is called due immediately. We actually had a management company that was going to call mortgage holders if we voted to self manage. Thank the lawyers and management companies for getting this language in.

2) Someone has to take the lead on this.. You'll need to be on the board, and you'll need consent of all of your neighbors.

My advice is simply to get on the board. Manage yourselves, so hire someone (in neighborhood) to do the admin work at a reasonable rate. Stop paying attorneys.
Change your restrictions so that there are none and make your dues payments optional. The HOA is in place, but effectively nullified.

Also note that if you live in a condo that you are stuck with a HOA since the common facilities are interconnected.

My Condo is in 4 story building, so HOA is not optional. Mine isn't that expensive, all things considered. ($220/mo and includes eveything but electricity)

RedWolfe01 said: Also note that if you live in a condo that you are stuck with a HOA since the common facilities are interconnected.

My Condo is in 4 story building, so HOA is not optional. Mine isn't that expensive, all things considered. ($220/mo and includes eveything but electricity)


$220/month isn't expensive? Are you freaking kidding? In our neighborhood we paid $20/month which included pools, landscaping, slides/playground, outdoor furniture, etc.

mikef07 said: RedWolfe01 said: Also note that if you live in a condo that you are stuck with a HOA since the common facilities are interconnected.

My Condo is in 4 story building, so HOA is not optional. Mine isn't that expensive, all things considered. ($220/mo and includes eveything but electricity)


$220/month isn't expensive? Are you freaking kidding? In our neighborhood we paid $20/month which included pools, landscaping, slides/playground, outdoor furniture, etc.


He said it's a condo, so keep in mind it includes the building insurance. We also don't know what "everything" is. Cable, water, sewer, reserves for painting the exterior, reserves for roof replacement/repair could all be included in the "everything" number.

Pretty much includes everything civ metioned except cable. Also a pool as well as a full time employee that does all the common area cleaning. Elevator and parking gates, security doors ect... Just had the exterior windows reworked and it was funded from reserves. Also pays for a security guard at night. (its a gentrifying neighborhood, but its not there yet) I didn't really agree with the security guard, but then again mine wasn't one of the cars that were broken in to either.

That's why you can't get away from HOAs in multi-level condos.

mikef07 said: RedWolfe01 said: Also note that if you live in a condo that you are stuck with a HOA since the common facilities are interconnected.

My Condo is in 4 story building, so HOA is not optional. Mine isn't that expensive, all things considered. ($220/mo and includes eveything but electricity)


$220/month isn't expensive? Are you freaking kidding? In our neighborhood we paid $20/month which included pools, landscaping, slides/playground, outdoor furniture, etc.


Not all of us live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. $220/month for condo fees is cheap, a steal, a bargain. As for the previous post complaining about how lawyers rack up a $2,000 bill from a $200 debt, if homeowners would only pay their dues this wouldn't be a problem. Looking for a condo without an association?- that's called an apartment. When you buy into a HOA you are essentially agreeing to a contract to abide by the covenants, if you don't like it you shouldn't have bought there to begin with. Although a lot of people dislike HOA's, without them most neighborhoods would be a mess- it is an affordable solution to provide services to several homeownes.

lawadvocate said: mikef07 said: RedWolfe01 said: Also note that if you live in a condo that you are stuck with a HOA since the common facilities are interconnected.

My Condo is in 4 story building, so HOA is not optional. Mine isn't that expensive, all things considered. ($220/mo and includes eveything but electricity)


$220/month isn't expensive? Are you freaking kidding? In our neighborhood we paid $20/month which included pools, landscaping, slides/playground, outdoor furniture, etc.


Not all of us live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. $220/month for condo fees is cheap, a steal, a bargain. As for the previous post complaining about how lawyers rack up a $2,000 bill from a $200 debt, if homeowners would only pay their dues this wouldn't be a problem. Looking for a condo without an association?- that's called an apartment. When you buy into a HOA you are essentially agreeing to a contract to abide by the covenants, if you don't like it you shouldn't have bought there to begin with. Although a lot of people dislike HOA's, without them most neighborhoods would be a mess- it is an affordable solution to provide services to several homeownes.


You are right. I live in a little town called Dallas, TX (used to when I had the HOA). Oh wait that is a top 10 city as far as population goes.

mikef07 said: RedWolfe01 said: Also note that if you live in a condo that you are stuck with a HOA since the common facilities are interconnected.

My Condo is in 4 story building, so HOA is not optional. Mine isn't that expensive, all things considered. ($220/mo and includes eveything but electricity)


$220/month isn't expensive? Are you freaking kidding? In our neighborhood we paid $20/month which included pools, landscaping, slides/playground, outdoor furniture, etc.


Generally speaking, a HOA rate that is very low is a good warning sign that the association is not reserving adequate amounts for future capital expenses.

myadvice said: mikef07 said: RedWolfe01 said: Also note that if you live in a condo that you are stuck with a HOA since the common facilities are interconnected.

My Condo is in 4 story building, so HOA is not optional. Mine isn't that expensive, all things considered. ($220/mo and includes eveything but electricity)


$220/month isn't expensive? Are you freaking kidding? In our neighborhood we paid $20/month which included pools, landscaping, slides/playground, outdoor furniture, etc.


Generally speaking, a HOA rate that is very low is a good warning sign that the association is not reserving adequate amounts for future capital expenses.


Hate to tell you, but every year homeowners get balance sheets to show exactly where they money went. Reserves in our neighborhood were fine. I would also put our neighborhood up against any. We lives on a golf course that events have been held at. Not a run of the mill rundown place. The difference is the HOA did not waste a ton of money on bloated expenses. They were however some of the craziest people you would come across and made national news for some of their antics. Money issues were not a problem though.

Mike, you are talking about a HOA for a subdivision, which is quite a bit different than a condo association. In a subdivision, the HOA only has to worry about maintaining the pool, cutting the grass in a few common areas, and other small things like that, which isn't much when split between 800 houses. In a condo, the association adds full landscaping on the whole property, maintenance on the exterior of the buildings (paint, roof repairs, etc), security, insurance, utilities (gas, water, sewer, trash, cable, etc), and stuff like that.

workindev said: Mike, you are talking about a HOA for a subdivision, which is quite a bit different than a condo association. In a subdivision, the HOA only has to worry about maintaining the pool, cutting the grass in a few common areas, and other small things like that, which isn't much when split between 800 houses. In a condo, the association adds full landscaping on the whole property, maintenance on the exterior of the buildings (paint, roof repairs, etc), security, insurance, utilities (gas, water, sewer, trash, cable, etc), and stuff like that.
I agree with this. I used to live in a 16-unit townhouse-style condo development, and served on the board for a couple of years. (In an association that small, everyone gets pressured to serve on the board at some point.) Since the association was responsible for all exterior maintenance, it needed to accumulate reserves for such things replacing the siding, repairing driveways, etc., in addition to the things workindev mentioned.

Now I live in a subdivision of about 1,000 houses with a HOA. Major repairs such as siding and driveways are the responsibility of individual homeowners. We have a very nice pool and clubhouse, and nicely landscaped common areas, all of which don't cost that much split among 1,000 homes.

Another factor is simple economies of scale. My guess is that preparing the tax return for my current HOA and the one for my old condo association cost roughly the same amount in accounting fees. The are many similar costs which increase only slightly for much larger associations. It was stunningly inefficient to run our little 16-unit association, and I know from looking at the budget that my current HOA has a much lower administrative cost per home despite offering much more professional service.

Is the OP serious? 100/mo for HOA?!

I might be repeating a few things others have said, but it is surely worth repeating.

Every HOA is different. OP needs to read the bylaws. That will tell you what the HOA can and cannot do. Speak with your county officials and ask them to provide you any documents they may have that pertains to your HOA. It is possible they may host those documents for public view of their web site.

Get involved in the HOA. Speak to the board volunteers and understand the budget. Ask them to trim costs, if you find excesses. Understand where the payments are going to. I am aware of HOA that routinely make payments to their favorite landscaping company or buy insurance policy from friends or neighbors who might not give the HOA its best rates. Let's face it, board volunteers do not check expenditures that do not affect their personal checkbook adversely.

Disbanding the HOA may take time primarily because the other homeowners need to be convinced about its advantages. Google the words "Disband HOA" and compile a list of reasons why that is a good option. Present it to your neighbors in informal settings such as dinner socials.

I see a few posters talk about HOA in broad terms based on their experience. I see comments saying some work happens for HOA in subdivision and some happens in condo HOA. While this might be true in their case, every HOA has different responsibility. Read the bylaws and talk to the county.

Finally, your HOA payment of $100 per month looks high, but that really depends on where you live and how many homes there are (9 in this case). With high payments for HOA, it might very well make sense to disband it and let the city or county provide those services. Best of luck with it.

workindev said: Mike, you are talking about a HOA for a subdivision, which is quite a bit different than a condo association. In a subdivision, the HOA only has to worry about maintaining the pool, cutting the grass in a few common areas, and other small things like that, which isn't much when split between 800 houses. In a condo, the association adds full landscaping on the whole property, maintenance on the exterior of the buildings (paint, roof repairs, etc), security, insurance, utilities (gas, water, sewer, trash, cable, etc), and stuff like that.Precisely. Depending on how nice a complex happens to be, HOA fees may also include amenities such as a concierge, 24/7 security guards, a nice gym, a private park, etc... You can certainly find HOA's that offer services that range from incredibly elaborate ones to the rather spartan ones.

While there are plenty of HOA's with bloated fees that do not provide value for the money, there are also plenty of excellent HOA's out there that save their residents money. This is because well run associations are often able to negotiate much better deals on a lot of services than what you would have been able to get on your own, so they can provide those services at a significant discount (not to mention saving you time and headaches). For instance, HOA's that provide cable typically have bulk accounts with cable companies, which allows them to take advantage of significant savings that are not available to individuals.

Hence, instead of just looking at the dollar amount of the HOA fee, people need to know what it covers and what the association's reserves are, so that they can then determine whether the fee is bloated or whether it will actually save them money.

The $220/mo gentleman definitely gets a lot for that money. The issue I have is when you see these way overpriced HOAs. There are subdivisions in our area that offer the exact same amenities as ours and they are around $100/month. Ridiculous!! I really can't complain for $20/month in that we get a pool that never has more than 20 people there (never not got 3-4 loungers) and most of the time less than 10 and it is huge.

I would not mind paying $220 (or more) for features that Geo talked about. i would mind paying that much for next to nothing which I have seen in quite a few CA neighborhoods.

mikef07 said: The $220/mo gentleman definitely gets a lot for that money. The issue I have is when you see these way overpriced HOAs. There are subdivisions in our area that offer the exact same amenities as ours and they are around $100/month. Ridiculous!! I really can't complain for $20/month in that we get a pool that never has more than 20 people there (never not got 3-4 loungers) and most of the time less than 10 and it is huge.

I would not mind paying $220 (or more) for features that Geo talked about. i would mind paying that much for next to nothing which I have seen in quite a few CA neighborhoods.


My condo is also in Dallas, which helps. It has 114 units, so it has a healthy cashflow. (mine is the smallest floorplan, so my dues are the lowest -- the largest units are twice the size so they have twice the dues) The capital reserve plan is fairly realistic and covers things like roof repairs for 2014, as well as painting the exterior windows every 5 years or so. (this just happened a few months ago -- its a brick exterior so the windows are all that needs it)

Our property manager is shared, he manages several properties and each pay part of his salary.

----
My responsibility for repairs stops at my walls. I have had to have a few plumbing repairs and my AC was replaced a few years ago. Thats it for 6 years or residency. Three of those years I was working out of state, all I did was turn down the AC, turn off the water heater, and lock the door.

Because I can be asked to work out of state the lack of maintainance that goes with that $220 is worth it. I have priced other condos in Dallas and very few are as low as what I am paying. (some are similar, a few are really over the top with a full time concierge and valet parking)

One I looked at was high ($650) until you find out that it includes gas/electric and cable/internet. A unit as large as that would cost about $440 in my building in dues. (its about twice the size of mine) $210 is about right for utilities. (thats not such a deal in MY case since I am away so much)

Another HOA went nut story:

Kids are EVIL!

ZenNUTS said: Another HOA went nut story:

Kids are EVIL!


Cub scout on terrorist watch list



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