Last week, one of our Street Captains encountered a resident who made clear that the mention of attorneys in our discussion surrounding the vote made him uneasy. We get it, and lots of people feel the same way.
Personally, I’ve been involved on the periphery of the Board for 9 years. I built the website and other resources, but I never held a formal position until June when I was elected President. Candidly, I avoided a formal seat because during those 9 years on the fringe, Board conversations about challenges and improvements usually dead-ended.
It’s frustrating for everyone. Why can’t we make progress?
From long-term resident and Board member feedback, I’ve come to understand that in the past, the Board has tried to enforce the By-Laws, Restrictions and dues. But in instances when those issues escalate to a court of law, the Board hasn’t a legal leg to stand on because our founding documents were improperly done. So the judge rules against us, homeowners get angry that nothing is being done, the volunteer Board takes it on the chin, and nothing improves. The frustrated quit paying their dues, we collect less to invest in the subdivision and so on.
Unfortunately, nothing will ever change unless we force the issue through three YES votes.
We have to break the cycle, and it will require attorneys who specialize in HOAs to help us properly ratify things. Over the last few months, we’ve consulted with a couple of different firms that specialize in HOAs and both provided the same advice: conduct a neighborhood vote to make all homeowners members of the HOA and you’ll have a black and white, legally binding restrictive covenant that does not rely on a judge’s interpretation of what represents a homeowner or an Association member. They will now be one and the same as they should be.
Had our founders done this properly starting in 1966, it’s unlikely we would find ourselves in this situation. But by partnering with attorneys who are well-known and respected for this kind of work throughout our area, we have an opportunity to finally get it right.
And I know what you’re thinking: attorneys are expensive.
Please understand that we do not have the attorneys on retainer. We are doing as much heavy lifting as we can on our own through neighborhood volunteers to control costs. And most importantly, none of this will result in an increase to our $75 dues this May.
Looking to the future once we get things right, resident interactions with attorneys will only occur under the most extreme circumstances, after all other options have been exhausted.