Website of Concerned Homeowners
New manager: Nichole at extension 189
2 bedrooms here should sell at about $250,000
1 bedrooms here should sell at about $150,000
CH: Concerned Homeowners
Sunday March 28,2021
Maintenance fees-a brief history
In a posting here we made mention of a board member who wrote to us just recently. He was trying to explain how maintenance fees were calculated and that it was by design and goes up every 5 years or so and how much which was 1%. This has been the situation for the past 10 years or so here. It hasn’t always been this way. CH was created in 2005 with a website and mailing letters to homeowners which continues to his date. The reason it was created was because the maintenance fees were going up every year prior to 2005. It started with a 10% increase and went on for a few years without miss with a minimum of 3% every year. Then in 2005 it went up a whopping 25% (yes you read it right) under the guise of using part of it for roofing. The amazing thing was that there were no plans made in writing, no analysis done as to the cost, etc. It was just the figure of 25% increase. Homeowners were every upset and CH started a petition to remove the board. The board with some lawyering (at our expense) barely got away from being removed. We let the board know that we would not stand for these increases. We also made sure that the purported roofing was done in the same year. We even got anonymous phone calls attacking us just because we made sure the roofing was done. Subsequently we let the homeowners know how they were paying for the kickbacks that the board members were receiving. These kickbacks are continuing to this date but the increase in maintenance fees haven’t. We have let the board and homeowners know that with having a proven swamp here not even 1% increase is accepted. Let’s be very vigilant about this. It can have dire consequences including the sale of our property. More on that later.
Tuesday March 16,2021
Real estate here
Last year Houston buyers purchased a record high number of homes. That was over 10% increase from the year before. This happened in the year of pandemic and the buyers bought over all parts of the city. With Houston being the center of energy and great conditions for business you can expect land becoming premium and location being more important than ever. Four years ago CH let homeowners know about the little known Texas property Code Section 82.001. That was the 80% rule in which if 80% of the homeowners agree to sell their unit the other 20% would be forced to sell. This piece of property is becoming more and more valuable and developers have had their eyes on it for years. We were able to thwart the board’s plan to sell our property to a developer 4 years ago but that doesn’t mean that was the only way to do it. There are other ways with the cooperation of the logical point of entry (the board) to force us to sell. There could be a reason we have had 3 resident board members who have been on the board for 10 years or more. There is couple of other ones who have been steadily gaining residency on the board and could come handy when the time comes. When elections are fixed and 100% predictable and with the right incentive anything is possible including the sale of our property by various means. Homeowners need to be very aware.
Sunday March 7,2021
Independent agency for HOAs
This happened in Florida. It shows what happens when ordinary people with no formal training in law are elected, selected appointed or appoint themselves to the board of an HOA.
A couple was charged by their HOA the amount of $33,000 for debt they
did not owe. When they told them they did not owe any amount of money let alone
$33,000 the HOA put the pressure on and insisted they did. There was only one
way for the homeowners to fight back: an expensive lawsuit. Fortunately for
these homeowners they had the resources to fight back in court. How many homeowners
can do that without putting themselves under undue financial pressure? Not too
The add insult to injury the homeowners end up paying for an attorney that the board hires to sue them. The homeowners in this case went to court and won and now the HOA owes them $33,000. This story had a happy ending. Why did the homeowners have to go through trials and tribulations of an expensive lawsuit? This could take months of uncertainty and can put heavy financial pressure on a family. Many cases disagreement about the color they paint their door or something left on their driveway could end up in a court. The solution is an independent agency with the power of ruling on issues when common sense does not prevail. This could have been taken up by that agency. It would have saved the homeowners who pay their dues that created such mindless action by the HOA and saved the homeowners months of grief. Until there are special interest groups who fight homeowners’ efforts to create such an agency expect these actions that are against the interests of all homeowners in a community to continue.
Sunday February 14,2021
What happedned to the Annual Meeting?
Homeowners who are subscribed to the board mailing list get regular monthly notice about the monthly meeting. These meetings are in general for homeowners who have a specific problem. These meetings are usually attended by 2 or 3 homeowners who are most interested in having their problem(s) solved. They don’t usually go there for general issues. Due to pandemic these meetings have been converted to online meetings. The Annual Meeting though has not been converted to online meeting. They can make all the safeguards to make sure only homeowners attend but they don’t want to do it. They want to delay that uncomfortable hour for as long as they can. This is where general issues can be addressed and broadcast for everybody to see. It will also be harder to shut down unpleasant but true speech. People can put different words for minutes of the meeting but cannot deny written words sent in a message for everybody to see. The meeting currently is not scheduled and there is talk for March or April. Nobody knows. They can ride the pandemic excuse for many more months.
That uncomfortable hour
The Annual Meeting has always been the only place and time (third
Tuesday in January)where homeowners could vent their frustrations. This has
usually ranged from the board’s indifference to buildings other than 2101,
increase in maintenance fees, rigged elections, etc.. The board has had to hold
the meeting and take the abuse caused by themselves but only for an hour. They
would dodge questions, give non-answers, refer to later when there is nobody
around and plain getting out of solving legitimate homeowner problems. The pandemic
has given them a legitimate excuse to delay the Annual Meeting indefinitely.
The word “pandemic” or anything related to that does not appear
anywhere on their website but pandemic has caused them to delay Annual Meeting
indefinitely. It just confirms our suspicion : the Annual meeting is the most
uncomfortable hour they have to spend with the homeowners . They’d rather
be anywhere else than to answer legitimate homeowner questions and not just
a pat on the back from their friends.
Sunday January 31,2021
As usual the only live subject on the board’s website is plumbing.
It’s a tweeter feed that notifies homeowners of the free water shut-off
day. It’s a reminder that the rest of the month what used to be free for
43 years is not free anymore. Besides the absurd notion that they couldn’t
trust $30,000 boilers to Texas certified and professional plumbers ,there has
never been any credible explanation. As we have said before, besides asphalt,
roofing, general contracting some board members with no other visible jobs seem
to be getting kickbacks. How else can you explain being ion the board since
2009 (2 of them without proper credentials) and keep getting reelected? They
have been ignoring our repeated requests for election verification. Recently
a board member tried to explain to CH how the boiler situation works via a non-solicited
letter. He never explained why after 43 years there is this change, just that
there was a change. He forgot the explanation given at the Annual Meeting about
not trusting the certified plumbers. In the meanwhile homeowners have to pay
for this unnecessary and newly created expense at probably times of crisis.
Let’s not forget, plumbing is an issue related to the homeowner only and
their neighbors if it effects them. The board should have nothing to do with
it. The institution of a free day in our opinion is a ploy for your money. If
a homeowner takes them to court they probably win since after all this is private
ownership. They should not be paying fees just to access their own plumbing.
They didn’t for 43 years and there was no problem.
By the way can somebody get the name of the management company on the website corrected? The Official Documents section still lists the previous management company. It looks like CH has to correct these errors as only mentioning them here seems to get them corrected.
Monday January 18,2021
The Annual Meeting
According to our laws and bylaws our Annual Meeting is supposed to
be held 3rd Tuesday in January which is tomorrow. It will not be held tomorrow.
Of course the reason given is COVID. There are no announcements on the website
or anywhere else. The website is still frozen in time on June 13,2020. The tweeter
feed is active though. It is only used to announce the water shut-off. i.e.
money reminder day.
According to Nichole the Annual Meeting will be held in March or April. The board did not find it necessary to let the homeowners know.
Wednesday January 13,2021
Where are these potholes?
We have mentioned several times here that big problem with HOAs with
no State overseeing them is self-interest. There have been several postings
here together with examples like foundation, boilers, roofs, etc. With two members
putting themselves on the board illegally and “serving” for the
past 10 years along with another one for about the same amount of time this
ugly feature is most prominent. The swamp is firmly established here. They all
along with the other 2 members live at the 2101 building. These awful looking
pictures show the potholes that are located between 2121 and 2201. In other
words they have nothing to do with 2101. If they did they would be repaired
by now. It’s just like the foundation. The crack posted here in several
postings prior are located north of 2101 and at the Inwood building. They have
nothing to do with the swamp dwellers here. Let’s recall the boilers in
2121 that were not going to be replaced until a homeowner went to the City herself
and then it was finally replaced. The old HOA rule stands. With no overseeing
by a State agency nothing will be done unless self-interest is satisfied or
there is a threat of a lawsuit.
Sunday January 10,2021
Latest sales here
A very alert homeowner sent us some comps for condos that are for sale here. It showed a two bedroom (2-2) for about $165K and one bedroom over $100K. There is also a 2-1 for $138K. CH still sticks to the real worth of these condos posted above this posting. It is always the location that matters the most. This is one of the most desired and fastest growing areas in Houston. Let’s not forget the board had a homeowner giving a sweet talk speech about how fast we could sell these in a wholesale to be orchestrated by the board. At that time about 4 years ago, the prices were around $100k for 2-2 and $60-70K for a 1-1. Of course when it’s a quick sale (wholesale) with the promise of a check right after that you would expect auction like prices By that we mean like $50-60K for a 2-2 and $25-35K for a 1-1. The homeowners stopped that ungodly sale that was going to happen. This could happen again in other forms. Until we do not have transparency and we have a swamp of our own with 3 board members having served for over 10 years this could happen again. Like this homeowner we all need to be aware of board activities.
Sunday December 13,2020
If you go to the board’s website you will not know there is
a roofing project at 2101 building. You also would not know roofing was completed
at 2121 last month. There is nothing new on their website except a tweeter feed
notifying homeowners about the upcoming plumbing free day shutoff. This day
is so important for the board that homeowners who sign on with the website get
reminders. It’s the only active subject on the ri website. Of course we
know why roofing or other contracts are not there. They don’t want CH
to get quotes in advance and compute how much we could save if they used some
other contractor than the board’s usual.
There is not one word about future projects (see above why). Homeowners get more news here than there. If it wasn’t for our last post the management company would have still been listed as the previous one. If it’s too much work to update it may be they should just shut it down because as it is its pretty much worthless.
BTW there is still no mention of COVID-19 there when the whole world talks about it and wearing masks are a part of the daily routine.
Sunday November 22,2020
As visitors here are aware, the board’s website is a place for
yesterday news. There is nothing new about it. The latest news is June 13,2020.
If you look at the website you think COVID never happened. There have been even
embarrassing errors like misspelling managers’ last name (it was finally
fixed after a couple of years of CH mention it here) . One thing CH is proud
of is that we have sent the message that there is no legitimacy to this board
and the election it holds. Besides the permanent 3 the other 2 are appointed
(not elected) . They have been spoken to and now participate as signees, or
who knows may be participating and bringing something to the table. We strongly
We say homeowners have got the message that this board is not legitimate. We see in the Advisory Committee there are no names. In the prior years, goodhearted homeowners volunteered to be on the committee. They did not heed CH warning that the board is all about kickbacks. They found out that they did not need their advice as nor did they ask for any. CH has effectively shown that by not considering lower bids and using their one and only contractor they are getting kickbacks. We like to hear an argument against this logic.
By the way since they corrected the manager’s last name after couple of years of CH mentioning it, may be itstime to put the correct management company there. It still shows the previous company.
Monday November 9,2020
Looks like the board did what was logical. They could not justify
why they were only working with one contractor even when lower bids were available
to them so they left the maintenance fees unchanged for the following year.
Until they accept multiple bids, we can all agree they should not raise the maintenance fees. If there is a need for increase it should be when all avenues are exhausted , multiple bids considered including the ones submitted by CH and full transparency maintained. All homeowners want is total transparency.
Wednesday November 4, 2020
Possums are multiplying here
The homeowner has reported more possums at her place. It looks like they are multiplying and going to adjacent condos. They are dangerous to small dogs and kids. Two board members checked her place but apparently nothing has been done about it.
Friday October 30,2020
Yet another HOA board member fraud-this time a president
This happened in Florida
Over the course of three years, a former homeowners association president
stole $20,000 from the community he served and used the money to expand his
stamp collection and buy lawn equipment, according to the Police Department.
He was named HOA president of the subdivision in 2017 and records show at that time, there was about $21,000 in the HOA’s Bank account.
Police said there was about $180 left by the time he left the position and he refused to show other board members receipts to prove where the money had gone.
The new HOA president, who contacted authorities on Sept. 9, said he was able to find proof that the he spent $2,000 on medical expenses, made various ATM withdraws, bought $1,000 in stamps for his collection, purchased chain saws and lawn equipment and made purchases at stores and restaurants, according to the affidavit.
He was arrested at his home Thursday on charges of theft over $5,000 and scheming to defraud.
What you just read is one of the many cases of fraud committed by some
members of board of HOAs all over the US. There is a presumption of professionalism,
honesty and general knowledge of running an HOA. In reality some get on the
board and stay there. Many board members have no knowledge of management, real
estate or construction. They learn these at the seat of their pants. The more
they stay and the more they get reelected the more chances there are that they
are working with certain contractor(s). Just ask yourself: why are there board
members that are volunteers but stay on year after year and vehemently try to
defeat any homeowner that runs for the board?
Saturday October 17,2020
Foundation on Inwood
This is a picture of the entrance from Inwood. As you can see the foundation
still has not been repaired from a few years ago. It was bad back then when
a homeowner got locked inside his own home and had to call a locksmith to get
out. It follows the familiar pattern. The board only cares about 2101. There
have been numerous foundation repairs on 2101, one just recently and may be
rightfully so. What about other buildings and locations? Of course they did
not solicit multiple bids fully aware that CH has introduced multiple lower
bids than the one contractor they keep using.
Sunday October 11,2020
Possum in our property-not at 2101
A big possum was discovered in a homeowner’s condo. It is in
her backyard. According to her it showed its teeth to her in a threatening manner.
She was terrified by it being so close to her and her small dog. It is sitting
in the flower pot hanging from her fence.
This happened last week. Nichole and the board were notified immediately. The board has taken no action as to the removal of the possum. We could imagine if that had happened at 2101 building where all board members live. The possum would have been removed from there the next day.
This is more evidence that the board only has self-interest in mind.
During the now finishing year of 2020 and dating back to 2018 many homeowners have had to pay unwarranted plumbing fees. Many homeowners paid to shut it off by paying $175 just to be able to have a certified plumber fix what was wrong in their unit like installing or replacing pipes, or other plumbing issues. Most probably emergency situations added to their expense too. In doing that, they paid fees they never paid prior to 2018. What happened in 2018? After close to 50 years of flawless operations and homeowners having unfettered access to their own plumbing systems using Texas certified plumbers, the board decided they couldn’t trust our boilers to them. What came out of it was curiously a charge. We asked our property manager Nichole to cite an instance with date, time and location where a certified plumber made an error dealing with our boilers and she could not recall even one. That’s right the perceived lack of trust for certified plumbers resulted in a charge for all of us. Of course we all know this is another ploy for our money. On the way they get themselves another favorite contractor that gets most (probably all) of the plumbing jobs here. Let’s face it, in case of emergency with that favorite plumber being the gate keeper, they will get most of the jobs. Does the board or some members get any cuts? There is no reason to think they don’t. Just remember they did not even want to look at lower bids offered to them for other jobs from contractors called at random. We also notified Nichole that we were ready to submit multiple bids called at random from other contractors. Needless to say the board has not reached to us. Please recall many of these submitted by CH to the board were 2/3 lower than the board’s contractor. We would be hard pressed to find any reason why the board is not calling us other than getting kickbacks from their one and only contractor. We repeat our contractors were 3 or more and called at random. They just have found a new way to make money. There are other indicators that points to them benefitting. The most important is that the election could not be verified from start to finish. This has left 3 members electing and reelecting themselves for the past 11 years. The system is so rigged that two of these 3 got on board without having a deed under their names in 2009. That’s right, they broke our laws, got on board and kept on bringing in their favorite contractors. Who pays for these needlessly expensive price tags? It’s us, the homeowners of course. Just look at maintenance fees that went up last year. You can expect them to go up again this year. They could bring the excuse that repairs have been done and they were costly. Now you know this doesn’t wash. If they were concerned about expenses CH had already notified the board they could bring competitive bids to offset the costs. They chose on purpose not to do that. They could have asked CH to help them get lower bids and save all of us some money if they really cared about homeowners money. If they had done that you might not have seen increase in your maintenance fees last year or this coming year. It looks like they do everything in their own self-interest. They all live at 2101 building. The foundation has been fixed several times. Many homeowners have complained about the huge crack at the entrance of Inwood building and nothing has been done about it. We could imagine they repair places where they live , have friendly relationship with some homeowners or homeowners who could bring something to the table. This is the same board (the same 3) that wanted to sell our properties right under us about 4 years ago. Make no mistake. They have been there for 11 years for a reason: self –interest. As many homeowners recall they had a scheme going by having a homeowner explain to us at the Annual Homeowner meeting for 2 years in a row the benefit of a quick sale. As if homeowners living in one of the most desirable neighborhoods needed to have the board masqueraded as a homeowner sell their house and quick and most probably at wholesale prices. At that time we were estimating they were planning to sell our one bedroom at $50K or lower and two bedrooms at $60-65K or lower. We were after all discussing a quick sale. The one bedrooms should now be selling at $150K and two bedrooms at about $250K. All that would be without the outside pressure and limitations of a quick sale. Many homeowners came to the third and determining Annual Meeting and stopped this nonsense idea. This idea might not be gone forever. Until we have rigged elections where there are 3 people that are fixtures and pursue their own self-interest accompanied by two people who are chosen on purpose to have virtually no knowledge of this place’s past, we are in danger of losing our property.
They look to be concentrated on one main issue: staying there so they see where they could profit with plumbing being the latest.
When it comes to your own interest these are not the people you can rely on. Just ask yourself a simple :Why doesn’t the board use multiple bids?
Sunday September 27,2020
Financials and October meeting
Three months age or right in mid July the financials were available
online from January till June. In other words both first and second quarters
were available for interested homeowners to inspect. It was around the beginning
of July when we asked for the invoices concerning a contractor who happened
to be Tina’s second contractor. Some ties are hard to break. It was very
interesting that the number 2 contractor was doing all the contracting jobs.
Some have also observed the number 1 contractor in the area. Has Tina really
left? Her company is no longer is our management company but her contractors
who she introduced are still here. It shows they had such a great business relationship
at our expense that it was hard to let go. CH does not want to be repetitious
but we need to mention “at our expense” because the board doesn’t
even want to look at lower bids from other contractors. Yes, they won’t
even consider saving us money and then raise our maintenance fees to pay for
what looks like getting kickbacks. We are paying for this extra repair jobs
that we could easily save on. We have already shown the plumbing charge was
a ruse and there were no problems with any licensed plumbers. None were expected
The financials for second quarter now have totally gone from the website. May be there was more to know that met the eye. We are pursuing it since Texas law dictates transparency for all financial matters regarding HOAs.
BTW after about 3 years and continuous mentions on this site spelling of Nichole’s last name was finally corrected on the website.
Sunday September 13,2020
Upcoming year maintenance fees
Once again the self-elected board will be having a meeting determining
the new maintenance fees. We can say with no uncertainty that there is no need
for maintenance fees to be increased. Visitors to this site know that CH through
Nichole and before that through Tina over the years, has sent its message of
readiness to provide extra bids. This is only for the benefit of the homeowners
and to take away any excuse from the board to raise our maintenance fees. This
is not out of respect or affiliation with the board. Let’s not forget
that board conducts fraudulent elections and 3 of them have been on the board
for the past 11 years .
We have offered to provide multiple bids for all contracts. This has been for all contracts from construction to insurance and other contracts. Again as visitors to this site are aware, not only the board did not appreciate the effort but has tried to run away and hide from these new and with lower amount bids. These contracts have all been called at random and there are usually from 3 to 5 different bidders. The board does not even want to have a meeting with them.
So let’s repeat the obvious question: Why is the board running away from these bids?
Sunday August 23,2020
Fraud happens even in a Civic Association
There are 5 different types of governing bodies that rule homeowners.
Some have more relaxed rules and some are more stringent. One of a more relaxed
ones is a Civic Association. The members are free to join or leave. In Civic
Associations there is no foreclosures , liens , etc . There are no presidents
or vice presidents who like our HOA can elect and reelect themselves. In ours
3 of them are headed for the 11th straight year of “winning” elections!
In South Philadelphia a head of a Civic Association has been arrested on charges that he stole land owned by a neighborhood organization that he helped start decades ago, long before the city’s economic revival made the properties valuable.
He was charged last week with theft by deception, records tampering, forgery, and other offenses, court filings show.
He was said to be under investigation over his handling of seven rowhouse-size parcels which he is accused of taking from the Civic Association neighborhood group.
Records show that he had deeded the properties — together worth upward of $300,000, based on other sales in the area — to himself for $1 each in September 2017.
After taking ownership of the parcels, he allegedly continued to collect
payments from people who parked at the properties, keeping the cash for himself,
according to the warrant for his arrest.
Neighbors told the reporters last year that he had also openly discussed selling the properties to a developer or building houses on them himself.
Soaring property values in some neighborhoods have made the city an attractive hunting ground for real estate scammers, who in some cases forge deeds to seize ownership of homes and vacant lots they can flip.
He is accused of betraying the trust of longtime neighbors, who looked
to him with increasing disappointment and anger as news of the accusations filtered
through the community. Apparently he didn’t give up properties of his
As you can see when homeowners are not watching and the heads or board members’ own bills are piling up for whatever reason, its easy for the governing body to tap in the funds or get kickbacks. After all who is checking the books?
Thursday August 13,2020
Another condo fraud
This happened in Florida. The Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday
the arrest of a property manager for allegedly defrauding several condo associations.
She has been charged with Ongoing Scheme to Defraud in Excess of $50,000 for her alleged involvement.
Sheriff’s officials say they were made aware of the possible theft back in May when $230,000 was removed from one local condo association’s bank account and deposited into a second association’s account.
Deputies said the second association began reviewing their bank records and found that money had been removed from their account since at least 2017 by their association manager.
They were told she had written checks to herself and allegedly transferred
money from the association’s accounts into at least two other accounts.
Investigators say they discovered the fraud had actually began back in 2016 while she was employed by another condo association.
This condo fraud was quickly discovered because first several associations
were defrauded. Second we think no board members were involved. If they were
(many times they are) it would have been nearly impossible to detect.
Sunday August 2, 2020
After repeated mentions the board’s website finally came alive
but after a posting it went to sleep again. The readers recall that the name
of the manager was spelled wrong and CH mentioned it quite a few times for over
a year. CH also mentioned more than a few times that the website was frozen
in time and besides no new postings there was no mention of COVI-19. Its unbelievable
that the people who are unfortunately could be held responsible for the health
effect of this virus here never even mentioned it once. Well some things never
changes with them. The misspelling of our property manager was so bad that after
a year or so they finally fixed that. It could be argued that people here are
individual owners and each responsible for themselves and/or their tenants but
not even a mention COVID on their website? It could also be argued that these
are different times and its hard to find a corporation not addressing that specially
one that is housing oriented and governing us.
The website had one posting on June 13 nothing since. Nothing worth mentioning happened in almost 2 months? Nothing happened in over a year prior to that going back to April 2019? However there was money time. Their new way of money making was alive. The twitter feed is the only thing that is updated regularly and it makes sure that everybody who checks the website is aware of the free plumbing shutoff day. In other words homeowners should not be surprised by being charged other days. Let’s not forget Nichole could not find any incident with licensed plumbers messing up the boilers. This is a completely bogus charge and it’s just for them to make money off plumbing.
In 2020 they have had close to $200K worth of repairs done by Tina’s
number 2 guy who is now their number 1. There is not a mention of that on the
website. We have asked to examine those contracts and we will get a comparative
market price for those. We let the board know last year via Nichole that CH
was ready to give competitive bids to make sure there would be no excuse to
raise our maintenance fees. We have not got one response but the projects went
ahead. CH will let the homeowners know of the situation. Any maintenance fee
increase would be unjustified.
Thursday July 30,2020
Couple of contractors here
As mentioned before a contractor introduced by Tina or affiliated by
her (we’re not sure) continues to provide services here. We don’t
know the extent of Tina’s involvement which could be anywhere from zero
to 100 percent. The money just for this year is substantial. This company that
used to be number 2 contractor with the previous management company about couple
of years ago is now definitely the number 1 contractor and has been paid according
to the latest financial statements about $200K in remodeling and repairs around
here till the end of May. The plumbing has paid off big too. The plumbing company
who is the gate keeper to our plumbing has grossed about $200K as well.
Previously we had notified the board that CH could provide additional competitive bids for the interest of homeowners for all repair/remodeling jobs so we could save money. However it looks like the interest of some on the board has trumped the interest of the homeowners who pay for everything here and they have ignored this notification. We have requested to take a look at the invoices paid to this contractor and run it by some other contractors called at random to see how much potentially we could have saved. Nichole promised she would provide those documents.e
Sunday July 19,2020
The latest on condos here
There have been some increases and also some decreases in prices here.
A two bedroom has been put on sale for about $165K which looks to be the highest
for at least the past two years here as far as we know. Here we are talking
about 2-2 and no den. It looks like the two bedrooms are catching up to the
values corresponding to their location as another one also is for sale at $145K.
The 2 bedrooms just a few months ago were selling commonly around $125K. On
the other hand the one bedrooms are staying solid over $100K range which shows
their marketability as far as rental investors go. They are a little bit down
as just a few months ago some were selling at about $125K but there is . All
these show the increased value of the location. Even the bedroom is one of the
smallest here at 551 sq.ft.
Sunday July 12,2020
Three board members
One of the main points of entry for any developer or real estate investor
is the members of the board. Not all HOAs can be compromised though. There are
HOAs that are transparent with elections that could be monitored for its legitimacy.
These HOAs have members that usually are on a rotating basis and change after
a couple of years. They could get tired or become more occupied in their daily
lives. Their main purpose is to help their community and for that they donate
their time. In our estimate there are not too many of those. The honest ones
also try to get the best and lowest bids for every contract which has significant
amount. They just want the best for the homeowners which include themselves.
Our HOA has 3 members (two of them who got there illegally) but all 3 have been
there and reelected on a regular basis for 11 years now. CH has sent requests
to be able to monitor the election but has been denied. There is only one contractor
here that gets all the contracts and who has ties to the previous manager, Tina.
Any bid CH has submitted that was lower bids than their sole contractor has
been ignored. In exchange they have passed those extra fees to the homeowners
who have had to pay for what appears to be kickbacks.
These 3 members have been there for the past 11 years. It is a certified swamp. They donâ€™t want to let somebody to get in there and disrupt their operations, no matter how much in extra maintenance fees the homeowners have to pay for those extra and needlessly expensive contracts. We compared our condos to the homes about couple of miles from us that we believe will have similar fates. It is takeover by developers. One of the main obstacles for a developer in taking over is time. This is the time to start owning properties there and getting to 80% and acquire the whole property. This would involve deed from people who donâ€™t want to sell at any price. It could be a difficult road to 80% for the investor. This is where an ever resident board could come handy. You might ask how they could get to 80% if truly they could not get there with numbers. In high owner occupancy its more difficult but remember ours is a very low owner occupancy place. It is so low that some homeowners have had difficulty getting financing or refinancing the property. If they have bunch of proxies real or fake that results from low owner occupancy they can get to any number they want including the 80%. This is exactly what we have in our place. It is also what can create a permanent board. They get reelected whenever their term ends. What we are talking about is a bunch of proxies. They make all the difference n the world for them. The more proxies the less homeowners at the meeting less headaches for the board and easier to accomplish what they want. There were even reports that the board and Tina back then were calling homeowners that lived off the property and ask for their blank proxies. If they can get 80% to reelect themselves they can get 80% to sell off our properties. Please remember this is a Texas law. Any developer with a very knowledgeable attorney can easily point the law to the homeowners and dissuade them from taking legal action or refer to whatever so-called protection the board has added to our bylaws. Those protections could be taken away with a vote form a board made up of members who got there with 90% fake votes. The board will get paid when they deliver the property and then dissolve the association. These two properties will be taken over. Our only chance would be to get fair market values for our properties at the time of the take-over. For now its $150K for a one bedroom and $250K for a two bedroom .
Sunday July 5,2020
Don't change to HOA
One of the many problems with HOAs and the way they are set up is special interests that could dictate the property’s future. In the previous post we mentioned many homeowners did not want the friendly Civic Organization be converted to an HOA. Given the fact that many homeowners there were old, on fixed income or just didn’t want change, the report mentioned they were divided. It didn’t mention the ratio. Our guess is that it was probably 95-5 against. Let’s examine this. HOAs are usually created with the subdivision. People who buy houses there know about the existence of an HOA. In this case it started with a friendly civic association with voluntary dues. They wanted to change to mandatory dues with the power of foreclosure by creating an HOA. It will be hard to find anybody cheering for that and not benefiting directly from that change. Now all of a sudden there is a rumor of an upcoming HOA and its ‘many’ benefits it is time for homeowners to go on red alert and unite. Let’s not forget that homeowner who all of a sudden talked about the benefits of a quick sale at our place a few years ago here. It was a plan to sell our property sitting on very valuable land right underneath us. The same type of plan could be at work there. An HOA has huge benefits for people who know how to extract those benefits. In our case the HOA was about to deliver the 80% rule and wholesale our property. In their case an HOA could be beneficial to the mastermind to create assessments. Even though it’s just to ‘improve’ the neighborhood but in reality it could be to make the properties unaffordable for some to keep. Then some previously unknown company could come along and buy them. The rest who could afford more to stay a little bit longer could be bought after that and so on till the majority or 80% goal for the 80% law could be accomplished. As you can see the creation of an HOA can give somebody or some company a lot of leeway to take over the whole subdivision to make huge lucrative improvements using its own contractor or demolish and build brand new homes. In both cases the existing homeowners lose with huge assessments and improvements at 3 times the price of contractor bids (like ours) . For that person or company it doesn’t matter that many homeowners have lived there for years with memories and investments that could get them to retire in peace and comfort. They should expect to continue living there when they have followed all the rules. The person or company can create new rules for the sole purpose of throwing the unsuspecting homeowners out. Who cares about the previous homeowners there who lost their valuable property at much below the market price and by force? Lets mention ours is even more valuable that that subdivision. A combination of proxies and lack of foresight and preparedness could deliver the property to them. The special HOA members (not all) are then paid off under the table and the association (HOA) dissolves. Both these properties are going up in value with ours even faster and those greedy hands could be at work now. The natural point of entry for those greedy hands is the HOA and members who know how to play the game. This scenario happened a few years ago about a mile northwest of us. A chat with some of them who lost their valuable condos showed they were extremely unhappy after the forced sale. Let’s all be aware of such a game happening here. Let’s also send our best to that community couple of miles southwest of us with a message to unite in opposition to creating an HOA at all costs.
Sunday June 28,2020
Neighborhood a couple of miles from us
This rather famous neighborhood has been in existence for over 60
years. It has run by a civic organization NOT an HOA. There have never been
any huge problems to write about and the house values have been steadily rising.
It is southwest of us. Apparently now nothing is working right. The neighborhood
is in tatters. They want to change it from a civic organization with voluntary
dues and limited legal power to an HOA with mandatory dues and legal powers
as far as taking your home away in a foreclosure auction.
Two things look aparrent immediately in comparison to ours: they are both old and the land under them is extremely valuable.
There are some developers who might have thought about buying those houses/lots at cheap values by first brining an HOA and limit the power of homeowners through usual intimidation of a collection of single homeowners by the board of that HOA. Then they either could renovate the place using a favorite contractor (like in our situation) or get an 80% rule instituted and buy and demolish all houses(like what could have happened here). The neighborhood is not very high earning so the potential of intimidation is very high and an ideal place to put an HOA there and do whatever they want. One thing for sure: whoever thought of it knew with an HOA they could do a lot more than a friendly civic organization with a friendly atmosphere. This sort of thing can happen and has happened in many neighborhoods where there has not been a united homeowner front opposing it.
Monday June 22,2020
The board's latest news is no news at all
After about 17 months of no “latest news” the new post is nothing but a declaration of existence of “new post” . Its just that there was nothing new and that may be the word got around and they were reminded that they have not had a new post in about a year and a half. They just reminded people who had been checking it all this time that financials were a few months late. In this coming alive the incorrect spelling of the manager together with any mention of the manager has been eliminated. Now homeowners don’t know who the manager is. A very important fact was that the plumbing company listed as the one responsible for shutting off the water was the plumbing company from before they switched management companies. In other words it was wrong. It is now corrected with no explanation given as to why it took a year and a half to correct it.
Sunday June 14,2020
It came alive
After about a 17 month of no news the board’s website came alive. As you might recall the last update was April 2,2019 . There were no news posted for almost 17 months. All of a sudden the latest news is now updated to June 13, 2020 . The “Older posts ” became rightfully April 2, 2019 and older. That was yesterday. Today they changed and put older posts as of older than March 2, 2019. So March and April 2019 are not older posts but February 2019 and prior months are ! There is no explanation as to what happened during the almost 17 month gap.
The Events page is still all clear. There is nothing scheduled and
the last scheduled event was the board’s favorite event which is water
shut-off. What we believe a new way to make money. It could be updated very
Friday June 12,2020
Email oversight again
Last month a very smart homeowner sent us an email and asked if CH
had received the monthly meeting notice from Nichole. He suspected we were intentionally
being left out. We had not received it and let Nichole know about that. She
said that it was an oversight and they had forgotten to add CH to the list.
In June again this very astute homeowner notified us again and asked if we received
the notification. Again we let him know we did not.
We notified Nichole again and she promised she would get in touch with that department. We asked her to make sure that this won’t happen again. Thanks to terrific homeowners like this homeowner and others who have helped us throughout the years and help us form a united front.
Sunday June 7,2020
The plumbing and the boilers
Homeowners who attended the last Annual Meeting heard the absurd reasoning
for first Wednesday of the month water shut-off. To remind everybody it was
because all of a sudden the board did not trust Texas licensed plumbers. How
did they deal with that lack of trust? They hired a favorite company of theirs
and practically shut off access to all other legitimate and licensed plumbers.
Their favorite company is now the gate keeper. If you have a plumbing issue
and need to shut off the water and its not the first Wednesday of the month
there is a fee of $175 for that payable to their chosen plumber. Think of the
impact on a homeowner with fixed income. When water shutoff is needed it means
its pretty serious, extensive and by all accounts expensive. On top of that
having to pay a $175 fee if its not the first Wednesday of the month can be
hard on many of these homeowners. Going over the first quarter we see the company
received over $4K in January over $5K in February and over $38K in March. That
is money from us, the homeowners. This does not include homeowners who ended
up hiring them due to emergency and them being the closest to solve their problem.
For the record we contacted Nichole and asked if there has ever been a problem with a Texas licensed plumber and boilers that prompted such a suspicious decision. She said she did not know of any. It just proved our point. The plumbing was the latest they could think of to make money with.
The siege of our plumbing should stop immediately. Homeowners who have paid just to shut off the plumbing should have questions for the board. Why do they have to pay any fees when there has never been any problem with plumbers before? Why do they have to pay any fees to access their own plumbing using a licensed plumber if plumbers have commercial liability insurance and surety bond ?
Sunday May 31,2020
Many of you are aware the board’s website has been practically abandoned. Still there has been nothing more recent than 4/2/19, the calendars are blank and even the only thing that had a flicker of update – The Tweeter feed has not been updated since February. It only existed to show the plumbing shutoff day. They don’t care to notify us of that either. Its like they finally decided to stop pretending which goes along with their fake elections. Elections that members without knocking on anybody’s doors or talk to the homeowners wake up one day and have 90 or so votes and are on the board. A function that could be ceremonial like signing, help establish a quorum, etc. There is not even a hint of not accepting any short term lease which is on every billboard here. Its not on the website and has never been. The website designer who maintains and designed the site has all but quit updating it all together. Lets not forget she got on the board without required credentials. After close to two years manager Nichole’s last name is still misspelled.
Sunday May 24,2020
Tina’s continued connections
In any association if there is fraud the main source would be contractors. Its easy, hard to detect, looks totally innocent till you find it’s the same person doing everything. It might still look benign until the homeowner sees the maintenance fee keeps going up. When homeowners’ present lower bids to the board from different bidders and the board won’t even look at those and in fact runs away from them then red flags go up. When they keep doing that the fraud becomes obvious. After looking at financials we see some familiar names. Tina’s number 2 guy in charge of repairs is still there and so is the energy company. Lets recall we submitted 8 other companies’ rates and none of them could beat this one. Of course this company used to be one floor above the previous management company’s offices. Their contract has been renewed for many years and the list of 8 other companies did not stop that business relationship. We had a 1% increase last year and we think it is to tell homeowners we could increase it without any valid reason. Lets watch out for any other increase for any reason. The association has over $1.5M in capital. If there is substantial expense they need to solicit multiple bids. Lets ask them to stop hiding from these bids. Lets stand together and stop them having us paying for what looks like kickbacks.
Tuesday May 12,2020
As you might be aware there are some 2 bedroom units that are located at the corner of the buildings that are sometimes called 3-bedrooms. They are really 2 –bedrooms and a den. These units have recently seen a big raise in rental values and good return for investors. They are now renting close to $1800 a month which for these old units is amazing. As always with real estate it’s the location that counts. The one bedrooms are approaching $1000 and the 2 bedrooms are around $1200. With the 2 bedrooms being rented at around $1200 looks like a big jump in rental values with what in really is an extra den. The owners of these condos are paying over $600 a month in maintenance fees and some have given up on selling them all together. Its good they see a nice price increase in their rentals.
Sunday May 10,2020
After not getting anywhere on the board website CH asked Nichole for
help. You have to understand if a management company is responsible for accounting
and election what are the financials doing on the board website? At least with
the previous company we knew where to get them. On the board’s revamped
website for the first year the financials were there and still are but only
from 2019 and older. The 2020 financials are missing. This is when the 2101
foundation project was done. We asked Nichole and let her know they were missing
She was under the impression they needed to be requested! There is a disconnect
somewhere. We think the web admin who is a board member and who got on board
illegally just got tired of updating and that’s why the Latest News hasn’t
been updated for over a year now. In this day and age and in a big city an association
should have an informational website and that is where it normally stops. If
they are big enough to hire a management company to do the books and hold elections
they should give it all to them and stop pretending that they are so open they
have all financials online.
Nichole has promised to give us the financials by the end of this coming week.
Sunday May 3,2020
The board website
Ever since the revamping of the website which coincided with the changing of the management companies we have seen some irregularities. The change also had the distinction that all records including financials would be available online and accessed by homeowners only.CH has always viewed this new found transparency with suspicion. After all how much transparency can the board have with 3 members being the same for the past 10 years and with two other board members getting elected without knocking on anybody’s doors? Its a board that runs away from lower bids presented to them in favor of the board affiliated contractor. Lets be frank we just don’t trust this board.
The website started with getting new manager’s last name wrong
which continues till today on the Home page. The main purpose for this big show
of transparency was supposedly financials and everything related to it. It was
a show of saying ‘we’re not hiding anything’. You could get
the bank statements from the site and there was no need as previously to get
it from the management company and pay for copies. For some curious reasons
the paid invoices are missing. This is how we could match the invoices with
the checks. As we mentioned before it looks like activities have been frozen
in time since April 2, 2019. That’s not the only item frozen in time.
The calendar is totally blank. There is nothing planned for May 2020. The same
goes for the months prior with the exception of first Wednesday in February
2020 which is the day of the plumbing shutoff. The first Wednesday of every
month had become significant since the board decided not to trust licensed plumbers
with our boilers who have been doing a fine job since 1978. The board probably
decided to probably make money off plumbing. Please refer to prior posts regarding
that. Now it seems they just got tired of the pretense too. The main reason
is that the financials have not been downloaded since December 2019. The website
looks like a ghost town.
We always believed transparency has a limit for these people. Instead of being true to the homeowners and put everything on the website and protect it with a password or just give it all to the management company they have created a mess. Now we don’t know where to get the records from. In this hybrid situation the paid invoices were obtained from the management company. Now are the financials supposed to be maintained by them as well? One would expect an announcement on the website regarding that. You ask yourself again what is the purpose of having some but not all records at one place ? This just brings more suspicion to the board’s activities. The board that has set members with two of them on the board without the necessary credentials should not be trusted. We keep monitoring for any sign are being put on the underground market and we will let everybody know just like last time .
Sunday April 26,2020
One of the few... - this theft happened in Florida
A property manager for two beach condominiums is accused of stealing
hundreds of thousands of dollars from condo boards that was spent on gambling
at a local casino, authorities said.
She, was arrested a few months prior on a first-degree grand theft charge, and was arrested again on a similar charge, according to jail records and arrest reports.
According to the reports, She had worked as the property manager at the Eden condominium project, as well as a condo association manager at another condo association.
While working at the former she had access to the condo's four bank accounts. The condo board president said he had continually requested a full accounting of board's operating funds and she made excuses until he went to the bank himself and discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds had been depleted, the reports said.
When the latter association did a financial audit of their accounts, it was discovered that between $140,000 and $400,000 in condo funds had been embezzled by her using electronic fund transfers and debit card withdrawals at a gambling resort, the reports said.
She even transferred bank funds from an account held by the former association into the King latter association account "and then emptied those accounts as part of the scheme," the reports said.
She remained held on $20,000 bond Tuesday, jail records showed.
***Let's file this under 'One of the few that got caught'. The strange
thing besides the board not checking the criminal record even for a white collar
position is that usually the board manager and the board work in tandem. Not
this time. Some members of the board could be persuaded by the manager or vice
versa to committ unscrupulous acts. Of course not all board members are dishonest.
An HOA board however being treated by the government as a quasi-government makes
some board members feel they could get away with theft. As mentioned before
if they have any conscious they can silence it by reminding themselves they
will put the money back. The board members have virtually no training in the
law and the government trusts them to interpret the laws. In short there is
nobody watching them.
Here is a question for our own board who has 3 members been the same people for the past 10 years, and 2 members who never knocked on any homeowners' doors to get votes: Why are they running away from extra bids submitted by Concerned Homeowners by hiding upcoming contracts?
Sunday April 19,2020
The virus and the board
The pandemic situation has changed many things and it even involves the HOA and how they operate. It has brought a few things under question. In an HOA one man who pays $140 a month in dues in a retirement community wonders why the homeowners still have to pay when all the common areas are closed, like the pool, workout room, golf course and clubhouse. Another gentleman who’s used to paying his HOA dues in person at an office now has to pay them online because that office is closed, but the HOA is charging an extra fee to process that online payment.
In all the questions and uncertainties that have been created and not
being able to foresee what will happen even in the near future one HOA is doing
something nice. No it’s not ours. This HOA has sent a message to the homeowners
that “we don’t want your money this month”. It’s a 140
homeowner community and at $60 a piece they could take the hit better than the
homeowners. Its not a lot of money but at least it shows they think about the
A glance at the website of our HOA you still see in the “Latest news” section of the website it contains no real latest news at all. It still has not updated since April 2, 2019. If you rely on their “latest news” COVID-19 has not happened! May be they could have at least published the CDC announcement. May be they could have forgiven late fees for maintenance fees. There are a lot of people on fixed incomes living here.
Many homeowners recall when the foundation problem at 2101 was being discussed all board members got together on a Saturday morning looking excited. The foundation was repaired. Coincidentally all 5 lived at 2101. Inwood building has big foundation problems and has been ignored for at least 3 years. One homeowner was stuck in his own condo and had to call a locksmith. Amazingly their Saturday morning meeting was held on Inwood. That’s how a homeowner reported it to us. Apparently the big crack didn’t catch their eyes then.
You can see money management companies, restaurants , clothing stores and other type industries that have basically no direct connection to our daily lives print CDC announcements and try to be helpful and useful to the general public. This HOA that has grabbed our plumbing issues recently feels no connection to homeowners’ daily lives. Its clear for everybody to see. They only think of themselves. Lets not forget 3 members have been on the board for 10 years. By taking only one bid and rejecting CH’s lower bids looks like they have an interest to protect. This should give you a prelude to other issues. Homeowners need to be aware. There is more than one way to take your property away. With this board and its self-serving attitude and a promise of a big payoff you can see anything is possible.
By the way outside their “latest news” there is a twitter feed which has monthly alerts of water shutoff. Could that be a reminder to all of that newly instituted $175 per shutoff fee?
Sunday April 5, 2020
A page from HOA misdeeds
A woman reportedly stole $400,000 from a condominium resort HOA in Florida. She stole the money while working as a bookkeeper for the resort.
The Sheriff’s Office started its investigation at the beginning of 2019 after reports from several homeowner association members, deputies say.
The spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said that he investigation dated back to 2012 or 2013.
He said she was terminated from her position after the investigation started.
“From that point on, they had a forensic audit conducted on all their accounts because the homeowners association is a whole giant entity and then it’s got a lot of small entities inside of so they had to go through everything throughout the entire HOA bank accounts to figure out exactly what was going on,” he said.
The spokesperson said the search had to be extra thorough due to the
level of access she had.
“She was the bookkeeper and had access to all the funds, dozens of bank accounts involved so she had taken out credit cards, she had taken out loans, moved money from accounts in people’s names.”
While the amount of money reportedly stolen was significant, he said she used it for day to day expenses.
“From what we can tell, it looked like a lot of personal use so stuff for her, her family, her home. I can tell you she wasn’t living a life of luxury which was kind of strange for the amount of money she took. It wasn’t being used for anything extravagant but it was just normal day to day things.”
He said HOA members were shocked when they learned of the alleged incident.
“I don’t know what their active role in keeping guard over all their money and everything going on in the accounts was I think they realized they weren’t doing enough of what they should’ve been to have some checks and balances working there who were handling their money and I think that’s since changed,” he said.
She is charged with a first-degree felony, and could be facing up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.
We have touched on this subject quite a few times. Look at the start of the quotation in bold from the spokesperson “she wasn’t living a life of luxury”. She stole $400,000 and was spending the money on normal day to day things. Many people working these “volunteer jobs” meaning non-paying won’t stay non-paid forever. Some honest ones if they need money just resign and try to find paying jobs. The dishonest ones well aware that HOA laws have little protection for the homeowners exploit that and will take advantage of the situation. If they have a guilty conscious they can calm that by promising themselves they would put the money back. However since their lifestyle is living paycheck to paycheck in reality that won’t happen in most cases. A lot of them will never be caught. These weak laws don’t even have laws against term limits. Just look at our HOA. Three members have been there for over 10 years. Two of them got on board illegally. The problems in HOAs are mostly taken care of by a lawsuit. There is no independent agency to complain to and have them to be an impartial judge. Until then the stories of theft, embezzlement and abuse of power by very ordinary people and in many cases unremarkable will repeat over and over again. The homeowners will end up paying for their misdeeds in the form of increased maintenance fees, special assessments and other types of fees.
Saturday March 28,2020
The board and the virus -cont'd
There have been several responses to the previous post. Many people
have received similar notices from various entities, big companies and others
at least publishing the CDC link online or in their letters.
These companies included banks, other financial institutions, big department stores, schools of all types, big tech companies and other types of companies and entities that have the remotest connection to our health. Everywhere you turn there is a mention of the virus and/or how to best protect yourself from it. Not so with the board. The website has been totally unimpressed by the virus. The “Latest News” section did not have even one update. Of course it has not had an update for just about a year now so why start now. You have to put this in perspective. The board like it or not is more connected to our health than any of those other companies. The decision to get in the plumbing decision shows how it can overreach when there is an opportunity to make money. Now when it comes to health it stays away. They did not even publish a CDC link to give info about the virus and what to do and where to go. There is nothing on the billboards or anywhere else. One resident who might have it can spread it to the whole community in no time flat. The board does not see it as more important than the plumbing shutoff.
It just proves to you they are there to find the benefits of being on the board for themselves. This is all they care for. They get on the board with hook and crook like the two illegal members who are still there after 10 years or proxies only, fake and some blank. We post the link up here for homeowers who can't get help from the board regarding the virus.
We ask this question again: What is their website for?
Sunday March 22, 2020
The board and the virus
We are approaching the one year anniversary of the last time the board’s website was last updated. The date is still there for everybody to see, April 2, 2019. It’s just less than a month away. During this time CH along with some other homeowners notified the board about the big foundation problem or better yet the crack on the breezeway on Inwood building. In response the board hired a well-known foundation company to repair the foundation problem at 2101. Could all 5 of them living at that building have anything to do with that? We think so. How about hiring one of the best foundation repair companies in Houston to take care of the problem and making sure the job is done right ? Yes we think so. After all why spend the money where it has nothing with them directly. It’s a familiar pattern with most HOAs. Self-interest rules the day. Just think about the biggest thing now which is this highly communicable disease that kills people. In these extra ordinary times most mid-sized to big companies that we pay our bills to like cell phones, electricity, even stock brokerage companies and other companies that you would not think would find it necessary, are sounding alarm and letting you know how to get information about it . Doesn’t the board feel like instructing homeowners where to get help should they need it? What is the purpose of their website anyway? If its not for announcements geared towards the homeowners what is it there for? This disease can wipe out the whole neighborhood. One person with that virus could cause the whole neighborhood to be quarantined and the board does not even caution the homeowners. A simple link to Center For Disease Control (cdc.gov) could have shown they care or they understand the problem. Just like the foundation if it has nothing to do with them the thought does not even cross their minds. If the board answers this posting which we know they are regular readers of this site, may be they can also answer why there has not been any news in the “Latest News” section since April 2, 2019. There is a whole section about the foundation repair at 2101 building is missing.
Sunday March 15,2020
Overview of board activities
The board as you know has been operating for years on a one contractor bidding basis with nobody watching. It has been a well-kept secret and nobody was supposed to even ask any questions. When CH started introducing extra outside bids it disrupted the flow of what homeowners could see a system of kickbacks and preferred contractors. Of course homeowners paid the difference and have for many years.
When they encountered those new and outside contractors first they delayed meeting them by a ridiculous time period of 6-8 months. That became too obvious as CH let homeowners know about that.
The next tactic by the board was to hide the projects. After all how many times could they say they had a meeting with those outside bidders and lo and behold and the board affiliated contractor won again and with higher bids?! It wouldn’t wash. If you are looking for latest news on our property its best not to waste your time clicking on “ Latest News” button on their website. As of this writing and many months prior its still stuck on April 2, 2019. One would think they have gone full disclosure, nothing to hide for the homeowners putting the name and address of all property owners here. Not so. This is where disclosures stop. The important part which is the money making part is nowhere to be found. Where are the work orders? Where are the receipts? We finally got the work order and it showed a reputable well known foundation company did that job. What was the problem in scanning that and putting it on the website in the password-protected homeowner section? Well this is all we know is happening. If we want to find other work done that is not so easily visible we have to trace the checks. This is what the board is up to now. It’s a long way from the days of doing things out in the open and then raise our maintenance fees . Now they have to answer why they are not meeting more than one contractor to save us all money. They have to be held accountable to our maintenance fees.
Wednesday March 4 ,2020
Hidden from the view
We did receive an answer for the work order for the foundation work
on 2101. Instead of the work order we received the invoice for the project which
was for about $12k. This is what we received after an email reminder. Apparently
somebody on the board doesn’t want interested homeowners to find the truth.
As we mentioned before now that they are hiding the projects we still get other bids as to how much the homeowners could have saved had the board shopped around. This will be to show the homeowners if there is any increase in maintenance fees, they could have avoided that by getting extra and lower bids. The question then becomes did they really want to save or they wanted to line up their pockets. Our guess is the latter. Nichole has till the end of the day to do her fiduciary duty and release all documents related to this project. We have let her know we will go to her supervisor if needed. A management company in charge of our accounting cannot pick and choose what homeowners can or cannot see. State agencies are very serious about fiduciary duties and entities that have sworn to uphold them .
Monday March 2, 2020
The makeup of the board is basically the same for the past 11 years
when 2 current members got on the board without proper credentials. They are
still here. In fact three members have been the same for the past 10 years.
There have been several other ones selected to the board and have been people
who did not care how they got on the board, brought something to the table as
far as contractors were concerned or were ok with what the board was doing .
Well what was the board doing? They had only one contractor and did not want
to shop around. They had him at our expense and sometimes three times as much
as other contractors charged. Paying them too much? No problem just raise the
maintenance fees and have the homeowners pay for it. When there is CH being
a nuisance and exposing them they just hide their projects. As much as this
is an obstacle CH can still show the homeowners they are getting kickbacks by
comparing how much the project cost by what other contractors would have charged
and the board not even wanting to look at those outside bids. This should keep
shining the light on the board and its activities. Lets add the fact that they
are hiding the projects too. We asked Nichole for the work order for the foundation
project for 2101 building last Friday. We will see if they are hiding that also
or not. After all why hide when CH has offered to work for the homeowners and
produce extra bids at its own time and expense. Why is the board not actively
pursuing such voluntary assistance? What are they protecting?
We will see how much detail of the contract has been passed on to the management company.
Friday February 21,2020
A management company fraud story
A Florida woman is facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing $82,000
from an HOA.
She is alleged to have defrauded the HOA from Sept. 1, 2017, through Feb. 28, 2018, by transferring funds out of the HOA account into an account controlled by the Management company that employed her as its executive assistant. The owner is her father.
The community in Boca Raton, consists of 80 homeowners. Its president, grew suspicious when $1,000 quarterly checks from homeowners went missing in late 2017. He told investigators he was unsuccessful in his efforts to obtain a detailed accounting of the funds from the Management company. The HOA obtained a $107,300 judgment against the management company. The judgment has never been paid.
President of the HOA said the insurance company “made us whole” after the HOA assigned the judgment it obtained against the Management company to the insurance company.
Apparently the father was not involved.
Investigators says she used the money to purchase airline tickets, make ATM withdrawals, eat at restaurants and make a number of retail purchases. The transfers occurred at times when the Management company’s account was either very low or negative, which means, according to the reports, that they used the money to stay solvent.
She said she planned on putting the money back into their proper accounts but could not offer an explanation of why that never happened. She told PBSO she has had difficulty dealing with a number of personal issues.
She wanted to speak with victims of the fraud about paying them back. She was warned not to do that as she could be charged with witness tampering.
A couple of notes to this news: Please notice the paragraph before the last. It says that she meant to put it back. CH has written about that in many posts. If they have a trace of a conscious they squash that with the intention of putting it back. Of course in reality that never happens, but it helps to keep their conscious clear. It’s a common trait between these white collar criminals. Much more important than that is the fact that this is one of the few that got caught. The HOA was honest but the Management company was not (the daughter). What if they are both in it together? This happens in a lot of HOAs when they find a way to make money together. That is when board seats change their nature from becoming “unpaid volunteers” to money making seats. This is when you see the same faces win the election year after year and elections turn into a joke. In fact since they are the principals sometimes they can do it without the cooperation of the management company. All it takes is a contractor that plays the game and gives kickbacks. This is the real state of affairs in many HOAs.
In any case the honest hard working homeowner is the one who pays for it all.
Tuesday February 11,2020
A response from a homeowner
This is in response to the part of the previous post.
It stated : They are not stupid and are well aware how they are elected. It's probably a phone conversation, meeting on the grounds or something like that and all of a sudden the new guy/gal gets over 95 votes or so and becomes a board member.
They don't even have to do that. They simply use the proxy votes that homeowners mail to them to elect themselves and their pals. This is how they have self-elected themselves for 50 years.
At the annual homeowners meeting a few weeks ago, a Board member was seen signing in for all the absentee proxy votes he had in his hand. And it looked like he had more proxy votes than the number of homeowners that actually attended the meeting. In fact, the Board had to scurry around to round up enough homeowners to reach a quorum.
Consequently, the same Board members were re-elected. And that's why there will always be handpicked cronies who run this place. No surprise. It has gotten to the point where no one bothers to campaign anymore for an open Board seat because everyone knows the preordained outcome. No one other than existing Board members or their friends need apply.
And that's why you see the same sole-source contractors always getting the jobs here and why they get away with gratuitous maintenance fee increases and charging distressed homeowners an outrageous fee to turn the water on and off during an emergency.
Proxy votes should be banned. Only ballots cast by homeowners who
attend the meeting should count in order to end this 50-year scandal. As a minimum,
existing Board members should be prohibited from casting proxy votes."
This sums up the situation in this HOA and majority of HOAs in the
US. Self-interest dominates at the expense of ordinary homeowners who end up
paying for all that. Besides getting one contractor and ignore the lower bids
at homeowner expense they can do repairs only where their own condo is and ignore
other buildings. If nobody's watching for the right money from a developer they
can even sell your property right under you.
In short they can treat board seats as money makers as evidenced with 3 board members here being the same people for the last 10 years.
Sunday February 9, 2020
The 1% increase
Homeowners who have been here for over 10 years and/or visit concernedhomeowners.com
may have noticed the presence of 3 people on the board for all these years.
They get elected, reelected and pick homeowners they think are either team players
or bring something to the table and get them elected and reelected to the board.
The new members are not known to be knocking on homeowner’s doors and
try to get their vote in an honest way. They are not stupid and are well aware
how they are elected. Its probably a phone conversation, meeting on the grounds
or something like that and all of a sudden the new guy/gal gets over 95 votes
or so and becomes a board member. The purpose for the board is clear. There
are repairs done here and they can be costly especially with the age of the
building. The board likes one bidder who currently as far as we know was Tina’s
number 2 contractor, our previous manager. As many homeowners are aware CH has
solicited many outside bidders to get comparison and submitted them to the board.
Predictably they ignored them .When it became impossible to deny them, they
on purpose postponed meeting them to six months later and to an impossible time
like middle of the day and make sure they won’t show up to the meeting
. Its amazing one board member who coincidentally got on the board without proper
credentials (like a deed under his name) commented that submitting the bids
called at random was not the proper way to introduce the bids! He is one of
the three seemingly permanent members. Of course he didn’t mention what
the proper way was. He either missed the point or tried to skew the subject
matter. The point of doing that was to first a slim hope that they see there
are lower bids and that prove to us that they are not taking kickbacks and really
think that their contractor was really the best there was around here. All these
could have a valid point if they had ever met with those contractors we introduced
a week or so after we submitted their bids to them. Probably noon would have
been appropriate too. When they don’t even want to meet with them or acknowledge
their bids it presents a clear path to thinking they are taking kickbacks from
their one and only contractor. We ask people who read this and have an opposite
view and want to vindicate the board to send us an email and with logic and
specific points as to why and how defend the board. Lets underscore “specific”
, “why” and ‘how”.This does not include the board member
who tried to contact us with a fake email ID or people who have been told not
to contact us because they could never present an argument with speicfics. All
As you know the board has gone into hiding now. They are not updating their website and trying to hide these improvements like the foundation repair at 2101. CH will try to compare these repairs with others called at random after the fact and see how much could have been saved. That means getting receipts. We will continue to do so and let homeowners know about the results. The 1% increase in maintenance fees was not necessary and any upcoming increase will not be necessary unless the board gets at last 5 verifiable bids from other contractors.
Sunday February 2, 2020
Two bedrooms on the rise
We have noticed some 2 bedrooms here listed with unprecedented pricing.
One of them actually 2.5 bedrooms listed as 3 bedrooms is on sale for $170,000.
There are two 2-bedrooms listed in the $140,000s which is an improvement over
the dismal $120,000 that was the norm last year and being in some instances
equal to 1 bedrooms and even less.
The investors who were looking for 1 bedrooms were paying about the same as a two bedroom. These investors were aware of the area, pricing and more importantly maintenance fees. A two bedroom has a fee of about twice the one bedroom condo. It meant that the investors valued a one bedroom more than a two bedroom for investment purposes and that’s why they sold more and faster. Having a higher fee of course means the bottom line for investors.
Now the two bedrooms are going up. One reason we think they were down was the maintenance fees. They could have bought a much newer condo for about the same fees very close to here. These are usually bought by couples. The 2 bedrooms here are still way below expectations. With the extremely valuable land these condos are on and walking distance to HEB and great access to freeways and being in pretty much the center of Houston they should be selling at about $250,000. The one bedrooms should be approaching $150,000. The board just raised our maintenance fees by 1% and with absolutely no reason given at the Annual Meeting or in the letter announcing the meeting. The high maintenance fees are we believe the reason behind the two bedrooms underperforming in the market. There is no reason for increase with optimistic talk given at the Annual Meeting about the health of the association. There should be no maintenance fee increase for next year.
Friday January 24,2020
It looks like homeowners are tuning out the Annual Homeowner meeting.
Who can blame them. The outcome was predictable. The quorum was not established.
Homeowners saw a couple of people closely affiliated with the board getting
out of the room and hastily exchanged some texts and miraculously the quorum
was established without any papers exchanged or signed. Nobody counts these
and nobody would have noticed. From a board that has two members on it without
having a deed what would a quorum mean? We think they are worried about being
sued and it would further show their continuing deceptive tactics. The two homeowners
reported that the quorum was established only by texting and then the meeting
got started. There were no signatures on the sign-in sheet to mark their presence,
only text. As predicted the 3 incumbents won again. Please recall 3 of the 5
have been there since 2009 and 2010. The incumbents have won every year. If
that is not protecting own interest nothing else is. We can talk about one contractor
same contractor, not looking elsewhere when lower bids have been submitted to
them and in many other similar instances like gas where the company was located
one story above the previous management company. Apparently this has been so
lucrative for them that they have kept doing business with them even though
a list of 8 other gas companies was submitted to them. However the dominant
issue at the meeting was the plumbing. Here is what we think another venue for
some on the board to make money. We have to take a moment and recognize that
people don’t stay 10 years in a row with hook and crook and not trying
to make money whenever there is a way. They are entering the plumbing business
which is a good money maker for the plumbers and rightfully so, so why not for
some members on the board. This is what we think it’s another grab for
money. Homeowners were upset that they have literally lost control of who they
can hire without complications. After 50 years or so homeowners being able to
shut the water off by their own preferred licensed plumber now the board is
concerned that same licensed plumber who has been doing a fine job and being
called again and again by the customer can now blow a $30000 boiler. Well of
course the board says you can still use your own plumber but you have to pay
$175 if it’s not the first Wednesday of the month. The board is all of
a sudden very concerned that Texas licensed plumbers who deal with plumbing
issues every day and are licensed to do so now they could blow a boiler. However
the board has one approved plumber that can do it and reluctantly they point
to 2 or 3 other ones. A homeowner with fixed income is stuck with that 2 or
3 plumber which is really the only one for them: the board’s preferred
plumber. The board has in essence hijacked your plumbing. One can imagine how
difficult it would be for somebody to hire their own plumber in a difficult
circumstance where time is of essence. Add that it is not first Wednesday of
the month. Even the homeowner who is not on fixed income will be forced in many
circumstances to go for the board’s preferred plumber. Homeowners should
not let the board handle their plumbing. They should demand to have access as
before, legally and with their own preferred plumber, not the board. The board
should not put a barrier for the homeowners to fix what could be an unfortunate
circumstance to what we believe enriching a few. Let’s never forget that
the same board was trying to sell your property right under you. A board with
3 permanent members and 2 proxy elected members for the past 4 years and continuing
fraudulent and unverified elections cannot be trusted.
Sunday January 19,2020
Homeowner incident last night
Recently some homeowners have reported serious issues with a homeowner.
The homeowner has been put there recently by his father and apparently has severe
mental issues. He is in a corner where there is a homeowner and a renter living
there, both women. This homeowner according to his own admission has spent time
in the penitentiary and has been observed sitting on the transformer outside,
paying loud music at all times of the day and night and just plain been robbing
his neighbors of the joy ,comfort and quiet of homeownership and/or renting
a home. Many homeowners have complained to the board about him and quite a few
police complaints have been filed against him with many times police warning
him on his behavior towards his neighbors. His father apparently had no qualms
about unleashing his son on the general public. We have heard that his own mother
who is divorced could not believe his ex did that to the neighbors. It sounds
like he is an anti-social who needs serious help before he hurts others or himself,
mainly women. He has openly expressed fantasies of rape towards his two female
neighbors. Police’s hands are tied and they can only act when a crime
has been committed. This is of little comfort to the two women who have to fend
for themselves. Some neighbors have tried to intervene and help but this has
not stopped this guy from intimidating them when there is nobody around. This
brute keeps getting away with his tactics. All this came to a boiling point
last night when the guy started bothering his two neighbors again. Police was
called immediately but with just intimidation and a busy Saturday night help
was not immediately available. With these two homeowners fearing for their lives.The
homeowner was holding the water hose as her only defense which was next to nothing
against the stronger male.The guy threatened her by telling her he would wrap
it around her. All of a sudden there comes the illegal board member and starts
unleashing on the homeowner being attacked! What the board member does next
is unbelievable. After yelling at her he tries to disarm the female homeowner
by ordering her not to use the water hose. He did not want to confront the male
aggressor. He wanted to disarm the female victim of the only thing she had to
defend herself . When she refuses to put the hose down he utters a profanity
and leaves. Another board member arrives later and actually does the right thing
by confronting the aggressor who at that time was sitting on the victim’s
chair outside. The board member told him that they are planning to contact his
parole officer and told him to get off the chair which he promptly obeyed. Let’s
hope he follows up on that because the illegal board member won’t. These
two female residents’ lives are in danger. You can imagine how they are
feeling now fearing retribution from the guy who according to himself is an
Sunday January 12,2020
Several homeowners have reported being charged for late fees on their maintenance. These homeowners have been mailing their checks because the new management company is not one block away as before , it is now a few miles away. Some have mailed their checks as early as a week before the deadline, 10th of the month and were told they never received it. They have been assessed late charges and either paid it or had to dispute it. Some homeowners have made it a point to drive there and hand the check in person. It has been so difficult to remove the charges that some have complained to regulatory agencies. One is planning to file a complaint with Texas Real Estate Commission which a management company is regulated by them. This is a small amount of money but when the board is instituting a $175 shutoff fees for plumbing which didn’t exist before and gets kickbacks on pretty much, it is possible that they go after any type of money. These late fees for roughly 130 homeowners and every month can add up.
Tuesday January 7,2020
Just like the past 10 years or so and as we predicted the board sent its notification less than 2 weeks before the Annual Meeting. It sure doesn’t sound like the board is looking forward to face the homeowners, answer their questions about the things they have done or the things they won’t do. Things like raising our maintenance fees without explanation or not fixing this big foundation crack on the breezeway on Inwood. In fact they don’t like to do anything or answer any questions that does not have anything to do with 2101 building. The reason is they all live at 2101. All other problems about different buildings do not concern them. It is our belief that they are just waiting for a developer to buy us out, reward them for delivering the property to them and in the meanwhile they try to enhance the building they live in. Let’s not forget they tried to sell the whole place just 3 years ago.
Sunday January 5,2020
Plumbing fee cont’d
Several homeowners have expressed their dissatisfaction and outrage with the new and quietly instituted plumbing fee. When it was enacted close to the end of 2018 the only announcement was on the bill boards. When we have over half homeowners not living on the property the board took the weasel way out. They did not want to let all ho0meowners know of this important change by sending a letter to all homeowners and announcing that if you want the water shut off on any other day other than one day a month you will have to pay the board-affiliated plumber $175. A condo owner has the right to have plumbing repair done and not to be penalized because of the day of the month and to the tune of $175. This change in effect takes away the control of plumbing which is probably the most important part of owning a home. Nobody can live in a condo without running water. The board , in effect, is holding some homeowners hostage especially those on fixed income ones hostage. If taken to a court of law we don’t think it will stand a chance of survival. As time goes by it could show itself as what it is: a ploy to make money from the homeowners and in the time of need.
Monday December 23,2019
A correction-and its worse
A visitor to concernedhomeowners.com pointed out an error in reporting
the water-shutoff issue. Its actually worse than previously reported. It is
not every Wednesday free shut-off but only one day on first Wednesday of the
month. That puts the homeowners specially the ones with fixed income more at
peril. On top of what could be a serious or devastating damage with thousands
of dollars potentially at stake they have to pay $175 just to start the repair.
When did the board get in the business of controlling what amounts to individual
plumbing issues? Board’s job using our money is to make sure water flows
to each unit When a unit needs a plumber to shut the water off in order to do
necessary and sometimes emergency repairs be able to do so as before they were
able to in the past 50 years or so. A homeowner has always paid only the plumber
for the repair. Now if its emergency they have to pay $175 and most likely use
the board affiliated plumber. For sure if they do they will not get the discount
afforded to them by their own regular plumber. Is this another way for the board
to make money? Homeowners are aware that this is a bunch of people who don’t
like to look at lower bids on construction matters. Do they want all homeowners
to use this plumbing company? For contracting related jobs we have found out
it cost all of us as much as 3 times using their own contrator. Is this the
case for plumbing too?
We thank the homeowner for pointing this out. This needs to be looked at as to how much the homeowners are paying for plumbing to the board affiliated plumber as a result of this new policy.
Sunday December 22, 2019
Homeowner letter-Annual Meeting
We have received the notice of 1% maintenance fee increase a month
or so ago. In the years past this notice around this time would have been accompanied
by a notice of Annual Homeowner meeting with its time and place and going even
further past , it contained a proxy. The election has long been exposed as a
sham as incumbents win every time, like last year when 2 of them won re-election.
Nobody other than incumbents has won since 2009 when 2 of them illegally got
on the board without deeds under their name. Yes they got elected breaking Article
3 Section 3 of our bylaws. Our election is for theirs to run anyway they like
illegally or otherwise. It is their playground for what looks like profiteering.
Three of the current 5 have been here since 2009. For the other two positions,
the board on purpose “selects” people who are new here and don’t
know any of the history. These new people don’t know the illegal elections
of 2 of them. They don’t know elections are not allowed to be verified
from start to finish. They are also not that much aware that the board has dealt
with the same contractor despite being presented numerous lower bids over the
years from other contractors. They just ignored them at your peril. This is
your money that is being spent needlessly and freely. Now they have added 1%
more and without any reason stated. The fact is there is no reason. Our budget
is over a million dollars and this amounted to over $10,000 extra out of your
pockets. The board has not increased the maintenance fees for over 4 years and
for good reason. The budget has been over a million dollars. For many projects
Concerned Homeowners has submitted competitive bids and at 2/3 lower price.
The board not only did not investigate them but totally ignored them. Now the
board has gone into hiding. They are now hiding their projects that we all pay
for. This is our money and they are not interested in saving us money. As visitors
to concernehomeowners.com are aware the board for some unknown reason has ditched
Tina’s number 1 contractor and is now using Tina’s number 2 contractor.
They have not cut all ties as far as contractors are concerned. All the while
they are using your money for minor projects like renumbering the units or similar
decorative projects. The foundation on Inwood as you drive towards the gate
on the breezeway has a huge crack from one building to the next. This job has
been left undone while renumbering the units has taken precedence. This is our
money. In another unwise move your board has instituted a Wednesday water shut-off.
If you have an emergency water leak , in the time of emergency you have to pay
$175 to shut the water off if it happens on any day other than Wednesday. Why
with over a $1 million dollars in reserves homeowners with fixed income have
to spend on emergency water shut-off 6 days of the week? This not only puts
the burden on many homeowners with fixed income who just have an emergency water
issue on a day other than Wednesday but also due to the emergency opt for board’s
plumber to do the job. This will likely take away their option of having their
favorite plumber who could give them discount being their regular customer doing
The Annual Meeting is the 3rd Tuesday in January. Ever since homeowners have got wind of them using the same contractors and keeping a swamp here they do not announce the date unless the asboslute or near the deadline. This is when the notices go out usually 10 days or so before the meeting. They are obviously trying very hard to limit the attendance. At the meeting they try to bring an atmosphere of quiet and at the very end they entertain questions so that they can be done quickly and on to the next year. Please try to attend the meeting. There could always be a conspiracy rearing its ugly head in other way other than a speech by a homeowner trying to sell our property right under us. Let’s also ask this question: Why did the board raise the maintenance fee?
Tuesday December 17,2019
Maintenance fee increase-a homeowner comment
The total out of spite nature of the maintenance fee increase has got
many homeowners incensed. With over a million dollars in reserve many have questioned
the reason for such an increase. Was this the board trying to be in your face?
One homeowner put it best and we are posting it here word by word:
"Given the rather large reserve accumulated by our Association over the years, the gratuitous 1% maintenance fee increase could have been easily avoided by simply reducing the contingency reserve specified in the 2020 budget from 10% to 9% of annual income."
Lets be on the look out for next year. Homeowners should not stand
for another unnecessary increase.
Sunday December 15,2019
Foundation work-not for Inwood
Some homeowners have reported foundation work being done at 2101 building
on the eastern carports of the B building. Apparently it was a limited job.
Many homeowners recall the big crack on the breezeway on Inwood building that
still exists today. It is so big and covering the whole breezeway that one homeowner
living in the building adjacent to the breezeway was locked inside his own home.
He had to spend $225 for a locksmith to get out of his own home. We had a posting
here back in March with couple of pictures shown here again. What is the reason
they are not doing the foundation on Inwood ? Why does the board repair the
seemingly small foundation problem and not the big one?
Could it be that all 5 board members reside at the 2101 building? Lets recall Inwood had a foundation problem about ten years ago with a board member at the time having a rental unit there. It was scheduled in a timely manner and was done. We’re not sure if this foundation job like many other jobs that the board does like roofing they have to redo some parts or do band aid type jobs. What it looks like is that when board members reside in a building things get done fast. We’re not talking about quality since none of the board members aside from getting on the board illegally or with proxies that we cannot verify from start to finish get on the board with no real estate management experience. As one board member said many years ago “we are doing this at the seat of our pants” . He was also selected by proxies that nobody could verify.
Sunday December 8,2019
In California there is a legal battle involving a company that has
been resurrected with a new name. The owner of the company owned another company
that went out of business in 2013. They were sued for more than $4 million in
damages related to a major roof repair project back in 2008. The case was settled
out of court and the terms remained confidential.
Another HOA initiated an arbitration against the same company for new water intrusion and other issues after the work that cost $3 million to correct.
Now another HOA has hired this contractor with this troublesome past.
This HOA has 466 condominiums in 26 buildings.
A group of condo owners there has sued its own HOA over its efforts to impose a special assessment. Yes as with other cases they are asking the homeowners to pay for their mistakes and/or kickbacks. The suit states, “Plaintiffs are concerned that the company hired by the board to manage and oversee the construction does not have the HOA’s best interest in mind and the costs to address the city’s notice are greatly inflated.”
This contractor has not been fined for any of its work, according to Contractors State License Board records.
Why the company despite all these legal troubles does not have a record in Licensing Board records? When it comes to out-of-court settlements, industry experts say it is impossible to say with certainty what any contractor may have paid. There is no requirement to report the shoddy work to State Licensing Board. In fact one term of that confidentiality agreement could be just that: No reporting of any kind to any regulatory or overseeing agency. Since its confidential as we have seen all too common there could be a payoff to board members too to keep them on the hook. Yes board members can have a field day with that type of agreement too. These board seats are lucrative and can make board members who have loose morals good and steady money. These board members with proper proxy manipulation could get themselves elected year after year.
Wednesday December 4, 2019
Increase in maintenance fees- no explanation given
Here is an email we received from a homeowner who was not happy about the maintenance fee increase. He knows full well why they increased it:
The letter did not give any justification for the 1% maintenance increase. It only said that the self-elected Board approved it. Not only shouldn't there be a 1% increase, the maintenance fees should be reduced given the roughly $1 million in contingency reserves, which equates to about one year's worth of assessments. The budget did not indicate the total amount held in reserve, but I assume it's over one million dollars by now. Why is another $125,040, or approximately 10%, in contingency reserves being budgeted for next year? The $125,040 can be reduced significantly or eliminated altogether, which would obviate the need (assuming there is really such a need) for a 1% fee increase. In fact, it would result in a significant overall maintenance fee decrease. At some point, there is a reasonable amount set aside in contingency reserves and any further increase isn't necessary. The Board should explain how much of a reserve is enough. Simply saying it's nice to have the biggest contingency reserve possible is unacceptable since it unnecessarily places a burden on homeowners.
We agree fully with this homeowner.
Sunday December 1, 2109
1% not necessary
In our previous letter to the homeowners we let them know how the board is operating in a new era. In this new era of CH supplying extra bids and the board going into hiding the projects are done differently. We let the homeowners know a couple of months ago that the board is now hiding projects. The website’s “latest news” is still frozen in time since April 2, 2019. We are now almost towards the end of 4th quarter but the “transparent” website still only has second quarter statements. In our last letter we showed homeowners that since they are not even looking at lower bids even 1% increase in maintenance fees is not justified. Well they did just that. Who knows may be they were trying to say : “We can increase if we want to and for no reason at all” . In their letter there was no explanation as to why they increased the maintenance fees.
Whatever the reason ,it is money out of your pocket that could have been saved. With over one a million dollars in reserves and them not entertaining lower bids at all there is no justification for this increase other than poking the eyes of the homeowners and laugh at their expense.
Please make sure you come to the meeting 3rd Tuesday in January, and voice your opinion. Next year could be more with them not looking at lower bids and may be more costly projects. Please remember, living with this self-electing board means to never let your guard down. Just ask yourself : Why are they not actively soliciting at least 5 bids for every major project?
Friday November 22,2019
Here is another homeowner input on this very unfair emergency shut-off fee:
I'D LIKE TO HAVE THAT JOB -- AT $175 PER SHUT OFF --- JUST BECAUSE I "KNOW" WHERE THE WATER SHUT OFF POINTS ARE LOCATED FOR EACH BUILDING.
Monday November 18,2019
A homeowner responded to our latest post and we are posting it word by word.
"Why weren't all homeowners notified of the new policy regarding the $175 fee charged for the Association's plumber to shut off and turn back on the water when needed in an emergency situation? We recently found out that the Board's new policy went into effect about a year ago, but homeowners are learning about it for the first time when they encounter an emergency, adding insult to injury.
Apparently, the Board didn't want to everyone to know at the same time about this cruel and unfair change so they would not have to deal with an organized protest. Since its inception 50 years ago, there has never been a separate charge imposed on homeowners to turn the water off and on during an emergency by the Association's designated plumber. A condominium Association is supposed to work together for the benefit of all homeowners, especially during an emergency. That's why we pay a maintenance fee.
This ill-conceived policy of charging homeowners $175 to shut off and then turn back on the water during an emergency must be rescinded immediately. In addition, an apology and refund should be made by the self-elected Board to any homeowner who has been adversely affected by their thoughtless decision."
We agree totally with this homeowner.
Sunday November 17,2019
Emergency plumbing fee
Homeowners who have to have emergency water shut off are in for a rude
awakening. The board has designated a day –Wednesday of every week for
water shut-off. The plumbing fee for that purpose is paid by HOA (us). If you
have an emergency other days, which could be a leak somewhere you have to pay
$175 to the association plumbing company contractor to shut the water off for
you. This could be a substantial amount of money for homeowners who are retired,
on fixed income, or disabled. After all these homeowners have water problems
and are potentially in to spend much more. This could be a familiar scenario
for many homeowners at any given time. In these situations typically there is
not enough time to look for other options. The desperate homeowner forks over
$175 with no questions asked waiting to see what else could be wrong. Many homeowners
who run out of options due to the leak or its location end up hiring that same
HOA contractor. After all with time spent calling the management company to
get their plumber coming over, the leak could spread to other areas with no
more time to waste. They might have no options left but to hire that same company.
During those stressful hours people may not be able to make the best decision
out of concern that the leak could spread to other areas and units adjacent
to them. What was wrong with each homeowner being able to have their own licensed
plumber shut the water off and back on after repairing the problem? We had that
system for close to 50 years. The new system will also limit homeowners using
their own plumbers and opt for the quickest but not necessarily the most economic
and efficient way to address the problem which is what most reasonable homeowners
want. What about the concept of caring for people who are on fixed income who
in addition to paying $175 right out of bat they have to spend additional money
on what might not be their choice of best and most economic plumber: their own
favorite plumbing company. Their own favorite plumber can give them discount
and consideration in the hopes of continuing being their one and only plumber.
If the age of the building is the problem with accumulating water issues, imposing
fees on homeowners with fixed income and limiting their choices of plumbers
is not the solution. This is the time when more experience homeowners in the
housing industry should serve on the board and not people who are not qualified
to make better decisions.
Visitors of this site know full well what the board is all about which is themselves. If you are giving the benefit of the doubt to the board, remember they also wanted to get rid of lower rate commercial rate electricity and have each homeowner have their own meter. Then there was that time they wanted everybody to get their own individual cable company with their individual cable box. Please keep in mind that they only think of themselves and not you. If they thought about you they would be getting more than one bid on each job and would never ignore lower bids handed to them.
Saturday November 2, 2019
One of the few that got caught
An HOA in California is dealing with claims of embezzlement, corrupted
financial records and a police investigation. A former property manager is being
sued for writing $100,000.00 of HOA money to himself. He said he did nothing
wrong. HOA claims he wrote all those checks to himself for alleged maintenance
but could not provide store receipts or invoices. That’s typical. He is
just upset that he’s got caught. Of course the police investigation is
under way. He said he wrote the checks to himself because he had to use his
own money to pay for maintenance expenses. He said the HOA wouldn’t give
him a credit card. The HOA had accounts with Home Depot and Office Max for supplies.
It’s not clear why he didn’t use those. All this got into the local
news. The news reporter asked him if the HOA was aware he was writing checks
to himself. He said yes and that he gave them a copy of every check he wrote.
The HOA attorney however said he has only shared some of the copies. "all
of the Association's electronic records stored in the Association's onsite computer
had been deleted and the computer's hard drive corrupted." According to
the HOA the records were “unsalvageable”.
When he was asked if he destroyed or corrupt these files he replied "It's impossible to corrupt because it's in the cloud! How can I corrupt [them]? Even the emails are in the cloud! How can I corrupt that?
The firm writes, "When pushed for missing documents, he claimed he had already turned over all existing records" and made no mention of nor provided any access to any alleged 'cloud' based documentation."
A note: this is one of the few that was caught. It was obvious. Its hard to hide $100,000. It is a brazen act. It could be out of stupidity and thinking you would never get caught. . In an HOA there are other ways to make money and make it totally legal. A more subtle way is to hire contractors who are adept at playing the kickback game. In that case the contractor would be happy to sign on a deliberately higher than normal invoice only to kickback the difference or some amount to the board members who hired him/her. The losers in this deal will always be the homeowners who have trusted the board out of good faith, proxies for the same reason or just fake proxies. In any case they pay by higher maintenance fees.
Saturday October 26,2019
Regular Board business continues
We have been going over the checks written for various contractors
since changing management companies. We are paying close attention to general
contracting jobs and the continuing participation of Tina’s contractors.
Early on we noticed her number 2 guy getting contracting jobs which were small
meaning less than $5000. There was however a $12,000 job that he got paid in
June of this year. The board knew full well of our readiness to submit bids.
They never asked us to submit bids and potentially save homeowners money. Far
from that they did not even post the scope and prices for it on the website
which as of this writing the “latest news” is not newer than April
2, 2019. We have asked for a copy of the contract to see what was done for $12,000.
It looks like they never left the previous management company fully behind.
Instead of their number 1 guy they are now using the number 2 guy. It also looks
like the maintenance fees are going up. Homeowners need to beware. For a bunch
of old buildings and increasing repairs we cannot afford to have crooked elections
and one-contractor jobs. It will only result in homeowners paying the bill for
expensive contracts that could have been taken under control by competitive
biddings. Just watch for your 2020 bills.
Friday October 18,2019
The issue of transparency resonates with many homeowners. Some homeowners
who received our last letter agreed that it does not look good that the board
is not putting out the latest projects. Some homeowners could not believe that
there was nothing more recent than April 2 in “latest news” section.
CH even made a suggestion to the board a month ago to put the monthly meeting agenda on the website a week or two ahead of the meeting. This was so if there are topics to be discussed like price and scope of the projects, interested homeowners could attend and help the homeowners by submitting as always called-at-random bids from contactors to make sure we don’t pay more than necessary and have our maintenance fees increased as a result. In fact in the age of internet and a board member who has designed the website and takes pride in doing that, why not put the projects in the password-protected section of “Homeowners” ? What is the website for anyway other than putting financial documents that should have been best left to the management company that is paid for to do it and IS DOING IT ANYWAY? Why put all those financials documents in a website that is not as secure as they could be in a professionally maintained management company office setting? Why risk homeowner documents to a virus or ransom ware attack? The website should just be an informational vehicle when the homeowners have a professional management company that can do this job.
It is our belief that what the board is doing is smoke screen. They want to show they have nothing to hide and may be show prowess in designing websites. The truth is the most important documents are not there. The projects are not there and have not been there since minor repairs dating back to April 2. The printed receipts are not there either. They are just duplicating efforts unnecessarily.
Sunday October 6, 2019
A few years ago the board came up with the idea to revamp the old website and put fresh new materials relevant to more modern times. There is a board member who apparently is in web design and wanted to show her creativity and what the homeowners are getting for their money by having her on the board. They also indicated in so many words that it would be very transparent. This should be a given for homeowners who pay for everything including any cost for hosting the website and any other expenses. Now that the website is up and running we see almost everything that the previous management company provided is now there. As much as they like to portray transparency the receipts however are not there. Why aren’t the receipts not there? They could have been easily scanned in the “homeowners” section where the checks are. This is very necessary as interested homeowners might want to match the receipts with the checks that are written. May be there is a check with an unrecognizable name for an unknown project. Interested homeowners might want to know.
Of equal importance or more, time has frozen on the “latest news” section. It seems like the clock at the latest check (today) has stopped at April 2, 2019. The “latest news” has not been updated for over 6 months now. We believe this is the part where in an earlier posting we referred to it as the rubber meets the road. We knew it could come to that. That was when over 3 years ago we started introducing bids to the board and proved to the homeowners that the board is only interested in one contractor. That was a contractor that played the game. After delaying or several projects or doing it anyway at the higher cost now they have to increase our maintenance fees to pay for those expensive projects. So we think they are now hiding what they are doing. They ignored the savings and did not even meet with other contractors. After all meeting with them was a lose-lose situation. So now, we believe the “latest news” has stopped broadcasting the latest news. We are exploring legal options. Homeowners have the right to know if we are overcharged and if the board hid it to keep that fact away from us.
Wednesday October 2, 2019
This happened in an HOA in Florida-Election fraud
This is taken exactly as it was published. Only the names are omitted.
A few of the POA board of directors (POA BOD) decided to trash the voting rights by not counting proxy votes for the annual election! By doing so — the election results were way different than if proxies had been included in the final counts. Result? Two board members got themselves re-elected (sounds familiar?), and so did their newbie buddy, who was also “selected” for an empty seat — his first time there. He and the two board members, were also illegally “selected”, not re-elected.
The stakes were especially high with this illegal trick as there were huge issues that over the next two years would affect all homeowners. The “selected ones” values seemed pointed towards enriching a few at great expense to the rest of the homeowners.
Homeowners recalled that at a recent board meeting a board member had defended the notion of excluding proxies.
They could only have done this illegal deed by planning it before the meeting… which they did. The way they did it was to abuse their trust.
We can all relate to that here when the previous manager let 2 board members got on the board with no deeds under their names breaking our bylaws. This one was just like that one in nature.
This one was disgraceful. At the annual meeting they handed two cards
to the homeowners. One card had the number of proxies assigned to them and the
other had “1” written on it.
Then just before the vote they announced there was “a lot of great food” out there in the adjoining room. Sure enough, there was a long table loaded with very attractive large platters ordered from what looked like a catering provider.
When the homeowners went a sizeable distance of 25 feet to eat they voted to exclude proxies! One new board member with an ounce of integrity resigned. She resigned due to “unethical behavior” from the board. Over here we have had some board members who were “selected” but lasted only a year or two. Now you see probably they couldn’t tolerate what they saw the rest of the board was doing.
* In ours the illegal board members are still on the job signing contracts and adding more board members who just like this article states are “selected”.
The older ones want team players and/or Yes men/women.
We, the homeowners should never forget to keep a watchful eye on this
board. They are all “selected” and some only serve the purposes
of the board .Some new ones may have learned to play this game too.
Just remember the attempt to sell our property right under us.
Friday September 27,2019
Comment from a homeowner
A very concerned and intuitive homeowner commented that nobody other
than the management company should handle the mailbox key. How does the homeowner
know that the keys have not been copied? There may be others in possession of
homeowner’s mailbox key.
That is very true. The board does not solicit other bids for contracts and in fact frowns on other bids presented to them even though they are non-binding. It has 2 illegal board members still on the board. Why would anybody trust them? Its just best the management company handle the keys and nobody else.
Friday September 27,2019
This is something that became an issue for absolutely no good reason.
Apparently some mailboxes were broken into and the board had a meeting about
it. They issued new keys for 2121 building for units 1-5.
There is zero about this under “Latest news” . In fact the latest news has not changed since we sent out the letter to homeowners last month about the planned increase of maintenance fees. The “latest news” is still dated April 2, 2019.
The board decided to deliver these 5 new mailbox keys to the owners/tenants
themselves. This created problem for some. Instead of letting the management
to do what is their job they took over this job.
The homeowners could adjust their time with one entity rather than having to adjust their time with the board member. Why do we have a management company? We know firsthand that many homeowners have told us in different buildings that they can’t stand the board. They purposefully stay home for board meetings, even the Annual Meeting just to avoid being in the same room with them. Two years ago the board could not even establish a quorum and had to send for a homeowner to attend in order to make the quorum. Why subject homeowners to that? That is besides the inconvenience of having to adjust their time to board members. Many homeowners don’t recall a task clearly the responsibility of the management company ever being handled by the board. This could have been for benign purposes but shouldn’t that be the option of the homeowners where to pick up the keys? The pictures in this posting dated September 21 show more open mailboxes. What if there is 30 or 40 needed to be replaced? Management company has hours of operation along with a known location. At the minimum homeowners should have that option to choose how they get their keys. The management company can also make special arrangements for people who are sick or disabled. Board delivery could also lead to disruption of mail delivery for some homeowners.
Sunday September 22,2019
More about the incident last week
We talked to more homeowners that were involved in the incident with the homeowner.
There was also a response from a board member worried only about unfair presentation
of the management company. There was not one word about the condition of the
homeowner in question in this board member’s email. He was just trying
to defend the management Company and our post of lack of emergency contact.
The incident happened on Tuesday of last week. When the homeowners called 911
and the police arrived . They asked for management “on the property”.
The homeowners called the management company and it was during off hours but
they did not get that emergency option. When a board member was finally located
on the property and was told that emergency contact was not there he said they
“will rectify that”. It turned out that the neighbors were worried
about her not being out in a while. She did suffer a stroke. She was taken to
the hospital where she is recovering now. All thanks to the homeowners who cared
about their neighbor.
When CH checked the management company in off hours yesterday however the emergency contact was there. Homeowners tried last Tuesday and it was not there. May be it was rectified after all. It is not however a dedicated phone line as with the previous company.
Friday September 20, 2019
No emergency number?
Recently there was a cause for concern about a homeowner who is a
senior. The neighbors recall a similar incident a few years back when there
was a homeowner who had passed away for over 2 weeks and nobody knew. There
were obvious concerns for a repeat of that incident. That time they called the
management company who in turn called the Police and together with appropriate
authorities notified the deceased’s next of kin. All this happened during
day time. This recent event happened in the evening. There has been a change
of management since then. When they tried calling the company they found out
it had no emergency contact number. They notified some members of the board
who live on the property. One shrugged it off as not being important and that
there are many old people who live here.
This is the attitude of people who elect themselves. They obviously knew that the new management company had no emergency contact number. It looks like making money is the primary objective and managing the place secondary. Homeowners had called the previous company on many occasions during off time. There have been plenty of roof leaks that occurred with emergency nature. Looks like the homeowners’ hands will be tied this time. They have nobody to go to now.
Sunday September 15,2019
Condo elections-a runing joke
A trio of homeowners have sued a condo board in Florida. The self-proclaimed
(CH calls it self-elected here) board of directors has not had an election from
2013 to 2016, and then cancelled the 2017 election in order to make an eligible
candidate illegible,” their attorney said. “We often read about
fraud in condominium association elections and my clients are more than concerned
with the actions of the current board.”
The petition alleges that the condo board of directors misled Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (at least in Florida they have some sort of overseeing of condo HOAs) into closing an administrative investigation by falsely claiming it would finally hold an election in 2018, but never followed through. The condo board’s lawyer, said the petition is without legal and factual merit. “The association plans to vigorously defend this action,” he said. He declined further comment.
According to the petition, the board called off its December 2017 annual meeting because the directors did not want a certain individual to fill one of five vacant seats. That individual owns a unit in the South Tower section, but resides in the north building, the petition states. The plaintiff’s attorney said the directors canceled the annual meeting in order to rewrite the association’s bylaws so that only North Tower owners can sit on their board. He noted South Tower owners pay lower annual assessments than their counterparts in the sister building.
During a June 26, 2018 special meeting, the proposed amendment passed with 72 percent approval of the building’s owner. “An incredible number for a vote conducted during the summer months when, typically, the majority of the owners are absent,”( does this remind you of our own proxies?) the petition states, also citing a number of alleged irregularities, such as the validity of certain signatures.
According to an exhibit attached to the petition Florida’s Department of Professional Regulation determined in December that the north tower association violated state law by scuttling the 2017 election despite having sufficient eligible candidates. The petitioners accuse the condo board of failing to provide unit owners with proper notice for the next election and that some of the notices were never received.
As you can see these problems with HOAs specially condo HOAs are prevalent. In particular the elections conducted by condo HOAs are wrought with fraud. They like to have their own friends and even family members as in the previous post on the board. Sometimes when there isn’t anybody available they bring a yes man/woman who can toe the line and provide signatures, or help establish quorums. In extreme cases when they run short of money they will embezzle and when a developer approaches them to buy the whole place they oblige for the right price-to them.
Tuesday September 3,2019
Familiar in more than one way
This happened right here in the Houston area. It is the sort of thing
we have been warning the homeowners for many years especially after the homeowner
gave a speech for 2 years in a row. If you recall she was talking about wholesaling
the property with the board letting her tell us all about it.
We brought several other types of land grab (condo or house grab) that they could do it anyway. One of them was by acquiring the majority of the condos in the condo complex by putting huge assessments for various repairs and force the homeowners into selling their units or worse go into foreclosure. The board could do it even without having majority and just have assessments for repairs and in most cases make money off them by getting kickbacks. Who could forget the 255 increase we had about 15 years ago for roofing. The weak condo laws allow for all sorts of abuses and the board members know that. The laws are ripe for abuse and making money for a few.
In this case the board made of family members father, daughter, her
boyfriend and her brother. None of them lived on the property. The condo had
a bylaw that required at least 2 board members live on the property but the
board took care of that little inconvenience by eliminating it in 2017. Throughout
the previous years they foreclosed on many homeowners for amounts owing and
allegedly improper foreclosures. When they researched the buyers at these auctions
they found out they were either the board members or companies created by the
board members. Now 30 or more previous and current homeowners have got together
and sued the association. The plaintiffs allege that the association’s
board members are committing fraud and conspiring to drive homeowners into foreclosure
by assessing excessive, arbitrary fees so they can buy the units for themselves
at below-market prices.
In a deposition the brother said “my sister and dad… wanted me to come and start being with the family business.”
He said he doesn’t know how he was elected or what the duties of a board member were, but his concern was to “fix up the place so we can move and go get ourselves a big ranch somewhere.”
The plaintiffs came together after realizing that many condominium owners could be forced into foreclosure after the board, in 2018, demanded the $450,000 assessment.
Since the defendants took over the board in April of 2016, they bought
about 30 properties individually or through their firms, representing almost
all of the homes they put into foreclosure as board members. In the letter of
protest, defendants noted a purchase price of $500 each for half of the houses
while others cite prices ranging from $10 to around $11,000. For people who
are not familiar with foreclosure laws, after the foreclosure sale of a homestead
property, Texas has a 90-day right of redemption for associations. After that
the condo is lost forever. In this case the association (the family) put excessive
liens in huge amounts and some totaling $18,000 and then foreclosed. Some homeowners
had reported that they went to the auction but their condo never came up for
sale! Some went early and stayed longer and still their condo did not come up
for sale. When they checked they found out the purchase price at the auction
was only $500 but they were asking $18000 for the right of redemption! This
was the amount of the lien not the winning bid. That meant that the association
had given up on the lien and went on to foreclose. They should not have been
asking for $18000. The lien was sold for $500 according to the records. However
it was not lost because the board members were just too happy to catch it on
the other end by creating companies that they would put the condos in. All these
are allegations that later on in the year will go to trial. The family over
the years had come to own over half of the 180 units there,
They report had a paragraph that echoed what we have been saying for many years:
“In the absence of strong government oversight, advocates say,
costly litigation is the only recourse for condominium owners to respond to
questionable actions by the associations that represent them”.
When owning a condo in the condominium project there are even less protection for homeowners than houses. Homeowners need to watch out for the board because you can see familiar faces year after year after year which implies protecting some interest. Does that sound familiar to you?
Wednesday August 28,2019
List of homeowners finally released
The management company had withheld the names and addresses of the homeowners. They claimed they wanted to protect themselves from liability emanating from the release of shareholder information. Shareholders have the right to influence who holds management positions through control over election of board members. How would the board be the only entity to have that information and be able to re-elect themselves. Besides the fact that they currently are reelecting themselves legally other members of this corporation that pay into the corporation have a right to run and inform other homeowners to vote for them and how they would benefit everybody if they get elected. . How could they run independently if they could not write to individual shareholders (homeowners) and be able to personally ask for their votes? This case is the same with the difference being that CH is just informing the homeowners why they are being ripped off by extra maintenance fees. This is what we believe the real reason behind this holdup was. The management company called CH and told us that they are only worried about releasing personal information such as emails and phone numbers. From the beginning we let them know we are only asking what the previous management company gave us with the price of copying. This was the same information that appeared on the company’s website a few months ago as a form of openness by the board but was taken off with no explanation a few months later even though only homeowners could access that. We did let them know that we would proceed with complaint with various consumer agencies like BBB just like we did with the previous management company. CH believes somebody on the board just like last year made a futile effort to keep us from accessing that information. How could the homeowners become aware that they could potentially be paying for kickbacks for some on the board?
Tuesday August 20,2019
Board playing games again
Many homeowners who frequently check our site remember last year when
the board asked the previous management company to stop giving out the quarterly
statements (as if it was theirs to begin with). They obliged and stopped giving
us those statements.
The new management company is a clean slate for them. They can start telling them what to give and what not to give. They can manipulate the management company to actually stop doing what they are paid for. The new management company just like the previous one holds our election and does our bookkeeping. As part of holding the election, maintenance fees and other duties they know firsthand who the new homeowners are. Board who is so scared of its own shadows and tries to protect its interest now wants the management company to stop giving out the homeowner list. The homeowner list as a gesture of openness and ‘we have nothing to hide’ attitude was actually on their website. It is now disappeared and they have asked the management company to stop giving it to CH. At least it appears to be. We reminded Nichole that her company is getting paid to do just that and charge copying fees . CH brought Nichole up-to-date and let her know what happened last year and CH has no problem doing it again to get what we the homeowners have already paid for. We complained to BBB first and that got the attention of the owner of the management company who sent us an email personally apologizing and we got the quarterly statements. CH let her know that the company provided all common materials that they were getting paid to maintain and for many years until they stopped with a request from the board. CH also let her know that the previous company was doing business with us for over 40 years and they were gone a few months after that. We don’t think there was a correlation. CH is planning to file a complaint with BBB and if they don’t send us the list on to Attorney General. We hope we don’t have to go further with court system but to retrieve those documents we will. The management company should be reminded they are governed by business laws not broken down HOA laws.
Thursday August 15,2019
As many homeowners are aware the Board has signed a gigantic $220,000
remodeling contract with Tina’s contractor. Some of it was needed but
more in our opinion were not needed. Actually this project had started in the
previous year as we saw with the inside fences that were not visible but presumably
were so out of shape and in need of repair that they did a redo on all of them
in all buildings. As you might remember CH (Concerned Homeowners) even submitted
extra bids that even though there were 4 of them and lower than Tina’s
by 2/3 they did not want to meet with them right away to even see what they
were all about. The possibility of saving didn’t enter into their mind
and definitely looked intentional. They knew it was a lose-lose situation and
they could never explain why they could not match up with non-Tina-affiliated
contractor and the fact their guy was 3 times more expensive. It was proven
beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were getting payoffs and didn’t want
anybody or anything to stop it. For some who might still have doubts please
check concernedhomeowners.com to see many true and current examples of fraud
committed by HOA board members, property managers and anybody in the business
of governing an HOA in other cities and states. Looks like it’s a money
maker for some to get on board and with a professional management company the
manager has his/her own contractor that does all the jobs and coincidentally
it’s a lot more expensive. The manager is the only one from the management
company in charge. All the manager would need is a team player to cooperate.
There are both team players and yes people who are there to fill the seats.
Tina knows the new homeowners, existing homeowners and who to replace when needed
to play the team player role or yes man/woman role. We have reports from homeowners
who have told us Tina or select members of the board call them before the election
and ask them to send blank proxies in case they couldn’t attend. The elections
here because of Tina and those team players can be predicted with 100% accuracy.
The incumbents win every time. If they don’t it is because they quit,
sell or some other reason. It is never because of upset elections. Make no mistake
about it. This is Third World elections here. Of course we all know at the end
the homeowners are the ones holding the bag in the form of higher maintenance
fees and else. The homeowners’ hard-earned money can literally go to finance
people affiliated with HOA and finance their lives regular expenses or a lot
of times luxury. On Concerned Homeowners website we show on a regular basis
real situations of HOAs are given powers without adequate checks and balances.
You have to keep in mind these are regular people given powers way over their
head and without proper checks and balances. These regular people can have a
lot of holes in their lives. When they see all this money on a monthly and annual
basis gets deposited in homeowners account, they start planning how to divert
some from reaching their destination and put them in their own pockets. They
can console themselves by promising themselves they will put the money back
when they can. These real life situations show the times they couldn’t
put it back.
It would look very bad and downright suspicious given Concerned Homeowners has exposed a lot of these diversions so they tried to do it in bits and pieces. However make no mistake, the project is ongoing. Now with the facts on display for the homeowners the board could not raise the maintenance fees because people could see a direct correlation. They announced a few years ago they were planning to raise our maintenance fees in 2020. We have about $1M dollars in reserve. There is no need to do that. If they do,it could be a result of this big $220,000 project and passing the cost to the homeowners. Given the fact that they have not raised our maintenance fees for a few years now, you could be in for a shock. Several homeowners who have lived here long enough remember the 25% increase about 15 years ago. No one could do anything about it but to get angry. Of course, the board at that time said that this was mostly due to roofing (didn’t mention what percentage) in the only letter sent by them near Annual Meeting time (3rd Tuesday in January). After a year gone by and no new roofs and at the insistence of Concerned Homeowners they finally did the roofing. Many people either put ”for sale” signs on their unit right away or when they tried to pass the huge added expense to their tenants , lost them all together. Please remember with current HOA laws added to Tina getting unverified proxies your hands can be up in the air. The elections here are totally fraudulent. You can see as evidence people who have just become homeowners, also just become board members on a regular basis. That’s not to mention the 2 board members who without proper credentials became board members with Tina’s full knowledge in 2009 and are still here. Let’s put this in proper perspective: not even 1% increase will be justified since we have a huge reserve and the board does NOT want to save money using different contractors who are much less expensive than Tina’s.
Owning a condo means never letting your guard down. Who could forget 2 years ago a process that had been couple of years in the making? That was when the homeowners became aware of the impending wholesale of the buildings and of course at probably half of what they were worth. This is what wholesale is all about. The board facing angry homeowners was forced to put in writing that they would never wholesale the place. We live in a very ideal, huge and valuable place for developing new condos or something else. The same potential or perceived buyers might not be there but there could be others. May be knowing what happened the last time they would not use the same method which was assuming homeowners were stupid but were proven so wrong, and based on that decide to employ other techniques. The point is to be aware, and try to come to the Annual Meeting in January 2020. This is where the plans are revealed and usually they do not benefit the homeowners. This is where they have to explain special assessments, huge increase in maintenance fees and even how easy it would be to let them sell your property for you. The board sends the Annual Meeting notices a couple of weeks before as they don’t like huge homeowner attendance. Let’s show them we care about our property and we are watching their every move . You can check the latest news and developments at our site concernedhomeowners.com.
Saturday August 3, 2019
Florida’s 80% law-a news report
Condo owners, many of them seniors, complained about high pressure
tactics to get them to sell, according to a recent news report. So many people
protested that in 2015 the Legislature tweaked the law to require “bulk
buyers” to pay at least what the owner had paid, but only if the owner
had bought the unit from the original developer and had a homestead exemption
on the property. That doesn’t go far enough. Every condo owner forced
to move should be offered at least what they paid. They aren’t looking
to leave. It’s a major disruption to their lives. Why should they pad
an investor’s bottom line by having to accept unfair offers?
This isn’t about cleaning up dilapidated complexes. A condominium development in Tampa Bay featured in the Times report is tidy and surrounded by green space and lakes. In many cases, the developers target well-maintained complexes with low- to mid-range prices that they can convert from condos to apartments. One expert told the Times that bulk-buyers already own at least half the units in about 30 condo complexes in the Tampa Bay area, making them likely candidates for condo-to-apartment conversions.
State law now requires anyone looking to terminate a condo association to explain why it would be good public policy. When a hurricane demolishes a complex, terminating a condo association makes sense. Otherwise, the rubble could sit there for years. But converting a perfectly good condo complex to apartments does a lot more to enrich developers than it does to serve the public interest. The provision, however, is too new to know whether it will protect condo owners who don’t want to move.
In Texas we have the same law which probably has been abused many times.
It’s interesting that the proposed fix might not be a fix at all. Why
is anything less than 100% allowed? Developers with all their resources can
make deals as they please. They don’t need a helping hand of a law that
could only help the already resourceful developers to buy properties at less
than the market price.The developers with the aid of these types of laws will
be able to buy properties at much less than their true values sometimes even
half. This will only take the unprotected homeowners to the shady area of elections.
In elections that cannot be verified such as ours, this should never be tolerated. The 2 incumbents here won again last year and the 80%ers will win in any election held by the Board with the assistance of the management company. The elections here are fraudulent and have kept the board essentially the same for over 10 years. Homeowners cannot trust their properties to these elections. The values for one bedroom are holding steady at about $125K but the two bedrooms with more space are still being sold at around the same price. They should have been nearly double the price of the one bedroom. High maintenance fees have been known to be the culprit in the sale of those few 3-bedrooms at over $600 a month. The owners have opted to rent their units and have given up on selling them. Now the board wants to raise your maintenance fees. They have hired the same contractor and ignoring lower prices that could have prevented the rise in maintenance fees in the first place.
Sunday July 27,2019
Maintenance fees increase
It looks like our prediction is coming true. The board is planning to raise our maintenance fees. They still have not updated their website since April 2 (still with the misspelling of the manager Nichole’s last name) and do not discuss present business in front of prying ears . Mum is the word. They are careful in monthly meetings that repairs/remodeling , new additions and all that requires contractors not to be discussed. In short they want the flow of easy money (kickbacks) to continue at our expense. Lets face it if there is anything that needed to be increased they could have tried by letting CH know to prevent needless spending. There are some things that their cost increase cannot be prevented. By not letting CH know we’ll never find out and it shows ulterior motive behind the increase. We are letting the homeowners know in our annual letter to homeowners coming out shortly. We all need to fight this misuse of our funds for the benefit of a few.
Sunday July 21,2019
Just another HOA related embezzlement
This is from the department of 'the predicted'. It just happened couple
of months ago in South Carolina.
A businessman trusted by an HOA was arrested for stealing close to $100,000 of homeowners’ money.
He was the owner of a management company. He had been under investigation for some time. He owned a rental agency with 55 units belonging to several condo owners. Apparently he and his employee manager failed to pay the owners on time, restricted owners from overseeing rental activity, double-booked units, charged renters higher rates without the condo owners’ knowledge, and left units dirty despite charging owners for cleaning services. He had about 36 complaints against him by the owners. He had to surrender his business license to the city and his manger surrendered his real estate license.
This person was entrusted by an HOA with their money (homeowners’ money). We suspect there was some type of collusion between a board member(s) and this man. Only an HOA board member would possibly trust somebody who has surrendered his business license to the city.
It is so predictable in the world of HOAs where they are treated as quasi-government and self-running!
Nothing can be further from the truth. Morals if not already loose can become even looser when a normal day life’s difficulty will be too burdensome for the board member(s). Of course usually they are run by crooked elections with nobody being able to monitor those elections and who gets on the board. They make all sorts of deals and some illicit ones to get kickbacks. In these types of elections long term board members remain on the job for years and years.
Ours has been essentially the same for over 10 years and last year two incumbents won again. Don’t forget 2 of them got on board without deeds under their names –a requirement under our bylaws.
Until you, the homeowner can monitor elections from start to finish you cannot trust anything the board says or does. We know many qualified candidates have run and lost over those 10 years.
Just ask yourself : How has the board mostly stayed the same for over 10 years? As a result how many of those business types like the one above the board has dealt with willingly and knowingly that we know of?
These two questions can go hand in hand.
Sunday July 14,2019
_There is a board meeting tomorrow. We have no idea why it’s
called a board meeting when it should be called a homeowner meeting. Everything
from the room they are renting to the manager who will be spending her time
there, is paid for by the homeowners.
As far as the website is concerned for homeowners who want to verify information provided by the board or want to help the homeowners and provide competitive bidding, it’s worthless. We believe it’s omitted intentionally. There are no paid receipts there. There are no repairs/renovations discussed since April 2. They won’t discuss the repairs at the homeowners meeting if interested homeowners who get extra bids attend. The board does not like to share information fearing being exposed by lower and better bids. Are there no repairs for these 50 year old buildings currently considered? The result is that they can tell the homeowners because of the repairs done to these 50 year old buildings there were a lot of necessary repairs. What they won’t say is , they used the same old contractor doing those repairs. It’s obvious by them not talking about it on their website or discussing it at the monthly meetings. The homeowners will be left to pay the bills for what looks like kickbacks. If anybody can think of a reason they hide upcoming repairs please emails us at the address above. By the way we only answer emails verified by ownership.
In about 2 months the board will have a meeting on maintenance fees for 2020. CH over a month ago let Nichole know that it is ready to provide up to 8 bids for all jobs on the property. These bids as always will be provided free of charge. They are non-binding and are only for the benefit of the homeowners so the board can save us all money. We did that since the board has now gone into hiding. They are facing something that they have no defense about it: Lower Bids. Yes, we have found out through the years that the contractor that the board uses charges usually 3 times as other contractors and the board likes it and to the point that they don’t even want to look at lower bids.
Since our last post about this subject matter, the latest update on
their website is still April 2, 2019. It’s as if nothing has happened
here since. In the meanwhile the board through some homeowners on Inwood is
well aware of the terrible foundation situation there. There is not even a mention
of it on their website.
There should not be even one penny of maintenance fee increase for 2020. We have offered competitive bids against their favorite contractor –Tina’s. There is enough money in the budget to do a foundation repair which is necessary and for one section. We think the problem is that no board member lives or has a rental there. If that was the case it would have been fixed long time ago. If there is a change of carrier for internet purposes that doesn’t wash either. DISH already provided internet access according to the email from the homeowner posted here. It seems board is driven by profit only: For Themselves. There is no reason to raise the maintenance fees and the foundation on Inwood should be repaired without delay.
Sunday June 23,2019
Change of carrier-part 2
CH got more information on this matter. We are posting the email word by word and agree with the conclusion. This is an important matter which involves internet. A homeowner meeting should be called before special interests taking over and decide for us. Usually their unilateral decisions or propositions has been very costly for the homeowners with examples posted yesterday.
Here is the email:
However, the current carrier told the Board earlier this year that it would provide, at its own expense, the capability to provide high-speed internet service, if the Board required it. Therefore, unless there is a significant overall cost savings, there would be no valid justification to change carriers. Retaining the current carrier would allow homeowners to keep the equipment they already purchased and invested in. It would also make it unnecessary for homeowners to purchase new equipment from a new carrier.
For some reason, the Board did not believe it was necessary to advise homeowners that it was considering changing TV service suppliers and had been doing so for months. The Board works for us and concerned homeowners want to be kept informed. We want to be consulted before any changes are made that could cost us hard-earned money. We believe a special meeting should be held before the Board unilaterally decides to change carriers so that we can determine whether such a change is justified.
June 22, 2019
Change of carrier
A very concerned homeowner notified CH last week of some changes to
our carrier. This change can be troublesome like many other changes implemented
by the Board. Many homeowners remember the individual electrical meters, cable
as oppose to commercial rates and other nonsensical propositions designed to
rid the board of responsibilities. They were good for the board but bad for
the homeowners. As many recall a few years back the current carrier setup tables
on the property and sold/leased DVRs and regular boxes to homeowners. Of course
the purchase option in the long term was more logical and many did just that.
We are all familiar with the Board’s modus operandi in which homeowner
convenience is last on its mind and self-interest comes first. The plan as we
have heard is to just switch carriers. Never mind the fact that the homeowners
paid upwards of $200 for each DVR unit and may be even more. They probably have
to throw the current unit away and spend another $200 or so to get the new ones
from the new carrier. Apparently this plan goes back to Tina days, back in February
or may be even earlier. If that happens the way it looks it’s an outrage.
We can’t put it past them though. If they could try to sell our property
right under us, and probably at half its worth what’s a little DVR unit?
For many fixed income homeowners it can be difficult and an unnecessary expense.
The excuse we hear is that the current carrier does not have high speed internet.
Homeowners have been having DSL for years and they have been operating with
no more problems than other carries would for an old building. Why are they
putting homeowners through such expense and bother? There is no need to do so
with the already available and used services in the area. We know some members
on the board are highly motivated by kickbacks. Is this another one? Or have
they found an angle to shed more responsibility?
Just like other important matters you won’t even see a hint of that on their website. The website is for show only and its worthless. Looks like all kickback generating stuff do not appear on the website. Its not for the prying eyes that can create competition for them.
Homeowners beware. Board has proven time and time again to be its own friend , not yours.
There is no question that the board does not like extra bids given
to them by CH. It started over 3 years ago and when they got 3 bids to do the
inside fences they stopped all work and probably had an emergency meeting over
the phone to discuss what to do . An honest board would have investigated the
extra bids and be happy to save homeowners money. Instead they decided to stop
everything in its tracks and then decided to put a show meeting 6 months later
inviting those outside and lower bidders hoping nobody would show up. None of
them showed up as the board had hoped and all chances for homeowners saving
money went down the drain. CH repeated that with gas companies and provided
extra and lower prices by other gas companies and the board member (one of the
illegal ones) in the Annual Meeting had to convolute the subject and with an
inaudible voice tried to explain why Tina’s office neighbor was better
than 8 other companies. Now the board’s strategy to protect their darling
contractor is to have a tight lip about all future repairs. All future and lucrative
repairs are now a secret. They don’t want CH to introduce 5 or more lower
bids. How could they explain their contractor is better than 5 other lower bids
each and every time? On their website there are no projects newer than April
2 and its minor. Looks like the repairs ended around then. There is nothing
new announced for their monthly meetings. Homeowners have to watch out for any
maintenance fee increases. Any increase even a penny is unjustified and probably
could be avoided with shopping around , i.e. investigating bids provided by
CH. You will be paying for board kickbacks if maintenance fees are increased
to pay for unnecessary expensive repairs done by the board’s favorite
After all what else would you expect from a board that has been mostly the same people for over 10 years? They must be protecting some interest: their own. Don’t forget two incumbents won again in the last Annual Meeting.
We notified Nichole that CH is ready to provide up to 8 bids for all jobs and they are all at random. We will keep you posted.
Eminent Domain-the two brothers
Many people believe all government takeover is all good and for the benefit of the public. It could be a new road, park, etc. . They take it at face value and just wait for the results. If they don’t see it soon, they could just forget the whole thing ever happened and go about their merry ways. Of course most are good but just like everything else there are rare exceptions. The fact is not all of them are for the good of the public. At least the stated cause could be but it could benefit private sector and some particular developers. In 2006 two brothers owned a very valuable but a small piece of land about a mile east of us. It was not a whole lot more than an average lot that you see in subdivision with an average 1500-2000 square feet house on it. The developer approached the brothers with their asking price of about $1.5M. They met their price except that they wanted to pay it in 3 installments. The brothers did not accept that and the developer approached somebody in city council and tried to have the city declare the property eminent domain for the sole purpose of building a park. The brothers fought this idea on the notion that there was a park within walking distance of their land already. The brothers contended the park was a pretext for providing a landscaped entrance to the developer’s property at public expense. Documents obtained later on showed that the dedication helped the developer close a $12.5 M land deal for a planned residential tower within the development. The brothers fought it and finally reached settlement of less than $1M.
Any presence on this property by the city like the one happened last month should be viewed with concern. It may not turn out to be anything but one should never throw caution to the wind. That turned out to be the dos and don’ts of using the garbage disposal. Did the board need the city to come over here to do a presentation about that? Let’s not forget the board in most likelihood tried to sell this property to a developer not too long ago. Can the property be declared a public nuisance and be condemned? Can the property be declared dedicated for a public park?! How could a group of homeowners fight the city like the brothers did? The whole thing could be over in a few months. It would take a great organization with substantial amount of money to fight it before its too late. Remember developers work fast.
All this could be conjecture but with a board who has stayed basically the same in over 10 years and 2 of the members with no credentials, a board that never looks at lower and other bids other than THE ONE to save homeowners money; and one that has most likely tried to sell this place before, can you take this chance?
It is now 13 years later and the city has developed tremendously. Our property is many times bigger than that one , located in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city and we are in the midst of an economic boon. Any presence by an outside group with or without the Board(but specially with) should be viewed with great caution.
The event last week
Homeowners remember 5 years ago when a usual attendee of Annual Homeowner meetings got up for the very first time and started talking about the so-called benefit (only one)) of the 80% law. She was very low key and the whole talk lasted no more than 5 minutes. She repeated that the following year and that was when homeowners realized there was an attempt to grab our properties at wholesale prices. The whole attempt was very low impact but was designed to send out a big announcement by the board or a developer shortly thereafter. It might not have been the same this past Friday when the City of Houston alarmed by the sewer getting clogged here and its impact on city sewer lines showed up with only one day prior announcement. Again it was low impact and designed to get low attendance which it did but who knows what the outcome could be. It could be that it cost more to repair the sewer lines than it was worth it and the whole place would need to shut down or even torn down and are dangerous for people’s health, i.e. Condemnation. It is what cities often do to seize property . Many time they hand it over to developers. They will buy your place at a very low and beaten up price and send you on your way. The land here gets more valuable by the day and with great location there are developers that have designs on it. As noted in the previous post there are many places here and other cities that get condemned for no good reason or taken away by Eminent Domain for reasons that start out to be legit but then turn around and be given to a private party for development with all the tax breaks. It’s win-win for both sides. A brand new building with all the new and modern amenities can be a bigger tax base for the city and also could make the developer millions and millions of dollars. There is a looser here and that is the homeowner. The homeowner gets pocket change for his/her property with nowhere to go or complain. The board gets their cut for delivering their property and then dissolves. The amazing thing is that the whole thing could take no more than 6 months or so. This is something we all have to watch out for. It is probably nothing but from a board that has stayed essentially the same since 2009 with two illegal board members, and has attempted something similar not too long ago nothing can be considered impossible.
City sewer lines / Condemnation
Homeowners got a notice from the Board on May 23. It was for a meeting on the same day! It was advertised as sewer lines getting clogged affecting city sewer lines. It turned out to be what to put in the garbage disposal and what not . The notice was on their website appearing but there was a notice on the billboard by the mailboxes only a day before. It fits well with their agenda to have the least attendance as possible. That’s why they also wait till the last day allowed to send the Annual Meeting notices.
Homeowners go to the meeting and find out it was about the dos and don’ts of garbage disposal and on a one day notice. We are sure they knew well ahead of time to send notices of the meeting to all 130 or so homeowners if they were really worried about the consequences of what to put in our garbage disposal. Could they declare our sewer lines be old and not repairable unless it is totally redone? They could if its impacting the city sewer lines. If that would be the case they could argue that the only option would be to have the city condemn the whole property, buy us out and demolish the place. They wanted the least attendance so not too many questions asked and then advertise it as “we had a demonstration on that from the city and the sewer lines are wreaking havoc on the city sewer line. It is a very far-fetched idea but we know they tried to dig out that 80% law from the books and force us to sell our property just 3 years ago. The act of Condemnation could be another venue to have their wish. Condemnation could result in City’s ownership of this extremely valuable property. They can then turn around and sell it to a developer that can build modern condos, shopping centers with modern drainage which the city frequently does. Homeowners are well advised to be on the lookout for this bunch. You know they are not after your best interest when they don’t even look at lower bids for various contracts and try to sell your property right under you. Lets not forget that 3 of the 5 board members have been on the board since 2009 and get elected without interested homeowners being allowed to verify the election from start to finish. There is a little swamp here with their interest to protect.
the quarterly statements
It seems like Nichole has got the same instructions the previous management company got from the board. These instructions mean that Nichole is quite familiar with CH now. We asked her to provide Q4 and Q1 statements. First she didn’t know what they were which is astonishing for a property manager then she said it would take time. Most managers whose company is involved in bookkeeping and are asked this question in May know very well we are asking for the 2 previous quarters that are in the books already , like January, February and March of 2019. Its hard to imagine a manager not knowing what they are. She promised she would get us that however when possible. CH goes through every quarterly statement and asks questions about checks that look unfamiliar or downright suspicious. We ask questions and we need answers. Nichole should get more familiar with CH as we will also file complaints if the response is not complete or timely on purpose. She should know they are governed by the laws of business not the ridiculous and unfair HOA quasi-government type laws. However her manager is very hands on and helpful.
Will the new management company follow the path of the previous one?
We finally heard from Nichole. The answers came with a recommendation.
The new management company does get involved with our election. In the next
election we might have Nichole or somebody else from the company count the fraudulent
votes and see the incumbents win again , just like last year and the year before...
These are her exact words with the exception of their name: “The management company has nothing to do with election of your board members other than setting up the place and sending the notices”.
This is exactly what the previous management company did .However, we all know Tina used to get on the phone and solicited blank proxies and had her contractor employed there at 3 times the price others charged. The contractor who finished the job after the switch however was her # 2 contractor. We will see how the new management company gets involved when it comes to the real work, like another friendly contractor or another set of phone work to solicit votes via blank proxies.
They are also our document holders. That means they are doing exactly what the previous company did. It remains to be seen if they do work that will be hidden and unsigned and try to dodge the eyes of the interested homeowners who don’t want to pay for kickbacks.
Nichole’s recommendation was that CH take part in the monthly meeting. CH knows if the invoices which are the crux of the investigation are not on their website then nothing of substance will be discussed at the meetings if some specific homeowners show up. They will clam up.
Do we think we will see the whole apparatus maintained by Tina over the years continue? We don’t think so at least not to that extent. Part of the reason is that we are getting close to the end life of the building. They could be entertaining more lucrative offers from developers and how they can come up with another strategy to wholesale the place. Please remember after the sale the association will be dissolved so there won’t be anybody to ask questions. We think that is one reason they are meeting in a condo and pursuing small projects and not fixing more expensive ones like the foundation.
May 2, 2019
The duties of the new management company
Ever since the board changed management companies they have tried
to be even more evasive. We just found out that Nichole knew nothing about the
ongoing project that according to the Association’s own website started
April 2nd. This is amazing since as a manager of our property she did not have
the curiosity to peek at the website and at least see what is going on. It is
on the first page and no login required. Lets add the fact that last time it
took a call to her supervisor for her to call CH. This brought to question as
to what the role of this new management company is. Some management companies
like the previous one handled the election and managed to have the same people
on the board plus couple of yes men/women for the past 10 years. Some management
companies handle the bookkeeping and holding of our documents. We asked these
questions from Nichole and she has not answered yet in 2 days.
It looks like she is in the dark about what is going on the property, the duties of the Management Company and responsibility to the homeowners. She sounds totally shocked and surprised when homeowners call or ask questions. It seems like there is a disconnect between her and the board that now meets in a condo far away from the management company. Of course she attends the meetings. The board now ignores the obvious repairs that need to be done and is now downsizing almost as if the end is near. Please beware that they are not looking for your best interest.
A developer has more tools in his arsenal than the 80% rule and the property here is getting more and more valuable everyday.
This happened in Florida. It describes the huge problem the homeowners are facing.
Many of the property owners are aware of the need, but there is growing outrage over a special assessment fee to meet that need.
"They feel like we're being railroaded in this because most of the homeowners are on a limited budget," said Judy a homeowner, "they're retired."
Judy owns a unit, she is also a director on the Homeowners Association Board. But she is against the current proposal to impose a fee on the owners for repair.
"I think we need to listen to the people's vote," she said.
She acknowledged the need for the repairs but believes the unit owners are being left out of the decision-making process.
It means: A person (usually one or two people) on the board have found a good way to make some money and they don't care if its needed or how it effects the homeowners' budget. They are most likely colluding with the property manager and using his or hers contractor. Most likely that is the only bid they have and its probably 3 times or more the usual amount that other contractors charge for a similar project.
"Whenever there's a material change, the community should provide 75% of the vote to say 'yes' or 'no,' but the board voted and not the community," she said.
The HOA is securing a loan for the $1.5 million project. To pay back the loan, it is imposing a special assessment, approximately $20 thousand per unit, to be paid monthly over seven years.
"It is still a seven-year contract for unit owners that are in their 70s and 80s on a fixed income," she said.
A recall of the current HOA board was filed with the Florida Department
of Business and Professional Regulation. Judy supports the recall. If it is
successful, it would mean replacing the current board and the property management
Prediction: the recall effort will be unsuccessful. Even if the votes are there to remove them, because the homeowners can’t monitor the election they will most likely lose. The board will ask the homeowners to trust them and give them their proxies and they will fill it out for them or some other type of election fraud. The board might face an uncomfortable hour that aided with their attorneys paid by the homeowners will get them through. The project will also go through and those select few will get their kickbacks.
"Then we can start over," she said.
Judy said right now she has more questions than answers, and there are other property owners who feel the same way.
"Everybody in this community is stressed over what's going on because we don't know where this is going," Judy said.
Attorney represents the HOA and the condo management company.
"The unit owns voted down the materials and, in the absence of that the vote, is allowed at the board level," the attorney said.
He said the board has a fiduciary responsibility to maintain the property.
It means: They do have a fiduciary responsibility to the homeowners but the attorney knows very well that fixed income homeowners are just not able to check that responsibility adequately and make sure they were honest. They just get upset, voice their disapproval and in a few days go back trying to find the money to pay for the project that enriches a few and pays for the attorney to make sure they are kept quiet. It would need a state agency monitoring election fraud with policing powers. Too bad the federal election laws do not govern HOAs. The attorney knows that too.
April 14, 2019
Condo values here keep rising
Looks like the one bedroom condos are going through the roof. A homeowner alerted CH about a small 630 square feet being listed for about $125K. We just saw another one at 675 square feet listed for about $135K. A 2-2 is listed about $148K which is in our opinion below the market. In keeping up with the 1 bedrooms ,a two bedroom should be listing for $175-180K easily. May be the owners of these units are not well aware of the market for 1 bedrooms. Why isn’t the board fixing the obvious which is the first thing a potential buyer. would see? We are talking about the pothole at the entrance gate. Are they getting us ready for another wholesale buyer by not spending money on foundation and asphalt? Homeowners should be very aware. You cannot trust this Board which has mostly maintained its original membership since 2009. For 10 years they have worked with each other well and know where the money making projects are. Please have this in mind: They are not thinking of your best interests.
Tina’s contractor again
The remodeling project is going on. They are doing every non-essential
repair there is around here. From painting the doors, balcony , to a revamped
website. All this is done with Tina’s number 2 contractor. Its as if she
is still the manager only that she is not. By that we mean every repair that
is not important but big quantity is being done. CH found that out with a phone
call to Nichole the new manager from the new company. as before they are making
the money on these pet projects with high yielding returns. The potholes at
the entrance gate or the foundation on Inwood are just not very profitable.
Profit of course is the motive. Remember they did not inspect multiple lower
bids presented to them on many different projects.
About the meetings, apparently the company is too far from where they live and decided to have the meetings in the president’s condo . May be they didn’t think of that before. Of course there is no announcement about the meetings on the website. For them as always less participation by the homeowners is better.
April 7, 2019
Low priority remodeling
There are some plans for remodeling and improvements. None of them
include the foundation and/or potholes. It seems like those select people on
the Board that do get kickbacks did not see a lot of profit in those types of
repairs. It makes sense. There is more footage of balcony, stairways and more
doors than one area needing foundation or pothole needing repair. It could be
an going thing so steady money changing hands. In the last foundation repair
as mentioned previously some members of the board were affected. Al of a sudden
it made sense and they ordered repair.
We will be checking with Nichole this week. We like to know who the remodelers are and get a copy of the invoice. We will then get comparative pricing. The board did what it could to keep the details secret. We will expose that fact and let the homeowners know the details as we get them. Those board members should not be selecting repairs based on their money making abilities or ease. They should be selecting repairs based on what is needed immediately which can get even more expensive to repair. They should do what is best for the homeowners.
Lets not forget this is the year the board plans to increase the maintenance fees. They have no reason to do that if they are not shopping around for the best and lowest price for these low priority remodeling.
April 1, 2019
After leaving several messages for Nichole and not getting any responses
CH called her boss. He was very responsive and had Nichole call us back in 2
minutes. She acknowledged that she wasn’t returning calls and blamed it
on their phone system. She did mention that she got many emails and phones after
the problems were corrected. She did confirm that the March 20 meeting was held
at the president condo and 2 homeowners showed up. CH asked about any repairs
to the foundation and if Inwood specifically was included. Unbelievably she
said there have been foundation repairs considered but none for Inwood. CH mentioned
the big crack that is visible even from Inwood and has caused a homeowner to
be locked inside his own house. She promised she would mention it to the board.
The board supposedly walks the property and did not think the crack that covers
the whole breezeway width needs repairing. Another thing that the board that
walks the property as well as enters the property did not see needing repair
are the big entrance potholes. That repair was not included either. Apparently
one thing that the board saw necessary to get done before these two crucial
repairs was the renumbering of the condos and some paint job that now could
not be distinguished from its previous condition. The board with all these self
serving repairs is costing us a lot of money. Lets hope they don’t try
to make up for it by raising our maintenance fees. Remember the homeowner always
pays at the end and looks like some on the board pocket some kickback money.
How else could the priority of repairs be described? The repairs were done with
Tina’s contractor. According to Tina that was the guy’s last job.
A letter from a homeowner
This is an email CH received from a very concerned homeowner. This and other calls and emails show a management company that does not care or even respond and the board that equally is non-responsive towards homeowner needs and priorities.
Here it is :
We cannot have a property manager who does not return phone calls. If that's what Nicole is doing, she is useless and could actually be harmful, if she is not available to handle serious situations that occur on our property. That's how problems turn into emergencies. This failure to respond to homeowners' calls for help is unacceptable and must be addressed immediately. A large portion of our maintenance fees are paid to the property manager in order to provide this critical service to homeowners. We cannot tolerate a dismissive property manager.
Last year the board had a $220,000 contract which was just signed with
one contractor: Tina’s. In this repair and remodel contract the renumbering
of the condos got priority over the foundation on Inwood. Another very visible
and destructive area that lost to the renumbering of the condos was the big
pothole at the entrance (see pictures). This is so bad that cars have to maneuver
around them to get inside day after day.
This clearly shows that making money took precedence over the need of the homeowners. For the few on the board who know very well how to make money from a single and same contracting scheme this made sense. Homeowners entering the property that are familiar with them have to maneuver around them and those that somehow don’t avoid it could endure damage to their tires , wheels, suspension and steering . On the other hand in properties on Inwood people get locked in their houses and have to pay for locksmith to get them out, or shave their doors for temporary fix. The only thing they have to show for it is a shiny new condo number.
When the homeowners try to get the new manager Nichole she won’t return phone calls. We don’t believe for a minute that they changed management Company because it would be good for the homeowners. This is also the year they are planning to raise the maintenance fees. Homeowners have to be aware. The board who is not on your side might try to raise the fees to make up for the past 4 years that they haven’t. Please remember there is no reason to raise it even one percent. They rejected plenty lower bids that could have saved us money.
CH might have to file complaint with appropriate agencies to get the new management company’s attention. It seems like returning homeowners phone calls is not on their agenda.
March 17, 2019
Condos on Inwood have had continuing problems with the foundation for quite a few years now. We have attached some pictures of the problem that are unbelievable. Homeowners have had difficulties closing their doors. Many homeowners on the advice of the board and the previous management company were told to shave the door “for now” so the board would get around to fix the foundation. Shaving the door was just a band aid and it worked for just certain amount of time. Recently one homeowner was locked in and could not get out of his condo. He had to call a locksmith to the tune of $225 to be able to leave his house! Nobody should have to do that. The number by his door was just redone and a brand new shining plate shows what his unit number is. Too bad he couldn’t get out of his house to run his errands. How did redoing his number get a higher priority than fixing his foundation? The homeowner was so angry he was considering taking legal action against the board.
This is the problem for many people living on either side of the breezeway and also adjacent quadro plexes. The owner did call Denise at the new management company but according to him they did not return his phone call, nor has the board taken any immediate steps to ease the ever expanding problems regarding the foundation. The problem is the same that exists in pretty much every HOA in existence. It is self-interest. The board members many of them with unremarkable achievements in life get to make these decisions and they usually allocate the money to take care of their own condos first. Who can forget the big show at the annual meeting a few years ago about fixing the foundation problems in the B building. You guessed it, a few board members where living in that building and some still do. We have seen many qualified homeowners and some even pro-board who lost in the proxy heavy elections. they had to sit at the sidelines and watch the same board members getting reelected again and again; case in point, the 2019 Annual Meeting.
About the new management company, Denise is nowhere to be found and seems like calling back is not one her job descriptions. Homeowners are getting angrier and angrier and complain to the only source they can, CH. We as part of the homeowners are doing whatever we can to alert our neighbors and hopefully make the board aware of the problem. The foundation on Inwood needs to be repaired and the new management company needs to return phone calls in maximum 48 hours. Homeowners should also be aware that the new management company does not have a drop box either. They also discourage sliding the check under the door. If you are paying your maintenance fees and the deadline falls on Saturday or Sunday forget about taking a trip there. You would need to mail it and hope it doesn’t get there late and you be charged a late fee.
March 4, 2019
Meeting not announced
We got an email from a homeowner notifying us that the monthly homeowner meeting will be held in a condo. It turns out that it is the president’s condo. Lets recall this is the same condo that gave her board membership about 6 years before she became its owner which was a violation of our laws.
The meeting is not announced on the board website which prides itself on having all the pertinent information. You can see they still try to avoid meeting the homeowners, or listening to their problems. They would rather see how they can deal with the contractor( not plural) than anything else. Still another important piece of information missing in the website is upcoming projects and any bids. Looks like Concerned Homeowners has its work cut out for it.
For all interested the meeting will be held on March 20th @7:00pm at B-67
March 3, 2019
Another HOA embezzlement
California — A 71-year-old Seal Beach woman was accused of embezzling
over $115,000 from the Costa Mesa homeowner's association, of which she was
treasurer, court documents said.
She served as the former treasurer for the Association ( so she was a board member), and made her initial court appearance on charges of embezzling more than $115,000.
She faces 36 felony counts of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust, with sentencing enhancement allegations of property damage exceeding $65,000.
She is alleged to have embezzled $115,114.94 in 2014 and 2015, according to the police in an affidavit requesting a bail increase.
She has paid back $20,000, but investigators are concerned she is a flight risk because she has homes in California and France, according to court documents.
A note: this is one of the few that got caught. Lets take you back to about 8-9 months ago when at the direction of some board members here the management company stopped giving us homeowner related materials. This included financial statements. When we complained to the manager DeRea at the time he said that’s all we could give you! It took perseverance and various complaints and even threat of a lawsuit that finally the owner of the management company pledged to release all homeowner documents and to never withhold them again. Of course we knew the management company was the one that was regulated by business laws and could get hurt by complaints. HOAs can do whatever they want.
How much perseverance and investigation it took in the above case to catch that one? This would include going though all the range of actions and motions like adversarial, meaningless sympathy and in general discouragement by the powers that benefit from HOAs . When that wouldn’t work they would resort to legal threats. We never went through criminal pursuit but we have heard that the levels go much higher and people get more desperate and try even harder to stop the HOAs getting yet another black eye. By HOAs we mostly mean the ones that operate with management companies and create basically a legal organized crime with many times mom and pop gangsters or a duo as the head of the family(HOA). This is real life living in an HOA and mostly for condos.
The new management company-finally the bill
Many homeowners have kept wondering about the coupons. The coupons arrived less than a week before they were due. This is not very reassuring. There must be somebody who dropped the ball. It could be the board so used to the way things being done in the past 45 years or so that they were not ready for the transfer of management Company. It could also be the management company not getting things done in a timely fashion. However the board is ultimately responsible for the coupons mailed plenty of time ahead the due date. They could have demanded the management company to do that. Lets hope this is not sign of things to come. After all that is probably the easiest task there is for either one and also the most essential. Its what hires the management company and what the budget is.
The new management company
Many homeowners still have not received any communication from the new management company. The board had already made up its mind not to renew the contract with the previous company. They even decided not to do the rest of that huge $220,000 contract with Tina’s contractor. It sounded like it was a total break up. One reason could have been the ever pursuit by the management company to increase their fees. However what the board should have done was to introduce the new management company at the Annual Meeting. Why a manager on her way out with no more interest be sitting there and counting the votes? Why wait for a whole year to get introduced face to face with the new manager, Denise? Why the new management company did not send their introduction letter even before the meeting?
Let us hope we’re not mired in new drama(s) and the resumption of the days of hiding documents, leaving messages that are not returned and so on . For now it does not look promising.
Another HOA , another nighmare-happened in Florida and can happen anywhere
Residents are battling their association for an assessment they don’t
want and some can’t afford .Can the majority of residents stop their board?
There are ways, as we see in tonight’s Help Me Howard With Patrick Fraser.
A homeowner: “Paying my mortgage, paying electric, food for my family. I’m going to have to call my creditors and tell them, ‘Hey, I don’t have the money.'”
But instead of her expenses decreasing, they are increasing because of her association.
A homeowner: “They are now assessing us $133,000 worth of painting.”
A homeowner: “People are angry. They’re very upset.”
Upset because to pay for that $133,000 paint job, homeowners were told
they have to pay a special $245-a-month assessment for the next 12 months —
on top of their regular $300-a-month association fee.
Homeowners went to the board meeting to try to stop the painting, since it’s cosmetic and doesn’t have to be done now.
A homeowner said: “It’s the board members who make the decisions. They’ve shut us down. They’ve told us they don’t want to hear from us.”
Another homeowner: “They are nightmares. It’s a nightmare.”
The homeowners then put together a petition signed by more than half the residents trying to stop the board from nearly doubling their association fee at this time.
Same homeowner said: “And still didn’t listen, and they still went ahead with the assessment.”
Some families living paycheck to paycheck
A homeowner: “I want to know if there’s anything we can do to stop it and maybe revisit it and figure out if the contract is even legitimate.”
A legal expert on TV News said: “A board has enormous power and doesn’t have to listen to the property owners at all. You can have a petition signed by every homeowner not on the board, and the board can still ignore it. And when a board signs a contract against the owner’s wishes, like a paint job, all of the owners are stuck having to pay for it.”
The News people contacted the president of the Association. They asked her about the special assessment for the paint job that residents said they could not afford at this time. She said she would rather not talk about it.
She said she did see the petition that majority of the residents signed to stop the paint job, but didn’t want to talk about that either.
The legal analyst said: “A simple majority of the homeowners can quickly demand a recall election and elect new board members, and a case like this shows why it’s so important to get on the board, so you have a voice in how your association is run and what you are forced to pay. And if you don’t want to be on the board, at least go to the meetings so you can keep an eye on the people impacting your life.”
A homeowner: “I will never buy in an association ever again with the experience that we’ve had here.”
If we had a nickel for every condo or homeowner board complaint, we could pay those special assessments. Now, if you think your association is doing something wrong, spending money where they should not, you have the legal right to look at the books within 10 days of requesting it. If the board or the property manager says no, contact an association lawyer to go to them, because the board will have to pay you damages and your attorney’s legal fees.
A comment: The story sounds familiar? It could be another manager and his/her contractor waiting for the formalities to be done. It is a done deal . Likely the board members who amazingly true in a lot of places are retired or just plain not working and walking the subdivision or doing something equally irrelevant have come up with an assortment of non-essential projects that need to be completed and NOW.
There are several things wrong with the remedy proposed. They think they can recall the board president or run in their place so something like this can never happen. They don’t know that usually the people in charge like the president, the manager and whoever else that profit from these projects have secured proxies and there is absolutely no chance for anybody that is not OKed with a wink and a nod be elected. For that reason a recall election will not succeed. We had a removal election here in the face of 25% increase in our maintenance fees and it did not succeed. We have also had several elections and many people who were not OKed in advance did not win. Always the incumbents have won. The legal analyst is either hired by associations there and does not want the golden goose to stop laying golden eggs or just doesn’t live in the real world. Mostly it’s the former.
Going to the meetings does not do anything. They might even stop them talking about the project with a non-friendly person being there.
The only chance that no analyst we have heard of talking about it is to attack the source. The objective for the profiteers on the board and manager is to approve the job and give it to the manager or president or in general their favorite contractor who is a team player i.e. knows how to give kickbacks.
Get outside bids for every job and every project. Chances are they are making money with every project big or small. Make sure you are not paying extra. There is nothing wrong with one contractor doing all the jobs. There is something wrong when the jobs he does costs 3 times or more as much as other contractors and the homeowners pay the extra with increased maintenance fees. Then inform your fellow homeowners. After a while a public opinion will form and the board will think twice to proceed when like in this case the majority of the homeowners oppose an unnecessary and expensive project.
February 3, 2019
Tina’s contractor and the $220K project
CH has been writing intensively about this monster project which is about 1/5th of the association revenue. The primary reason for that is that amazingly is not very visible. The main obvious repair has been the redoing of number signs of the condos. There are no plans for the recent transformer problems or more infrastructure repairs. Mostly there are projects that the sticker price can be easily raised, marked up or otherwise clouded on purpose so it would be easy for kickbacks. The rest of the project has not been approved so according to Tina they are not using her contractor. This could be a disagreement among themselves and not for the benefit of the homeowners. If it was for the benefit of the homeowners they would have actively sought other bids or looked at the ones CH provided which were lower. Please make no mistake. The structure for kickbacks is still there. You could see that with the incumbents winning again. We all know kickbacks mean higher maintenance fees and this is the year to raise them. CH will keep you informed and will get all the contracts and documents from the new management company and get competitive bids. We hope that unlike the last one they don’t try to hide documents and be very forthcoming and transparent. Transparency is the key to prevent maintenance fees going up for no good reason.
The site for Concerned Homeowners has been hacked repeatedly over the past year or so. We have been told by professionals that the site has been targeted. We have no problem with anybody or any group. The board since has no logical argument to counter CH arguments about not looking at lower bids. They have been known even prior to CH to play dirty tactics. It is not a reach to imagine them paying professional hackers to attack our site so to knock it offline. CH will try to get digital foot print to see where it goes. We will file applicable charges if necessary.
The Annual Meeting
This meeting was announced to start at 7pm however it started around 6:45pm or so. It was totally unexpected as the board and specially Tine pride themselves in observing the rules when it comes to the Annual Meeting. It is the one meeting that they can try to convince homeowners they are sticklers for the rules. May be because it was Tina’s last one she didn’t care to impress anyone. As posted on 12/30/18 posting it was predictable and the incumbents won. Tina even asked CH to join her in counting the votes! It was probably the most absurd request ever. CH pointed to the fact that the results were predictable (due to unverifiable and illegitimate elections). A new management company has been hired. It is the second place that this company we know of that has replaced the current management company. We asked Tina if they will be in charge of elections as her company was. She tried to pretend she was not in charge of elections! When we let her know it meant mailing out proxies, receiving them and then conduction the election and counting votes she was forced to say yes, the new company was also in charge of the elections. We will try to verify the elections with the new company. If the new manager has a contractor to introduce to us; if the board hires that contractor and ignores the lower bids then our fight with both will continue. There is no justification to raise maintenance fees if you’re not willing to look at lower bids. In other words we hope it will not be business as usual. If it is we will continue to oppose the board and any maintenance fee increases.
January 21, 2019
Same old issue
Looks like the termination of the management company or them quitting our association comes to the same old issue of money. Three years ago under the previous owner of the management company they tried to raise their management fees and the board did not agree. Looks like under the new ownership they tried to raise their prices and the board did not agree again At least another condo association that we know of also did not agree with their new price and terminated their contract with them. This as we know of several associations over the past 5 years or so that fired them and the firing as far as we know had nothing to do with raising prices. It had something to do with bad or lack of management.
January 20, 2019
This happened in California- HOA fraud with prison terms
More than five years after a scheme to embezzle some $2.8 million from a Condominium Association between 2007 and 2013 came to light, the HOA’s former manager learned she will be sentenced to three years, four months in state prison according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Though she was set to be sentenced for her felony convictions Jan. 10, Judge indicated she would impose a prison sentence of three years, four months in state prison and order restitution of $2.84 million to the victims.
She has been out of custody on her own supervised recognizance since late 2016, shortly after she pleaded no contest to felony embezzlement and forgery convictions and admitted she stole more than $100,000. Her co-conspirator was sentenced to seven years state prison Sept. 14 after a jury found him guilty of felony embezzlement and felony grand theft following a 12-day jury trial ending May 11, according to prosecutors.
It’s been more than five years since residents of the condominium homeowners’ association were tipped off about a possible embezzlement scheme. She had managed the association, which had a nearly $5 million annual budget, for more than a decade. A resident previously said homeowners caught wind of the theft when a board member saw suspicious activity, including charges at various casinos, on a bank statement from a debit card she had been issued.
After she was fired, the association uncovered a stack of nearly 150 false invoices for construction work that was never completed. Police and investigators determined she had been conspiring to defraud the homeowners between Feb. 8, 2007, and September 2013, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said she reportedly had a gambling problem, would make false invoices and write checks to her co-conspirator’s company. He would then allegedly cash the checks and the two would split the profits.
A comment: Please notice how similar these are. The manager works with a contractor real or fictitious ,
with or without board members. Homeowners are helpless. They can only get a break if they discover fraud by accident like in this case. This is why an independent overseeing agency is so needed to help homeowners combat election fraud which could be the forefront of financial fraud.
Quitting another condo
We just found out that our management company has dropped another condo building about a mile from ours. They are probably as old as ours as well. We have no idea why they are doing that. Are they moving out of the area? Are they just dropping some old downward headed condos? Their office is still where it has been for the past 40 years or so. Who knows may be they are moving out of there too. For now distance is not the issue. The real reason remains to be seen. Management companies are just hired hands and will do what they are told by the association. Some get more involved but they are mostly just hired hands and can throw the association under the bus in no time. So we don’t know why a management company seemingly not wanting to renew 2 contracts that we know of. There may be more.
January 4, 2019
Management company will be gone in March?
According to Tina, they will no longer be managing our property after
March. They will be gone in 2 months. Does that mean her contractor will be
gone too? If that is the case ,who would be finishing the rest of the $220,000
contract? Will the rest of the contract be cancelled?
What we could hope from this is that we might finally have honest elections. Lets not forget we still have 2 board members who got on board without proper credentials. Will they be gone too?
In our opinion nothing will change. The swamp is used to making money by being board members. They will use the same contractor or find another company that will be more than happy to give kickbacks. It is easy money after all. We just found out about that. They must have known that for quite some time and still the incumbents are running. The swamp will likely continue its existence at our expense. This could also mean a sale of the property would be in the offing and the management company did not want to be part of the whole mess. This is all speculation but from this bunch nothing is farfetched.
Sunday December 30,2018
The notice of Annual meeting on January 22 was sent out by the board. Please make no mistake or be under any illusions. The election is fake as usual. It is orchestrated by Tina who selects the board and finds people to work with. The objective is to have people that would work with her contractor. The people selected are rewarded. You can see there are board members that can be seen on the property all day long with no other visible means of support. The immediate objective is to get this $220,000 project done.
We can tell with 100% certainty that the incumbents will win. If you see they don’t and the only known outside candidate wins is either because he hasn’t got the memo or he is assured of winning because a board member is resigning for some reason, not running again. For sure the election won’t be a surprise. There have been some honest board members that were selected (not elected) to be on the board for the sole reason to have them sign documents. They ended up quitting as they refused to be Tina’s pawn. Any future maintenance fee increase should be opposed vehemently until elections can be monitored completely. If not you know you will be paying for board members kickbacks.
Friday December 28,2018
Special assessment-another ugly byproduct of an HOA and how to try prevent it
This happened in California but as we know this calamity can happen anywhere in the US.
A 36-unit condominium association built in 1980 approved a special assessment for a whopping $5.22M.
Only 18 or half of the owners voted yes with 9 voting no, 3 had missing address or no signatures and 6 did not participate in the voting at all. As you can see only half wanted it definitely. The owners ended up being assessed at $145,000 each. If they didn’t have the cash to pay the association had an answer for that too: A 20-year group loan repayment plan with 4.75% interest rate. Can you imagine being a new owner there and all of a sudden having to come up with all that much money at once or with a loan coming to about $1000 per month? How about if the owner there needs to sell right away due to relocation for any reason or just wanting to sell and all of a sudden has to add this monster cost to the sales price? Who would buy it then? The unit could become unsellable leaving the owner with only bad or costly options. What caused the world of those condo units to turn upside down?
Lets analyze why the special assessment happened in the first place. The most likely reason could be that one or two board member who came up with the idea of all around repair with one team player and friendly contractor. We mean a contractor who gives kickbacks. They just jack up the price and the difference goes to the pockets of those board members. The board not surprisingly approves the project and the homeowner has to pay for everything including the kickbacks.
What is the solution and how it can be prevented. The owners should be on their p’s and q’s and be on the lookout for these board-driven profit contracts and let their fellow homeowners know of the cost they could bear just for a few to pocket their money. If the board does this without notice try to get competitive bids right away. Remember time would be of essence. The sooner you get them the better. The more you get the better. Due to unbalanced HOA laws you are still in an unfavorable position. In all likelihood there are some board members who want to take advantage of their position and make money on your back. You have to let the other homeowners know how much they are losing. May be some elections are legit and they could remove the known shyster board member(s). The new member(s) could reduce or even nullify those assessments. Remember being a condo owner means you should always be aware of the actions of the board members. Most times they could mean bad news for the homeowners.
Thursday December 13,2018
This happened in S. Carolina – Its more than $700K embezzlement
A property manager accused by dozens of homeowner associations of pocketing
more than $700,000 of their money now faces prison time on a federal criminal
The manager, who owned the management company, was charged in 10/18 with wire fraud. She promptly pleaded guilty to the felony that carries up to 20 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine. She was not immediately sentenced.
Filed in U.S. District Court, her plea agreement called for her to pay back every “identifiable victim” that fell under her scheme.
She had already been the target of a lawsuit in which 47 homeowner groups accused her of overbilling or charging for services that her company never performed. All told, she had boasted being hired by nearly 60 neighborhoods.
The criminal charge came through an “information,” which in federal court allows for a quick guilty plea without a grand jury indictment.
Her attorney said the housing crisis that contributed to the recession a decade ago had created many difficult years for property managers.
For five years until 2016, she billed clients for services never performed or for items that the homeowner associations never received, the court document said. She also overcharged for the collection of delinquent dues and inflated the amount of time that employees spent representing their clients in court, the paperwork alleged.
• Please notice what we have mentioned as their excuse for their criminal behavior:
“Her attorney said the housing crisis that contributed to the recession a decade ago had created many difficult years for property managers.”
*This is classic for these white collar criminals. They try to find an excuse for themselves in trying to clear their conscious if they have any. The times were tough for her so she billed for services that were never done and probably assured herself planning to put the money back when she would be able to. Of course most times even if they have the money to repay they will find another use for it other than correcting the wrong they did.
Sunday December 2, 2018
In all the agencies that could help us in getting documents the big governmental agency was Texas Real Estate Commission. We wanted to file a complaint with them and initiated that also. However in this unnecessary delay and ultimately waste of effort by both CH and the management company the problem was solved. The management company was very forthcoming and promised to deliver all HOA-related materials to us. In other words they would do just like before the Annual Meeting. As we mentioned we believe this idea was originated by one or two members of the board. This group or one person has done other things that has ended up hurting people they got involved with their bright ideas. How about sending the drunken homeowner and asking her to call our attorney in a threatening manner? Our attorney was about to file charges against her if her calls hadn’t stopped. It was due to an email to Tina and detailing what had happened that she stopped. She probably could have lost her job. Then comes the bright albeit losing scheme to withhold financial documents from us. This caused CH to file a complaint with BBB with a complaint that smacks of fraud and deception. Of course it was partially the management company’s fault to bend to the illegal desires of one or two person(s). One cannot underestimate the power of persuasion. This just hurt the reputation of the management company and unnecessarily so. They were giving us all the documents according to the contract, willingly and quickly. We received the follow up from Texas Real Estate commission asking us to detail the issue when the top level of the management company contacted us and assured us everything would be handled as before all this shenanigans started which was right after the Annual Meeting. Did the originator of this bright idea think by stopping the flow of documents CH will stop pursuing? These mindless actions have hurt many people. We closed the complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission and will notify BBBB that the problem was solved positively. The management company is advised to be more mindful of their suggestions in general and in the future. We don’t think the best and brightest are on the board.
Sunday November 18,2018
CH has been providing bids from outside contractors much to the chagrin
of Tina and the Board. First they tried to ignore them, or setup fake meetings
with the said contractors many months later and when those didn’t work
they protested to CH that this is “injecting yourself”. CH continued
providing bids undeterred and informed homeowners. After their latest attempt
to evade CH and its contractors called at random failed they blocked us from
financial documents and we complained to State of Texas.
All that showed was in effect advising the Board. Of course it was in an area they really didn’t want any advice. They like to operate with lights out, having meetings hoping nobody would show up, sending Annual Meeting notices a couple of weeks before the event and so on. They like to make contracts with Tina’s contractor with no notices and big one too like this $220,000 monster.
Last week we tossed the idea of becoming Board advisor with the sole purpose of providing additional bids. It was accepted by Tina in less than 3 minutes (more proof that she runs the board and not vice versa). We expect to be notified of upcoming projects with enough time for CH to get bids. Isn’t that what they hope to accomplish to having CH for the “sole purpose of providing extra bids”? Hopefully for the first time those usually lower bids and there are quite a few, beat out Tina’s guy. That would be a first. One thing we have to remember is that they are planning to increase the maintenance fees in 2020. With CH providing a venue for savings that would be a big help in avoiding that.
Sunday November 11,2018
Management company response
We received an email from the highest level of the management company.
It was in direct response to our BBB complaint. It was very reassuring. It promised
that all HOA-related material will be available from now on with no problem.
We let them know that we complained to various people in the management company
and only filed the complaint as the last resort. Our problem is two-fold. One
is the board and the other is Tina. We believe she has a direct hand in calling
,selecting yes people and filling in proxies when needed or create new ones
as needed.CH getting competitive bidding and the process it followed in exposing
the board has proved to be too embarrassing to them. It looks like one or two
people on the board got the bright idea to stop the flow of information to CH
completely. May be that would deter us in exposing them even further. It didn’t.
The management company has a contract with the homeowners represented by the
board elected by hook or crook and CH is there to see it through. They had promised
to provide these documents for the price of copying the material. They could
have issued an official declaration stating that they would no longer provide
that service and withdraw from providing that service. In that case we would
have gone to the board directly and demand the documents from them. They did
not do any of these and just gave us blank stares or no written response as
to where we could get the financials. One way or another these documents belong
to the people who pay for them, the homeowners. They tend to forget this but
we make a point to remind them every time. Their withholding documents left
them responsible to various governmental entities that rule over them like Texas
Real Estate Commission and Texas Attorney General. We started complaining to
an entity that they did not even have to answer and is not a government entity
but would give them a bad business mark that would be hard for them to recover
from. They realized the impact that a complaint like withholding quarterly statements
from homeowners would have on them and responded right away.
Our next step was Texas Real Estate Commission but after receiving such a letter we don’t see any need for that. We need to show consistently the difference in price between Tina’s contractor and outside contractors. If Tina’s sole contractor wins every time and with triple the price, homeowners are smart and can connect the dots. When on top of that they see the board does not want to meet with the outside contractors or meets with them and still declares Tina’s guy the winner every time, it shows bias and kickbacks for sure. All that extra pay to the contractor would be passed on to the homeowners at the end in the form of higher maintenance fees, assessments, etc. We live in the real world after all.
Tuesday October 30,2018
After getting outside bids and submitting to the homeowners for the
past couple of years or so, the revelation proved to be too embarrassing for
the board. It was embarrassing because they refused to meet with the bidders
even though they knew they had much lower bids and thereby it was proven that
they were getting payoffs from Tina’s contractor. For the board that could
not continue so they stopped CH from getting its hands on Tina’s contractor’
bids. The management company in reality could not stop us from getting our hands
on those bids but they tried. This went on for a couple of months . The management
company is different from an association as the latter as ridiculous as it sounds
with its cast of illegal members and other members who are new and virtual unknowns
to the rest of the homeowners is regarded a quasi-government. They can be removed
by elections or sued in court, and nothing else. The former however is a business
and is governed by business regulations. If there are enough complaints against
them they could be fined and even shut down. They forgot about that. They have
a contract with us to provide us with documents on the condition we pay their
copying fees. They changed that on their own. They stopped giving us these documents
even when we wanted to pay the copying fee. We complained to the BBB (Better
Business Bureau) . We just received the answer to our complaint through BBB
from the executive assistant to the president and CEO of our management comany.
It was very apologetic and promised to do whatever they could to correct the
situation. Please keep in mind during the process of asking for the documents
and prior to complaining to BBB we had asked the company president for help
and we got no answer.
As part of being a business their profession also falls under Texas real estate laws and in particular the department of Texas Real Estate Commission. They manage real estate and are governed by Texas real estate laws. We hope there won’t be any need to proceed further with that department. As we had reminded them before, for the charge of copying fees they need to provide documents in a timely manner. Lets hope they do that. Texas real estate laws are very precise and the State government will enforce those laws.
Friday October 26,2018
Looks like the 2-beddrooms are rising in price. A few months ago there
were 2 bedrooms that were selling for less than $100K and were even valued about
the same prices as 1 bedrooms. It showed how skewed the values had become. How
could these two totally different sizes and number of bedrooms be equal in value?
Only in a place where most owners don’t live on the property and the board
is made of unqualified people this could happen.
However, now we see a 2 bedroom approaching $170K and another one at about $150k. They are still low considering the location. There are vacant lots with much less square footage valued more than these improved properties. This rise could be attributed to a great economy, and rising oil prices that makes real estate here keep going up in spite of the unqualified board.
Thursday October 11, 2018
Embezzelement over $1M
The former head of a Phoenix-area property management company accused of stealing nearly $1.3 million from homeowners associations has agreed to a plea deal to spare his wife prosecution.
According to court documents made available Monday, the property manager has agreed to plead guilty to one felony charge of transactional money laundering.
He and his wife were indicted last year on other charges including conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Under the proposed agreement, the indictment against her would be dismissed. Other charges against him would also be dropped.
Prosecutors say the couple made unauthorized transfers from accounts of HOA clients of the manangement company for personal expenses.
Their two daughters and a former son-in-law have already pleaded guilty in the case. All four will be sentenced next year.
A note: This one was caught, There could be many more with much more money involved that are out there ripping homeowners off. The weak HOA laws do not protect homeowners adequately.
Wednesday October 3, 2018
Insurance and the agency
has been asking for the original contract between the association and the insurance
agency handling our property insurance. The request was very clear. We even
made it clear we are not looking for the policy, just the contract. In our response
Tina has come up with questions and suggestions other than the question at hand.
This broker came to our employ right after the illegal board member got on board
and does not have an office in Houston but one of the surrounding cities. Tina
claims there is no signed agreement!
If you look at the board’s website you will see a vague article discussing insurance assessment and how good and justifiable it is. This becomes very concerning in the light of the fact that we have relatively large reserves and Tina’s own email to CH that nobody filed for Harvey. Let not forget an assessment is something that will never come off even though they promise it will. We have to stop this assessment, if it is what they want to do, even if we find another insurance agency and shop for other insurance. There is no justification for an assessment other than covering up for spending on this $220,000 signed with Tina’s contractor for some unnecessary projects including renumbering the condos.
September 23, 2018
Another HOA fraud-embezzling manager
The former general manager of a retirement community accused of embezzling
money from the development where he once worked paid $125,000 in victim restitution
on June 4.
The employee of a for-profit housing management company contracted to oversee the development which includes 3,450 homes for people ages 55 and over.
The District Attorney alleged in a Jan. 19 complaint that the manager stole about $104,000 from the HOA between February 2015 and June 2017.
He initially pled not guilty to three counts of grand theft, including an enhancement for fraud and embezzlement. But he reversed his pleading in May, and signed an agreement pleading guilty to all three of his charges and the enhancement. In addition to being ordered to pay $125,000 restitution, he received a sentence of 36 months probation and 120 days custody, with electronic monitoring.
The President of the board of directors, said he arrived at the front gate of the community on Monday, June 4 with a cashier’s check for $125,000. Two staff members met him at the gate to receive the check. The staff told the president the meeting with the manager was brief and amicable.
“If you’re asking if there was an apology,” president said, “then no.”
President said the community association is still negotiating with the management company over an estimated $60,000 in costs the community incurred to investigate its financial accounts.
• This is one case that was caught. They spent about $60K to
investigate the fraud. How many cases are out there that remain hidden from
the view? In this case the manager and the association were not in bed together.
When they are its a lot easier to hide documents, use manager’s contractor
to get kickbacks , create unnecessary projects to make money out of kickbacks
and other variations of collaboration in fraud schemes.
H finally received the homeowner list. We had already sent the filing
fees to the attorney for filing.
What we did not receive however was the insurance agency contract. We think they try to create a pattern. It was just too easy for them to be exposed. They needed to make it so unavailable that it wouldn’t be worth asking. Nobody can argue with numbers. It has already made an effect as they are trying to make it difficult and also hide the progress of that $220,000 contract.
The slow release of documents does not work for us. May be the board thinks they have all the power but we might still need to go to court to get what is rightfully ours. These are documents that have always been provided according to an existing contract with the management company to be given to homeowners for copying fees as many times before. Since the board did not respond to a certified letter asking for the release of the requested documents and did not release the documents (one of them so far), we find the board responsible.
We prefer not to but a court action might still be the only thing to show them we are serious about getting the documents we pay for .
September 12, 2018
The latest about the documents
After through that angry homeowner that claimed all documents were given, we figured we follow up that last venue. It was the board’s website. Only one document was there which was the quarterly statement. It didn’t occur to the board or Tina to suggest that. They knew we didn’t put anything of value in their website. Its just sunny skies in there. There is nothing about the election or accepting or denying the claims that the board president and another member got on board illegally in 2008. There is no mention of other bids presented to them and they were accepted or not and the reasons they were not. Of course we know its pretty much impossible to explain how they go with Tina’s bidders every time when 3 to 5 lower bids are available. The omissions in this website are glaring. Where are the contracts for the vendors? Where are the invoices? When it shows how much to the penny each homeowner pays maintenance fees, where are their addresses?
We emailed the president through the website and asked them about the contract with our insurance agency and the list of homeowners. We got no answer.
Lets not forget all these have been available for years and years by paying only copying fees. They have been pushing homeowners to check their website. Was the push an effort to cut out information?
For the record we don’t think putting homeowner lists on a website with their maintenance fees is a good thing. When there are big companies that are constantly hacked with their top notch IT departments what chance we have in the world of ransom ware, malware and etc.?
All that aside looks like the board couldn’t argue with the numbers anymore. The effort of submitting bids to them and them not even inspecting them, showed nothing but them getting rewarded by giving contracts to Tina’s bidder. It was just getting to be too embarrassing for them and had to do something. That something was to hide and dare us to go to court and force them. That means its better to spend homeowners’ money to hide the fact that they could spend less on various contracts with some necessary and some not. We have no option but to go to court. We are starting at a lower court and hope to let them know we are serious about getting documents. They should not be spending homeowner money on courts and lawyers when they could just keep supplying the documents as before.
Yesterday a homeowner called our attorney with slurred speech and threatening
words. She was not happy that CH was planning a lawsuit to obtain financial
records from the Board. This shows the board really feels threatened being exposed
and ultimately being forced into getting more bids and may be even hiring contractors
other than Tina’s. They just can’t take their biased and fraudulent
elections get a makeover. After all they would not be interested in being on
the board if all they have to be would be true volunteerism. How come 3 of the
5 members have been there since 2009? Why the new board members have resided
here no more than 3 to 4 years and are yes people or bring something to the
table that can benefit a few? The homeowner through our attorney threatened
CH if CH files lawsuit to get quarterly statements. Is there something really
interesting in those? She even had words that could be construed as threatening
to the attorney.
We let Tina know about that this morning. We also let he know if the statements are not available by mid-week, the lawsuit will be filed. We are ready for that homeowner and anymore threats she could make.
Do they expect the homeowners to deposit maintenance fees every month into an account and not be able to see the transactions, checks and the balance?
Legal action against the board?
We let the board know of our intention. It was to assure that our rights
are protected. The rights are to be able to inspect documents and in particular
financial documents that we pay into every month. Maybe the board saw entitled
to withhold that from us but Texas Property Code Sec. 209.005 and our own bylaws
enable homeowners to be able to examine records and in particular financial
The board does not have the right to withhold any documents from us and we are planning to move forward if they don’t release these within 10 days. They must also assure us that this newly created pattern of obstruction will not be repeated. We don’t know if this is a dare or their last ditch effort to stop us from getting competitive bids which are solely for the benefit of the homeowners and nothing else. It would be great if the board meet with outside bidders but they have shown no intention in doing that while they are preparing to raise our maintenance fees in 2020.