HOA question

21 Replies

Hopefully the real estate agents can answer this question. Can an HOA dictate it's members to do physical labor such as working on landscaping? An email was sent out to all HOA members and stated that they expect all members to work 10 hours a year in addition to paying all dues. They said this was to keep the dues low. This association is in Tennessee if that matters. Thanks for any answers.

wow that seems off. I know we usually get a letter asking if we want to take care of our little backyard on our own. We still pay the same amount, its just offered. And I know if we plant something we are responsible for taking care of it. I'd like to see if anyone can answer you, very interesting .

It is not invoke HOA documents. The board voted on it and decided that the members needed to contribute 10 hours annually on the common areas.

I replied back to them and stated our insurance probably didn't cover the liability issues of volunteers working without being bonded and insured themselves. We now have a nice little battle going on.

It is another HOA that is out of control and power hungry story. Sad but true.

I would consult an attorney, but I would be highly surprised if the HOA could legally enforce the requirement of labor from the owners. I could see a discount in dues if you did work, but can't see them requiring you to work.

Never could understand why anyone would buy were an HOA is.


Joe Gore

The key word is "volunteer". Nothing wrong with a little community involvement for those that are willing.

They can expect but if you say no is there a penalty?

Yes. A $25 penalty per "volunteer day" if you do not help. I am checking with our insurance company to see if the liability issues are covered since the volunteers are not bonded/insured/covered by workers comp. insurance. My personal attorney says they have absolutely no power to do this and may be open for LARGE lawsuits if a volunteer is hurt or if someone gets hurt from something done by the volunteer.

Seems kind of silly. Hoping that they aren't doing anything dangerous.

We have had people deliver envelopes instead of mailing 340 units to save a few bucks.

Ever thought of running for the board?

The liability/workers comp angle for forced labor seems like a good avenue to pursue to prevent them from being able to enact their voted on rule. The board or its owners should not be allowed to do anything or make rules that causes the building insurance to be cancelled or causes undue liability risks for the HOA.

I would however also explore the other angle of board overreaching their power with that vote. issues affecting condo fees or contribution toward common areas and need to be voted on by all unit holders, not merely the board. The board usually has power to create and vote into effect rules and regulations along with penalties per the bylaws, but creating rules that require labor from unit holders (labor being substituted for a higher HOA fee) appears to be beyond the reach granted to the board and instead requires a majority vote from all unit holders instead of just the board. What do they expect of older home owners and disabled owners? You'll need to pour over the bylaws to see what the board is or is not able to do but this appears to be a type of contribution increase to the HOA that needs full shareholder approval and can't be voted on in a closed board meeting.

I think everyone will learn a lot by seeing what happen to all the dishonest HOA members in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Joe Gore

An e-mail notice of what your HOA " expects " is different

from what they can compel. It also seems doubtful that the

" Doc's" Rules and regulations outline "failing to volunteer"

as a " violation" subject to a fine. Whatever the cost savings

intended, these are sure to be "overshadowed "by the costs of

" enforcement " Is e-mail even a valid form of "service" in Tenn.?

Another example of why it's important to keep abreast of what

your Board is up to! " Tempest in a Tea Pot " as they say!

Originally posted by @Joe Gore:
I think everyone will learn a lot by seeing what happen to all the dishonest HOA members in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Joe Gore

People were getting jail time and showing up dead all over town over one of the HOA messes here.

Then we have the "higher ground" litigation on over 500 HOA's.

Robert Adams, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9530304 ), NV (#62827), and RI (#18138)
702-349-9175

I think this requirement is totally unenforceable and will be easy for any attorney to put the board in their place quickly. Putting the insurance issue aside, a disabled owner could easily sue over such a requirement and take the whole complex down. HOA boards often have no legal counsel when they come up with these ideas. I own a condo that's now on the market. Last night I was reading the minutes from the most recent board meeting. It would be funny in the way an episode of The Office or Parks and Rec is funny ..... if you didn't own in the complex.

This is probably being over blown a bit. Can they enforce it...not likely. Is it more of a community spirit thing, save a little money, bond with your neighbors thing.....most likely. We used to have a day or two a year where volunteers would do some planting, replace some fence boards in the paddocks, paint some stuff, etc. But we were 69 homeowners in an old neighborhood and it was a good thing, no "penalties", strictly volunteers. Plus, no one could fire you for having a beer on the job on a hot Florida afternoon.

Originally posted by @Wayne Brooks :
This is probably being over blown a bit. Can they enforce it...not likely. Is it more of a community spirit thing, save a little money, bond with your neighbors thing.....most likely. We used to have a day or two a year where volunteers would do some planting, replace some fence boards in the paddocks, paint some stuff, etc. But we were 69 homeowners in an old neighborhood and it was a good thing, no "penalties", strictly volunteers. Plus, no one could fire you for having a beer on the job on a hot Florida afternoon.

Agreed that it could have been done in a community spirit way. Nothing wrong with having scheduled community clean-up or maintenance days. But "volunteer" this many hours/days or pay a "penalty"? IMO, the board is going to be very sorry about sending that email.

The HOA replied to my email with.... "We have tried a volunteer only type of workday but hardly no one showed up. Plus we tried to raise the HOA dues but never get enough votes"

My sympathies to them. I told them I am perusing this with the insurance company first. If that fails, I guess my only option is to simply call their bluff. I am really amazed that I am the only vocal member of the HOA that is willing to question this Gestapo type management. I have gotten several email replies from others that say they agree with me but few are willing to make a public statement I support.

I submitted a list of concerns to the agent that manages our policy and have yet to get his official response. I will update when I do. I wish I would have thought of the disability persons angle earlier. That would probably have jolted some of the people. Although the board would probably just charge them the $25 non volunteer fee.

Again, gestapo seems an over reaction. The board's in a tough spot when things need to get done, and the homeowners refuse to raise monthly dues to get it done....even though I think it's strange that a majority homeowner vote is required to raise dues to pay for necessary costs. Maybe that's the real problem.

Originally posted by @Wayne Brooks :
Again, gestapo seems an over reaction. The board's in a tough spot when things need to get done, and the homeowners refuse to raise monthly dues to get it done....even though I think it's strange that a majority homeowner vote is required to raise dues to pay for necessary costs. Maybe that's the real problem.

Yeah, in the HOAs I've dealt with so far there is no voting on increased fees. There's a notice in the mail and that's that.

Originally posted by @JR C. :
The HOA replied to my emaiI submitted a list of concerns to the agent that manages our policy and have yet to get his official response. I will update when I do. I wish I would have thought of the disability persons angle earlier. That would probably have jolted some of the people. Although the board would probably just charge them the $25 non volunteer fee.

My concern is that a disabled person cannot all of the sudden be required to volunteer or pay a "penalty" for something they can't physically do. Forcing someone to pay for what they cannot physically do in this situation is discrimination. I'd try to get them to pull the volunteer "requirement" and penalty asap. Tell them that it needs rethinking and rewording and a little legal oversight. Just one disabled tenant calling a hotline to find out their rights would be such a headache.

Unfortunately, our CCR's state that a simple majority is needed to raise dues. I tried to express to them that raised rates would be cheaper than a law suit.

My attorney is willing to write them a letter to warn them that forced labor can not be enforced and to basically stop with the constant emails with assigned tasks but I really don't wish to go down that road.

Gestapo is a strong word. Let me downplay that to glazed over eyes power hungry.

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