Hello Everyone! Need advice. Totally confused and frustrated. Just today I got two certified mails at my home address from my Condo's HOA. My Rental Condo is located in Dallas and I live North of Dallas. The HOA is citing me (tenants or occupants at the rental) for two violations, 1) Gambling and 2) More than allowable tenants living at my property. Each violation cost me $100. Damm! IT! I called my Tenant and they were obviously denying it. I then called HOA and to my surprise they said "We were just discussing your case. Infact you (I) have 50 violations against my tenants." WTF. And it took them this long to notify me without any warning. Basically I now owe the HOA 50 x $ 100= $5000. BS!!!
When I bought this property, I had notified the property manager about my contact address I do have it in email writing she received my email. Now the same person is telling me there was some goof up and all this while (all the 50 or so ) notices were being sent to my rental property address (condo) and that my tenants weren’t sharing those with me. And apparently, these violations have been happening since July!!!!
Firstly, I think they are trying to clean up the area. The crime has spiked and my tenants are 20ish year old and I think the part of the condo sub-div they live is towards the back which attracts a lot of lets just say "not the perfect crowd." Plus the area is a low income area. Anyway, they are telling me to evict the tenants. And for HOA directors to consider reducing or eliminating the fine I need to submit a letter. I feel they are using me as a scapegoat to do all the dirty work.
My tenants are telling me they haven't received anything and if they did they would tell me. At this point its tenant's word vs HOA. Our option (tenant and mine) is to file an appeal with HOA BOD but I doubt they will budge.
Firstly, because of property managers mistake they were sending the notices to the wrong contact address for me. How is this my fault ?! I shouldn’t be liable for any fine till I get a warning which I never got because it was going to the wrong address.
Secondly, what would you all do? Just talk the tenants to leaving and starting from a fresh start? I feel this is a slippery slope and could get ugly w.r.t housing laws. I don't want to get caught with any violation w.r.t fair housing laws. My tenants said they want to fight the case and this also tells me that HOA is cooking stuff up.
A couple of thoughts here:
1. This is why I don't invest in condos. The condo board can make your life miserable, and many condo boards and HOAs seem to attract the type of busybodies who like to tell others what to do.
But that thought is not particularly helpful, since you already own this place, so the second thought is
2. This is why a good attorney can be an essential part of a business owner's team.
I'm not talking so much about legal advice, although that can be useful sometimes. I told my lawyer when I hired him, "Look, I don't need you to draft or negotiate contracts. I've been doing that for years. And I probably don't need much in the way of legal advice - I'm good at researching the law myself. I want you to make calls for me so that people know I'm not ****ing around."
When you call the condo board, they're gonna give you 10 kinds of ********.
When your lawyer calls the condo board and says, "I understand you're claiming you've mailed notices of fines to my client. And it seems like these 'violations' are dubious at best, AND you've been mailing them to the wrong address. What kind of Mickey Mouse operation are you guys running over there?"....they're gonna sit up a little straighter and pay attention.
You want a good, ball-busting attorney, not a cheap wishy-washy one. And you want to cultivate an impression of unreasonableness. When they think you'd rather spend $20,000 on attorney fees than pay their damn $5000 fines - because it's not the money, it's the principle of the thing - they realize that they'd be spending $20K on their own attorneys, and suddenly they become more accommodating.
Rohit, I've been in your shoes before as an owner. My firm manages HOA's and rentals. This should be easy to resolve with the hoa with a little diplomacy. First they should have been sending notices to the owner's (yours) address. This may have been a simple mix up from the title company. You need to have a heart to heart with your property manager and come up with a plan to fine your tenant. If they don't pay any fines you get stuck with get them out. If they don't start acting like adults....that is a little harder. It's difficult to evict for reasons other than money owed. Good luck and just stay calm. Emotions can just make the situation worse.
@Rohit Dhing HOA were originally used for evil. Not much has changed. My first instinct is to declare war on the HOA.
If they do not immediately drop the first 48 violations I would ask them the following...
"Do you know of any other units for sale? I need about 10-15 for use as transitional housing and sober living. I will need that many because when I put a website up showing the outside of the complex and giving the address lots of people will be interested."
@Rohit Dhing I forgot... if they do not have a policy on file about how much they will charge for document production do an official request for every document the HOA has created since you bought the property. If they do not provide them or overcharge you private message me because I know of lawyer they will take them to court.
Thanks everyone for the great responses and the satirical ones too :-)
My first modus operande is to head to HOA office and collect these 50 violations. More to follow as soon as I have something.
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