HOA Won't Quit on Special Assessment

12 Replies

I purchased a townhouse in North Carolina about 4 years ago.  The place needs exterior painting, but there is quite a bit of argument surrounding the bids, color, and alternative options.  We voted down a special assessment of $2,500 for painting back in October and a $100 increase in dues for painting in December, but the board has just sent notice of another meeting to be held in March for a vote of a $2,350 special assessment.  It seems like the homeowners have already spoken, but the board just won't quit until an assessment is eventually passed.  Are there any laws relating to how often a board can hold votes for the same special assessment which has already been voted down?  I'd appreciate any input.

As far as I know an HOA board can hold as many meetings as they want but they risk the rest of the association turning on them. Find out the end objective of the Hoa board . Why is it so important that this particular assessment be passed. See if you can negotiate by understanding their reasoning.

How old is the hoa? If it's old enough--maybe 20 to 25 years, enough owners voting for it, may be able to terminate it. Check your ccrs.  Look in the table of contents for words like amendments, termination.   IFIRC, in mine, it was near the end of the ccrs, and was the 20 year mark.

Also in mine, almost all the ccrs were repeats of city/county regulations, so basically another layer of government and local control.  Not everybody will want to end the hoa. (maybe even you.)

@Claire Hudgens I hope you’re running for a Board seat. It’s always easy to armchair quarterback the HOA board. Most HOAs aren’t looking flush money down the toilet for fun. And if you want a louder voice on how often votes are held, that’s your avenue. Ain’t democracy grand?

Now, personally, I don’t love HOAs for investment properties because they have control over my investment. But I love that ours stopped someone from enclosing their garage to move another person into their house. So as with all things, it’s a glorious double-edged sword.

If they need a special assessment for painting, they aren’t charging enough for monthly dues.....it costs money to maintain things...you’ll pay one way or the other.

@Claire Hudgens   This is another example of why I hate HOAs.

Here is how this should work...

1) The HOA should decide how often the property will need to be painted.

2) The HOA should figure how much it will cost.

3)  The price should be divided by how many assessments will happen between paintings.

That is basically the amount they should be charging ever assessment for painting.

If they cannot do that I would suggest one of two options. A) Buy enough units to control the board or B) List the property and hope the buyer does not google your HOA which is probably like most and has been bad mouthed all over the internet.

Originally posted by @Linda Weygant :

Why on earth don't the homeowners want their properties painted?  So short sighted....

For many reasons.  First, the board is only getting bids for one coat of paint on exterior wood and refuses to look into options for additional coats.  One coat of paint won't hold up for long in our location and may not even cover the paint that's already there.

We've been replacing gutters over the past few years, all of which are baked in same color of which the community is already painted.  The board won't reason with homeowners and opt to paint houses the same color to avoid another gutter update.

Also, a neighboring community just replaced exterior wood with vinyl siding.  It was a bit more expensive, but won't require the same level of maintenance going forward as wood on a waterfront community.  The board won't consider this option, regardless of the number of homeowners that voice interest.

Finally, the board own't show the homeowners the current bids for painting and wood replacement.  They say that the bids are "intellectual property" which can't be shared.  

Would you want to give them your money with so many unresolved disputes?

I agree with @Account Closed , I wouldn't rent or live in a property that was under the thumb of an HOA. You lose control of your ability to force appreciation and perform proper maintenance of your property. Forced appreciation is one of the greatest benefits of RE investing and it's completely gone with an HOA. You don't choose when and how repairs are done, you can't choose the contractor and you certainly can't negotiate price. You basically have a property manager that controls you forever.

I know this isn't helpful given your current situation, but you have no power other than one, tiny vote. 

It may be in your HOA rules or docs what percentage vote is needed to make a new rule or change an old one. If, for example, 80% of your community wants to switch to vinyl siding and it only takes 65% to change something, then gather together, go around and get proxy votes yourself if needed, and change it. If you start showing up to the meetings with proxies for most of the neighborhood, your board might pay attention.

Originally posted by @Lynn M. :

It may be in your HOA rules or docs what percentage vote is needed to make a new rule or change an old one. If, for example, 80% of your community wants to switch to vinyl siding and it only takes 65% to change something, then gather together, go around and get proxy votes yourself if needed, and change it. If you start showing up to the meetings with proxies for most of the neighborhood, your board might pay attention.

 Lynn - this is great advice.  Thanks for the input!

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