Forclosures serves as powerful tool
Q: Our association attorney has recommended that the association buy a unit that is in foreclosure. The unit has been vacant for over a year and would need some rejuvenation to lease. Can the board approve the attorney's recommendation without the members' approval? I see no benefit to do this because we would then be responsible for the taxes, liability, expenses and management.
The loss of fees and legal costs from this one unit is about $2,500 so far and that works out to about $25 per home. Would it not just be best to mark off the loss rather than spend more to gain?
A: Without knowing the details and financial records of this situation, I agree with the attorney.
Here are my reasons that the board should foreclose on the home and take title. First, it is the board responsibility to force owners to pay their fees. The lien and foreclosure are the most successful method to force this issue. It has been said that the board has the most powerful tool in that they can force a delinquent owner to be evicted and take the title to the home. The next reason is that you want the home to start generating income or pay the fees. This can be accomplished by selling or renting the home.
There is another option if the bank has a delinquent mortgage and that is to give the bank title. Doing this will cause the bank to start paying the fees.
Turn complaints into actions
Q: Our HOA has an Architectural Committee that approves paint colorsfor our homes. My problem is the recent color approved on homes in our neighborhood. It is quite obvious that the recent colors clash with the older colors. I have complained to the board of many failures with rules but they have not responded to my concerns. Enough is enough; can I sue for damages and loss of value to my home?
A: If you are so upset, the better solution is to become involved with the association. Volunteer to be on the Architectural Committee or, better yet, become a candidate for the board at the next election. I have watched too many members sit back and complain and fail to become involved. It is every member's responsibility to not just be a spectator but get up, stand up, and volunteer to help your community. The state says that each member has the following responsibilities:
•Pay your fees on time
•Use the common areas in a proper manner that does infringe on others
•Maintain your private property
•Attend and participate in meetings
•Bring concerns and problems to the attention of the board using proper communications
•Serve on the board of directors and committees
•Be familiar with the document and statutes.
Most associations have only about 20 percent of the members that follow these guidelines. Until the members lose the "let others do it" attitude, no community will operate to the efficiency that the members deserve.