About 13 years I became an owner of a house in a community which was controlled by a Home Owners Associations. When I was moving in I had no idea what I was getting into. It actually sounded really good to have documents that outlined what one can and can’t do in the community. As any other owner to be I was given a 200 or so page document which was written in a legal mumbo jumbo. I looked it over paid attention to few chapters that I thought I cared about and happily signed on a dotted line.
Then I moved in and dealing with our HOA became a reality. Often I felt that our board was run by a power hungry mob that had nothing else to do by to control my life and life of everyone else living there. No matter what questions I asked I got pretty much one of few answers: “because this is what board decided”, “because this is what our documents say”, “because this is better for the association”. I loved them all and the last one was my favorite.
So I decided to see if I can change things around. I started researching the subject of HOA management. Learned laws dealing with HOAs in California and started talking to people. Quickly I realized that I knew more about the subject than our board of directors and even our management company.
Things started to change. Owners became knowledgeable about their rights and the next time we heard “because this is what board decided” we were ready with “show us a basis for your decision” reply.
Soon thereafter I started helping my friend and acquaintances deal with their HOA issues. In no time I was helping friends of friends, and their friends, and friends of their friends. I didn’t know these people and they didn’t know me. One thing was common they all felt that HOA boards were unreasonable and treated them unfairly. Because I was completely unbiased I found myself ‘ruling’ both in favor of HOAs and in favor of homeowners. In fact it was probably about a 50-50 split. What was the most amazing is that even when I felt someone was ‘wrong’ and their HOA was ‘right’ people that an hour ago were ready to fight their HOA till the lost drop of their blood suddenly became understanding and agreed that it made sense.
It didn’t take long until got an email from one of the board members thanking me for my help in resolving a matter that had going on for over a year. And they asked me to take a look at another matter with another homeowner. I agreed …. This was long 8 years ago.
Since that time I have helped many clients understand rule and regulations governing their association. I help many fist time condo buyers understand rules of the community they are considering moving into. I also do a lot of ‘common sense referring’ between HOA boards and members. This saves them thousands and thousands of dollars and prevents creation of a hostile environment.