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henchman17 commented on
Posted by
12 points · 3 days ago

Best way to get around this is to get a free-standing mount of some sort for the flag. Sometimes associations allow mounts to be clamped to the structure. Otherwise, use sandbags to keep the tripods or other equipment from falling over in the wind.

as long as the flag and flag pole are located solely within, on and over the owner’s Exclusive Use Area.

This probably means that you won't be able to drape the flag over the balcony. So unless you have approval to do so, you won't be able to clamp it onto the exterior of the balcony as that part will be outside of the "exclusive use common area", and into the "common area"

Op52 points · 3 days ago

Rule in HOA Book

Outdoors. No person may install on the exterior of any unit in sight of the Association Property or other condominiums, any clothesline, patio cover, wiring, air conditioning equipment, heating units, water softeners, other similar Improvements, or other exterior additions or alterations to any condominium. Outdoor patio or lounge furniture and plants may be kept in an Exclusive Use Area in accordance with the Rules and Regulations. Outdoor display of the flag of the United States is permitted pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1353.5, as long as the flag and flag pole are located solely within, on and over the owner’s Exclusive Use Area.

Whatever owner’s Exclusive Use Area is defined as is the question. Ill make my balcony look really bad for the public out of retribution.

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52 points · 3 days ago

"Unit", "Common Area", and "Exclusive use common area" will be defined in the CC&Rs. If the CC&Rs have a "condo plan" as an attachment or exhibit at the end, this is where that definition will come from.

henchman17 commented on
Posted by
5 points · 3 days ago

Sounds like the Board is trying to finish up some goals before handing it over to the new directors, so that you have an easier time running things.

Unless you have something weird written in your governing documents, the committees can be changed around by the board at any time. At the very first meeting with the new directors, you can replace the committee chairs, approve new charters, or end/start any committee the board wants.

If these committees are problematic in any way, make a change. Otherwise, its probably just work that you won't have to do.

henchman17 commented on
Posted by
10 points · 3 days ago

Review your association's violation/fine policy. Does the first notice you received meet the requirements outlined for a 1st violation warning notice?

You should request a hearing with the board to dispute the fine. You should ask to review a copy of all complaints received by the Board and make an argument against them. You should also dispute the validity of the "warning letter".

In the end, you should try to work out an agreement with the Board to waive the fees and allow for one more hearing if there is another complaint before taking legal action, and you should formally offer to open the window and light candles (as you said you already do) to show that you are playing ball and working towards the same goal.

But as u/401k1987 mentioned, not smoking in your unit is the only way that you can be sure to not break this rule as written. Therefor, I'd suggest seeing if there is anything you can do to change the way this rule is written.

After this issue dies down, you should talk to other members/shareholders and see if there are other smokers in the building. If you have enough support, you should petition to change the rule to be something along the lines of allowing for smoking within the apartment as long as the smell is not reported by 2 or more separate unit owners to have entered the hallway or other apartments. This way, it's less likely that someone with an over active sensitivity (or grudge) can abuse this rule to harass other members.

Op-5 points · 3 days ago

Thank you, this was really helpful advice.

I’m not sure I can change the policy, especially considering how frowned upon smoking marijuana is, but I will review the house rules and request more specific information about why I’m receiving these notices and move forward from there. I’m not denying that the smell doesn’t leak, but I would better be able to prevent it if I know who/where it was affecting.

Thanks again, I appreciate your advice.

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-2 points · 3 days ago

Not sure why you're getting down voted. Best of luck

henchman17 commented on
Posted by
Op1 point · 4 days ago

Anybody else use FSR who can chime in? They were one that caught my eye so any additional feedback on them would really help.

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2 points · 3 days ago

FSR bought out a ton of small operations a few years ago. They have done a couple of good things like generally standardized a lot of the bookkeeping functions and pushing managers to get CMCA certified.

Other than that, the service is highly dependent on the individual manager assigned to the client. There is not a lot of oversite. They don't typically have a lot of manager resources like standardized language for day to day items such as work orders, bid requests, and violation letters. Each manager or management office has to figure out items like form language, tracking & scheduling systems, communication methods, and other resources.

henchman17 commented on
Posted by
Op1 point · 4 days ago

Gotcha, does this sort of thing typically cost a good deal of money? I will look into lawyers, but their fear is having to pay a large sum just for them to continue being harassed.

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1 point · 4 days ago

I honestly don't think that an attorney would help as much as it would cost, at this point. What you have described sounds like a typical response from the Board's side. The problem is that the Board seems to be following a pretty standard rules enforcement policy, and would be protected as contract enforcement by IL codes and precedent set for Board enforcement of HOA rules. If they actually approved fines to be applied to the account based on the evidence they have shared with you, then I'd agree with lawyering up.

The legal representative may help reduce the frequency of these violations, if the board is actively practicing discrimination. However, its more likely that they are just going to send the same notices to the lawyer and then not respond to the lawyer's follow up requests, while the lawyer charges your parents for their time. In addition, the Board is probably going to become a lot harder to deal with when working through a lawyer.

If this is a harassment issue, its likely harassment from another owner. At this point, your parents would have a tough time proving that person's motive and would probably need to also show damages to have a successful suit against anyone.

At this time, they should work on documenting everything and figuring out who has been complaining

Op2 points · 4 days ago

Understood. In one of the supposed complaints, the photo evidence they submitted to us essentially proved the original complaint was invalid. They are now allowed to have 2 cars parked in the guest lot, and in the photo, you can clearly see that only 1 of their cars is. In this instance, what would you suggest? They don't want to make a stink of things, but they also are shocked that somebody can insist on serving them warnings for something they aren't breaking the rule for. The photographs show their single car being parked over the course of 2 days, and at no time was their 2nd car present.

Appreciate the help!

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2 points · 4 days ago

A warning letter does not have an appeals process, as there is no decision or penalty addressed by the Board. A warning letter does not mean that the unit in question has broken a rule, it only means that someone has reported a violation against them. It sounds like this issue with the parking has been resolved.

Unfortunately, anyone can make any claim they wish with little or no consequences. Someone is complaining about them. Perhaps that person complains about everyone and since your parents are new, this complainant is really cutting loose. It may be that the next door board member is the one who is complaining. Regardless of who it is, your parents should talk with other neighbors around to see if this is a typical thing in this community.

They should also attend the Board meetings or join the Board to see if there is a problem with racism at the Board level. If that's the case, they should lobby to remove those people from the Board, or talk to an attorney about other legal options based on the evidence they obtain.

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henchman17 commented on
Posted by
5 points · 5 days ago

Since you aren't looking to get rid of them at this point, I won't say that you should solicit bids from other management companies and share the bids with the rest of the Board to increase interest in change.

Instead, I would recommend that you assign monetary value to the management co's errors and failure of duties, and work with the rest of the Board to demand compensation for the errors.

The landscaping one is a failure of the landscaper. I wouldn't work too hard against management on that.

The Board packet, weather it's written into the contract or not, is an expectation of service. the Board should request a 25-50% deduction for that month's management fees.

For the late fee, so long as the Board approved or signed the payment in a timely manner, you should request a $50 credit to cover management's error in processing,

For the mailer, management should send a correction letter to explain the error and provide replacement envelopes at their own cost.

Basically just enforce accountability. Either the management company will course correct, or they will show you that they don't want your business.

henchman17 commented on
Posted by
222 points · 9 days ago

Some states don’t require the creditor to take partial payments. Beg or borrow the funds. Pay it and stop the foreclosure.

Also, alert your lender. They may step in and pay it and charge you for the privilege, but it’s better than losing their lien.

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109 points · 9 days ago

alert your lender.

that is really good advice

Op73 points · 9 days ago

No lender involved. No mortgage. I own the house free and clear.

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30 points · 9 days ago

Yeah I'd look into a home loan to pay off debt. Probably the cheapest way of doing this by January if you can't liquidate anything else.

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henchman17 commented on
Posted by
5 points · 9 days ago

Is it common practice for the HOA to budget a fee to the management company AND a separate expense for postage when presumably the management company handles the mailings?

Yes. Postage and other payments to third party service providers (USPS in this case) is typically paid directly by the HOA or as a reimbursement to the management company, and not included in the contract management fee.

It appears the GL premium is increasing nearly 300% to almost $10,000 annual. Is that to be expected for some reason?

Expected? no. Unheard of? also no. Insurance is going crazy now.

I've read how reserves are often based on a percentage of depreciation of common areas, which we have very few of as described above. Does it make sense that reserves should be increased from $45k to over $66k in a single year?

This may be normal, due to inflation of materials and shipping costs. You can find more details about how this is calculated in the "Reserve Study".

Is it proper to request evidence of bills for things like electricity and landscaping?

Yes. You are a member and should understand what your club is paying for. If nothing else, it will set you up to be a helpful volunteer for your community.

Should the budget contain separate line items for grounds maintenance, mulch, and landscaping enhancement? That seems overlapping.

If that makes sense for the Board, management company, and/or CPA, then yes. It may help them see if there is a spike in expenses or otherwise help them to budget their expenses more accurately.

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