guest blog by Nila Ridings
Here we go again! I hope this will be an eye-opener for our readers.
Quivira Falls Community Association still ranks at the top for winning the “HOA Bullying Award.” Why? Because like most HOAs they love to bully people. They seem to really get some sort of sick thrill out of irritating the homeowners. But, it’s far more than irritating, they are putting us at risk for property damage and liabilities.
Gutters being my responsibility, I had new ones installed in 2008. Knowing that Quivira Falls has a very long history of not performing necessary maintenance, I spent an extra three hundred and fifty dollars to have gutter guards installed. The company I did business with has been around since 1972 and certainly knew what they are talking about when they said, “do not let anyone use leaf blowers on your gutters because it will tear up the guards!” So, I notified Quivira Falls HOA office that I did not want anyone to clean my gutters going forward. Well…let’s see, it’s been six years and they still love to put people on my roof with leaf blowers which now results in me calling the police.
Two years ago, they taped a note on my front door saying since I didn’t want my gutters cleaned by the HOA they would no longer be doing it. I gave a sigh of relief…finally…somebody learned how to read and understand what my letters said. Yeah! Nope, not yeah…within hours of writing me that letter on Quivira Falls letterhead they were up on my roof! I called the police and kept the report in my files.
Today, after all these years of emails, letters, and calling the police, they were back up there with the leaf blowers! From my office window I could see the ladder and hear the noise. With my phone and camera in hand, I walked outside and removed the ladder from my guttering and dropped it into the grass. I called 911 and told the dispatcher what was happening and that they were still on my roof and the ladder was laying in the grass. With my camera positioned and ready, I waited for them to come over the ridge of the roof. They saw me, my camera, and the missing ladder. When I said the police were on their way the one started apologizing and the other stood stone-faced on my roof. In nothing flat the police arrived just as their supervisor/owner did. He immediately instructed them to get to the next job, but the officers wanted to see their identification first.
The police advised me they cannot arrest workers for trespassing. Nor can they arrest a company owner unless he’s caught on the roof. I’m basically screwed except I have the option of taking them to circuit court. You bet I can do that! I’m always welcome to spend $30,000, $50,000 or even $100,000 in legal bills to try and stop myself from being bullied and attempt to be reimbursed for construction repair bills. I will also be the one paying the tab for damage to my gutters and shingles along with the cost of water damage repairs on my ceilings caused by broken shingles that create leaks! And, if I’m really lucky they may cause a rafter or two to snap which gives me the pleasure of hiring a contractor to come and snake his way through my bedroom closet and into the attic while carrying long pieces of lumber that scrape my walls and woodwork.
To properly clean gutters you must remove the debris and then flush the downspouts with a garden hose. Walking around on roofs with leaf blowers is a waste of time and money since the downspouts are ignored. It’s a farce, to say the least. And a way to fool homeowners into thinking they are getting something for their $240 monthly dues.
So, I asked the officers, “How would I sue somebody when I don’t know their name, company, or location?” With that, the officer asked the company owner if he would like to share his name and contact information with me? He said, “No!” I looked at the cops and stated people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing and this guy won’t even identify himself. Yet, I’m supposed to sue him if I have damage to my roof or guttering? Really? With that, he reluctantly handed me his business card.
After he left, I mentioned that one of the roof top workers reeked of something that smelled…you know…medicinal. The cop said he wished he’d of smelled it. Possibly he would have if “Mr. Mystery” had not quickly shooed his workers away from the area.
Bottom line, my attorney has told me to never let anyone work on my property without seeing their certificate of insurance even if they are employed or contracted through the HOA. Reason being, if they fall into my fenced area or on my front porch resulting in injuries or death, I will be the person responsible and hit with the lawsuit if they are uninsured!
On this same issue, a few years ago the HOA cleaned the gutters of some new homeowners that moved here from a foreign country. The nicest people you would ever want to meet! Their gutter guards were blown out and left laying on the grass around their townhouse. They asked if I would type a letter on their behalf requesting they be re-installed because they don’t speak or write English fluently. I suggested they mail it certified. Quivira Falls refused it, so when it came back they hand-carried it into the office. How shocked they were when the woman in the office told them to put the gutter guards back in themselves! That’s right, the HOA blows them out and you can just buy a ladder and climb up there and do the job yourself! “Welcome to America!!! and Quivira Falls Community Association one of the nation’s finest bullies in HOAs!”
As the police were leaving the fire department ladder truck pulled up. I guess the 911 dispatcher must have assumed a roof rescue was going to be needed. Yes, indeed these HOAs are costing the taxpayers a ton of money and they don’t even have a clue. The police chief’s office says always call them to come out and make a report even if they can’t arrest anybody. That way if you end up in court with an HOA case you’ve got police reports to back you up.
I just lost another precious day of my life in HOA HELL!
Nila, Good for you to follow-up with the police. I know you wasted precious time and energy dealing with this situation, and you shouldn’t have had to. The management company, at the very least, should have communicated that they skip your home. But of course, we know that wouldn’t happen because it takes work on the part of the CAM to remember there is a homeowner who doesn’t want their gutters cleaned. Most property management companies aren’t set up to keep accurate records, and CAM’s come and go. And, there is the fact you’ve already been labeled as a troublemaker.
We are on a corner house in our community and the sewer opening rap around. It is about 10 foot and it has been sinking at least 3/4 inch in the 10 years. Cars drive on part of the sewer opening and they put a lot of pressure on the sewer which will cause more sinking. This sinking has caused major cracks in the sidewalk which has a commons section going into two ramps to the street. It is clear that sometime in the near future there is going to be a major event with massive damage to our property and probably side walk being destroyed. I have been attempting to start work on something to correct the defect in the hoa’s sewer system. They do not like to help on anything.
Thank you, Holly for your support. I sure don’t get any in my HOA.
There is more to the story and I’ve written the blog…watch for it to come up in a few days.
I did learn the property manager told the contractor to stay off my roof but he claimed he got busy and forgot to tell his workers.
The other great concern is whether his company is carrying insurance. He did not respond to my request and so far neither has the HOA. I have been told by a reliable source…by federal law they have to provide me with a copy of the certificate of insurance. I will be confirming that with an attorney.
After talking with my attorney, I’ve learned…
If the guy with the gutter cleaning company doesn’t have insurance it falls back to the HOA. If the HOA doesn’t have it, it falls on the homeowners. So far, nobody has responded to my request to see the certificate of insurance. Which leads me to be skeptical as to whether they have insurance or not.
I have a right to see that certificate per laws and the CC&Rs for my HOA. But since my HOA seems to think laws are a joke and they don’t apply to them whether or not they will produce the document remains to be seen.