Many HOA board members who are tired of fulfilling their duties try to hire professional management companies to do the heavy lifting. But an HOA in Houston has learned a sad lesson about how some idiot HOA managers can get them into massive trouble.
Jacqueline Greene, a single mom with three kids, got behind in her rent at the Villa de Cancun complex owned by Woodfair Properties. Woodfair has a nifty way of forcing late-payers into forking over the money. They just screw the front door to the doorframe. Jacqueline removed the screws. The HOA management company did it again, once again forcing her to remove the screws so she access her apartment.
This time, Woodfair properties simply removed the front door altogether. Neat trick to pull on renters, right?
Well, not exactly. After Jaqueline and her kids spent several nights in the cold she contacted a lawyer. They filed suit based on the fact that this oh-so-professional management company had blatantly broken the law. There are legal ways to evict a tenant. Woodfair chose the illegal way. And guess who won? Jaqueline, the tenant.
If you’re a homeowner whose board just decided to hire a management company, remember you may be more vulnerable than ever. And if you have deep pockets just remember the phrase, “joint and several liability.” It means that even if you had no idea your management company was being so stupid, a lawyer can start digging through your pockets to force you to pay the entire judgment.
Welcome to HOA Amerika.
(link to Houston Chronicle story)