guest blog by Deborah Goonan
A Tongue-in-Cheek Guide for HOA Boards & Managers
1. Create as many rules as you can, the pickier, the better.
a. Be sure to create rules in closed session rather than an open meeting.
b. Optional: provide an announcement of the new rules only AFTER you have put them in effect. Then ignore any objections.
c. Rules created hastily as a knee-jerk reaction are guaranteed to cause maximum conflict.
2. Be inconsistent about enforcing the rules.
a. Allow friends and family to break rules. They will help you stay in power.
b. If you are a Board member, you can make up your own rules. If anyone challenges you, tell the resident you are entitled to special privileges for doing such a thankless job.
c. Use penalties for breaking rules as a weapon against residents you do not like, especially disgruntled troublemakers, or anyone who does not “fit in” with your expectations.
3. Drive through the community actively looking for violations, so you can start sending nasty letters and charging fines.
4. Encourage residents to turn in their neighbors for various violations of rules.
5. Be especially vigilant about citing the following groups with rule violations: the elderly, people with disabilities, single parents and their children, veterans, racial and ethnic minorities, and any resident that dares to question your competence, ethics, or authority.
6. Treat members like wayward children. Play the role of Strict Parent by scolding or talking down to them.
a. Post stern reminder notices about not breaking rules in public places and in the newsletter.
b. Repeat the mantra “the rules are the rules, and must be followed.”
7. Alternative: treat members like insubordinate employees. Play the role of Authoritarian Boss. Use bully tactics, swift and harsh penalties, and always speak in condescending tones. After all, you must keep the residents in line.
8. Find an unscrupulous HOA Attorney, and then keep him or her busy escalating disputes and running up legal fees for violators and the HOA.
9. Authorize expensive contracts for unnecessary “emergency” repairs and renovations, without a vote of residents.
a. Do not waste money on “boring” maintenance and repairs such as cleaning gutters, fixing plumbing leaks, or seal coating roads.
b. Focus your attention on “window dressing” and “fluff” instead.
10. Issue a special assessment to cover excess legal and maintenance costs.
a. Then move swiftly to lien and foreclose on residents that cannot afford to pay the special assessment.
Just a couple of additions:
Be sure to spend the dues on paper, printing and postage to mail letters to all homeowners advising them that those who are providing them with information are liars. Fabricate whatever you need to say to control the ignorant homeowners and make them believe you are the supreme authority and all others that share information with them are nothing but pariahs and not to be believed.
When a topic of hot discussion (ie: a million dollar loan) is on the agenda of the board meeting declare the heating or cooling (whichever season applies) is not working and cancel the meeting on the spot. If anyone asks to inspect how hot or cold the clubhouse is, to determine if it would be acceptable to still hold the meeting, immediately call 911 and make up whatever it takes to convince the dispatcher you are being threatened.
I think we could all add to this list, a few reams of paper should do it.
Yes, but I tried to keep it short and snappy!
Another excellent blog by Deborah Goonan. I would like to add: Be sure you sue one of the nicest, rule abiding, caring, honest, transparent an fair homeowners in the community. Accuse them of anything you can make up. Drag them through the courts like a criminal. Make up any tale of lies you can, destroy their reputation, libel and slander them, so you can show everyone in the community how powerful you are. Criminally take the innocent homeowners home using all your friends you may have in the courts. We now know you may have put some in place, or “educated,” and/or influenced others already there. Make an example, using this abuse and criminality inflicted upon an innocent homeowner, so the other homeowners know what will happen to them, should they question you, or your authority!
The one I have noticed is not to approve any requested project unless the person hires the approved contractor. In our hoa in the past one of the directors boy friend put up fences. You can be sure that he was the only one putting up fences in the community and the fences were desirable to get some of the property away from being fined probably for not having the fence. For awhile the hoa was on a mailbox kick. The question I asked was the mailbox is on another persons property. Are we allowed to enter their property to fix something like a mailbox? That boyfriend left the area and everyone just purchased one from Home Depot and that was that.
10 great reasons not to live in an HOA. Well stated!