guest blog by Jill Schweitzer
I’ve been taking HOA classes put on by the City for the last few years. I used to attend to learn, now I attend to see what I missed the first time around, what the HOA industry omits in the discussions, what blunders I am able to witness.
Recently I attended a class where the HOA attorney was discussing how he is representing an HOA which is suing an owner because he put an extra block on his block wall. He told us how the lawsuit has been a pending for a couple years and his fees are now up to approximately 22k.
The attorney then went on to say how he was basically looking forward to winning the lawsuit, putting a lien on the house and then taking the house.
I do not understand how Boards allow homeowners to be treated this way. That attorney’s attitude is horrible. No one should lose their home because they made their fence a little too high. No one should arrogantly state they are going to take someone’s home. There is too much power in HOAs, and in the actions of those in the industry.
This behavior simply wouldn’t happen if Boards smarten up…and if the laws were changed to protect owners. I highly doubt that an extra row of block impacted property values in that community.
One more note, attendees in class fill out a survey and make suggestions for future classes. The person who coordinates the classes then sends an email to all attendees with the results. I made two suggestions that were omitted from the email:
1. Have a class taught by an attorney who is not a part of the industry lobby groups.
2. Have a class taught by a particular attorney in Scottsdale who is offering arbitration at a much lower cost to owners. He is not a part of the industry lobby groups.
The powers-that-be must have decided those two suggestions were too outrageous. Or quite possibly there is some control over the content provided to homeowners and board members who attend classes. My goal is to have a class taught by non-lobby group attorneys in the near future regardless of whether the City sponsors the class.