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Homeowners Associations

September 29, 1994
Re "Homeowners Groups a Love-Hate Affair" (Sept. 19): I read your informative article with great interest. Members of the board run for election often unopposed. Most residents are apathetic and do not attend meetings unless they have a personal agenda. More often than not, the directors are untalented. In our case, our reserves are too low (28%) and maintenance is less than minimum. We have unchecked termite infestation and many of our roofs leak. When I questioned our reserves, insurance and code violations, I was booed and denounced as a troublemaker.
April 13, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Thinking this would be cost-effective housing, I bought a condo in the Riverside County area. Since then I've asked the board to repair my unit's balcony railing numerous times to no avail. Six years later, I received a notification that the balconies on all 96 units must be repaired, costing each owner more than $3,000. I have no say in the way things are done around here. This homeowner association has wasted thousands of dollars on repeated cosmetic primping like painting, parking lot slurry seal, landscape and more.
January 16, 2011 | By Stephen Glassman and Donie Vanitzian
Question: I'm an owner and board director for my homeowners association of less than 25 units. For four years our association has been fighting ? to the tune of thousands of dollars per month in attorney fees ? over ongoing nonsense. Although it's wise to have association documents kept up to date, I didn't intend to spend four years of my life copying documents and meeting with lawyers. I believe that small associations like ours should be able to opt out of complying with California's Davis-Stirling Act. The legislature just seems to keep making these laws more complicated, time-consuming and expensive to comply with.
April 7, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- The state Senate took action to protect condominium and mobile home owners from fines from their homeowners associations for not maintaining yards at times when they face government water conservation orders because of a drought. State Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said his urgency measure is needed because some residents of common-interest developments face conflicting mandates when the governor has declared a drought. "It gives some comfort to the homeowners in homeowners associations right now who might be subjected to this double penalty," Nielsen told his colleagues.
December 12, 2010 | By Stephen Glassman and Donie Vanitzian
Question: I live in a town house with a tennis court. Children also live here and use the courts to run around in and underneath the nets, treating it as a playground. These children do not play tennis and they are not accompanied by adults. I complained to the board but was informed there is a new California law that prohibits discrimination against children. I am not discriminating against them, I just don't want damage done to the court or complex, whether caused by an adult or a child.
July 15, 1997
A new homeowner association in Boyle Heights elected officers Saturday, making it one of the first residents groups on the Eastside. The Boyle Heights Resident Homeowners Assn. began meeting about two months ago to participate in decisions about the neighborhood. About 60 families have joined, and organizers said they hope to involve hundreds of people.
A four-year dispute over tall trees and blocked ocean views has escalated into a mini-war in an affluent neighborhood here after 200 eucalyptus trees were abruptly cut down this week by the local homeowners association. Sheriff's deputies responded Tuesday and Wednesday to reports of unrest in the 151-home Potomac Landing community, where tree crews say they were threatened with a shotgun, shoves were exchanged, and members of the Potomac Landing Homeowners Assn.
February 18, 2004 | Daniel Yi, Times Staff Writer
Prompted by reports of families losing their homes over as little as $120 in unpaid fees, a state Senate committee on Tuesday began hearing testimony on alleged foreclosure abuses by homeowners associations. The private neighborhood groups regulate everything from how homeowners paint their houses to what ornaments they put on their front lawns.
April 3, 2006 | Daniel Yi, Times Staff Writer
When police found 78-year-old Lucy DeAbreu in her Dana Point condominium, her face had been pummeled so badly that she couldn't speak clearly. The petite widow had to slowly spell the name of her attacker: M-I-N-E-O. Charles Mineo and DeAbreu were neighbors in a tidy ocean-view complex favored by retirees and weekend sojourners. Mineo, a 47-year-old accountant, was angry at his homeowners association because it had penalized him for an unauthorized addition to his unit.
February 26, 1995 | KAREN E. KLEIN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Klein is a Monrovia free - lance writer. and
For 14 years, Sam Dolnick owned a home in a Chicago suburb. He cleaned the rain gutters, mowed the lawn and fixed the plumbing. For the past 16 years, Dolnick has lived in a condominium in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa. He leaves the lawn, the roof and the routine maintenance to professionals. "I love taking walks around the complex and looking at the green space and realizing I don't have to mow all that grass," the 75-year-old retired educator said. "It's a great way to live."
April 6, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Our manager refuses owner requests for documents, causing our association to be sued several times a year. Each time she comes to court as a defendant, she brings her so-called evidence and answers, "Your honor, see Exhibit X. " She overloads on exhibits, most of which are contrived for the purpose of that hearing. Her main strategy includes putting on big exhibit head notes supposedly explaining what each exhibit consists of, but when the exhibits are scrutinized and read, they have little or nothing to do with what is head-noted.
March 30, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: I'm the president of our homeowner association mainly because no one else wants the job. We live in a prestigious area of Los Angeles and have fewer than 30 units. Because nobody wants to be on our board we hired a management company. They're not a California company. Their head office is out of state, and we've never seen or been to their California place of business and do not know where it is or that they even have a California office. A management representative came and picked up our files and documents, including owners' personal information and accounts, and gave us their P.O. box number.
March 23, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Our association board allows the manager to control all the homeowners association notices that owners are supposed to get. The manager picks and chooses who will receive notice of meetings, elections and other important issues. Sometimes she puts these vital notices in a locked glass case, way at the other end of our huge complex, takes a picture of them as proof the notices were put up, then orders the security guards to remove those same notices from the case after the snapshot.
March 9, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Our board is very lax when it comes to financials. We don't get timely information, and the information we do get from management and our treasurer is so sparse that owners and the board alike don't have any idea where our association stands. Is there some kind of format that financial statements must follow? Answer: Civil Code section 5305 pertains to standards used for preparation of review of the association's financial statement. It states that unless the governing documents impose more stringent standards, a review of the association's financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles by a licensee of the California Board of Accountancy for any fiscal year in which the gross income to the association exceeds $75,000.
March 2, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Is our homeowner association's board obligated to disclose legal actions to titleholders? Does the board have a duty to disclose the costs of legal fees incurred for such legal actions, or do we owners just sit back and wait to be slammed with several thousand dollars' worth of special assessments months or years later to cover those fees? Our pro forma annual report is sparse, so how can owners protect themselves from something like this? Answer: Owners should never sit back and wait to be slammed with assessments.
December 15, 2013 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: I own a house and my mom owns a one-bedroom condo in the same homeowners association development. We want repairs made and we're frightened because our board directors constantly threaten owners; if we violate any of their rules or governing documents they'll fine and then sue us. Those threats are reduced to writing by the board's voracious attorney, who threatens to send us invoices for legal fees. Our properties are not in trusts and we're unsure how to proceed. What are the costs of setting up a trust and will a trust protect us from litigation by the association?
Tall pine and alder trees give Big Canyon Townhouses a woodsy atmosphere, and the cozy homes with their shake-shingle roofs, natural wood siding and balconies complete the rustic look. But the forest-like allure also is the latest bane of 83-unit complex. Termites, left unchecked since the first buildings were erected 19 years ago, have devoured one balcony and supporting beams and chewed into other areas.
November 24, 2013 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: I have been on my homeowners association board for two years. All communication between the board and the attorney goes through the association's manager before distribution to the board. I just discovered the manager has been withholding communications the attorney has written to the board. I've also found instances where the manager regularly emails the association attorney stating, "The board wants" and "The board would like you to," when in fact the board never discussed such matters.
September 6, 2013 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: The new board is trying to cut down unnecessary expenditures, but our homeowners association has a law firm on retainer and a management company on contract. Periodic audits unearthed what looks like duplicate and excessive billings for telephone conversations and communications between the attorney and management company owners and employees, also billings for attorney and management attendance at association activities. We have not asked either the law firm or management company to partake in these communications or activities.
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