Texas Monthly Report Conflicts-and-Interests: HOAs have become a big business. They generate $40 billion in annual assessment revenue (the dues collected from individual homeowners) and $35 billion in reserves, representing a huge government-like contracting opportunity only without all the procurement safeguards and transparency guarantees expected of taxpayer-supported entities.
Editorial Feature - Are Homeowners' Rights a Myth?
PART ONE: Behind HOA Irony Gates Politics, Taxes, and Homeowner Rights
State law specifically prohibits any changes
to the HOA governing documents; referred to as Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) and By-Laws without a vote of its members. However, powerful HOA Management industry and related business interests devised and developed new and dubious law-making policies by resolution without consent or vote by the homeowners. A Resolution is a quick fix that gives
the board and management companies new found power to impose arbitrary rules and restrictions that can undermine owners property rights and ability to micromanage a community as they like.
A year ago, the gated community of Bluffview Greens elected an unopposed board of directors. Eight months later, the Board
directed AMS / First Service Associations management attorney file a new governing document Resolution at the County Courthouse which nullified the previous board decisions. It wasn't until two months after that, the Board - under pressure - finally notified the members of the Resolution filing. In an attempt to explain the boards
justification, the President wrote: I think that you would agree that, if a political party is voted into an office, it does not need to follow the previous partys decisions, regulations, policies, and laws. In fact, I would hope you agree that the voters voted for the new party to have the rules changed.
Paris Constantzos, President of the Board of Directors, Bluffview Greens Homeowners Association.
For the past 10 years, questionable activities of Home Owners Associations (HOA) managed communities have been the subject of local, state, and national concerns. In
2011 the Texas state legislature addressed the issues, however the effort may have done little to curtail management companies and HOA Board members from attempts to control living and depriving unsuspecting homeowners of their rights in managed communities.
Example, the Bluffview Greens board also disregarded previous board
decisions that were made based on the results of both a board conducted survey and a community members petition that had been submitted as well. Unfortunately the management company, AMS / First Service Association, admitted both the survey and the members petition had been thrown away, even though Texas state law requires records to be kept
for 7 years.
Recently, HOA members exercised their right under the bylaws to gather the necessary signatures to call a Special Meeting on the practice of passing resolutions without HOA members knowledge or consent. However, the board disregarded the petition and the right of members to hold a Special Meeting, then
aggressively blocked further attempts of members to hold the meeting.
On February 10, the Annual HOA Meeting was held; and despite a record turnout of homeowners,
the board conducted the meeting with an irony fist until the clock ran out.
To be continued