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Behind HOA Iron Gates
Saturday, 20 February 2016

            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&R’s) 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 owner’s 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 Association’s 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 party’s 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… PART 2

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