What is Fix Your HOA?
I’ve owned a few homes in the past, but never in an HOA. In August 2016 I moved into my new home, and promptly received a ballot for my HOA’s board of directors. I had no clue what to expect… not of the association itself, the board members, the upkeep of the common area, or anything else.
Having the luxury to be to be semi-retired and having some time on my hands, I decided I would go to every board meeting I could attend — and I’ve been to them all! Along the way I read and studied the governing documents, state statutes, and many books on HOAs. I joined a non-profit organization that claimed to represent me as a homeowner (along with HOA boards, management companies, and HOA attorneys), and I absorbed as much of their online educational material as I could suck in.
Then in August of 2017, I was on the ballot. The September Annual Member Meeting was a fiasco, and I had to force my HOA to reconvene the meeting to continue the election (after the then-president declared us to not have enough quorum – which we did in fact have). I was elected Secretary, and began asking questions about the HOA’s official documents — many of which did not seem to exist. I gathered CDs of our information from previous two management companies, and started the process of collecting all of the records of the association that should have been maintained for years.
Then in April of 2018, one of the board members disrupted one of our meetings with a screaming, table-pounding, cursing, accusatory rant that basically stopped the meeting in its tracks less than 5 minutes into it. I led the remaining board members in a process to take back our HOA and get back on the track of revising our processes and notifications to be more neighbor-friendly.
Then in August of 2018 I was on the ballot again, and with some concerted effort helped to have 5 of us elected to the board that really want to work together for the common interest of all of the owners and residents of our community. It’s a work in progress… but it’s working.
You Can Fix Your HOA, Too!
So I got to thinking: Wouldn’t other people want to know what I did, why I did it, and how they can do it, too? Most everyone I talked with said “Yes, I want to know!”
And so Fix Your HOA was born.
HOA management companies and HOA attorneys say they want to help the HOAs, but the truth is their actions generally say differently. They’re the ones telling your boards “you have to get tough with your members… send those violation letters out, collect those fines, put liens on anyone’s home that owes a few hundred dollars, and foreclose on anyone that owes a few thousand!”
Wait, these are my neighbors you’re making money off of.
There’s More to do than Fix Your HOA
As I developed the approach to “getting the word out,” I discovered that there’s a huge opportunity here to change the way HOAs operate. Yes, an incorporated homeowners association is a business, but most HOAs are primarily operated by management companies that make big bucks telling the HOA boards how to do things. And if there’s ever a question, the management companies defer to HOA attorneys who also make big bucks telling HOAs how to do their business.
I decided I need a way to help HOAs compare their governing documents, their spending, policies, and processes with other similar HOAs. The concept of Learn About Your HOA was born.