Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Accursed HOA, I will smite you!

Our Homeowner's Association is really pissing me off. We received a notice from them on Wednesday that a budget ratification meeting is being held the Tuesday before Christmas. If 67% of the homeowners in the association *don't* object, the budget they've come up with is considered ratified. The dues are set to increase from $34 to $41 PLUS $15 "reserve recovery fee": when we bought our home in 2001 the dues were $29/month. We can't opt out of the association, we have to be members in order to have our home. Just a few weeks ago the HOA informed us of their new policy on rental properties: you have to get HOA approval to rent your home to someone else, AND pay a $500 fee because of the "extra work" *they* claim they will have to do in "managing" properties where the homeowner is not in residence. It's extortion!!

So, I have a copy of the HOA's board-approved budget. The budget has increased by just short of 100K, no wonder they have to raise dues and ask for an additional "reserve recovery fee"! This thing is laden with benefits for our Kirkland-based Management Service but I can't see where these new expenditures benefit the homeowners.

They are *budgeting* that they will collect an additional $4200 in "late fees" and $2500 in "reimbursed collections fees" (aka paying for their lawyers)in addition to the dues increase.

They want to add a full time on-site staff person to "manage" things here (measure the length of our grass and scrutinize the color of our porch steps, no doubt) at the cost of $23,000 a year salary and they've increased the "management fees" line from $32,444 to $67,200. The homeowners are paying an additional $1580 for "conventions and meetings" (which CDC charges $95/hour to attend, if I'm reading the notes right), an additional $6000 in "office expense" (the only note explaining this additional $6000 says "includes Annual Report Fee of $10"), an additional $9000 for office space for the new onsite staff person, an additional $1250 for a website, and an additional $1600 for "miscellaneous". And let's not forget the $8800 budgeted for ACTION FORCE ONE, the security company whose presence has failed to curb graffiti and vandalism (see their lack of response to the vandalism of my car and theft of my CD player, the golf club incident, the broken window in my side-yard, or the neighbor's fence being set on fire this summer...).

Meanwhile the HOA has *decreased* the amount being spent on translation services, even though this is a largely immigrant neighborhood and people speak 15 or 20 different languages in our community, and they've *decreased* the funds for community building and community events!

I really am outraged by this. I have less than a week to do anything about it, and my sole opposition is not going to accomplish much, but I'm seriously considering going door to door to talk to my neighbors about this situation this weekend. The meeting itself is taking place after I'll have already left town for the holidays with my dad and I can't attend. I wonder how many other families are going to be in the same position. Even if our neighbors aren't celebrating Christmas in particular, I would not be surprised if they're taking advantage of the long school break to vacation with their families.


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Anonymous Dr John K Says:

It sounds like you have been called to action to become the next benevolent dictator (or, if you prefer, philosopher-queen) of the HOA. Good luck calling them to account!

Anonymous Ann Says:

Can you vote by proxy? Or mail a vote?

Blogger BI Dev Team Says:

Perhaps the HOA could generate extra income from ACTION FORCE ONE related merchandise?

A nice line in bomber jackets, boots, caps and action toys- for example...

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

I used to live in a Condo complex that was managed my CDC. IMHO, they are worthless. I couldn't stand the rep they sent us and I was on the board for two years. Odds are unless you rally the other residents, a majority won't vote and the price increases will occur. I'm so glad I don't belong to an HOA anymore.

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Just for the record, the idea of scheduling a snap vote for a period when most of your opponents are unlikely to be there to vote against you is a tried-and-true tactic in Washington, D.C. I wonder why it took so long to make it out to Seattle.



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