HOA violation appeal

Londoner

Platinum Member
#1
Anyone have success fighting an HOA violation? My question has more to do with my responsibility, as well as the responsibility of the HOA.

Got a violation notice in late Feb, as we seem to have a drainage pipe coming from our pool's auto-fill onto the adjacent property, which happens to common area owned by HOA. They noticed some drainage due to a broken autofill valve, and flagged us for that. I checked the CC&R's, and we are indeed in violation.

However, we purchased the home in '12, and the pool was built in '08... so all that work was done well before we owned the house. The HOA design modification guidelines indicate a process that ends in a "Compliance Verification"... so my assumption is the HOA approves the work, clears for the construction to start, and then verifies the construction was done in accordance to the design for the pool. One would also assume they would inspect items such as the one we were flagged for, before the approve the construction.

The HOA guy told me they changed systems a couple years ago and have no documentation on that. I called the pool company who built it, and they only go 2-3 years back, so I have no documentation verifying anyone signed off on it. However, I should assume the HOA follows their own guidelines and verify the work was done in accordance to their guidelines.

I've talked to their compliance coordinator a few times on this, and he stated they don't have the bandwidth to do verification of compliance on everything they get. I also told him I'd be happy to work with them on getting this fixed, but did not feel I should pay the expense to do that.

So all that being said... my appeal is coming up in a couple weeks. What should I expect, and how can I best prepare? My main argument is they didn't follow their own process and either didn't verify compliance, or they did and simply did not know to ask about the drainage. Also, when you purchase a house, you have to pay for a search with the HOA to make sure there are no liens or pending issues. We were clear, and should've been able to purchase with a clear conscience. But now we're stuck having to deal with an issue that should've been properly done 9 years ago.
 

Jayhawk

Gold Member
#2
They should be willing to work with you since they have no backup to their approvals that far back. Unless it is a menacing problem they should just let it slide. It obviously hasn't been a problem in almost a decade. You may have a new management company that is trying to nit pick to show their value.

We got a notice for the satellite dish on the garage at the front of the house. Technically a violation but it was there when we bought the house in 2007 and we only hear about it 10 years later. I informed the HOA leadership about that and the fact that about 25% of the houses in the division violate the letter of the law on that. They have since ask the management company to back off of that rule.

The title search would only find liens against the property not HOA pending issues. If there were issues the HOA should have notified you promptly about them when you got the house.
 
#4
The statute of limitations in Texas for enforcement of HOA violations is 4 years. The can't do sheeeet after that time. If you want me to find you the specific law backing this fact I can.
UPDATE:
Here's a link to a few pages from my law books on the matter.
Please tell them to pound sand and leave you alone.
http://www.wheatoncs.com/HOA-LAW.pdf
 
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Londoner

Platinum Member
#5
The statute of limitations in Texas for enforcement of HOA violations is 4 years. The can't do sheeeet after that time. If you want me to find you the specific law backing this fact I can.
UPDATE:
Here's a link to a few pages from my law books on the matter.
Please tell them to pound sand and leave you alone.
http://www.wheatoncs.com/HOA-LAW.pdf
Matt... thank you for sending that! Very happy to see this.

Quick question, if you know the answer. The "Discovery Rule" is what I'm nervous about, as the violation was "discovered" when the pool fill-valve malfunctioned, causing drainage along the fence line. The HOA investigated why the water was pooling around the side of the house and down the hill on the adjacent sidewalk, which is when they discovered the violation.

That being said, the final part of their process for a design approval is to have a compliance verification... so they should've discovered where the drainage would go when they checked the final construction. They might say they never did the verification, but that really shouldn't be my problem, IMO. The drain is along the bottom of the fence, but is concealed a bit by the HOA planted shrubbery lining the fence. Me, nor the previous owner, made any nefarious attempts to conceal anything.

Should I expect them to be reasonable? Thanks again.
 
#6
Matt... thank you for sending that! Very happy to see this.

Quick question, if you know the answer. The "Discovery Rule" is what I'm nervous about, as the violation was "discovered" when the pool fill-valve malfunctioned, causing drainage along the fence line. The HOA investigated why the water was pooling around the side of the house and down the hill on the adjacent sidewalk, which is when they discovered the violation.

That being said, the final part of their process for a design approval is to have a compliance verification... so they should've discovered where the drainage would go when they checked the final construction. They might say they never did the verification, but that really shouldn't be my problem, IMO. The drain is along the bottom of the fence, but is concealed a bit by the HOA planted shrubbery lining the fence. Me, nor the previous owner, made any nefarious attempts to conceal anything.

Should I expect them to be reasonable? Thanks again.
You didn't try to hide anything and they could have discovered it at any time. I would do as much homework as possible, with printouts for all board members before going in. Be friendly and encourage them to be reasonable, but be prepared to play hard ball with an attorney. I can refer you to an attorney if it comes to that and they could stomp this issue in a second if they try to start fining you. However, don't threaten to get an attorney if you don't really mean it.
I would present them with exactly what you just told me about where it is and the HOA planted shrubbery.
It sounds like this is a no big deal issue and the water is not normally there and causing no problems.

Note: They will probably tell you they need to take the issue into executive session, and talk to the HOA attorney. Depending on the nature of your HOA board, the attorney will still try to say they can come after you. If you are serious, and stand your ground, you likely have nothing to worry about. Texas courts and judges are typically against HOA and enforcement tactics.
 
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Rimrock

Double Platinum
#8
Sure
If you are serious, and stand your ground, you likely have nothing to worry about. Texas courts and judges are typically against HOA and enforcement tactics.
if you willing to do and pay for all that instead of just fixing it.
 
#9
One thing to keep in mind .. any legal fees paid out by the HOA to defend their stance, comes out of the HOA dues you are paying. Just keep this in mind as you evaluate a remedy.
 

Londoner

Platinum Member
#10
Sure if you willing to do and pay for all that instead of just fixing it.
It's not something I'd take to court... just want my voice heard on the issue. Am willing to work with them, just wanting to know my options and whether I have a fighting chance. Willing to fix the issue but not willing to be the only party involved. If the HOA didn't follow their own guidelines, they should share some of the responsibility IMO... or simply let it go. But if they want it fixed, they should be as involved in the effort as I am. Rarely am I the idealist, but am in this case.
 

David

Platinum Member
#11
Based on everything I've read here, I'd agree with both you and Matt. Wouldn't bother attorney level. But if they don't exercise some reasonable logic and simply take care of it on their own dime after the discussion, I would be tempted to make the matter publicly well known by every homeowner affected by that HOA. If enough people see how they've chosen to play, maybe that brings about some activity that results in new, more reasonable board members. Maybe, maybe not. But the whole matter would really piss me off to have an HOA telling me they have no docs, may or may not have done their job, and now that they've actually noticed something, want me to pay for what a previous owner got them to approve. I don't think so, Sparky.
 

Londoner

Platinum Member
#12
Thanks, David... I agree that's a good route. I have some neighbors of mine who learned about this and they are all pretty mad at the HOA that we were cited for this. Good to know.
 
#13
HOAs and reasonable logic do not exist. I was denied a fine refund because the HOA called my wildflowers weeds. Even after they agreed they were not weeds. I PLANTED THEM

If I was still in Dallas, I'd take them to district.