Properly zoned, planned and organized neighborhoods benefit residents greatly. There is much to be said about uniform enforcement of appearance standards and maintenance requirements. They can help contribute to overall property values. They can also make it simple for people to know the standards for any given community.
Homeowners associations (HOAs) often serve as an intermediary between individuals and the rest of their community. People who live in an HOA community will pay monthly fees to the association. In return, the HOA will set and maintain standards for the whole community. They may also maintain certain communal amenities, such as playground, community pools or shared spaces.
While most HOAs do their jobs well, the nature of these organizations often invites corruption. From nepotism in the assignment of work contracts to issues with board members receiving large portions of the monthly fees in pay, there are many ways people can abuse the HOA system. If you believe you are dealing with an HOA that is putting personal gain above their duty to the community, you may need to take action.
Financial gain, insider deals and other issues are common with HOAs
The fees that you pay to your HOA each month may vary from less than $100 to $1,000 or more in some cases. Regardless of how much you pay, you have every right to know how the HOA spends that money. It should go toward maintaining community standards and taking actions that will improve the property values for everyone in the HOA.
Do the people who serve on the board receive payment? How does your community vet professionals who provide services such as lawn maintenance and landscaping? Do they truly try to find the best bid from the most competent company, or do they just hire someone who has a personal connection to someone on the HOA board?
Corruption and insider deals can cause the members of a homeowner’s association a lot of money. It can also be lucrative for the people reaping the benefits of those monthly HOA payments. If your HOA wants to perform unnecessary repairs or spends too much money, you may need to take action.
Demand transparency and take action against misuse of HOA funds
In general, the records of meetings and financial transactions performed by your HOA should be available to members of the community. If the association refuses to release those records, that could be a warning sign of improper practices.
Making an informal request for records first is a good idea, but you may need to take legal action if your HOA won’t provide you with documentation. If the documentation you obtain makes it clear that there have been questionable or corrupt business deals, you and other residents may need to discuss your options with an attorney who understands Florida real estate and HOA laws.