Push for Homeowners Association Full Disclosure Law

Full story: WHNT News 19 66
Alabama is one of a handful of states that doesn't have much consumer protection when it comes to buying a house. Full Story
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ReeMaxx

Des Moines, IA

#1 Apr 29, 2010
"They're trying to convince lawmakers to draft legislation that would give Alabamians consumer protection when they buy a home in a homeowners association."

This looks to be a partial fix at best. Why have disclosure only in neighborhoods with homeowners' associations? States with true seller disclosure require homeowners to inform purchasers of very specific aspects regarding the home's condition, including HOA information. This is true disclosure and transparency. A bill taking care of only upper-middle class homeowners is a waste of time and effort. What about the rest of the people?
hmmmm

Huntsville, AL

#2 Apr 29, 2010
good point ReeMaxx.
buzz

Huntsville, AL

#3 Apr 29, 2010
Good luck with this one.
If you buy a house witrhin a HOA you are making a major mistake which can cost you thousands with nothing to show. A very few HOA elected persons can and will pass by-laws restricting the use or control of your property. E.g. a landscaping company is hire to cut all lawns, or clear leaves, or make any exterior construction on any property. No signs of any kind, no flags, and they have to approve the sale of your property.
HOA votes can be backroom counted, you lose total control.
Also they have in the by-law you cannot sue them.
You are not intitled to see this by-law until you own property unfder the HOA, then it's too late!
nthair30030

United States

#4 Apr 29, 2010
I agree with ReeMaxx. As a realtor i will tell you that there are alot of subdivisions or neighborhoods that do not have homeowner associations,especially older ones and those in county areas,so don't these people deserve consumer protection as well?
seems to me like another attempt to protect middle/upper middle class people while the ones below continue to get screwed.
suggestion from me as a realtor.
If you want to somewhat protect yourself, here are a few tips: 1. Get a home inspection from a licensed home inpsector and DON'T use the one recommeded by your realtor. Go to the bbb.org website and pick one yourself. 2. Review your paperwork carefully before signing or let someone else review it. If you feel pressured by your realtor or builder to buy, cancel the transaction in writing asap but you may lose your earnest money. any problem you have with your realtor, you may file a complaint with the real estate commission in montgomey. 3. Don't use local real estate attorneys for advice, they work for the realtors, especially the big ones like remax. check police reports or websites for sex offenders in the area, especially if you have children. If you can't afford the monthly paymnet, Don't go the closing table, talk with your loan officer before closing and get in writing what your payment will be. if you get to the closing table, take someone else with you if you want the paperwork reviewed by some else, and if the payment and terms is not what you want, GET UP AND WALK!
HOAGOV

Phoenix, AZ

#5 Apr 29, 2010
With respect to "full disclosure", do not be fooled by existing, special interest written, disclosure laws in other states that carefully avoid serious questions of legitimate consnet to sureender one's rights and freedoms. As I wrote elsewhere,

First, if indeed CC&Rs were a contract under Contract law 101, as is implied by all arguments claiming contract interference, then the CC&R agreement, held by the courts as a binding agreement, would fail the very basic requirements of a valid contract:

1. a genuine meeting of the minds — requires that the parties understood each other — full disclosure.
2. consideration for the agreement — requires a bargaining and “a give and take” between the parties.
3. cannot be an unconscionable contract — unfairness due to oppression or surprise (adhesion contracts are a “take it or leave it” agreement).
4. specificity of terms –“agreements to agree” are invalid, and open-ended amendments (no restrictions on the scope and extent of amendments appropriate to the HOA “mission”) are an example of an “agreement to agree”.

As part of meeting the public government law requirements, proper and fair disclosures to prospective buyers is a must! Today’s so-called disclosures are inadequate because many material factors, the negatives in particular, are not mentioned — they are still primarily regarded as selling tools. The HOA supporters believe in the old adage,“What the people don’t know won’t hurt them. Trust me!” Education is very important because the only education the public gets today comes from the pro-HOA special interests, mainly CAI, who are extremely biased toward selling HOA communities. We know HOA governance is markedly different from public government, but no educational seminars or public school civics or history classes cover these differences, nor are these differences the subject of political talk show discussions.
Cheryl Boyett

Huntsville, AL

#6 Apr 29, 2010
I think that the HOA should be held accountable, we should know where our money is going. I live in the WoodMill Trace off of hwy 72, and I purchased a home about a year ago and we have had nothing but trouble. I pay for yard service which includes fertilizer, and etc but they have never done our back yard. I have spoken to two of the HOA members and they try to make excuses and not give me any answers. I have even called the company that takes care of it. But that should not be my responsibility , Also they have opted to take the fees out of our accounts by draft and if you opt not to do that we are being charged an extra $100.00 for this. So I guess i am saying that we don't know what our money is going to. And that we are not getting the service that we are paying for. I really need help knowing how I can get this problem resolved.
buzz

Huntsville, AL

#7 Apr 29, 2010
Cheryl Boyett wrote:
I think that the HOA should be held accountable, we should know where our money is going. I live in the WoodMill Trace off of hwy 72, and I purchased a home about a year ago and we have had nothing but trouble. I pay for yard service which includes fertilizer, and etc but they have never done our back yard. I have spoken to two of the HOA members and they try to make excuses and not give me any answers. I have even called the company that takes care of it. But that should not be my responsibility , Also they have opted to take the fees out of our accounts by draft and if you opt not to do that we are being charged an extra $100.00 for this. So I guess i am saying that we don't know what our money is going to. And that we are not getting the service that we are paying for. I really need help knowing how I can get this problem resolved.
I'll tell you where it's going.....someones pocket and there nothing you can do about it.
HOA's are the worst thing to get involved. They will tell you what kind of mail box, you can't paint your house a company they hire will do all the houses. Don't tell me there are no kick backs.
In 3 years I lost over $13,500.00. I was even charge $10.00 per bag of leaves and limbs from my back yard, because the lawn service only does the front, I had 10 bags.
A storm blew down a large tree across the back yard, when I asked about clean up, sorry the tree fell from adjacient property not controlled by the HOA.
Then when I cleaned it up and stacked the wood into chords, I was told to remove the wood from the HOA control area.
They redid a 12 foot privacy fence around my A/C, of which I did not ask for, it cost me $675.00 for that.
Get out!!!
Help

Madison, AL

#8 Apr 29, 2010
Please help me to understand more about the laws regarding HOA....I bought a house in a subdivision last year, have heard from the neighbors that the owners the the subdivision will tell alot of things that is not true about buying a house from them, as of now all of us do not pay a fee, the owners stated we will pay a fee when 20 houses are builted in the subdivision....I am very upset b/c I think if we complain about this situation we can make it harder on ourselves by paying money to the owners for upkeep. I found a yahoo site that someone posted a complaint about this subdivision and the owners....
buzz

Huntsville, AL

#9 Apr 29, 2010
Help wrote:
Please help me to understand more about the laws regarding HOA....I bought a house in a subdivision last year, have heard from the neighbors that the owners the the subdivision will tell alot of things that is not true about buying a house from them, as of now all of us do not pay a fee, the owners stated we will pay a fee when 20 houses are builted in the subdivision....I am very upset b/c I think if we complain about this situation we can make it harder on ourselves by paying money to the owners for upkeep. I found a yahoo site that someone posted a complaint about this subdivision and the owners....
Currently there may not be a Homeowner Association (HOA) after the twenty or so houses are sold the builder / owner of the divison my opt for a HOA, you do not have to join, and I would advise you to NOT

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#10 Apr 29, 2010
I would recommend NEVER buying a home where there is a HOA. Most of the time, HOAs are run by a bunch of nazi's with nothing to do. They use the HOA to harass and bully their neighbors.

Since: Apr 10

Location hidden

#11 Apr 29, 2010
My house is in a subdivision in the county, but there is no HOA. The subdivision I live in was established about 25 years ago. There are several mobile homes, barns, chickens, goats, horses, etc in the area. I don't want to invest 30 years of my life to pay for a home when I have someone telling me when to/not to mow my grass, what I can/can't build on my property, or any of the other things involved. It may be great for someone who chooses to have someone regulate all that, but it surely isn't for me.
Woodmill Trace resident

Grovetown, GA

#12 Apr 29, 2010
Cheryl Boyett wrote:
I think that the HOA should be held accountable, we should know where our money is going. I live in the WoodMill Trace off of hwy 72, and I purchased a home about a year ago and we have had nothing but trouble. I pay for yard service which includes fertilizer, and etc but they have never done our back yard. I have spoken to two of the HOA members and they try to make excuses and not give me any answers. I have even called the company that takes care of it. But that should not be my responsibility , Also they have opted to take the fees out of our accounts by draft and if you opt not to do that we are being charged an extra $100.00 for this. So I guess i am saying that we don't know what our money is going to. And that we are not getting the service that we are paying for. I really need help knowing how I can get this problem resolved.
I also live in this neighborhood and this woman apparently doesn't have a clue about the HOA there. I had sprinkler problems and a problem with the lawn care company that the HOA took care of both quickly. And her "100 dollars" is actually 8 dollars a month difference for using an auto draft. There is no mystery in how funds are handled, as they provide monthly statements at their meetings to anyone who bothers to attend. I don't think HOA's are right for every neighborhood, but for a town home community like ours, they are a good idea - as long as transparency is maintained.
nancy

United States

#14 Apr 29, 2010
what about enforcing the rules?? mine does not enforce the rules and then the homeowners have to suffer with the neighbors when rules are broken... there should be some kind of law for that. People move in and do not even read the rules when they are given to them, nor do many care what the rules say. and as i stated they are not enforced..

Since: Nov 09

Cullman, AL

#15 Apr 29, 2010
Help wrote:
Please help me to understand more about the laws regarding HOA....I bought a house in a subdivision last year, have heard from the neighbors that the owners the the subdivision will tell alot of things that is not true about buying a house from them, as of now all of us do not pay a fee, the owners stated we will pay a fee when 20 houses are builted in the subdivision....I am very upset b/c I think if we complain about this situation we can make it harder on ourselves by paying money to the owners for upkeep. I found a yahoo site that someone posted a complaint about this subdivision and the owners....
Once you buy a house that has no HOA, they can not force you into it. My subdivision tried to have a HOA but failed to get all of the homeowners to agree to it. But I will say this, if they want you to join tell them HECK NO.
luis

Huntsville, AL

#16 Apr 29, 2010
buzz wrote:
<quoted text>
I'll tell you where it's going.....someones pocket and there nothing you can do about it.
HOA's are the worst thing to get involved. They will tell you what kind of mail box, you can't paint your house a company they hire will do all the houses. Don't tell me there are no kick backs.
In 3 years I lost over $13,500.00. I was even charge $10.00 per bag of leaves and limbs from my back yard, because the lawn service only does the front, I had 10 bags.
A storm blew down a large tree across the back yard, when I asked about clean up, sorry the tree fell from adjacient property not controlled by the HOA.Then when I cleaned it up and stacked the wood into chords, I was told to remove the wood from the HOA control area.
They redid a 12 foot privacy fence around my A/C, of which I did not ask for, it cost me $675.00 for that.
Get out!!!
That is bad ,same story over and over .These people are control freaks and try to own you what a bunch of losers.These people need to get a life.
Mom of 2

United States

#17 Apr 30, 2010
My husband I want to buy a home in Madison. We haven't seen a house YET that doesn't have an HOA. We always ask what fees are, and it varies widely. We hate the thought of HOAs but they are forced on us. Does a buyer have the choice to opt out when they buy a home in a subdivision with an HOA?
Bestworking

Athens, AL

#18 Apr 30, 2010
Mom of 2 wrote:
My husband I want to buy a home in Madison. We haven't seen a house YET that doesn't have an HOA. We always ask what fees are, and it varies widely. We hate the thought of HOAs but they are forced on us. Does a buyer have the choice to opt out when they buy a home in a subdivision with an HOA?
Tell the realtors straight up that you don't want to look at houses with HOAs. There is no need for them anyway.
WHNT reader

Hermitage, TN

#19 Apr 30, 2010
Rocketlamb wrote:
I would recommend NEVER buying a home where there is a HOA. Most of the time, HOAs are run by a bunch of nazi's with nothing to do. They use the HOA to harass and bully their neighbors.
Yep - God forbid they make you keep your grass cut and your collection of broken down cars out of the front yard!
Telmark

Corning, CA

#20 May 1, 2010
WHNT reader wrote:
<quoted text>
Yep - God forbid they make you keep your grass cut and your collection of broken down cars out of the front yard!
Funny that you should mention this...

Back in 1987, our neighbor across the street asked me if I could help her paint her wooden garage door. She and my wife and I spent half a day scrapping and repainting her garage door in the same color as her trim (which was white). About a week later she told us that the HOA had contacted her about the new color of her garage door (the door was originally the same color as the house). They told her that she had to repaint her garage door in the same color has her house (which was light tan in color) in order to meet the HOA rules.

The crazy thing about this nonsense was that her next door neighbor had weeds in her front "yard" that were at least four feet high. This neighbor also had a dead car parked on the street in front of her house that had weeds growing from under and around it that were at least 2 feet high. Numerous complaints were filled against this neglectful home owner and yet the HOA never did a thing about it during the 2-3 years that we lived there. Meanwhile, the rest of us were not allowed to park our vehicles on the street for more than 72 hours without moving them.

However, we had to help our neighbor repaint her garage door as per the HOA "rules".

Many HOAs are nothing but unregulated rackets that do little other than line the pockets of those who "work" for them.

“bless the USA”

Since: Apr 07

Location hidden

#21 May 1, 2010
I think it is unfair to generalize about the various HOAs in our area. If you don't want to be in a HOA neighborhood, try your luck in a neighborhood with no association and see what happens: bad lawns, bad dogs, bad roofs, litter, bad paint, junk on the properties, declining values, cars on lawns, dead trees, lack of commercial development, noise issues, and no foreknowledge of important information. A properly administered association can help protect property values and the quality of life in a neighborhood. There are surely bad associations but there are plenty of good ones. This legislation is important and necessary, but there is no reason to fear neighborhood associations in general. Just IMHO.

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