Is your 'stuff' stressing you out? TV personality Matt Paxton has tips for downsizing and decluttering in our free, two-part webinar! Register now.

Reply
Treasured Social Butterfly
0
Kudos
570
Views

Re: HOA Discrimination against Elderly and the relevance of ADA

570 Views
Message 1 of 6

@GailL1 

 

 

When you get a minute, read this AARP Bulletin article from January 2019, I think.

https://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2019/hoa-fees-lawsuits.html

 

I wasn't aware of this bulletin, so thank you for the information. Many homeowners don't understand that HOA's have similar foreclosure rights as mortgage company's.  You don't see many jumping up and down when they fail to pay their mortgage for several months.  Many think HOA's are profit making machines with their, "just let the HOA pay for it" and they forget the only source of income for most HOA's are monthly assessments.  I'm intimately involved in several foreclosures today.....in each of the cases, the homeowners are now over 10 months behind in dues and owe more in attorney fees than dues.  In Minnesota, foreclosures cost from $3,500 to $4,500.  In every Association I work with, I encourage BOD's to accept payment plans, but in the vast majority of cases, homeowners default on the payment plan they requested/created.  In some cases we go to court and seek judgements against the homeowner.  However, if you get a judgement (the HOA ALWAYS wins because of the Declarations), if a homeowner defaults or files bankruptcy, all of the other homeowners must pay the debt.  In fact, newer Minnesota law (1992) says the debt is divided by the number of homeowners and assessed to each of them.  That can place a hardship on those owners as well.  Sometimes owners just need to realize they can't afford to live where they are living.

 

From the bullitin:

 

Michael Greenwald, a Boca Raton, Fla., attorney, says law firms typically charge HOAs no money, but pass on legal fees to the homeowner.  This is not my experience.  The HOA is charged for all legal expenses and in turn, the HOA assess the homeowner the costs.  The HOA is the entity that has the contract with the attorney, not the homeowner. That’s an incentive for the firm to escalate charges. We shop for quality services.  One of the attorneys we use cost $525 per hour.  Expensive indeed.  We use another in some cases that charges $250 per hr.  A single missed payment can add up to thousands of dollars in a few months, Greenwald says.  In Minnesota, it's 3 payments.

 

Lawyers are expensive and stakes are high. Many homeowners just pay up, even if they think the charges are unfair, he says.  What's "fair"?  Here in MN, the Assoc's have to pay for  snow removal....that's not cheap.  Sidewalks, trails, path's, driveways and in some cases, streets.

 

Attorneys who represent homeowners say in many cases the law firms for community associations are more aggressive than the CAs themselves.  I would agree.  That's why Associations use them.  In 2014, for example, Kay and John Wynne lost their home in Lexington, S.C., to foreclosure over a $3,800 homeowners association debt. For some HOA's, that's a LOT of money.  Brian Boger, an attorney in Columbia, S.C., defended their right to keep their home. The judge vacated the sale. But Boger says homes are often lost for good. “It’s insanity is what it is,” Boger says.  It's insanity to buy a home and not know your obligations and the remedy's available if you run into problems.  I've worked with many who have lost their homes......I have one whose sheriffs sale is next Tuesday and two more in early April.  In Minnesota there is an interesting law.  If your home is foreclosed on, you have a 6 month redemption period.  This means the former homeowner has 6 months to pay the FULL dept owned, including interest and new costs and they can redeem their home, "retain ownership"....few have the financial resources to do so, but it is an additional opportunity. 

 

There are a couple of post about it but they are under the Caregiving board - Titled:  HOME WARS - how they got there, I do not know.

 

I could not believe the rationale used in the article.  Sorry....I'm unclear what you mean.  HOA's are important to certain communities - more important in Condos or Townhome communities but still important in regular detached communities especially if they perform duties for the whole place like - pool or rec area maintenance, upkeep of front entrances, etc.  I agree!  Lawn irrigation systems, snow removal, pools like you mentioned is a huge cost, tennis court upkeep and maintain reserves.

 

And lastly, I see NO discrimination here by the HOA....It appears they are treating this elderly Member just as they treat all Members.  Am I missing something?  Sounds like the OP wants a special accomodation.  Am I mistaken?

 

And I would suggest to anyone; don't cop an attitude with an HOA.  The board members are volunteers and usually just want to follow the rules.  And if someone is requesting a rule be changed and the rule is stated in the Declarations, it takes a Membership vote which is often 75% of the Members to change the Declarations.  There's cost in that process, usually unbudgeted, and often the 75% approval won't happen....the board can't just change most rules by majority vote of the board.  Homeowners are better served if they know and can accept the rules as they are stated BEFORE they purchase a home in an Association.


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
570
Views
Valued Social Butterfly
0
Kudos
586
Views

Re: HOA Discrimination against Elderly and the relevance of ADA

586 Views
Message 2 of 6

@Centristsin2010 

 

When you get a minute, read this AARP Bulletin article from January 2019, I think.

https://www.aarp.org/home-family/your-home/info-2019/hoa-fees-lawsuits.html

 

There are a couple of post about it but they are under the Caregiving board - Titled:  HOME WARS - how they got there, I do not know.

 

I could not believe the rationale used in the article.  HOA's are important to certain communities - more important in Condos or Townhome communities but still important in regular detached communities especially if they perform duties for the whole place like - pool or rec area maintenance, upkeep of front entrances, etc.

* * * * It's Always Something . . . Roseanne Roseannadanna
Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
586
Views
Treasured Social Butterfly
0
Kudos
609
Views

Re: HOA Discrimination against Elderly and the relevance of ADA

609 Views
Message 3 of 6

@GailL1 wrote:

@jm1400 wrote:

My mother-in-law (88 years old) still lives by herself but has physical disabilities which prevent her from rolling her trash container into the back yard. She has an exemption from the city's solid waste department and in fact has a special trash container (with a yellow lid) which allows her to keep the container on her porch or driveway.  Her neighbors and members of her HOA are aware of this.

 

She recently received a "compliance" letter from the HOA management company. It is not clear if they had a complaint. 

 

It seems to me that HOA policies must comply with ADA, but I have heard of cases of HOAs pursuing civil action for much more  trivial issues (a small Amreican flag display, for instance) resulting in tens of thousands of dollars of fines and fees.

 

Any suggestions on how to approach this?

 

Jon


Jon,

I believe you are reading things into ADA compliance that isn't there.  Read this:

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section - ADA Update (2010): A Pr...

from the link ~

Equal treatment is a fundamental purpose of the ADA. People with disabilities must not be treated in a different or inferior manner.

 

The ADA is for "inclusion" of the disabled, NOT special rights.  Discrimination comes into play when the rights of the disabled preclude this "inclusion".  HOA's involvement here would be in the examples of common area design specs, parking, structure specs for rental units, etc.  The ADA covers common / public items with rules to further this inclusion.

 

It is nice that her local government gave her this trash receptacle variance but she does still have to live in the community.  Many of us have problems like this now or will possibly in the future.  We have to make arrangements.  I am sure that if your MIL has a yard that she has someone else maintain for her.  Same thing here -  We may have to pay or change to keep our independence.

 

A few suggestions on this problem:

  • She could have someone else move the trashcan to her backyard and then to the appropriate area on the day of pick up and back again.  A local kid, a neighbor, a nearby friend or relative.
  • She (or possibly, you) could talk to the HOA and see if there is the possibility of building a small structure around the receptacle to hide it from street sight but still easy for her to roll out to view on pickup day.  Something nice that does the hiding job.
  • Review the covenants just to be clear of what it says about trash receptacles and what could be done to meet this rule.
  • A friend of mine no longer has this pick up service - instead her son takes it to the recycle / trash area of the locality -

I understand her predicament - I have to roll mine to the street on collection day and it is about 200' UP A HILL.  We all have to make the appropriate plans when we can no longer do what we have to do if we want to continue to live as independently as possible. Pay - Change - Modify

 

She should not just ignor the HOA compliance rules if only to keep peace in her community - it sounds like something can be worked out if tried.  If a HOA management company wrote the letter - and they have responsibility to act - write them back with a stipulated solution (something as above) for their consideration.

 

Like I said, I understand, but I also understand the position of the HOA.  Yes, it is sometimes a real pain to have things that come up like this - but we have to make plans to take care of them in a manner that is acceptable to this inclusion and our continued semi-independence, at least.

 

Good Luck -. 

 

Excellent advice, Gail!

 

As a consultant to several local HOA's and their Members, I can verify and support all of the advice you provided above.  HOA's do not have as much flexibility as some may believe and can be sued if exceptions are made.

 

My suggestion would be to work with a kind neighborly neighbor and ask for their assistance helping her with the trashcan and show the neighbor some generosity (help with a project, tickets to a show, maybe gas money every other month).  Pay it forward.....

 

Keep in mind the HOA has significant authority as described and protected by the Declarations.  And with all due respect, the HOA is not responsible for "fostering community"; if you find one that does, consider it a bonus.  Like it or not, HOA's responsibility's are limited, usually to protecting home values and enforcing the rules and NOT creating exceptions.

 

Sometimes the best solution is to change one's perspective or expectations.

 

Good luck.


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
609
Views
Info Seeker
0
Kudos
744
Views

Re: HOA Discrimination against Elderly and the relevance of ADA

744 Views
Message 4 of 6

Thanks for the response.  I, too, have concerns whether the ADA applies to an HOA legally in this case.

 

However, given the city's accommodation, I think the HOA has some exposure. A "reasonable accommodation" such as this is not special rights in other contexts (employment, housing, access). So it is arguably not a special right in this case.

 

I am hoping that the HOA management company is open to discussion. As of yet, they have not returned two phone calls or an email. A certified letter may be the next step. 

 

Her "special cart" must be "in sight" for city garbage collection. They retrieve and return the cart from its location. So building a "blind" for it is not an option. Paying a neighbor to move it might be an option. If my neighbor had such an issue, I would move their carts for them because it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, I don't think HOAs foster the same sense of community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JM
Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
744
Views
Valued Social Butterfly
1
Kudos
772
Views

Re: HOA Discrimination against Elderly and the relevance of ADA

772 Views
Message 5 of 6

@jm1400 wrote:

My mother-in-law (88 years old) still lives by herself but has physical disabilities which prevent her from rolling her trash container into the back yard. She has an exemption from the city's solid waste department and in fact has a special trash container (with a yellow lid) which allows her to keep the container on her porch or driveway.  Her neighbors and members of her HOA are aware of this.

 

She recently received a "compliance" letter from the HOA management company. It is not clear if they had a complaint. 

 

It seems to me that HOA policies must comply with ADA, but I have heard of cases of HOAs pursuing civil action for much more  trivial issues (a small Amreican flag display, for instance) resulting in tens of thousands of dollars of fines and fees.

 

Any suggestions on how to approach this?

 

Jon


Jon,

I believe you are reading things into ADA compliance that isn't there.  Read this:

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section - ADA Update (2010): A Pr...

from the link ~

Equal treatment is a fundamental purpose of the ADA. People with disabilities must not be treated in a different or inferior manner.

 

The ADA is for "inclusion" of the disabled, NOT special rights.  Discrimination comes into play when the rights of the disabled preclude this "inclusion".  HOA's involvement here would be in the examples of common area design specs, parking, structure specs for rental units, etc.  The ADA covers common / public items with rules to further this inclusion.

 

It is nice that her local government gave her this trash receptacle variance but she does still have to live in the community.  Many of us have problems like this now or will possibly in the future.  We have to make arrangements.  I am sure that if your MIL has a yard that she has someone else maintain for her.  Same thing here -  We may have to pay or change to keep our independence.

 

A few suggestions on this problem:

  • She could have someone else move the trashcan to her backyard and then to the appropriate area on the day of pick up and back again.  A local kid, a neighbor, a nearby friend or relative.
  • She (or possibly, you) could talk to the HOA and see if there is the possibility of building a small structure around the receptacle to hide it from street sight but still easy for her to roll out to view on pickup day.  Something nice that does the hiding job.
  • Review the covenants just to be clear of what it says about trash receptacles and what could be done to meet this rule.
  • A friend of mine no longer has this pick up service - instead her son takes it to the recycle / trash area of the locality -

I understand her predicament - I have to roll mine to the street on collection day and it is about 200' UP A HILL.  We all have to make the appropriate plans when we can no longer do what we have to do if we want to continue to live as independently as possible. Pay - Change - Modify

 

She should not just ignor the HOA compliance rules if only to keep peace in her community - it sounds like something can be worked out if tried.  If a HOA management company wrote the letter - and they have responsibility to act - write them back with a stipulated solution (something as above) for their consideration.

 

Like I said, I understand, but I also understand the position of the HOA.  Yes, it is sometimes a real pain to have things that come up like this - but we have to make plans to take care of them in a manner that is acceptable to this inclusion and our continued semi-independence, at least.

 

Good Luck -. 

 

 

* * * * It's Always Something . . . Roseanne Roseannadanna
Report Inappropriate Content
1
Kudos
772
Views
Info Seeker
0
Kudos
807
Views
5
Replies

HOA Discrimination against Elderly and the relevance of ADA

807 Views
Message 6 of 6

My mother-in-law (88 years old) still lives by herself but has physical disabilities which prevent her from rolling her trash container into the back yard. She has an exepmption from the city's solid waste department and in fact has a special trash container (with a yellow lid) which allows her to keep the container on her porch or driveway.  Her neighbors and members of her HOA are aware of this.

 

She recently received a "compliance" letter from the HOA management company. It is not clear if they had a complaint. 

 

It seems to me that HOA policies must comply with ADA, but I have heard of cases of HOAs pursuing civil action for much more  trivial issues (a small Amreican flag display, for instance) resulting in tens of thousands of dollars of fines and fees.

 

Any suggestions on how to approach this?

 

Jon

JM
Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
807
Views
5
Replies
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Announcements

Have a question about AARP membership or benefits? Ask it in the AARP Help Membership forum, Benefits & Discounts forum, or General forum.


multiple white question marks with center red question mark

Top Authors