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Click on the button below for the latest information and articles on HOA and management company theft, embezzlement, and attorney misconduct.
Soooo, how was our money spent in December, 2018?
We're still waiting to find out....
Concealment only leads to suspicion...
Most residents expect their HOAs to faithfully provide important services they were promised when they moved into their home.
Some homeowners would rather pay their assessments and let someone else worry about how that money is spent. But, this apathy can lead to many serious problems.
An association should take the time to carefully review and negotiate any and all contracts it is contemplating executing. Taking time on the front end of a deal, before executing any proposed contract, could save an association substantial time, money, and frustration on the back end.
We presented this proposal to the HOA Board of Directors on June 1, 2018. We have had no acknowledgement or response from the Board. The Board promised to "get back to us." We have been waiting eight (8) months for a response.
UPDATE 12/2018: The December, 2018 Finance, Budget & Insurance Committee Meeting Notes indicate that a "possible 2019 project" could be the "review of all contracts and whether to establish a contract review sub-committee ."
WHY ARE WE DELAYING SOMETHING SO IMPORTANT?
WE NEED NEGOTIATING AND CONTRACT REVIEW HELP NOW! The Contract Review and Negotiating Committee needs to be led by competent, experienced and skilled negotiators whose only focus is successful negotiating, review and execution of contracts. This Committee will also monitor and enforce vendor contract compliance.
To see an example of why we need to begin effectively negotiating and reviewing HOA contracts, click on the button below.
THE BOARD ALSO SAYS THE REMOVAL OF ICE (AND ICE DAMS) FROM UNIT GUTTERS WILL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE HOMEOWNER.
Homeowners are losing another "amenity" (exterior maintenance) they were promised when purchasing their homes.
However, some "lucky" homeowners received special consideration: There are ten months of Board-approved Property Reports that have recorded inspection, maintenance, and repair of gutters for "select" homeowners (at no charge). Why not provide the same maintenance and service to all homeowners?
$36 per year to have the HOA provide gutter/downspout maintenance. The Board Treasurer stated that $3 would need to be added to your monthly assessment fee if the HOA provides preventive maintenance of your gutters. This additional charge is unnecessary and a result of poor budget planning.
[The Board has decided to spend $4,000 to add a new sidewalk at the left side of the Clubhouse that a majority of residents do not think is necessary. Few homeowners will use the sidewalk; all homeowners have gutters that require maintenance,]
[Remember: You are paying for exterior maintenance that should be provided by the HOA.]
Maintenance is 70% of the community's 2019 expenses. Is that money being spent wisely or are homeowners' needs being ignored?
Declaration 8.1 (k): The Owner of a Unit shall be responsible for Maintaining such Unit and appurtenant Limited Common Elements in good order and repair, at the expense of such Owner, including (but not limited to) cleaning and replacing glass panes and otherwise Maintaining windows and doors serving such Unit; provided, however, Maintenance of the roofs and exterior façades of Homes shall be the responsibility of the Association.
Source of illustration seen below: http://www.nrca.net/About/
National Roofing Contractors Association
“Maintenance” means maintenance, preventive maintenance, repair and replacement and “Maintain” means maintain, repair and replace.
Professional, independent, and quality property inspections of common and limited elements cost much less than having to perform emergency repairs and then permanent repairs along with replacement of damaged homeowner property and community property.
As time goes on, a lack of proactive, preventive maintenance will lead to an increasing number of reactive repairs. Being proactive in fixing small issues can save a lot of money. Reactive maintenance results in future costly repairs and replacements.
Why be reactive when proactive maintenance not only saves the HOA money, it can pay for itself in many cases?
(Source: audit correspondence and the HOA Board's "Guest Speaker", September 20, 2018 Board Meeting)
*We're not kidding, this was actually said by an accountant regarding a $94,170 error.
In the recent audit documents, the Board expressed concern that they were not being informed about the results of the homeowners' review of HOA documents. The Board is so distressed they want to amend our Bylaws so that the Board members will be informed first of any issues. They want the homeowners to formally present their findings to the Board. In other words, the homeowners are expected to fulfill the duties of the Treasurer, Finance Committee, and management company.
Why go to the trouble and legal expense of amending our Bylaws? We will share the information with the Board and homeowners today. We didn't think the Board was interested in our work; we never received any messages or inquiries.
In the interest of transparency, here are findings from the homeowners' document and records review.
If you have any questions about our document review or the standards and guidelines we used, click on the "Contact Us" option in the menu on top of this page.
All of 2017 until we made this discovery in August, 2018, the signatories for the HOA's bank accounts and over $50,000 in CD's at a local bank were the management company owner and her son.
(Source: HOA bank account statements)
There are no limits on the HOA check amounts that can be signed by the owner of the management company. (Source: management company owner and check copies.)
Community documents require that contracts over a certain amount must have 2 signatures. Some contracts from 2017 had only 1 signature, leading to questions of the contract's validity.
The management company uses online payment services for only one account. All other expenses are paid by paper checks, signed by the management company owner.
Both the Board and management company maintain too many hard copies of documents and storage practices are less than secure. Developing an electronic storage and document management plan is recommended.
There appears to be a lack of proficiency in QuickBooks software usage.
(Source: management company owner, check register, observation at Clubhouse)
The balance sheet errors were reported to the Finance Committee and management company late last year (2017) and the Treasurer received documentation of the errors on June 1, 2018.
As of September 21, 2018, no corrections have been made.
The HOA does not have its own membership cards to the membership-only warehouse clubs or an Association credit card.
Most of Sewickley Ridge HOA's supplies are purchased from the warehouse clubs. Our money is used for the purchases and the management company receives the money from the yearly reward programs for the purchases. Since it's the HOA's money doing the buying; shouldn't the HOA receive the monetary "perks"?
Also, the management company owner uses her personal credit card to purchase items for the HOA and then bills us for the amounts. Again, it is our money making the purchases and the management company receiving the credit card rewards.
(Source: management company owner)
Being open and honest about decisions, funding, services, maintenance, and more is essential to fostering communication. By working towards these initiatives, we can effectively increase HOA Board transparency within our community .
We advocate for homeowners by holding the HOA Executive Board and the HOA management company accountable for their fiduciary duty and responsibilities to Traditions of America at Sewickley Ridge residents.
As we navigate through the transition from a developer to homeowner-controlled HOA, this website will be an independent, informational resource for residents. It provides a communication alternative.
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