Traditions of America at Sewickley Ridge Homeowners Advocacy Website

DISCLAIMER

THIS WEBSITE IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH TRADITIONS OF AMERICA AT SEWICKLEY RIDGE HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION, TRADITIONS OF AMERICA AT SUMMER SEAT OR TRADITIONS OF AMERICA, L.P. AND/OR ITS AFFILIATE OR SUBSIDIARIES AND IS MERELY INFORMATIVE AND THE OPINIONS OF THE AUTHORS OF THIS WEBSITE.  

(Complete disclaimer is located at the bottom of this page.)

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September 2019 - Retention Pond Still Not Repaired

Sinkhole documented by contractor.*

HOA paid $3,250.  Retention pond is still not functioning in September 2019.


*Source:  Vendor contract, June, 2019:  "Excavation of 8' X 8' documented sinkhole."

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Landscaping Costs

2019, landscaping contracts total $225,060.18

As of August, 2019 we have spent $116,421.04 on landscaping services.


For just the month of August, 2019, we paid the primary landscaper $46,328.93 (that is $23,442,26 over the contracted monthly payment).  And we still owe another 4 months of payment.


Source(s):  August 2019 HOA Financial Statements

                    Landscaping Vendor Contracts


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Potential Tax Deductions for HOA Fees

Senate Bill 539 / House Bill 1562

 Homeowner Association Contributions Tax Deduction

  

Introduced on April 10, 2019 by Senator Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) in the Senate and on June 4, 2019 Representative Martina White (R-Philadelphia) in the House: This legislation seeks to address what amounts to “double taxation” for residents living throughout our Commonwealth in condominium and homeowner associations. This occurs because homeowners in these communities pay assessments for the functional equivalent of local government services which are not provided by their local municipality, even though they pay local property taxes. Adding to this inequity, while local property taxes are deductible on federal tax filings, association assessments for local services are not. This legislation would remedy this inequity by allowing Pennsylvania residents of a qualified association governed community to deduct from a Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax filing 75% of the mandatory association assessment fees used for local services.

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Photo taken on September 20, 2019

Rules & Regulations, Rule B. 27, page 5

"Pumpkins may be displayed during October and November."   Uh oh, it's only September.


Why is this resident (a Board Member) permitted to violate a rule?  


We love this time of year, especially displaying pumpkins. Is pointing out this violation petty?  We know it is, that is why we didn't report it. 


But think about the $50,000+  OF HOA MONEY OUR BOARD SPENT SUING A FELLOW HOMEOWNER FOR RULE VIOLATIONS.  Let that sink in...

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Don' forget:

Board Meeting Thursday, October 10, 2019

6:30 pm, Avonworth Primary Center  




Neglect of common elements - Board ignores fiduciary duty

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Landscaping Contract - Mowing and cutting: $83,991.79

  • "Secondary turf areas to be mowed/cut ten (10) times per year."
  • "Hillsides trimmed/cut/crested ten (10) times per year."

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Landscaping Contract - Brush Hog Hillsides $722.25

"Brush hog designated hillsides as needed.

Five hours per ($48.15*/hr x 15 hrs. = $722.25. Any hours required beyond this amount will charged at this same rate.)"

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September 2019 - Hillside common element neglected. No complete hillside mowing/cutting/trimming or brush hogging performed to date.

What are we paying for?  

If you have to follow the rules, the HOA board does, too.

The Board is ignoring requirements of the Declaration.

TO:  Sewickley Ridge HOA Executive Board of Directors

July 29, 2019


As part of the purchase agreement for all units within the Sewickley Ridge community, purchasers are provided with information relative to the governing Community Documents and agree to abide by the provisions of these documents. The Executive Board of Directors are homeowners elected by homeowners to represent the Association.  Transfer from Declarant control to the homeowner-controlled HOA Board occurred January 2017.


Article III Units; Boundaries; Homes; Certain Maintenance Responsibilities of the Declaration requires that the Association, after transfer of Declarant control to the Association shall, through a qualified independent contractor, inspect all Common Elements and Limited Common Elements on a regular basis as reasonably necessary, for the purpose of determining the condition of the Common Elements and Limited Common Elements and need for Maintenance work. Reasonably detailed written reports of such inspections shall be prepared by the independent contractor and submitted to the Association, and copies shall be made available to all Unit Owners.


The Board has failed to follow the required procedures. Furthermore, the Board has acknowledged their awareness of the Article III contents. Yet the inspection, maintenance and reporting requirements continue to be ignored. The Board’s ongoing lack of compliance results in the neglect of both Common Elements and Limited Common Elements. 


The Board has ignored its responsibilities under Article III for 2.5 years. As a consequence of their failure to adhere to the requirements of the governing Community Documents, the Board should be assessed a fine of five hundred dollars ($500.00). Said fine is payable to the Sewickley Ridge HOA. 


Failure to comply with Article III may result in the imposition of additional fines and legal action under the processes outlined in the Community Documents.  


Sincerely,

Concerned Homeowners

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Inspections & Preventive Maintenance? Two+ Years of Neglect

STRATEGIZE ALL YOU WANT, YOU WILL NEVER SEE ANY RESULTS UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY START DOING THINGS.


Board Response to Residents' Requests for Inspection and Maintenance Records and Reports:

"The Board has appointment (sic) an Asset Management Project Team (AMPT) who currently is working to develop a strategy and process for inspection of the areas of individual units for which the HOA has maintenance responsibilities.  Once this strategy and process is finalized and approved by the Board, an implementation plan which will include the time frame, the companies and/or individuals performing the services and the costs of the inspection services will be shared with all residents." 


"ASSET MANAGEMENT PROJECT TEAM" -- SIX MONTHS AND STILL STUCK IN "ANALYSIS PARALYSIS."

The "Project Team" was appointed 3/26/2019.  August 20, 2019 and the "Team" posts three new documents on the HOA website.  After five months we have lots of documentation and impressive busy work -- but still no actual inspections or preventive maintenance performed. 


Spreadsheets are nice.  How about actually doing something? 


Wouldn't time and effort have been better spent on actual constructive, tangible activities and improvements?  Like maybe, having roofs and siding inspected?  Or start performing proactive, preventive, and restorative maintenance?


The HOA Board can (and should) be held accountable by HOA members for failure to conduct preventive maintenance or repairs.


(August 25, 2019)  Here's a suggestion for the "Asset Management Project Team":

  

Establish a Preventive Maintenance Schedule 

Once you’ve determined which items are reserve components, it’s time to establish a preventive maintenance schedule. Associations should always establish a preventive maintenance schedule. 


If associations do not maintain the components on the reserve schedule, they will not attain their

full useful life. Consequently, the components will need to be replaced earlier and the replacement cost will need to be collected over a shorter period of time. This could result in possible special assessments.




Learn More:

The Board is unable to provide any reports and documentation on proper inspections and proactive, preventive maintenance of our units' roofs and siding performed in the last two years.  Which leads us to believe such activity was never initiated or completed.


The Board is required by Article 3.3 in the Declaration to conduct timely inspections and preventive maintenance for each unit's roof and siding.  There may be a fiduciary breach of the "duty of care" if there is neglect in the enforcement of governing documents and/or neglecting to maintain the HOA property.


Thousands of dollars have already been spent repairing roofs and siding.  These roofing problems could have been addressed and evaluated as Construction Defect-Related Transition Issues. A professional transition inspection would have assessed whether any construction defects existed through poor workmanship or defective materials. 

  

Based on the above facts there could be a breach of fiduciary duty due to the failure of the association to sue the developer, declarant or general contractor for construction defects where the unit roofs and siding were improperly constructed.

Message to Homeowners

UPDATE: TUESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2019 

If past behavior is any guide, homeowners may soon receive a communication in the form of a “Board Brief”, a one-way “No Reply” email, or HOA website announcement. This will be an attempt by the Board to justify limiting an exterior maintenance item (cleaning of unit siding) for which the Association is responsible. There will be excuses made as to why the Board will not assist homeowners. These will range from “there’s nothing we can do about it” to “we don’t have the money or resources.” In our opinion, lack of knowledge and/or poor budget planning are not viable excuses.


The Board’s explanation will be filled with equivocation and lame rationalizations. There will be claims of due-diligence and effort with no evidence to support such claims.  The end result will be a decision to do nothing and place the responsibility for action solely on the homeowner. We’ve seen, and heard, it all before.  

 

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The Board denies responsibility for cleaning your siding.

Monday, August 12, 2019:  ANOTHER  EXTERIOR MAINTENANCE ITEM ELIMINATED.  

Here is an email message response (8/12/2019) from the management company to a homeowner inquiry:

"I checked on your siding issue and am following up. The board has determined that artillery fungus spores will not be covered by the HOA. The HOA will cover removal of mold from siding, not fungus spores. There is no proven way to rid siding of mold spores." *


HOW DOES THIS DECISION PROTECT PROPERTY VALUES AND SERVE THE BEST INTEREST OF HOMEOWNERS?

The Board claims they will not clean "fungus" only "mold."

How clever and convenient for the Board. They get points for creative use of semantics to avoid addressing an important homeowner concern.  By the way, the "fungus" problem is created by inferior and infested mulch applied by the landscaping companies (service contractors) hired by the Board. 


Can anyone say "accountability?"

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Eliminating the exterior maintenance you were promised.

THE BOARD'S DUTY TO MAINTAIN THE PROPERTY IN THE COMMUNITY CANNOT BE DELEGATED TO HOMEOWNERS.

The Maintenance Matrix is an attempt by the Board to “dump off” maintenance activities the Board does not want to deal with or, due to poor planning, failed to budget for appropriately. 


It is improper for the Board to expect homeowners to take over its obligations and force homeowners to spend money on inspections and maintenance.


The "Maintenance Matrix" does not serve the best interest of our residents.


It is a document created by a small group of Board-selected cronies who decided to burden homeowners with responsibilities our governing documents assign to the Board.  The Board is trying to force residents to accept additional maintenance expense, responsibility, and risk.


Originally called the Responsibility Checklist, a homeowner request to review the "checklist" during its development was denied. Homeowners were not asked or permitted to discuss, comment, or provide information in the development of the "matrix."  


The so-called support documents for the matrix omit crucial and relevant information from the Reserve Study, Declaration, Rules & Regulations, Financial Committee meeting minutes, and TOA sales documentation.


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More ideas for the board (posted 4/25/2019)

1. Regular Property Inspections, Preventive Maintenance, and Timely Reports

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Create and implement a much-needed and overdue comprehensive, proactive and preventive inspection and maintenance plan to protect our homes, property values, and community property infrastructure.


 The board must have a plan to honor their responsibilities to the homeowners and follow a schedule for performing various repair and maintenance tasks in an orderly and comprehensive manner.

2. Better Oversight of Our Finances

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Establish a “Checks & Balances” approach to improve oversight of the HOA’s finances:


Please start to closely examine the monthly financial statements provided by the management company to ensure accuracy of numbers, proper accounting and prudent funds management.


Produce accurate, detailed and complete monthly financial statements for homeowner review. Statements should be promptly posted on the HOA website by the 15th of the month.


Please conduct monthly reviews of expenses, accounting ledgers and bank statements and perform bank reconciliations independent of what the management company reports.


3. Open Board Meetings and Accurate Meeting Minutes

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Conduct all regular board meetings as open meetings.


Ensure that meeting minutes are accurate, complete and distributed in a timely fashion.

4. Give Homeowners a Voice and Provide Equal Treatment for All Homeowners.

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Invite, acknowledge and thoughtfully consider homeowner suggestions and
comments in the development of the community’s “Rules & Regulations.”


Provide opportunities for residents to interact with the board through informal homeowner forums.


 Discontinue selective enforcement of the Rules & Regulations and other community documents 

5. More Effective Contract Negotiation and Vendor Compliance

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Improve contract negotiations and perform detailed review and analysis of contracts BEFORE they are signed.

  

Monitor and supervise the performance of the management company and require their contract compliance.


Monitor the performance of all vendors to ensure contract compliance. We want to make sure we are getting what we’re paying for.



6. Better Organization and Management of the HOA's Documents

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Establish a secure electronic document management system.  Improve physical security of paper documents.


Organize. consolidate, and manage HOA documents to increase security and improve accessibility for homeowners. 

HOA Board to homeowners: "Clean your own gutters."

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THE BOARD HAS ARBITRARILY DECIDED THAT GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS ARE NOT A PART OF YOUR ROOF.

\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 large number of residents do not think is necessary.  Few homeowners will use the sidewalk; all homeowners have gutters that require maintenance.]

$50-$75 (minimum) cost to homeowner for one yearly gutter inspection. $36 if the HOA does it.

....Or you can climb a ladder to inspect and clean the gutters yourself.

The Board is ignoring the Declaration and the HOA's documented maintenance responsibilities.

 [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 and welfare being ignored? 

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