Traditions of America at Sewickley Ridge Homeowners Advocacy Website

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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.  

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willful ignorance and inaction are inexcusable.

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inspections & preventive maintenance - two+ years of neglect

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." 


The "Project Team" was appointed 3/26/2019….and we continue to wait...no apparent progress as of 7/22/2019.  Four (4) months and the only thing produced is a "Project Statement."  Apparently requesting a flipchart, markers, and sticky notes is more important than assessing the condition of our unit roofs and siding.


The Board and specially selected committee members (a.k.a. "Special" Friends of the Board) spent time in 2018 devising a "Maintenance Matrix" to arbitrarily delegate the Board's maintenance responsibilities to homeowners. Wouldn't that time and effort have been better spent actually doing something constructive, like maybe, having roofs and siding inspected?  Or start performing proactive, preventive maintenance?


Did you know?


  • The duties of the HOA Board include the maintenance and repair of our units' exterior surfaces and roofs. Failure to fulfill these duties could subject a community association to a breach of covenant claim.
  • The HOA Board can (and should) be held accountable by HOA members for failure to conduct preventive maintenance or repairs.
  • July 2019:  The association still does not have a documented maintenance schedule for each major component listed in the October 2017 Reserve Study

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.

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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.


homeowner concern: artillery fungus WHy has there been no action from the Board?

Siding

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"We have these small black spots that look like specks of tar, all over the vinyl siding of our house.  It's on the porch, my windows, but it is worse on the siding. It goes all the way up to my second-story windows, and is even under my soffit and on my gutters."

Source: www.personal.psu.edu/users/ 

Cars

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It is common on the sides of automobiles when cars are parked near mulched areas that are infested with the artillery fungus.

Mulch

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Click on the button below for information:  "Solutions for Artillery Fungus."  https://extension.psu.edu/solutions-to-artillery-fungus


Find out more

Why has there been no action to effectively address the artillery fungus issue?

January 4, 2019 Grounds & Safety Minutes:

"7. Artillery Spores 

The issue with these spores in the mulch areas around homes is being reviewed by the Board.  They can release spores a significant distance from the ground, causing small dark hard spots to be attached to siding and windows, and possibly leaving a stain behind when removed." 

How long does the Board need to review a problem? Stop reviewing and start doing!

January 12, 2019 Special Meeting of the Board:


A homeowner asked about the artillery fungus problem.  The Board President indicated the Board was "aware" of the problem and was reviewing it.


SEVEN MONTHS SHOULD BE ENOUGH TIME TO REVIEW THE ISSUE AND DEVELOP SOME SOLUTIONS AND/OR OPTIONS.

We paid $52,965.91 for mulch in 2018 and $52,027 in 2019 = $104,992.91

$104,992.91 for the last two years of mulch (and artillery fungus).


The growth of artillery fungus and it's damage to siding and cars continues.... 


Check out the Message Board - General - Miscellaneous - "Small black spots on siding" topic on the HOA website to see a discussion by homeowners regarding their frustrations dealing with artillery fungus and the Board's lack of action.

May 2, 2019 "turf summary"

July 10, 2019  

This "summary" would never have been shared with homeowners without pressure from the Advocacy Group. (See Below)

  The summary is dated May 2, 2019; two months later it miraculously appears under the Grounds & Safety meeting minutes on the HOA website.  Interestingly, it was not originally included with the MAY 3, 2019 G&S meeting minutes. 


Be sure to take note of the disclaimers and excuses. 


 The only announcement to homeowners of this summary is from this website.  


Click on the DOWNLOAD button to see if your lawn rates special treatment. 

G&S Turf Rating Summary (1) (pdf)

Download

the mystery of the vanishing hoa office

March, 2017: The Board "repurposes" the Massage Room to create an on-site HOA Office in the Clubhouse

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"Massage Room:  After consideration of HOA needs, the Board has elected to repurpose the Massage Room in the Clubhouse."   Source:  Board Briefs, March 9, 2017

June, 2019 Residents ask the Board to follow the Bylaws and the Association office mysteriously morphs into a "Mechanical Room."

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Bylaws

"2.11 Documents and Records. Copies of the Declaration, Plats and Plans, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, contracts to which the Association is a party and all books, records and financial statements of the Association, including the minutes of Executive Board and Association meetings, shall be available for inspection in the offices of the Association....."




**May we suggest a place in the Clubhouse be designated as a location for future financial document reviews by homeowners.**

Find out more

June, 2019: How convenient for the Board and management company: No Association office -- no on-site review of HOA financial documents.

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1.  May 23, 2019:  The Management Company Search Committee receives a request (from a homeowner) to include Association office, on-site review of HOA documents in the RFP's sent to potential candidate companies.

2.  June 19, 2019 The request mentioned above is referenced at the Board meeting. 

3.  July, 2019 The on-site Association office is now labeled a "Mechanical Room."  

4.  If there is no Association office in the Clubhouse -- homeowners will be required to travel to the management company to review HOA documents.

5.  Why create obstructions and difficulties for homeowners?

6. By the way, WHEN WERE WE GOING TO BE TOLD ABOUT THE "REPURPOSING" OF THE ASSOCIATION OFFICE?


Roof Inspections & Preventive Maintenance

Never happened...we've been asking for 2+ years.

Siding Inspections & Preventive Maintenance

No records or reports...in violation of the community's Declaration.

September 2018 we asked for inspection & maintenance reports, 9 months later....

EQUIVOCATE: to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge.

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5/28/2019  Board Response:  "The Board is aware of Declaration, Article 3.3, Section (e),  page 6 which allows for inspection of all Common Elements and Limited Common Elements on a regular basis as reasonably necessary as well as all unit owners receiving reasonably detailed written reports following such inspections. The Board’s fiduciary duty to maintain roofs and siding of units requires a data informed and effective combination of both preventative and restorative maintenance activities and inspections to inform of maintenance efforts. As the community’s units age, we are aware of the need to inspect units in order to determine the requirements for both preventative and restorative maintenance.  The Board has appointed an Asset Management Project Team 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."



Advocacy Note: 

The "Asset Management Project Team" was appointed March, 2019.  In 4 MONTHS they have completed one thing: a "Project Statement."  


WE NEED FEWER PROMISES AND MORE ACTION.


We have been asking for inspections and preventive maintenance to be performed for over TWO YEARS!

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Our response to the Board:  SO, YOU IGNORE THE DECLARATION AND AFTER TWO YEARS OF NEGLECT YOU NEED TO "DEVELOP A STRATEGY" TO CONDUCT INSPECTIONS? 


JUST GET ON WITH IT, GET THE JOB DONE AND STOP WITH ALL THE BUREAUCRATIC BUSYWORK, EQUIVOCATING, AND ONE-WAY B.S. MESSAGES! 


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




Find out more

Homeowner Comments about the Board's Response

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"There is no reference to when the project mgmt team is to give them any information. Therefore they could take another two years before doing anything. What a waste!  How about some action not just appointing another team to do something. This place is getting worse not better."

(Resident name and address withheld by request.)


  "They might as well have said, "We don't know sh*t about what's going on." (Resident name and address withheld by request.)


 "These incompetent gas bags are eventually going to drown in their nonsensical verbiage.  It is obvious that they have no clue how to run this place and that they are terrified of the people who do." (Resident--Patriot Lane)

Have a Comment? Click Here

Fun Fact: Breach of Fiduciary Duty

HOA's and directors cannot act in an arbitrary and capricious manner toward individual homeowners, nor can they single out certain homeowners for disparate or discriminatory treatment.    

[Source: https://cooperator.com/article/is-your-board-carrying-out-its-fiduciary-duty/full]

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is serving on a committee limited to "Friends of the Board"

  Is it fair that one resident serves on multiple committees while another resident is denied -- numerous times -- the opportunity to serve on just one? 

  

Why would some units in the community have representation on two, even four, committees?   When other units have none… 


Why deny accomplished and experienced residents willing to serve on a committee the chance to contribute to the community?
 

Competent and knowledgeable residents have applied to serve on committees. Yet these qualified residents have been denied numerous times. At least one resident who applied (directly to the Board) to serve on a committee received no acknowledgment or explanation as to why they were being ignored. Others who applied to that same committee were contacted and interviewed. 

 
Recently, there have been appointments to multiple committees with no Board outreach to the community for volunteers. 

 
There should be equal opportunity for all qualified residents to apply and serve if a position on a committee becomes available.

  

Is the Board punishing the residents who dare to challenge them?

Must you be a board sycophant to be given a chance to serve on a committee?


The Board keeps re-appointing the same people to the same committees year after year. (Membership on a committee is for 2 years; but a member can be reappointed again and again....) That means no new ideas, fresh perspectives, or independent thinking.  Yet these committees help determine the rules you have to follow, priorities that are set, and how our money is spent.


Maybe some new, independent committee members would be a good idea to turn things around and create some benefit for our community.


Comments
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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. 

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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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