Traditions of America at Sewickley Ridge Homeowners Advocacy Website

have a wonderful holiday season!

New information and features coming in 2019:

  • In-depth Research on Issues and Topics of Concern for Homeowners
  • Homeowner Forums 
  • "Checks & Balances" Accountability Reviews
  • Up-to-Date "Best Practices" for Effective and Fair HOA Management 
  • Specific Information and Resources for Sewickley Ridge Homeowners

We're celebrating the season and will return January, 2019 to continue our advocacy efforts.

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.)

Latest Snow Removal Information

Click on the button below.

Snow Removal

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

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.



$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.


*However, 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.

$50 cost to individual homeowners for one yearly gutter inspection and cleaning. $36 if HOA does it.

You will be paying for exterior maintenance that should be provided by the HOA.

....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.

 

SPEAK UP! Let us know what you think.

contact us

2019 Budget for maintenance: $338,348. Yet the HOA will not maintain our units' gutters?

Maintenance is 70% of the community's 2019 expenses. Is that money being spent wisely or are homeowners' needs being ignored? 

Gutters and downspouts are a part of your roof.

Declaration 3.3 (c): "The roofs and exterior walls of Homes shall be Maintained by the Association."

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 graphic: http://www.nrca.net/About/

National Roofing Contractors Association

Declaration (Article 2.3) Definition of "Maintenance"

“Maintenance” means maintenance, preventive maintenance, repair and replacement and “Maintain” means maintain, repair and replace. 

Gutters + Downspouts = Common Elements

The Board's Duty to Maintain Common Elements Cannot be Delegated to Individual Homeowners

October 24, 2018

The Maintenance Matrix is incorrect. The Board is obligated by law to provide preventive maintenance to all common elements. That duty cannot be delegated to individual owners. It is improper for the Board to expect homeowners to take over its obligations and force homeowners to spend money on inspections and maintenance (in addition to the regular, monthly assessment already being paid.)


2018: $64, 396 TOTAL yearly amount residents pay for common element inspections and maintenance.

2018: $37,596 to management company per year

The management company's contract requires monthly inspections of common elements.

Each unit is paying $156 per year for the management company to inspect the community’s common elements.  

2018: $26,800/year homeowners are paying for maintenance (not including contract services)

The yearly budgeted amount designated to cover common area maintenance and homeowner maintenance. (this does not include landscaping, Clubhouse, pool, and snow removal fees). 

Each unit is already paying $111.20 per year to the HOA for "Common Area" and "Homeowners" maintenance.


[Source:  2018 Budget]

Summary of Documents on Exterior Maintenance of units

Gutters Relevant Docs Color (pdf)

Download

Why is there no comprehensive proactive maintenance plan?

TWO (2) YEARS without a proactive and preventive maintenance plan for our community!

That can't be good for our property values...that the Board is supposed to be protecting.


What has the management company been doing?   Answer:  Reactive "Maintenance" (if you're lucky enough to have them respond...)



Planning to act in a reactionary way, instead of a proactive way, is risky and irresponsible.

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.  

Maintenance is more than repairing a leak—it’s preventing the leak in the first place.

Why be reactive when proactive maintenance not only saves the HOA money, it can pay for itself in many cases.

What if the Board fails to maintain a common element?

Negligent Care and Lack of Proactive Preventive Maintenance of Common Area

Clubhouse Story

Would a $94,170 financial mistake concern you?

Is it just a "simple accounting error?"

"...accounting was done in reverse." "Everyone makes mistakes." *

(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.

It seems fine with the Board and management company that we have senior residents climbing ladders to clean and inspect gutters! 

(Or the resident can pay someone to do it, when residents are already paying a monthly fee for common element maintenance.) 


Part of the rationale, approved and accepted by the Board, for building the new,  $33,000 pool storage building, is "we shouldn't have residents in a 55+ community climbing a ladder (to the attic) to store furniture."    However, the Board appears to think it' s OK for the same residents to climb a ladder to clean and inspect their unit's gutters.

Homeowners' Review of HOA Documents

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 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" button to send us an email message.

Contact us

Here are some issues we found in our documents review.

The wrong people had access to the HOA's bank accounts and Certificates of Deposit (2017-2018)

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)

Checks in excess of $10,000 routinely had only one signature (the Management Co. owner).

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.)

Contracts did not have correct authorization and signatures.

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.

Outdated and inefficient document storage, retention, and maintenance. Lack of technical knowledge.

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)

2017-2018: Seven (7) months of balance sheet errors found.

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.

"Kickbacks" to the management company from Costco and Sam's Club and a personal credit card.

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)

"Crisis Level" Homeowner Apathy

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.

  

Find out more

Sewickley Ridge Homeowners Advocacy Blog

About Us...

We are Sewickley Ridge homeowners.

Being open and honest about decisions, funding, services, maintenance, and more is essential to fostering communication and getting everyone on the same page. By working towards these initiatives, we can effectively increase the HOA transparency within our community . 

Who watches the watchers?

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. 


Our goal is to be proactive and productive. We welcome your interest and involvement. We will do our best to utilize a variety of resources to uncover, organize, and present information. We are committed to keeping residents informed about developments and issues that affect their finances, property values, safety and health.  

"When you find yourself on the side of the majority, you should pause and reflect." --Mark Twain

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

DISCLAIMER NOTICE

  

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by homeowner’s that reside in the Traditions of America at Sewickley Ridge Homeowner’s Association and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date, truthful, and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.  

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.  There shall be no special, direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or damages of any kind, whether in an action of contract, negligence, or any tort arising in connection with the use of this website or service.    


Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of this website. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.  

Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, this website and its owners and users take no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control.

  

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.  

  

If you wish to be removed from any lists, e-mail, website notices etc. please use the contact feature on this website to have your name and e-mail address immediately removed.