By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
More and more homeowners are fed up, and want to escape or abolish their HOAs. Here are two reports of detached single family home developments with mandatory Association Governance, one in Utah, the other in Texas.
Dammeron Valley, Utah
Dammeron Valley Landowners Association (DVLA) has about 429 home, each on 0.5 – 5 acres, depending on the subdivision. The Meadows and Ranches subdivisions are where the first 71 lots – each an average of 5 acres – were offered for sale in 1976.
After more than 40 years, many landowners in Meadows and Ranches are tired of the HOA architectural police, and mishandling of localized flooding problems. Dissident owners decided to take a vote, and according to the results, a majority want to terminate their membership in DVLA.
Accoriding to DVLA’s most recent posted budget, about three-quarters of its annual revenue (almost $21,000) is collected in assessments. Most of the remaining $27,000 annual budget is raised from Architectural Control fees. The bulk of the budget is used to maintain a community center, pay for its utilities, and provide for community beautification. However, the Association has racked up nearly $6200 in legal fees, and is currently looking at an annual budget deficit of almost $7600.
That’s because DVLA, on the advice of its attorney, is fighting homeowners in the Meadows and Ranches, trying for force them to remain members of DVLA, despite the fact that subdivision landowners have already obtained a majority vote in agreement to termination of their respective subdivision HOAs. (Note: DVLA has no umbrella “master” association.) The Association’s attorney contends that the termination procedure was improper, so another termination vote has been scheduled for early May 2016.
No updates were available at the time this article was written.
Homeowners battling to leave Dammeron Valley association
…the friction has been building for years between some of those hobby farm owners and the “DVLA,” with residents arguing that their say in board decisions was growing more diluted as more homes were added to the valley and as voting control of the board moved to residents from other areas.
As the arguments have become more heated, the infighting between neighbors has become more prevalent, with disputes devolving into Facebook spats and allegations of name-calling and insults between residents on different sides of the divide.
Residents in two of the area’s subdivisions — the Ranches and the Meadows — filed paperwork with Washington County in February terminating their membership in the association, having collected signatures from at least a 51 percent majority in each subdivision.
Oasis Ranch, El Paso, Texas
Over in Texas, Oasis Ranch, a subdivision of 300 homes, has been deteriorating for years. Residents complain that their $20 per month assessments are not being used to maintain common areas such as the parks and playground.
Two videos below reveal that all the grass has died, that trash is not picked up, and that several homes have boarded up windows due to repeated vandalism. Early on, when the first homes were constructed, the developer had promised a gated entry and a pool, neither of which was ever delivered.
Oasis Ranch has been through several management companies in the last decade. The current company, Dana Properties, has placed liens on multiple homes, because nearly half of owners have stopped paying assessments in protest.
The owners have retained an attorney who is fighting for their rights, and he has proposed doing away with the HOA and making the City of El Paso responsible for cleaning the streets, crime prevention, and other public services that the Association is supposed to be providing, but isn’t.
What a novel idea!
Attorney for east El Paso neighborhood proposes abolishing HOA in response to problems
On Wednesday the attorney for the residents, Richard Roman, sent a proposal to Dana Properties, asking the company to abolish the HOA and have the city take over the services.
He said he believes it is in the best interest of both parties. He said the residents will benefit from more neighborhood oriented programs, such as Neighborhood Watch to help reduce residential crime. Graffiti was and criminal mischief was another complaint from residents.
The proposal also states residents want “better access to other municipal services such as animal services, code compliance, the ‘Clean El Paso’ initiative and waste and trash collections.”
It goes on to say, “In exchange for the HOA’s dissolution, my clients will forgo litigation for invalid liens placed against homesteads and so forth. The concern is that the assessment liens violate federal debt collection laws i.e., HOA liens functioning as ‘deceptive or misleading extensions of credit’ against a consumer’s homestead.”
Here’s the back story on Oasis Ranch: (KFOX14 Videos)
And…a week later
Surprise! It turns out that 10 of the 300 homes in Oasis Ranch are currently owned by the housing authority.