By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Another phantom HOA!
In 2011 Bay Port Colony Property Owners’ Association (POA) board and its agent, Qualified Property Management, discovered that 39 of 137 homes were never bound by a mandatory owners’ association.
But the Association never bothered to inform the affected owners about the “filing error” until 2014.
During those three years, the Association issued fines to homeowners for various covenant violations, ordered Association members to make certain improvements to their homes to comply with the Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&Rs), and even foreclosed on homes due to non-payment of fees.
Then the Bay Port Association sent written requests to homeowners of all 39 non-Association properties located in Phase II, Unit II, asking them to voluntarily join the POA. But several homeowners have declined to join the Association, as is their right.
Bay Port Association has retaliated by changing the locks on the boat lift that carries watercraft from Bay Port Colony canals to the Tampa Bay. The Association says the canals are common property that is not accessible to non-members of the Association.
But it turns out that the 39 homes own submerged waters within the waterway, granting an easement for their neighbors to use the canal. Furthermore, the canal and boat lift are designated for public use.
So now the non-Association homeowners are suing Bay Port Colony POA and Qualified Property Management, citing 11 counts for denying access to public waters as well as misrepresenting the Association’s status and power to collect assessments and enforce CC&Rs upon owners of 39 lots.
The Plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit want their access to the boat lift restored and, of course, they also want their money back!
Holdout homeowners fight Tampa HOA (VIDEO, WTSP Channel 10)
We’re suing for everything. Basically back-paid dues, the modifications we’ve made to our property, they didn’t have the authority, so I’d like them to reimburse me for that, and I’m looking for a key to the boat lift,” says Cline.
Neighbors also allege in the lawsuit that the HOA knew that the 39 properties weren’t included in the original governing documents for at least 3 years before they alerted homeowners.
“By now, it’s the principle of all of it all, the lying, the us versus them mentality,” says Metcalf.