By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
It seems like we are on a Phantom HOA roll here at IAC.
Rancho Bel Air is yet another subdivision where some of the homes were never recorded as part of a homeowners’ association – at least the homes constructed in Unit I, where homeowner Jonathan Friedrich happens to reside. In this case, both the Developer of Unit 2 and the Management company knew all along that Unit 1 was not officially deeded into a mandatory Property Owners’ Association. But that didn’t stop developer Barry Becker – now a Board member of Unit 2 (see Video below) – from sending letters to all homeowners in Unit I declaring them part of Rancho Bel Air POA.
And it did not stop the HOA from issuing violation notices, fines, and even attempting to foreclose on homeowners for not paying assessments to Rancho Bel Air.
Friedrich began his legal battle with the HOA several years ago, when he discovered through research that his home and those of his neighbors in Unit I had never been made part of Rancho Bel Air Association. His attorney, Joel Hansen, filed motions to compel access to important documents as part of discovery, but the Association has evaded and resisted so egregiously that a Judge ordered Rancho Bel Air to pay $10,000 in sanctions.
See the following court record regarding sanctions ordered for Rancho Bel Air for being evasive, and refusing to provide requested information.
Earlier this year, the court found that Friedrich’s home is not subject to the CC&Rs of Rancho Bel Air. However, the Court also ruled that homes in Unit 1 may be obligated to pay an “amenities assessment” if findings of fact support the Association’s claims. That matter is yet to be decided.
It seems to me that if the Court rules that HOAs can impose fees upon non-HOA residents, that would be a most disturbing precedent.
On the other hand, Friedrich is suing for full recovery of assessments from Rancho Bel Air that he has paid to date, under false pretenses. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
See the District Court’s summary here:
By the way, according to a report by Darcy Spears on KTNV, current assessments are $200 per month, which covers guard gated access, some street lights, and decorative flower urns on common land. Friedrich believes there is no added value to these “amenities,” and claims there have been six burglaries in the community in the past year.
I’ll leave to the reader’s judgment whether or not $2400 per year seems reasonable for what POA members get.
Of course, Barry Becker, the developer of Unit 2 and current Board member, believes Friedrich should pay up, even though Rancho Be Air’s restrictions don’t apply to Friedrich.
In any event, Rancho Bel Air is now an infamous member of the HOA Hall of Shame.
HOA HALL OF SHAME: Homeowner sues Rancho Bel Air (VIDEO)
Darcy Spears, ABC 13 Action News (Las Vegas, NV)