Is condo association ripping off residents with fees and fines?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

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I knew there had to be more to the story with Mesa Terrace Condominiums, when I blogged about the “block list” policy last week.

There’s good reason for these residents to complain. They are being hit left and right with fines for unreasonable, and just plain stupid rules. For example, your car will be towed (at a cost of $150) for parking on lines that you can barely see. That’s right, the paint in the parking lot is so worn out, you’d have to open your car door or get out and search for what’s left of those white lines. Must be a real challenge at night.

Take a look at this small portion of official parking rules, from the Mesa Terrace Rules and Regulations: (my emphasis added in bold)

PARKING – TOWING
1. Any individual can report a parking issue to the HOA by sending an email to admin@mesaterracehoa.com. EMail is NOT monitored 24 x 7. If there is an emergency contact the Police Department.
2. The towing vendor will only respond to the HOA; homeowners and registered tenants may not contact towing vendor directly to initiate a tow.
3. If the HOA shall view any truck, mobile home, travel trailer, tent trailer, trailer, camper shell, detached camper, recreational vehicle, boat, boat trailer or similar equipment or vehicle or any automobile, motorcycle, motorbike or other motor vehicles, as provided for in the Association’s Declaration of any Homeowner, occupant, lessee, and/or guest, invitee, licensee of such Homeowner, occupant, lessee, parked, kept, maintained, constructed, reconstructed or repaired in violation of the Declaration and/or Association’s Rules and Regulations vehicle(s) shall be towed without notice. Owner shall be responsible for all fees related to processing the removal request, damages, and the actual removal. This includes fees and fines. Vehicle owner is responsible for towing fees charged by towing vendor.
4. Any vehicle found in violation of the Parking Rules & Regulations shall be towed without notice.
5. If your vehicle is towed, the phone number for the towing company can be found on signs located throughout the parking lot. The towing company can verify towing information and provide procedures for recovering your vehicle.
6. The towing vendor will provide reason(s) for towing upon request. In addition upon request a photo of the violation can be requested by the Homeowner. Tenants must contact their Landlord to obtain photos.

7. All towing incidents are subject to Rules and Regulation fines and administrative fees. These fees are in addition to the actual towing expense.
8. NOTE: All fees paid to the towing company are fees charged by the towing company. The HOA nor any of its agent(s) receive any compensation from the towing company. The HOA is unable to credit or reimburse towing fee(s).

Did you notice the “snitch rule” at the top of the list? The HOA is encouraging you to turn in your neighbor or their guest, and to even call the police if it’s after office hours. I think it’s a safe bet that there are not enough parking spaces at Mesa Terrace. Perfect conditions for conflict and abuse.

Of course, if you are not on the block list, and if you pay $25 per registered vehicle for the privilege, the towing company will attempt to notify you before they haul away your vehicle. But you only get 10 minutes to move it, so hurry up! Oh, and you’ll still have to pay $40 for the advance notice.

PARKING – TOW ALERTS
The HOA offers an alert communication (TowAlerts) prior to being towed for participating residents. The goal of this service is to alert the vehicle owner to the parking issue BEFORE the vehicle is towed.

HOW IT WORKS:

  • Parking violation is verified and documented per HOA procedure.
  • If there is a VALID parking pass that is visible in the vehicle the registered individuals who occupy the unit will be contacted by SMS, Phone and E-mail.
  • If the vehicle is parked in the unit’s assigned parking space, the registered individuals who occupy the unit will be contacted by SMS, Phone and E-Mail.
  • If the vehicle is identified based on a license plate that has been registered to the unit, the registered individual assigned to that license plate will be contacted by Phone, SMS and E-Mail.
  • In ALL Cases the vehicle must be moved or the violation corrected within 10 minutes.
  • HOA Representatives are not permitted to create a TowAlert ticket unless 1 of these requirements are met. This means even if he/she knows who the vehicle belongs to, a TowAlert ticket cannot be created unless the outlined requirements are met.

 

FEES:

  • There is a $25 registration fee per form submitted. Each form can register up to two (2) vehicles.
  • A $40 Tow Alert fee will be billed to the Homeowner’s account for each incident. This is in addition to any violation fee(s) that may be incurred. This fee only applies if the TowAlert is successful and the vehicle is moved within 10 minutes. If the vehicle is not moved, standard admin fees apply.

 

And that’s not all. The HOA has surveillance cameras watching every move.

How else do you expect management to monitor what you put on your patio or balcony?

Patio rules specify that “No more than six (6) potted plants shall be permitted without the approval of the Board of Directors. Potted plants and/or any part of the potted plant shall not be taller than the patio wall or balcony railing.” and “Patio Furniture which is limited to permanent non-foldable or non-collapsible patio furniture. The definition of patio furniture is furniture such as chairs and tables suited for use on a patio or balcony such that will not be damaged by exposure to rain, sun or other outdoor elements. Wood furniture is not permitted unless approved by the Board. If you have any questions as to what is patio furniture please ask before purchasing and feel free to email the Board with a picture.”

In other words, only very expensive, high-end patio furniture is allowed, and only with the Board’s permission. Apparently there is no committee to review these requests.

And if you go to the media to expose this kind of utter nonsense and abuse, you’ll get slapped with another $50 fine.

Honestly, with rules like this, who in their right mind will want to live at Mesa Terrace for the long term? And who can afford it? Unbelievable!

 

Is HOA making up violations and fees?


One thought on “Is condo association ripping off residents with fees and fines?

  1. So many rules for 80+ units. They may have a lot of problems with renters but a lot of these rules are just too much.

    The problems is that ANY HOA or condo board can vote in a new set of rules at ANY time. The rules in Ontario must be reasonable but what does reasonable mean? Does every rule need to go to arbitration or Superior Court to be tested?

    HOAs and condos are a very risky form of ownership. First sign of trouble, sell and get out. Better to rent than own in these things.

    Like

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