HOA controversy updates (November 2018)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Periodically, IAC provides updates on previously covered HOA news. This post provides three updates:

  • Status of Florida homeowners and HOAs waiting for KB Homes to honor their multimillion dollar out-of-court settlement involving improperly applied stucco
  • Update on Illinois homeowners who were pressured into forming an HOA to take back two retention ponds that were sold at a tax deed sale
  • Fair Hosing court win for Idaho homeowner Jeremy Morris, whose HOA ordered him not to repeat his enormously popular annual charitable Christmas Program

Homeowners still waiting for KB Home to honor legal settlement

In February 2016, a major home builder settled out of court after the Florida Attorney General’s investigation revealed that KB Homes violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The $23.5 million settlement was huge. Homeowners and their governing associations were relieved and hopeful that they would be reimbursed for the high cost of removing cracked stucco, replacing rotten wood framing, and adding a properly-applied layer of stucco.

See previous post:

Construction defects settlement will cost KB Homes millions

Unfortunately, scores of homeowners are still waiting for KB Homes to either make repairs or reimburse them for repairs they have since made on their own.

Dozens of homeowners claim houses are falling apart, but major builder refuses to fix them

Updated: Oct 30, 2018 – 9:29 AM

CENTRAL FLORIDA – Dozens of buyers claim their new homes are falling apart, but a major builder refuses to fix defective stucco despite a multimillion-dollar state settlement.

They sued KB Home. The homeowners claim new testing and internal documents show the new homes’ stucco coating failed building codes and the company knew it.
Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich found homes KB refused to fix.

The stucco cracks can be extreme on some homes. Sometimes the concrete coating failed so badly, chunks of the wall just fell off.

“How does that happen?” Ulrich asked.

“Uh, wow, it’s hard to take. It really infuriates you, to be honest,” said homeowner Omar Kashif.

Dozens of Bayberry Lakes homeowners claim their homes are falling apart, and the builder, KB Home, won’t fix glaring construction failures.

Read more:

www.wftv.com/news/action-9/dozens-of-homeowners-claim-houses-are-falling-apart-but-major-builder-refuses-to-fix-them/860428444

Newly formed HOA buys back two retention ponds

Last year, slightly less than half of the homeowners in the Timberline Valley South community voted to create a homeowners’ association (HOA) for the purposes of acquiring and maintaining two storm water retention ponds.

The developer of the subdivision had never created an HOA, so the ponds were owned by Fountain Head Drainage District for many years, taxed at $3 per year.

When the District stopped paying property taxes, Champaign County sold the ponds at a tax deed auction for $1,800.

The buyer of the pond, a shell corporation named Nasty Joe’s, had a plan to shake down homeowners to purchase the ponds from him. Homeowners wanted to prevent undesirable uses.

The details were explained in a previous post:

Will tax sale of two lakes for $1,800 convince owners to create HOA?

Under pressure from the County to form their own HOA, so they could take control of the ponds from Nasty Joe, a group of homeowners organized a campaign to create an HOA.

Vote HOA election scrabble
(Pixabay.com free image)

Out of 195 lots, the pro-HOA group obtained 105 votes at a special meeting: 94 in favor of the HOA, 11 against it.

Even though 90 lot owners didn’t vote, all 195 lot owners will now be paying $50 to $100 per year to the HOA, to fund maintenance and liability insurance for both retention ponds.

See this post for details:

Can less than 20% of your neighbors force you to join a new HOA?

Here’s the latest update on the situation.

Home owners association reclaims detention ponds

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 7:41 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 7:42 PM EDT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) – The city of Champaign announced Tuesday that on October 12, 2018, the Timberline Valley South Home Owners Association (HOA) reacquired their neighborhood’s detention ponds.

In April of 2017, the Limited Liability Corporation (LCC) wouldn’t allow the neighborhood to access the pond or any common areas. They claimed that the area was private property and no one had access to it.

“The developer failed to originally turn that over to an HOA and an HOA was never formed. Then there was a drainage district assessment on those ponds that went unpaid for a number of years,” said Administrative Assistant Nina Sibley.

For a while, there were no fees to cover costs of potential water damage to basements.

“If the water isn’t properly drained out, then that’s water in your basements that’s flooded in your home. Someone has to be responsible for the pond,” Sibley said.

Source:
www.wandtv.com/story/39353761/home-owners-associated-reclaims-detention-ponds

No details on the purchase price or the amount of the small city grant used to “reclaim” the ponds.

The homeowners have just bought themselves an ongoing liability and a future maintenance headache.

Hayden Idaho homeowner exposes HOA’s bias against Christians

In January 2017, Jeremy Morris filed a Fair Housing lawsuit against West Hayden Estates HOA.

The lawsuit alleged anti-Christian discriminatory behavior on the part of the Association and his neighbors.

Details are available here:

Homeowner – attorney files fair housing lawsuit seeking de-annexation from HOA

Just in time for the 2018 Christmas holiday, KREM2 reports a legal victory for Morris.

Jury awards $75K to Hayden man over his Christmas light display

Jeremy Morris was awarded $60,000 in compensatory damages and $15,000 in punitive damages.

Author: Staff
Published: 3:51 PM PDT October 31, 2018
Updated: 7:50 PM PDT October 31, 2018
The battle over Christmas lights in Hayden, Idaho is finally over.

A jury ruled in favor of Jeremy Morris, who said that his family was embarrassed and ostracized by the West Hayden Homeowners Association.

Morris was awarded $60,000 in compensatory damages and $15,000 in punitive damages.

Morris’ legal battle with the HOA started back in 2015 when he moved to his home with the intent to host an annual charity Christmas show with Santa Claus, carolers, and a live nativity scene featuring a live camel.

Read more (video):
www.krem.com/article/news/local/kootenai-county/jury-awards-75k-to-hayden-man-over-his-christmas-light-display/293-610052028

Morris credits his accumulation of evidence of discrimination against his family, including the following legal exhibit, for swaying the jury’s opinion in his favor.

Note the inflammatory language in this draft letter from the HOA intended for Morris, stating, “And finally, we are hesitant to bring up the fact that some of our residents are avowed atheists / non-Christians or people of another faith and we don’t even want to think of the problems that would bring up.”

This version of the letter goes onto to refer to the “riff riff over by Wal-Mart that your Christmas show seems to attract.”

Morris also tells IAC, “The seller of the home, a doctor, was contacted by the HOA at the time of the Morris purchase and he testified in federal court last week that, ‘The HOA President contacted me and said that the Board didn’t want Mr. Morris’ beliefs pressed on others in the neighborhood.’”

Morris goes on to explain his motivation for suing his HOA. “HOAs are being exposed for their abuses throughout the country. HOAs pride themselves in monitoring every last aspect of the lives of homeowners—down to the very height of their grass.”

When asked what Mr. Morris’ plans are for the future. He said he’s looking forward to moving. The first instructions he will be providing to his realtor: “No HOA.”

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