Posted by Frank Chin on October 07, 2003 at 08:08:21:
I own out of state condos where we had some of the problems you mentioned. Fortunately, my sister also has a condo in the complex, manages the the condo rentals, and also attends all the association meetings.
I don’t know if I can answer all of your questions, but I’ll do my best.
Q: And on a slightly different topic: Is it possible for a HOA to get a commercial loan for capital improvements? We have about 2 million worth of work that needs to be done and no money in reserve.
A: I didn’t know condos can do this, but I received a report that my HOA had gotten a loan, but not as large as the 2MM you mentioned. But I recall it was in the low six figures. Normally, large projects such as this are handled via assessements.
Normally coops take on underlying mortgages to do major capital improvements, and the bank takes on the first lien on the property. A bank cannot take a lein on the condo complex.
#1) Is there particular procedure we need to follow to set up and run this committee? Do we need to Follow Roberts Rules of Order when we meet?
A: Good idea.
#2) Our current AMC is refusing to give us copies of work orders for repair jobs that have been done over the past 2 years. They say they do not have this information because of changing their computer systems. We need this information to see exactly what they are doing for us (and to make sure we have not been double billed. I know that these records have to be available. Is there any way to get a court order to make them turn these records over?
A: What type of records does the HOA keep as the officers have some responsibility?? Seems like someone was asleep. Litigation is expensive, and I would concentrate on getting a new management, and get things done right from here on in.
#3) Any opinions on self management? I feel there are certain functions that can be preformed by someone within the association. For example, bookkeeping. We already have a Treasurer that is redoing most of the bookkeeping anyway and it is obvious that our AMC is not keeping good records.
A: My HOA has gone the route of self management, but uses the management company mainly to bill and collect condo fees.
We hired a local neighbor women to clean the interior hallways. We used to pay for it, gotten expensive, and we never see anyone cleaning. Now I hear she’s seen her working every day.
A grounds committee water the lawns, trim the trees, plant bushes. The projects are organized somewhat as outings where neighbors get together. My brother in law was on this committee for a while, but got a little tired as others hold the ladder, talked and joked while he’s way up there trimming the branches.
My brother in law took over the task of changing light bulbs. The management company used to charge so much to come and change one, something like $10.00 to $20.00 each. His name and number is now on the bulletin board downstairs, residents will leave messages on a bulb outage, and he comes home from work, take down the messages, and change the bulbs before he showers.
Move-in, move-out. The management company used to charge to have people come by to place coverings inside the elevators, and take them down. Another volunteer is took over the duties.
The management company is still in charge of sending crews to clean the snow after a snow storm, as the HOA is not equipped to get someone ther quickly on short notice.
One thing I have to mention is we were dropped by the previous management company after complaining about poor service on the grounds the complex of 104 units is TOO SMALL. They explain they handle larger complexes with multiple building more efficiently.
This is after changing managment companies several times due to poor service.
But I see the value of the limitation of no more than 25% no owner occupants as useful here as I can’t see absentee owners such as myself coming by to water the lawns, trim bushes, change bulbs etc.
Hope this helps.