HOA Follies - What would you have thought, said, done, etc?

So, here is the story. As I mentioned before, I am on the HOA board of directors. We did bring on the other guy I talked about earlier, and so far all has been going well. Now, for the fun part.

Right before I joined the board they changed the parking rules to require safe-listing for all visiting vehicles. This meant that regardless of the time, any time a resident had a visitor parking in a visitor parking spot, the resident had to call the parking company to safe-list the vehicle. If they did not, the vehicle was subject to being towed, regardless as to the time of day. Since then, we had two lemons for parking companies. We did not renew the contract with the first one and went without one for four months, during which time there was, of course, no safe listing. The second company was then even worse, and we terminated them two month early, and were without any company for two months, with no safe-listing, of course. (Side note: parking companies are very good at making professional presentations and then not following through.)

We finally find a third parking company that seems to meet all of our requirements. We then find out at the last minute that this company does not safe list on week-ends. The board president calls a meeting on a Saturday morning to discuss this, and we all decide that safe-listing hasn’t brought any real benefits and that we can do without it, just as the HOA did for all of those years before. We therefore decided to not have this new company do safe-listing, and the president was to tell the management company. Up to now everything is good.

The following Monday around 5:30 I get a text from the board president telling me we have an “urgent” meeting in two hours. She says that we aren’t allowed to just change the parking rules ourselves but have to follow a formal process which will take two months, and we have to figure out a way to have this new company safe-list until we can make this change.

What would you have though had you gotten that text? What would you have said at that meeting? I knew exactly what I was going to say before I got there, but I wonder how many others here think what I did.

After reading it twice, here is what I got out of it. I may offend someone with my remarks. I understood that you have a female board president who got all excited and called an urgent meeting over some perceived parking issue. What is not clear is if there is actually a parking issue. It seems that female board presidents seem to specialize in making mountains out of mole hills. All from anecdotal evidence, not my first hand experience. More reasons to live in the woods.

Why don’t you just issue something people could hang from their window to show they are permitted to park there?

I am surprised towing companies are not more responsive. When I lived in California, that is how they generate their income by towing and charging fees. In our complex, they would be there in 10 minutes to tow a violator away. My understanding is the driver got a commission for the tow plus for the fees. They were paid on performance.

I agree. Many apartment complexes do that, it’s just permit that hangs from the rear view mirror. Each tenant gets a couple for their guests and usually there are rules like if it’s going to be more that 24 hours you have to let management know or if you need more for a party they’ll give you extras.

IMO with the safe-listing a lot could go wrong and cars could be erroneously towed. It wouldn’t be that complicated to have an app that you could list the car 24/7 that the tow truck driver could check before towing, there would be a record if the car was listed or not.

[quote=“branchkin, post:2, topic:48787, full:true”] More reasons to live in the woods.

That and not to live where there is a HOA in the 1st place. Personally never have and never will.

I agree but homes that are connected like condos or townhomes need them to cover the common areas.

We had paper ones where you would write a date and time.

Was it in the contract with the towing company that the rules couldn’t be changed? The company wants to tow as many cars as possible and IMO most towing companies are weasels.

There should be a system that allows homeowners to easily safe list a vehicle 24/7 that gives confirmation so cars won’t be erroneously towed and if thay are the towing company won’t be paid.

A woman I dated had 2 tags with her unit number you’d hang from your rear view mirror. If she needed more for a larger get together the office would give her more but would have the date on them good only for that day.

What was your response?

  1. I would have voted against the whole “safe-listing” ordinance in the first place. (edit to add: I missed that they did that before you were on the board).
  2. I would have let the board President know that this needed to be brought up at the next regular meeting.
  3. I would simply stop say you were putting the contract out to bid, and in the time you waited for bids, terminate the “safe-listing” ordinance.

FYI, I was on our “pool committee” for our HOA when we first moved and the pool first opened.
My wife made me do it because, according to her;
“you will speak your mind, and you won’t let them make any stupid rules”.
She was right, I put the kibosh on a couple of dumb ones right away.

My guess is the safe-listing was to make sure cars that were allowed to park there weren’t towed. If parking is limited they probably need some kind of system.

You got it essentially correct. Only I would say that the fact that she is female did not come into play. I know one other former board member who is male who probably would have reacted the exact same way.

In fairness, this lady is pretty fair overall and isn’t your stereotypical HOA busy-body. She is retired and in theory should be able to devote a lot of time to being board president. However, she does a lot of other activities and stretches herself thin, and it shows sometimes. Also, there are some times when I don’t understand what goes into her thought process. This was one such time.

It wasn’t anything to do with the towing company. The agent at the management company told the president that if the board wants to change the parking rules per the HOA CC&Rs it has to follow a procedure where it sends a notice to all members and give them thirty days to provide comment. Then, the board can vote on it. Thus, it would take two months to change the rules.

Ah, I see.

Let’s just say that I was more than annoyed being called there after having discussed this for two hours the previous Saturday. Everybody else knew that immediately.

When I got there they were taking about getting some stop-gap measure to have this company safe-list via e-mail on the week-end and hope they would accept it. I said that if we have to formally change the rules we can do that. However, we had already gone four months last year with no active safe-listing and are now finishing the second straight month now with no safe listing and the parking rules didn’t affect that. I then said that we are talking about having this new company start another safe-listing program that we know doesn’t meet the requirements and which we also know we will be stopping in two months. I then asked if this made any sense. Everybody agreed with me that we would tell the management company that we will formally change the rules but will not start any safe listing in the mean time.

The following day the president of the board wrote us and said that she had a very nice conversation with the management company and explained to her why we were ending safe listing. This confirmed what I suspected already - that she had just forward the new set of parking guidelines with no explanation as to why. The management company said we need to follow the process, and she leaped to the conclusion that we need to actively safe list and find a way to do so. Again, I don’t understand her thought process at times.

And, for a side note, she had brought her dog to the previous meetings since they went live again in May and, of course, brought her dog to this one too. When I got there the first thing I asked was if there was a reason the dog was at the meeting, giving her the benefit of the doubt in case there was some medical reason. However, she got this look on her face and asked if there was a problem, adding that she had took her dog for a walk right before the meeting. I told her that (1) I don’t think it is professional to bring her dog to a meeting where we are conducting business, and (2) the meeting was in the pool area, where the posted rules say no pets are allowed, and it doesn’t look good for the HOA board of directors to be disregarding the rules. I could tell the other two agreed with me, and one other seconded my point about the rules. I added that I have a dog myself and like dogs, but I don’t bring mine to the meetings. She said she would not bring the dog any more. I know I could have been more polite on that point, but at the same time what I said was valid.

To be fair, she did contact you at 5:30 am

That is only because the management company was not open then. :grinning:

That is another subject. The association did that before they went to safe listing. We may end up going back to that, though for now we are going to have the new patrol company keep track of what cars are parked each day.

That is another subject too. We have had problems where the patrol company claimed that the towing company couldn’t come within the time frame of their patrol. This was the same company that ensured us that they had multiple relationships and could always call a second company if the first one was too busy. I think was yet another example of how lame this patrol company was.

My experience has been the same as yours. Whenever a towing company was called they came. The one former board member I mentioned used to take it upon himself to walk the complex and call the towing company when he thought a car was improperly parked. In at least two instances we had to refund the towing fee because he was incorrect. After he left the board we all agreed that the best thing to do is to have the patrol company call for a tow, since that is their job. And, if a board member called for a tow directly, he had to be ready to stand up and tell the resident why his car was towed.

With me, that is half-true. I can speak my mind, but I am only one vote.

As another example of a rule that was passed before my time and which I disagree with, the association passed a rule against washing your car. The reason was that the water is a shared association expense and the water bills were getting out of hand. I have said several times that had I been on the board I would have voted against it because it is not practical or enforceable. I have also said several times that somebody can see me washing my car but can not see me taking a two-hour long shower if I wanted to. I have asked if it is possible to change the water metering to individual units, but the answer is that it is too expensive.

Still, I don’t say anything when I see somebody washing his car. Well, once I mentioned to my neighbor that it is against the rules as an FYI, but I didn’t report it to the management company. Other members will report residents who are seen washing their cars, and one guy wrote saying he was not doing so. The board member who reported him said she definitely saw somebody washing a car in front of that unit. All that does is generate a cost to send a letter.