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Management company hired by HOA did not respond

by Arika
(Evans, GA USA)

Visitor Question: We purchased a new home with CCRs. We sent a certified letter to the HOA company asking for a waiver on the jet ski being parked in the driveway. We included a 30-day window in the letter as a response time, and stated that if no response was received then we would proceed with our request. No response was ever received. No letter was written regarding the jet ski.

Two years passed. A new HOA company has taken over the community. We received a letter requesting that we move the jet ski off the property. We previously requested to widen our back-yard gate to allow us to park the jet ski in the back yard. However, it was denied by this new HOA company. We requested to allow us to park the jet ski at the community pool parking lot. That was denied too.

Is there any precedence in the lack of response from the previous HOA company? We have parked the ski jet on the property for two years, and no one has said anything.

Editors Reply: Thank you for the question, as others face similar situations.

When you ask if there is precedence, meaning someone or some company has done this before, the answer is definitely yes. But we think you are really asking whether the first company set a precedent that the second company should be obligated to follow.

Our answer to this is no. (As an exception to what we just said, it is remotely possible that your CCRs themselves allow property owners to request something and then consider it approved if they hear nothing within 30 days. That seems unlikely to us, but CCRs can say literally anything in terms of procedure.)

The way we are thinking of this is that the correct analogy would be saying that I have been driving on the freeway 20 miles per hour over the speed limit every week day for 2 years. Yet today I got a ticket. Is that fair? Most of us would say that although it is frustrating, in the end, it is fair. In your case, you disregarded a rule of the HOA, which has outsourced its management to a company. You made some good efforts to work out an alternate place to store your jet ski, but those also have not been approved as of yet.

Our suggestion is that you talk directly with the management company and ask them where they imagine you might store your jet ski. If their answer is off the premises, you may have to accept that and put it in a storage unit. But they also might have a creative suggestion.

Alternatively, you might decide that whatever fines or liens on your property they are authorized to impose are small enough that you can afford to pay the penalty. You are actually fortunate in that your HOA apparently contracts its management to a firm that presumably has an office, phone, and capability of answering messages; some other folks are dealing with volunteer HOA boards who are less than businesslike in their response rate. Dialogue is usually the way to solve problems such as this, so take advantage of the opportunity to talk with the company and try to work out a solution.

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