HOA


Granite Peak Management &HOA &Property Management &Where's the Beef?07 Oct 2010 03:21 pm

How often have you heard about an action taken by our HOA, Granite Peak Management, or of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) justified with the old saw about preserving homeowner value? I have listen to these pundits raise this claim over and over again, and the claim is the loudest whenever the action violates one or more provisions of our CC&Rs or California State Law.  How is that these folks believe that knowingly violating the law preserves value for the homeowner?

Several years ago I was exercising my Constitutional right to free speech and posted a political sign in my exclusive use area behind my unit. It was not long after that, that Granite Peak Management submitted a trumped up complaint against me to our Board claiming several complaints against me and citing a violation of our CC&Rs. Needless to say, this action did not endear me to either GPM or our Board and I did not act on my disgust, partly because there is actually a provision in our CC&Rs prohibiting this form of the guaranteed right of free speech granted by the Constitution.

Then today I received an alert from The Center for California Homeowner Association Law announcing that indeed, all homeowners have a guaranteed right to post political signs, that this right has been codified in California law, and that the loudest opponent of your Constitutional Right, the CAI, was once again unable to demonstrate their claims of preserving property value.

REMEMBER: HOA homeowners have a specific right under
California law to post political signs in support of a
candidate or a ballot measure, whether the election is for
the President of the United States, your congressional
representatives, your state lawmaker, your mayor, your HOA
board of directors, or an election on a special
assessment.

This law is the result of 2003-2004 legislation sponsored
by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and supported
by CCHAL and members of the consumer coalition in
Sacramento.

CCHAL and coalition members went to Sacramento to testify
repeatedly in support of the bill before the Housing and
Judiciary Committees explaining the need for AB 1525.

Coalition members also lobbied members of the committee
for their votes, got the issue covered in the press, and
supported Dr. Bill Durston in his campaign to fly a United
Nations flag outside his HOA home in order to protest the
invasion of Iraq by the U.S.  His HOA told him to take it
down and fined him for every day that it was up.  [CCHAL
website link: http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=706]

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) apparently
doesn’t believe in the U.S. Constitution, because it
fought the bill tooth and nail right up to the end.  CAI
argued that posting political signs and flying flags
degraded HOA property values.

The Governor rejected this phony argument and signed the
bill into law.

The California Attorney General’s Office also endorsed AB
1525.

AB 1525/Longville states that homeowners living in HOAs
have a specific right – guaranteed by the Constitution —
to post political signs.

Here’s what the law says:

Sec 1: It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting
this act to provide for all of the following:

(a) that homeowners throughout the State shall be able to
engage in constitutionally protected free speech
traditionally associated with private residential property

(b) that owners of a separate interest in a common
interest development shall be specifically protected from
unreasonable restrictions on this right in the governing
documents.

More information on AB 1525 is on the CCHAL website and on
the state’s legislative website:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.  To read the bill as chaptered,
go to
http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/03-04/bill/asm/ab_1501-1550/ab_1525_bill_20031011_chaptered.pdf
To read the ACLU letter, go to the CCHAL website:
http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=1214

Since 2001, CCHAL, the California Alliance for Retired
Americans (CARA), Consumers Union and the consumer
coalition have been tireless advocates in Sacramento to
get laws off the books that injure homeowners to create
new ones that protect HOA owners.

To read a partial list of bills that CCHAL and the
coalition have worked on in Sacramento, go to
http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=460 on the CCHAL
website.

CCHAL NewsBrief
October 7, 2010

Over the past fifteen years I have often been attacked by our Board, and now Granite Peak Management, in ways that have violated our CC&Rs and California Civil Code. These sanctimonious actions are presumably a confrontational reaction for promoting a political agenda by simply asking questions and demanding answers.

Time and time these violations are justified under the mantra of preserving home value. It should be clear, even to a casual observer, that neither our HOA, nor Granite Peak Managment, nor the  CAI are able to influence property value (short of a capital improvement) one way or the other. The market forces are far to large.

On the other hand, I continue to believe that having our HOA operate responsibly within the auspices of the law, is an asset to each homeowner.

Granite Peak Management &HOA &Property Management11 May 2010 06:38 pm

Does anyone else out there smell conflict of interest? Is there really a reason to raise homeowner dues two years running? And add another assessment?

And why is it that with all the years of self proclaimed experience with property management afforded by Granite Peak, we receive yet another letter talking about new and unaccounted for expenses?

It was just a short five years ago that the homeowners bailed out our Board to the tune of 3/4 million dollars. Less than a year after that we received the bad news that a number of units were once again damaged by water.

My very first month of ownership here at River Run was marked by the very same problem. Of course, I requested the HOA reimburse my expenses. And of course, the Board declined. That was fifteen years ago.

Members of the Board have known for decades about the leaks. Despite Granite Peak’s years of experience, their management of the residing project failed to fix the leaks and once the leaks reoccurred, they went into overdrive trying to pin this problem on anyone but themselves.

So, the following year only 1/2 of the problem areas were repaired. We were told that our bailout money was running out and that Granite Peak may need to pass another assessment.

I am sure we will once again hear about our Board’s fiduciary responsibility. How many more times will we subjected to these lectures by those that have mostly failed their fiduciary responsibilities? Other than capital improvements, proposing assessments is direct proof of fiduciary failures.

So why is this? Some insight can be gleaned from Granite Peak’s contract. Request a copy, it is illuminating. Granite Peak is paid a commission on all additional work that they oversee. While, in general, I do not oppose getting paid for work managed, it is becoming a bit much when the firm that maintains our books, prepares our budget, constantly claims (Evan) and act like they (he) are (is) a member of the Board, and is also recommending an ever expanding list of unforeseen work.

Not only did Granite peak earn a fee for managing the siding project, they also received payment for managing the corrective action which they failed to prevent.

Of course I went running for my checkbook when I read the Board’s justification for the new proposed assessment.

“The Board of Directors strongly urges your affirmative vote on this Phase 1 Special Assessment to avoid the possibility of an additional dues increase.”

Who are they kidding? How is it that an assessment in not an increase in dues? And if this is the case, why is this proposal packaged with a notice that the Board IS raising dues?

“While the Board of Directors desired not to raise dues in these tough financial times…”

Yeah, right. These folks seem to believe our money is theirs, that they are entitled to soak us everytime they get an itch or whenever Evan of Granite Peak management decides he needs more income.

Enough is enough. These budget shortfalls are primarily caused by Granite Peak Management’s incompetence managing the re-siding project. We have every right to expect that when we fork over 3/4 million dollars that the work would have been completed so that the leaks were fixed. The primary beneficiary of ripping off the siding to fix the problem after the fact benefits only one party, Granite Peak Management.

Vote NO!

HOA &Where's the Beef?16 Sep 2009 09:18 am

Apparently controversy is brewing again about certain Phase II owners that have landscaped common area property behind their units. In the past fifteen years the Association has never even bothered to pick up the trash that occasionally accumulates on the common area property located adjacent to the Truckee River.

While the Association is free to pick and choose their maintenance policies, which are currently contracted to Granite Peak Management, it is puzzling why anyone would be annoyed by the additional help that individuals ante up. It is even more puzzling that but a single homeowner would become a target since several homeowners have completed some landscaping behind their units.

Of course Mary Denove, a lawyer incapable of thinking out of her box, again suggested that the Association sue. Sue, Mary, Sue almost always offers up this option to various problems. It is very similar to the ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ solution to our energy problems that Sara Palin conjured up even though such a policy would solve nothing.

Some insight into Mary’s personality can be gleaned from her response to a homeowner that was investigating ways to reduce their high propane bill. Mary declared that this was not a problem because she was paying 3 times as much.

Of course, Mary did not recommend suing her good buddy Bonnie Lofstedt who went even further with her landscaping efforts and fenced off the common area property around their home in violation of our governing documents. The Board went even further by publishing policy that stated that if folks wanted to access the Truckee River shoreline that they had to do so by traversing around the front of Bonnie’s unit. Essentially prohibiting access directly behind Bonnie’s unit. This also represents a failure of fiduciary responsibility as our governing documents clearly contain an easement for the public along the Truckee River shoreline.

While I suspect that the majority of homeowners do not object to the various landscaping projects, some of us do object to denying access along the river bank behind Bonnie’s unit. In fact, a path has been cleared through the dense brush along the river bank to promote access to the point across from Bells Landing which is used for recreation.

Over the years some members of the Board have insisted that we need Mary on the Board, based soley on the fact that she is a laywer, even though Mary’s expertise is afar from property management and CIDs. In fact, my experience is that Mary is behind the deliberate efforts of the Board to communicate and negotiate with a lack of good faith.

I have long opposed Mary’s position on the Board and those that have had the dubious pleasure of communicating with Mary are coming to understand my beliefs.

I continue to urge that homeowners not caste their votes for Mary & Bonnie, but realize that there are so few candidates for the Board, that anyone that tosses their name into the hat will be elected.

HOA12 Nov 2008 03:34 pm

By now most of us have at least heard of Keith Obermann’s ‘Worst Person in the World’ segment on MSNBC’s Countdown where Keith nightly lampoons those in our country that seem to be clueless in their stupidity and harm that they cause to others.

Since even David Letterman thinks that Keith has a big head it would seem fitting that I too follow Keith’s lead and announce River Run’s “Worst HOA President in the World!”

My nomination goes to Bonnie Lofstedt who after receiving the votes for the job proceeded to use our HOA to sue the homeowner who so generously cast all their votes for her and in the space of a few short months spent more money on litigation than we spend on our entire annual budget, or in our entire history,  and forced the HOA to use Phase I reserve funds to pay off the lawyers. This act stressed our budget for the next two years. All because Bonnie could not get along with her next door Phase II neighbor and refused to follow our CC&Rs to settle the dispute through arbitration and mediation.

But Bonnie’s accomplishments did not end there, she also presided over having our insurance policy canceled (later re-instated with the work of another board member), was reported to have spent more time at the bar than time attending and participating in her mediation hearings to settle her litigation claims, sponsored a high school football party for her son where her husband directed all the participants to park in our fire circle, the very same fire circle where her husband had actually installed the no parking signs, lived and drove their cars around Tahoe City using Oregon tags in violation of California state law, tried to pass a $500,000 assessment on Phase I based on a single quote from one of our odd job local contractors, a handy man, and caused so much division on the board that one of the board members resigned and demanded that the board be reconstituted.

Of course Bonnie took plenty of shots at me because I opposed her policies. She and her husband were furious that I floated a proposal asking the board to consider that their litigation was a private matter between Phase II owners as allowed by our CC&Rs. Bonnie personally signed the paperwork to tow my boat off of the property without prior notification, and she accused me of copyright infringement for including our River Run logo on my correspondence to my fellow homeowners. She also took great pride in violating our nuisance clauses in our CC&Rs as demonstrated by her husband’s email that accused me of spying on them when I was on one of my routine walks around the common area to stretch my legs.

Why this woman is still serving on our board is beyond me.

Bonnie Loftstedt, our local Diva, and “The Worst HOA President in the World!”

HOA10 Nov 2008 07:32 pm

At the HOA meeting last September, a well thought out proposal was presented to allow longer term renters here at River Run keep their pets. Pets were never an issue here at River Run prior to the first year of operation of what is known as Phase II, a collection of duplexes and homes that were built and sold in response to a perceived lack of demand for single family condos.

A rift quickly developed between two of the Phase II owners, the Lofstedts and a local owner that has since sold their interests. The rift soon blossomed into a full scale legal battle whose costs exceeded $100,000. Word on the street was that many of the Lofstedt positions were unreasonable, apparently Bonnie Lofstedt is a Diva.

Bonnie is the type of person that will scream and rage bloody murder if someone parks their car in the wrong place and then wonders why anyone would complain when she parked her cars where they don’t belong.

We miss Brodie!

We miss Brodie!

Part of the fallout was an arbitrary board ruling clamping down on pets, dogs in particular. The “flat landers” on the board apparently have little if any appreciation for Lake Tahoe’s favorite pets, the family dog. Dogs are the preferred pet here and for good reason. Lake Tahoe is a mountainous forest area filled with all sorts of mother nature’s more dangerous animals – bears, coyotes, & raccoons.  River Run is backed by national forest. The family dog is a great way to keep these creatures somewhat at bay, meaning out of your hair. It was little surprise to me that the number of bear incidents here at River Run increased dramatically after tighter enforcement of our dog policy went into effect.

At issue is that one of our units was having trouble finding a long term lease because of the arbitrary dog ruling prohibiting renters from having pets. The “reasonable” proposal presented was to allow pets for leases of 6 months or longer.

The proposal was rejected by the board with claims that boarding of family pets by renters would require significant changes to our CC&Rs. I nearly laughed out loud! I can only assume that this verdict was rendered by Mary, a lawyer on the board whom I believe does not practice law in either the real estate or the home owner association fields.

If I’m mistaken, then perhaps this is just incompetence. You only have to read a short paragraph, Section 2.5 Pets, of our CC&Rs to determine exactly what the authority granted to the board is. You would be mistaken to declare that the CC&Rs prohibit renters from having pets or even that you would need to change the CC&Rs to begin to allow approval of renters with pets.

In fact, the CC&Rs declare that “each Member shall comply with such reasonable Association Rules governing the keeping of pets which may be adopted by the Association from time to time”.

There is the rub. “Reasonable”, and “from time to time”.

Tyler Berding, Esq. wrote an interesting article dated Friday, October 31, 2008 entitled “Why Community Associations are Not Governments” where he describes that while many consider associations akin to “mini” governments, and some boards certainly act in this fashion, there are important differences. The primary focus of an association is on the rights of the individual and that the community function in a kind of consensual harmony. The sole agreement is contractually based. It depends on both parties remaining satisfied for the Association to continue to exist.

To state that our board has been and is primarily concerned with the rights of individuals is like republicans proclaiming to be populists on election day. In particular, many of our board’s decisions, in my view, violate one of the fundamental tenants of contract law, the contract cannot be changed without mutual consent.

There is meaning in the feelings afterward, that the only people that objected to the request were people that don’t live anywhere near here. For me it is yet one more example of the lack, or shall I say, feigned concern over individual rights.

The prohibition of pets to renters at River Run is neither warranted or reasonable. It is simply an arbitrary decision that can be changed at anytime.

Anyone who claims otherwise is either a fool, a zealot, or both.

HOA20 Oct 2008 11:28 am

If one cares to search, one will find numerous examples of petty leadership in the ranks of the boards of HOAs across the country. In fact, it is a lack of integrity in HOA leadership that prevents HOAs from performing their primary task, that of promoting property value. It is curious why unqualified homeowners seek active roles on their boards, after all, it is often described as a thankless job. It seems that one motivation is a desire to control others.

John Dean, in his book “Conservatives Without Conscience“, gives us perhaps the best insight into this problem as he has extensively studied the impact of authoritarian thought in our society and had come to the conclusion that perhaps 30% of our population subscribes to some form of authoritarianism. On one side of the equation, we have many cultures that would never dream of questioning authority. These cultures are content to accept the status quo thinking that, that is just the way of the world. It does not seem to matter to them that they are being taken advantage of. On the other side of the equation are those double dippers, those that derive pleasure from controlling others. These folks boost their self esteem with their personal power quests, whether they actually deserve the honor is always another question.

So today I present another one of those ludicrous power trips from a HOA president whom seems unable to place the business of his HOA in broader social context.

It is my guess that this “mad as hell” HOA president will next attempt to sue the homeowner over the flagpole. I am sure you have heard the argument, “What if every homeowner put up a flagpole?”.

HOA20 Jul 2008 09:37 pm

The following Internet resources are available for helping homeowners:

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