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Homeowner says HOA towed his car illegally

Q: My name is Eddie. I’ve heard a lot about you and I finally got a second to write and beg for your help. My homeowners association is a mess. I have been fighting them for years. I don’t even know where to begin. Basically, the HOA president thinks she can do whatever she wants. She doesn’t understand that her authority is confined to the covenants, conditions and restrictions, and that she does not have unlimited powers.

I’ve paid thousand in fines that were issued in retaliation for reporting a dirty pool. Those fines were accounted for as “assessments” so we have no idea what happened to that money.

My car was towed illegally in 2018 by a tow truck company that was contracted by the HOA and the management company. This was before the new law passed. There’s nothing in our CC&Rs that allow the HOA to enter into such contract. Since the law effective July 1, now, allows for this, does that mean that the contract the HOA made with the tow truck company was illegal regardless of the fact that our CC&Rs don’t allow it?

We have a management company that is inept. I sent a demand letter requesting $1,200 in reimbursement for the damage from the illegal tow. The HOA management company did not confirm the towing company they contracted was properly licensed. Turns out, they were not.

I sent a separate demand letter to the HOA in care of the management company for $1,000 for retaliation. The management company told the HOA I am suing it for $2,100, instead of telling them the demand was for $1,000.

I moved away to California but came back, and now that I actually have time to fight this, I am still getting the runaround. The management company wants me to sue the tow truck company that they contracted. They are trying to say that they didn’t make the call and the tow truck company was acting rogue, which is not the case. The management company is trying to have it both ways.

Apparently, now the HOA president has individually entered into a contract with a tow tuck company as an agent. Can they do that even though it’s not in the CC&Rs? The management company refuses to provide me with any kind of information.

I’m getting ready to file suit but I’m extremely upset over this whole thing and I’m afraid I won’t be able to stay calm in court. Five years of fighting is enough. I just want these people to understand simple ethics and give me my money back. I don’t know what to do. Please help! Please!

A: Most CC&Rs list the powers and authority of the board of directors, one of which is to sign contracts on behalf of the association. Although you did not send me a copy of the covenants, it would be most unusual if the association board did not have the right to sign a contract with a towing company. The covenants would not list what contracts can or cannot be signed. The ability to tow a vehicle in 2018 was most likely legal.

As to recovering the towing damages, other than sending certified mail to the association, management company and towing company demanding the refund, you would have to follow the small claims procedures to file the claim in court.

Finally, the president could sign a towing contract on behalf of the association. She would not be able to serve on the board if she was an actual employee of the towing company doing business with the association.

Barbara Holland is a Certified Property Manager (CPM) and holds the supervisory community manager certificate with the state of Nevada. She is an author and educator on real estate management. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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