Don’t buy anything for HOA without approval

Q: I serve on a four-member board of a gated community. We have had problems with nonresidents sneaking into our pool area and trashing it.

One of our board members took it upon himself to install new locks on all of the gates. Three members of the board signed off on this but we didn’t hold a formal meeting.

Our president, who didn’t sign off, retained a lawyer to come to our meeting. The lawyer stated the expenditure needs to be voted on by all four members. The member who had the locks changed put the charges on his personal credit card and invoiced the HOA, but board is refusing to pay him. He has now resigned from the board.

Is there anything I can do to have him reimbursed? He took the new locks off but is unable to return them for a refund.

A: Technically, the board would have to vote to approve the costs of the locks in order to reimburse the board member at an open board meeting.

What is a shame is that you state there were three board members who supported the one board member’s decision to buy the locks and now they have reneged on their approval.

While their consent may not have been legally binding, it sure was ethically binding.

These board members show a lack of character and integrity — they should make a motion to reconsider their actions and reimburse the cost of the locks.

As to the moral of the story, don’t buy anything for your association unless you have proper authority.

Q: What options are available to a board in the following situation? There are renters in a unit who are paying rent; however, the owner is not paying the monthly fee to the association. It is our understanding that if we turn off the water to the unit, the owner has to pay only the water portion of the monthly fee. Are there any other options?

A: If the homeowner is not paying his or her assessment in a rental where a tenant is residing and is paying his or her rent, the association should begin foreclosure actions against the homeowner.

There are a number of collection companies that specialize in homeowner associations that do not charge the association collections fees. You need to contact one of them.

Barbara Holland, CPM, and Supervisory CAM, is president of H&L Realty and Management Co. To ask her a question, e-mail

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