September 24, 2011 - 1:02 am
Q: Our activity committee has a balance of more than $4,000. These monies are used to help defray costs of our events and to occasionally purchase needed equipment for the clubhouse.
We maintain our own records and deliver a financial report each month at our meetings. However, these funds are co-mingled with the homeowners’ association’s general fund.
We have recently been advised that activity committee funds should be in a separate account, and we should be applying for nonprofit status. Is this correct and could you suggest the proper way to proceed?
A: You would not qualify as a nonprofit organization per Internal Revenue Service regulation.
Q: Our HOA denied my request to widen my driveway, stating it would set a precedent and would take away from look of the neighborhood with too much concrete and less landscape. They also said it would effect the drainage and elevation.
First, there are seven homes in our development with wider driveways. One even has a concrete patio in the front yard. These improvements were approved by different boards through the years. Second, our contractor said there will be a drain pipe for excess water to run off and it should not be a concern and the elevation will not change. What is my recourse?
A: Most community governing documents are very broad and give the architectural committee, and /or board, much leeway. Various state Supreme Court cases throughout the United States have been supportive of the associations’ positions. In our own state, a case that occurred many years ago (Gladstone v. Gregory, 1977) basically stated that architectural guidelines are not negated because of decisions made by past architectural committees or boards.
Other than appealing the decision to the board (and providing all of the documentation from photos of other driveways and the statement from your contractor pertaining to drainage and elevation), or contacting legal counsel to review the governing documents, there is not too many options available to you (especially any inexpensive ones).
Q: It was recently discovered that an HOA board member videotaped an “emergency” meeting.
When questioned at the next regularly scheduled quarterly meeting, he claimed he had announced his intention to do so. Several other board members disputed his claim.
Several of us have requested an electronic copy of the meeting and are still waiting.
It’s been well over a month. Do we have legal recourse for this unauthorized videotaping?
Would it be necessary to go through the ombudsman’s office to force the release of the minutes of this “emergency” meeting?
A: The law requires a recording of the minutes of the meeting. It does not require a videotaping of the meeting.
I would highly discourage videotaping of any meeting as you do not know what someone could do by editing footage that would show up on the Internet and create a negative or illegal effect.
As to the board member, I don’t think that the ombudsman office can assist you as there is no law or regulation that states that you cannot videotape. I don’t think the ombudsman office can force the board member to remit a copy to the board. My recommendation is to contact legal counsel.
Barbara Holland, certified property manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. To ask her a question, email email@example.com.