Illegal Rules

Ten members attended the 01/17/19 Board meeting. Of these, two were protesting demands by the Association’s attorney to pay $1,000 and sign a waiver to their constitutional rights under FS 720.305 (2b) to a hearing before our impartial Covenant Enforcement Committee, just for buying a house without prior Board approval. No damages to the community were even alleged. The buyer, a single mom, had paid $200 screening fee and presented her application to Next Gen, then waited weeks in vain for the Board’s decision to accept or reject under its 2018 Rules. Failure to pay the $1,000 fine and the attorney’s fees immediately becomes a special assessment and potential lien on the house. Buying, selling or renting our homes is always time sensitive. Subjecting applicants to the duress of unreasonable delays causes economic harm. President Moody announced that many others had been fined $1,000 plus attorney fees for such minor failures of process.

The Voice had learned that potential buyers or renters are being told that they cannot pre-qualify to be accepted as future residents under criteria detailed in the Board’s new Corporate Resolution. Instead, they must first contract to buy or rent in Holly Lake, a process that often requires weeks of searching, negotiations with us homeowners, and perhaps services of a broker, all wasted, if they are later denied the right to occupy their home. Bankers routinely pre-qualify home buyers for mortgages, so that sellers can accept initial offers, knowing that the buyer has funding secured. Any Board rule that makes buying a home more difficult in Holly Lake seriously degrades the market value of our property, usually the major life investment for many of us. Brokers won’t show our homes, when their clients may face weeks of delays from Next Gen’s approval process and then be denied the right to live here. The better families can avoid our grief and go elsewhere. What other west Broward HOA’s screen prospective residents so thoroughly, while denying them the ability to pre-qualify? The goal of screening, to secure better residents, is defeated.

The Board needs to explain this counter-productive policy. Its only visible purpose is to squeeze us homeowners and their buyers for $1,000 fines plus attorney fees, when the buyers are forced to occupy before Board approval can be obtained, which is forbidden, even when no damages to community welfare are evident. Except for investors, any buyer who wants to reside here first had to vacate a prior home or apartment. A later Board denial or delay can result in being homeless.

How is this policy in our “best interests”? You can read the 2018 Corporate Resolution under the “News” drop-down here or at the Association’s website. Its stated purpose is to gather information before offering a right of first refusal, limited to appointing a committee for 60 days. Before 2006, waivers of the “first refusal” right were routine. Our Association has no legitimate interest in buying houses. So why is it used now to screen and deny prospective residents?

Since January 17, 2019 when the roll-over Board’s new fining policy was first revealed in public, its illegal persecution for violations of its procedures multiplied. These $1,000 fines are demanded only for minor and often accidental failures to secure Board approval to transfer home titles, which itself damages nobody. Enforcement is selective. Some citations are for failures that predate the Board’s May 2018 Rules & Regs by several years, without any complaints from neighbors. The abuse culminated in 38 fines imposed by the roll-over Board on April 18, 2019. When Property Keepers replaced Next Gen as Manager in September, LCAM Fabregas recommended deleting all 38 as “improperly placed.” The Board reversed itself, voiding these 38 April fines (but not earlier fines). The Board then tried to “formalize” its illegal practice by asking members to approve Amendments to Covenants One and Ten via limited-proxies at a widely-advertised meeting on November 21, 2019. The effort failed completely amid outrage from attendees. The proxies were allowed to expire.

As of February 2020, Fabregas announced that he was pursuing more violations that may require the process to appeal fines outlined in FS 720.305 (2-b). Under numerous other FL Statutes and case law, this Association cannot regulate the outside appearance of members’ homes nor screen potential buyers, nor charge screening fees without Covenant authority. The Board’s Resolution recorded 5/30/18 does not qualify. Its illegal rulings continue.

Victimized homeowners have emailed dozens of protests to the Voice. If you have been cited unfairly for violating procedures, then you are invited to join others in securing legal resources, emailing the Voice at: michener@bellsouth.net. This offer is not for failure to pay dues, nor failure to keep a “neat & clean” home site, nor for misbehavior in common areas nor violations of PPines Code.

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