New Board Fining Policy

After reappointing themselves by denying all other candidates the right to run, the 2019 Board ramped up its efforts to collect $1,000 fines plus legal fees after first notice, denying due process, just for innocent failures to follow illegal rules.

Since January 17, when the roll-over Board’s new fining policy was first revealed in public, its illegal persecution for violations of its procedures has multiplied. Fines of $1,000 plus legal fees are imposed immediately, in many cases with demands to waive our constitutional right to a hearing before a NON-Board impartial Violations Committee. The Board can then proceed to file a lien on title to later confiscate your home for resale. Warnings were posted at the clubhouse. At its April 18th meeting the Board levied fines on 40 lots, changing its notices to strongly discourage, but not prohibit, homeowners from appealing to a new Violations Committee. The five who dared to appeal at the Committee’s first & only meeting 8/19/19 won their cases. Other homeowners, challenging HLA’s authority to levy ANY fines without specific Covenant authority, filed in Broward County court for declaratory judgments. Faced with major legal liability, our roll-over Board voted to void and pay back all fines that it imposed for the past 2 years at its 11/11/19 meeting.

However, most fines are based on this Board’s Corporate Screening Resolution recorded in May, 2018 without any review by membership. President Terry Moody wants to decide who can live in Holly Lake by screening potential buyers, renters, and even existing residents who inherited their homes or were named on titles after divorce. But to enforce her May 2018 resolution, our Declaration of Covenants must first permit screening. The Board has been told by 3 separate law firms that Covenant authority is lacking. Also, our Association has no Covenant authority to demand $100/person screening fees. Finally, at its June 06, 2019 meeting, the Board admitted that its recent fines were illegal by announcing that it will seek to get proper membership approval in September. Details of this new “screening” amendment must be presented to the membership 14 days prior to the Board authorizing its mail-out of limited proxies. Draft terms of this Covenant proposal are worse than its existing Resolution, delivering total control over buying or renting our homes to Board discretion.

Outsourced to Tenant Evaluations LLC, the new 4-page background checks are not just for criminal records. Instead, all applicants must reveal their current employment and financial histories, description of pets and vehicles, and two independent references. Before paying non-refundable fee online, applicants must authorize release of ALL personal information that Tenant Evaluations LLC might request from bankers, employers, etc. These are subjective rejection criteria that invite discrimination. If a new buyer later fails to pay dues, or if his renter misbehaves, the Board already has many legal remedies in PPines City Code, our By-laws (last amended 2010) and Rules & Regulations (last recorded 9/2014).

Moreover, a signed contract is required before the Board will review any applicant’s fitness for residency. Most real estate contracts have short deadlines; many will expire while the Board delays its decision with added questions, forcing applicants to move in or else become homeless. These “undocumented” move-ins, some dating back years prior to the May 2018 Resolution, are then cited as reason to fine $1000 now.

Such Board over-reach extends to demands to approve quick claim deeds among family members, or to deny use of LLC’s to avoid probate and excess liability. These are common legal ways among Holly Lakers to reduce legal risk and fees. Despite no complaints from neighbors nor evidence of harm to the community, the Board has demanded $1000 fines.  At its July 02 Special meeting, after protests from attendees, the Board tabled its Rule # 11 that would levy special assessments against those who “annoyed” or “pestered” Next Gen, any service provider or the Board. In other words, hefty fines would be used to punish members who had complained directly about their poor services.  Any assessment can become a lien, and later, a foreclosure.

The Board now wants to legalize its illegal fining practices and totally control who sells, buys, or leases homes in Holly Lake by promoting adoption of a new Screening Covenant X to replace the illegally recorded July-2014 version that was rescinded by HLA in 2017. Its author, attorney Otto,  answered questions at clubhouse Q & A at 7 pm on July 31, 2019. Reactions were mixed, his draft is long, so Mr. Otto promised to revise it for later review by the Board. Findings of the 2019 Documents Reform Committee were ignored. Without any open session to discuss his changes, HLA’s Board waited until Nov 8th to mail members its 10-page limited-proxy package. Irate members demanded the right to vote separately for each Covenant at the widely-advertised November 21 Membership meeting, which was managed as a Board meeting.  We await a Spanish draft, promised by president Moody.

Mr. Otto’s new draft reveals that he had kept all intrusive practices of his Amendment X, adding Amendment to Covenant I, which locks in Board control over any and all architectual changes of homeowners. Advance approvals will now be required before installing any new mobile home (e.g. size, shape, colors, choice of installer, mortgages, amount of earnest money for your contract, style of sheds, carports, patios) or else heavy fines will apply. The vague wording sounds reasonable. Protesting attendees understood that, without definitions, future Boards will have total discretion. Some abuses in this Board’s illegal 2018 resolution are corrected. But in reality it allows 3 amateurs to set their own standards later, without any specific, objective criteria.

You could be a victim tomorrow of such legal abuse. If so, you’re invited to read the resources and “real news” available at advocacy website Holly Lake Voice at https//hollylakevoice.com If you need immediate help, you can contact us at michener@bellsouth.net

Protect our right to sell or lease our homes. Donate now to the Voice’s legal defense fund.




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