RESOURCES FOR HOA AND CONDOS-PROBLEM SOLVING

Resources

 

I received an email today that is quite common. The question: “Do you know of a good resource for information for condominium and home owners?” Not this time, but sometimes, this question is preceded with a statement like “Your site seems to have a lot of information for boards, but what about owners?”

 

My response if someone asks me this question on the telephone is that there are lots of resources for owners that are good, some that are very negative. Wherever you go, you need to be asking questions of yourself such as, how can this help me. And the best place to start is to go back to my website and take another look. I feel like they either came to my site with assumptions, skipped over the preliminary items that are available specifically for owners, or are looking with “blinders” on and missing the gems.

 

So, I will take you on a quick walk. First, when you go to californiacondguru.com and click into the site, and acknowledge that you understand reading this site does not constitute legal advice, you will come to the main page. Granted, there are two big boxes that might step up and bite you requiring you to click down the page to find more information. However, one of the big boxes ($250 Tuesdays) is a link specifically for individuals living in common interest developmentswith problems, who are not commonly served by knowlegeable lawyers who have HOA clients. This box is hard to miss. It is an opportunity for owners to get good legal advice from someone who has been in the business for 30 years and has helped hundreds of owners get their arms around their problems and figure out what their options are.

If you’re immediate reaction is NOT willing to pay that kind of money to talk to an attorney who probably doesn’t have any sympathy anyway, or you’re not ready or don’t know if you’re ready, then simply scroll down to the next set of boxes.

Click on “first-time visitors – start here” and you will find an overview of the site and information about my background which, hopefully, will establish some trust. Trust is critical to the learning process. If you don’t have it, you won’t hear what I come or any other attorney who is trying to help you has to say.  Of course, it is hard to build trust when you are seeking advice from an attorney who does not have an extensive background in solving homeowner Association problems. Your uncle Pete who is a wills and trusts attorney, or your brother John who has been doing family law for 30 years, could hurt you more than help you. Attorneys in their legal training are commonly pushed to advocate, which to some people equates to speak first, speak loud, argue, and don’t worry about the details because you are always right.

 

Anyway, this page also gives you a link to sign up for a free a newsletter which comes out approximately once a month and covers all kinds of topics of interest to anyone who lives in or serves a homeowners association. If you open up your mind at this point and accept that everything that you learn about what a board or manager should do teaches you about what you can object to or ask for when they are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

And the more you know what laws and regulations are being ignored by your board, the more clout you will have if you are making the point they need to do it, or are asking a judge for some kind of remedy if they are not doing it.

 

Back to the roadmap. On this page, you can also click into links to all kinds of things like publications, articles, and FYI papers that are free of charge. However, I suggest that you first go to the proper “Guide” which if you are a homeowner, would be the “Homeowner Guide”. Easy, no? When you click on that page, there is a short piece on what you can find on the website and a direct link to “Frequently Asked Questions .”  Eureka, on the “Frequently Asked Questions” page, you will find 10 very common questions and answers, not overwhelming, not complicated, not difficult to understand. There are similar options (Guides) for real estate people, managers, board members, and people with other interests tied to homeowner associations.

 

If you go back to the main page, you will find links to 2 blogs. The first one, California Condo and HOA was when I started more than 10 years ago and answers questions I receive by email through the website. My purpose in starting that blog was to on a regular basis answer pressing questions without charging the asker.   There was not enough time in the day to talk to everyone who had a question! I can’t call everyone who has a question! I needed a better way. About five years ago I started the second blog at condolawguru.com specifically to answer questions from homeowners who are frustrated in their living situations or looking for education or answers.  So, owners, you are not left out of my equation.

 

I could go on and on and on about the many links on the main page of my website and the more than 40 publications that I have written, two of which are books specifically intended to help everyone understand what a person gets when they purchase property into a common interest development, which includes townhouses and condominiums. There is 30 years’ worth of sage information in these publications. What you won’t get from me is an extended opportunity to write, complain, cajole, criticize, damn, or threaten anyone who’s doing anything you don’t like. Sure, I understand you have to have the opportunity to get it out of your system, but if at some point you don’t turn around your thinking toward solutions, you will never find any!  You won’t get information from me on how to be obnoxious back to someone who is being obnoxious. You can get this from other sites and there are plenty of attorneys who will happily take your money to draw out the fight (fight makes right thinking) when it makes more sense to balance and weigh all the options before plunging off the cliff. While it may be cathartic to be allowed to whine and complain along with other people in the same boat, you are not destined to sink, unless you- along with the others around you – fail to brainstorm a solution.

 

I have just finished updating a number of the primers that are available on my website for $25, each of which contains about 20 pages of information coming from someone who is equally qualified with the top member in any law firm in California, and possibly across the nation, to help a homeowner, or any other person who has a problem within an Association, to find a solution. I will take just one example of a primer that could help anybody solve a problem if that problem is based on personality. The primer on “Dealing With Difficult People” provides real solutions when a person finds themselves having to deal with conduct on the part of others that is apathetic, lazy, mean, threatening, bossy, bullying, or unproductive . The primer includes some solutions for boards when the owners of the problem, and provide some solutions for owners when the board is the problem. It also provide some information on options like internal dispute resolution and alternative dispute resolution, which means seeking a resolution alternative do litigation, which should be everybody’s goal. Although about 90% of the conversations I have with owner start out with “Can I sue my association or my neighbor?” Most of them end up with “Thank you, you have given me lots of things to do/think/about/try. I will get back to you if I need more help.”

 

Another question I get, not quite as ridiculous as “Where can I find resources” is “do you know of an attorney in my area that does what you do?” The truth is that there is one other website in the state that I consider truly helpful to the general public, including owners, and I’m not afraid to mention it. It is found at Davis – Stirling.com. My only problem and any hesitancy I would have to mention it is that it is misleading because most laypeople are not knowledgeable enough to understand that the website is produced by another lawyer who has a stable of attorneys with lawyerly opinions. I commonly agree with much of what appears on that site and consider it a good resource myself when I want to see what the other firm has to say about a particular case or law, as I would have a curiosity about what any other lawyer would be saying. But, along with others I hear from in this industry, it is frustrating when people take any attorneys opinion and foisted on someone else without really understanding that it is general and provided for informational purposes, not advocacy purposes. In fact, when any lawyer is educating the approach is different than any lawyer that is advocating. When we are “advocating” or offering legal advice, we need to know more about any given situation than we do to point to resources, explain statutes, and suggest alternatives that are worked in other situations.

 

If you are feeling left out in the cold, and hope you’ll take some time and look for more information on my website. My name may also be misleading because even though I call myself the California condo guru (which by the way means resource, not God, because my practice includes finding solutions for all forms of common interest developments including subdivisions, townhouses, and condominiums, and people who live in them, manage them, provide leadership, and serve. And, I am in the process of introducing Webinars including some specifically geared toward resolving owner complaints!! (Later this summer.)

And yes, I am wordy, and working on it!

 

Visit californiacondoguru.com as the only resource for

THE DAVIS STIRLING ACT IN PLAIN ENGLISH

FINDING THE KEY TO YOUR CASTLE

THE CONDO OWNERS HANDBOOK

BOARD BASICS PRIMERS

DIFFICULT PEOPLE PRIMER AND OTHERS ON OPERATIONS, FORMS, DISCLOSURES, RULE SETTING AND ENFORCEMENT, RESERVES, AND MANY MORE

 

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3 Responses to RESOURCES FOR HOA AND CONDOS-PROBLEM SOLVING
  1. Koko
    May 11, 2014 | 1:29 am

    Grandfather Clauses regarding Doors….
    I have a condo that I bought that has double doors leading to the patio area. Unbeknownst to me, all the other condos had sliding glass doors. For years my HOA as been trying to force me to switch out the doors, but I refuse to since I purchased it that way and did not make the original change. A few years ago I received a letter from the HOA stating my doors are now Grandfathered, but if I sell my property I would have to change the doors. Is that legal? Why should I have to incur this expense?

    • Beth Grimm
      August 10, 2017 | 3:22 pm

      I dont have enough information to answer the question. I would have a lot of questions myself. I do consultations. The info is on my website at californiacondoguru.com.

  2. Nida Simons
    May 22, 2014 | 5:24 am

    “RESOURCES FOR HOA AND CONDOS-PROBLEM SOLVING | Condo Law Guru”, Beth Grimm your article is interesting and I have forwarded it to some of my friends. Even if it isn’t saying anything particularly new, what it does say is worth repeating, and is rarely said in such succinct form. It is also nice that it has some emphasis on speculative fiction, something many writing guides ignore completely. I would recommend it.