Developer HOA Response and Reply

Source:  Developer HOA Response and Reply    Tag:  virginia department of professional and occupational regulation
Late Sunday evening I sent the email mentioned in the previous post to the president of the developer. (Who also happens to be president of our HOA.) On Monday I received the following reply:

Jeff, [Minor etiquette point here but I addressed him as "Mr." in the original email and expected the same courtesy in the reply.]
Thanks for your email.  We had been in contact with Ryan Homes earlier in the Spring about many of your questions and concerns.  It was decided then that we would have a community meeting to transition over to resident control in the Fall.  Ryan has graciously agreed to have a professional management company help in the transition.  I have had communication with Ryan today and they are starting the process of setting up the meeting which will answer all of the questions that you and the other residents have.
Thanks for your patience.

[President of the developer.]

Needless to say this wasn't the reply we wanted. (Although I halfway expected it.) We felt like he had pretty much blown off all of our questions and concerns. I made a call to Ryan Homes corporate about it which was pretty much useless. (They referred me back to the developer and the two people I spoke with couldn't point me to anyone else within their company that might be able to help with this.) The following morning I spoke again with the Ombudsman at the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation for advice on what to do. Based on that I wrote the following reply to the developer and sent it to him late Tuesday night:

Thank you for the response. However, it is not acceptable to us. It is important that we have a chance to review all of this documentation prior to the first meeting so it can guide our discussions and decisions going forward. Per Section 55-510 of the Virginia Property Owners Association Act, you are legally required to provide the records and information we requested within ten business days of the request (which would be August 14th, based on when I sent the original email to you). I spoke with the Ombudsman at the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation this morning. She advised me that you are obligated to comply, or you will be in violation of VPOAA. In her professional opinion, simply saying that a meeting at a yet-to-be-determined time in the "Fall" is not an acceptable answer to the requests that we made.

In lieu of you sending us the requested records, we are willing to meet at a mutually agreeable time at your office to examine them. Again, we appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and trust that it can be resolved amicably as soon as possible. Please know that if our requests are brushed aside again, we will have no choice but to move forward with a complaint through the Ombudsman's office. 

Sincerely,
Jeff Rew and the homeowners of [Neighborhood].


I get the feeling at least part of this (probably most of it really) is that being a developer setting up HOAs is a tiny piece of what he does. He's probably president of every HOA in every community they develop until it's turned over to the homeowners and setting them up is a formality whenever they do a new neighborhood. Even assuming that is the case however when he puts his name on legal documents as president of the HOA he has an obligation to do what is expected of anyone else that is in that position. If he doesn't want to do that someone else that will needs to be listed instead. Otherwise he assumes all responsibility (and consequently liability) for it. 

Last night we had a neighborhood meet and greet block party as part of National Night Out. In the past month we've had a number of vehicle larcenies and cases of vandalism in the neighborhood which had prompted us to start getting organized. (Which at least in part lead to this series of events over the HOA. More on this will be posted in another entry later.) One of the things that came out of the conversations I had with meeting folks last night was finding out that some of them had never been told there would be an HOA at all and had not paid the fee at closing. That adds a new twist to this. On the other everyone seemed to be in agreement that it was important we have one in place to enforce covenants and keep our property values from going down.