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How fighting with your HOA comes with its challenges

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jun 29, 2021

Many of you let us know you don't agree with how an HOA is treating one of its oldest residents.

The Bethany Villa Association HOA wants to remove a bench used by a 92-year-old man for more than a decade.

And for all of those years, Ted says his bench has been the perfect place to meet with neighbors and get out of his small nearby home.

Tanya is one of those neighbors and says Ted and his bench hurt no one.

"Sit down and have his little chips and soda if he wants and say hello to some people," Tanya says.

The HOA says the bench is in a common area and either Ted needs to remove it by June 30 or the Association will remove it.

But neighbors say the edict came out of nowhere and question why it comes 10 years later.

After our first story, many of you let me know you were on Ted's side.

Here are a few of the comments:

  • "The HOA needs to lighten up. Maybe some of them should take the time & visit with him."
  • "The HOA should be shut down and removed not the man's bench"
  • "It should be grandfathered in. Shame on you"

Some of you thought the HOA should buy a new bench and replace it.

Others think Ted should fight it.

But fighting your HOA is not easy.

While HOAs have a huge amount of power, even able to foreclose on your home, they're not regulated.

HOAs are not licensed.

Board members make all the decisions and don't even require training.

Most homeowners have to fight HOAs, property managers and their attorneys, in court.

There is a complaint process through the state's Department of Real Estate.

But the cost is $500 per complaint to file and it's not refundable.

It's too much money for Ted to fight his bench removal.

Maybe he says, he'll just have to bring out a chair.

"He should never have to worry about carrying out a chair just so he has a place to sit outside. It's ridiculous," Tanya says.

Below is a statement from the Bethany Villa Association board of directors.

“With the annual meeting in July and possible significant changes to the Board of Directors as a result of an upcoming election, the Board is not currently reconsidering enforcement of the governing documents. We intend to maintain the status quo of current enforcement without establishing any new policies. Upon request to the new Board by Mr. Yaeckel, and/or any other owner currently in violation, the matter can be discussed further.”

As the June bench removal deadline approaches, I sent your comments and solutions to the HOA in hopes they can come up with a different way to handle this.

I'll let you know.