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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Not all homeowners' association boards are worthy of trust

Many California residents find themselves in the position of trusting strangers with their money when they move into a new neighborhood. They have to trust that the homeowners' association boards in charge of their communities will use the dues they pay in according with the community's rules, bylaws and CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions). When that does not happen, it can erode relationships within the community and pit neighbor against neighbor.

HOA boards are made up of residents who live in the community. When the system works properly, they are voted into their positions by their neighbors who trust they will do their best to run the community, ensure properly values remain stable or rise and treat everyone fairly and with respect. This may be what one community on the East Coast hoped would happen when a man, his wife and his mother were voted onto the board several years ago.

Sadly, what they believe they got instead was an alleged embezzler. According to officials, between Nov. 2012 and April 2014, a man on the board of the New York neighborhood's HOA wrote approximately 51 checks to himself from the community's bank account in amount that totaled around $93,955. The theft was not discovered until Aug. 2017, and now the man faces charges for felony grand larceny.

California residents hope that this will not happen in their communities, but that is not always the case. Even though members want to trust their homeowners' association boards, it may be better to keep a eye on them to ensure board members do not take advantage of them. Part of that process may include gaining an as thorough an understanding as possible of all of the documentation relating to the HOA, each member's rights and the legal options available if their trust is betrayed.

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