Editorial Note: The following is a story from a homeowner in Mesa. The name of the homeowner and of the community are not included, but the message is very important for our members. This is what can happen to a good community when they get talked into bringing in a professional management company that seems to be a total imposter without any training or certification. Some of the contents were edited slightly for readability.
I am simply fed up with my property’s HOA/Property manager. When I originally moved into my townhome in 1992 it was a beautiful community, well maintained, communications from the Board were regular and open and while all was not “perfect,” it was a community. Several years ago the incumbent Board decided to bring on a “professional” property manager.
Over the years the value of our property has not increased, the grounds and complex in general have deteriorated and the property manager treats resident home owners as “renters,” not home owners, making arbitrary decisions without the input of the home owners or putting matters up for a vote. The decision is made and implemented, and home owners are advised after the fact. This has included such items as paint colors, replacement of common area plants, including those surrounding entry ways into individual units, and such.
Apparently the property manager is now in working with the City of Mesa, having applied for a grant to convert the common areas to xeriscape – again without informing the homeowners or putting the issue up for a vote.
There have been several instances where she has accused/fined people for dues (that had been paid), has failed to communicate with home owners over issues for several months to a year and then hit them with monthly late fees/attorneys’ fees/etc. on top of the “disputed” amount. She lies claiming she has not talked to people that she has and has been witnessed to, and even claimed to one home owner who has been a resident on the property for more than 7 years she had no idea the woman lived there (this is a small townhome complex and this is not a snow bird – the lady is a full-time resident.)
In the few communications I have had with this property manager via email I have been called “negative”, non-productive and other names since I frequently have opposing opinions to hers. The last board meeting I attended I voiced an opposing view and in so many words was told to sit down and shut up.
The property manager targets homeowners who have opposed her for penalties and fines. One example is last year my neighbor and I each received a notice giving us less than 10 days to repaint our gates or face a daily fine of $5 per day until the gates were repainted. I walked the property a month later and several other units’ gates are in worse shape than ours were and in speaking with those occupants they were not issued such notices. Even to this day, more than a year later, many of the other gates have not been “fixed” nor have the occupants been requested to.
I have also called for an audit of the books and have been told it is none of my business, audits are done when required but the results/details are not subject to home owner review. Really? This is my money. Even when I was renting property before my purchase I was never treated like this. Additionally, over the years I have seen more and more units be sold to investors and/or people who rent their units. By best information I can gather, there are 37 of 88 units that are rentals. If 7 more go into rental status, that affects the rest of the community as potential buyers may not be able to obtain loans, however, the Board/property manager does not seem concerned with this trend, even despite the fact since many of the renters that have moved in have been doing damage to the property and simply have no concept or care that they live in a community situation (our town homes face common open areas so what one person does in the common area can cause a disturbance for up to 12 or more units).
I am just so frustrated because every time I have tried to open a conversation or express an opposing view, I am targeted by the property manager – everything from I can’t have a chair sitting outside my gate (for less than a day) to needing to repaint my gate, to the type of sun curtain I have on my back patio does not meet regulation and if I did not take it down I would be fined. (I need to check the CC&Rs but I do not recall there being any specification as to sun shades. Everything is vague and then the property manager states it is open to the determination of the board/property manager.)
What is a person to do? I am not in a position to sell, nor do I want to, but this is becoming unlivable as I feel we are living under a power driven tyrant who refuses to accept we are the home owners and she is to be working on our behalf. It really seems as though she is working – over several years – to drive the resident home owners out and only wants to have property investors owing the units. I’m sorry, I’m venting but I just don’t know what to do any longer and every year the dues and special assessments increase, the property gets further and further run down (they did a special assessment for painting, but just painted over rotting wood, did not scrape peeling paint, etc.), the grounds look horrible, and we have more and more criminal activity in the complex.
It is most definitely not the same place I bought into in 1992. Thank you for listening.