AZHOC - Arizona Homeowners Coalition
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Harassing letters from HOA

My husband and I just retired to Tucson. We bought a house in Oro Valley which is managed by Cadden. Three days ago we received a letter from Vanessa Lubinsky, our Cadden Property Manager, violating us for having our trash cans out on trash pickup day. That’s not a violation of the rules. In fact the rules would have allowed us to leave them out until midnight. We brought them indoors by noon. Now we learn there is a pattern of harassing letters being sent to innocent homeowners for petty reasons that often turn out to be false. One young teacher received 7 since moving in one year ago. Makes me wonder why Cadden is harassing people? Do they make money from fines? Are they hiding something like financial improprieties? Are they engaging in discriminatory behavior? Is there a lawyer in Oro Valley we can turn to?

6 Responses

  1. Dennis Legere

    Lynn;
    Sorry to hear about your situation, this is a pattern that is very popular by managers from Cadden Management. We have many people in that same plight. While these community managers get some level of training by the trade organizations it is simply token, and for the most part never even confirms that the prospective community managers can even read. Clearly anyone that could read would not site a violation for not removing trash can by midnight when they were removed by noon.

    The law requires that for any alleged violation of the community documents the association must identify the specific provision of the documents that were alleged to be violated and who by name observed that violation. You have 21 days to contest that violation by certified mail, and request a hearing before the board. You and you alone are allowed to chose if that hearing will be held in an open or closed meeting of the board. The association is also required to inform you that at any time in this process you can contest the alleged violation to the Arizona Dept. of Real Estate. I do not suspect that any of this was done, Cadden never does. And that alone is also a violation of the law.

    The simple fact is that many community management contracts incentivise the community managers to enforce the governing documents because the boards do not want to be involved in that process. The responsibility belongs to the board alone and the board assigns the responsibility to the community manager, you absolutely and all your neighbors all want to contest any violation and demand hearing before the board in open meeting where other members of the community will be present. This is the only way for these incompetent community managers to be stopped. Make the board rule on each and every alleged violation in an open meeting and i’ll bet that the nuisance violations and harassment will stop.

    Dennis

    1. Lynn

      Thank you, Dennis! We noticed yesterday they quietly closed the violation on line. I wonder if they will send us a letter too? How difficult is it to vote out a management company like Cadden? I’m hearing from neighbors that they have been very intimidated and unhappy for 8 years. Yet no one does anything about it. I’m told the residents had a Facebook page and scheduled hikes and events for the residents. Cadden fined them and ordered them to stop using the Rams Pass name. It had a chilling effect on the neighborhood. The hikes and parties stopped. I thought I would create a flyer to put in every residents mailbox asking them if they are being harassed and intimidated and asking them to come to a meeting and vote out Cadden. But do we have the power to vote them out? Are we stuck with them? Is there contractual liability here? I even wonder why we even need a management company. We only have 84 residents. No pool. Just a playground. Why couldn’t we just hire an accountant to collect fees and keep the books for us? How hard is it to keep the park mowed? We are paying a lot of money to Cadden to do what exactly? It’s a waste!

  2. Dennis Legere

    Lynn;
    The management company works for and contracts with the association as represented by the board. so no the community cannot vote out the management company but the board can fire them with 30 days notice, with or without cause. You would have to look at the specific contract between the board and the management company but every contract that I’ve seen has that clause.

    You best bet is to complain to the board about the management company or the individual manager and ask that the board take action to change out the manager or terminate the contract with the management company. If the board fails to listen to the homeowners and the situation persist than you are free to generate a petition to remove individual or all the board and replace them with people that will represent the people in the community. You need a petition signed by 25% of the homeowners and once that is received by the board they have 30 day to call for a meeting of the members to vote to remove how many board members were identified on the petition. The quorum requirements would only be 20% of the community and the majority of members voting in person or by absentee ballot decides the issue.

    The decision on so called professional management companies is one of convenience for the board. The board still needs to comply with the law and will need an accountant to manage the finances and taxes, and some type of individual to maintain the records and to coordinate the contractors to maintain the facilities. If your community goes that way I’ll gladly work with your board to share my experience in helping other communities do the same thing. All for free of course.

    Dennis

  3. Lynn

    Dear Dennis: First of all, let me say you are a peach and a lifesaver! Maybe a peach-flavored life saver! Secondly, thank you for all of this information. I don’t know what your background is but it is obvious that you are an expert! Thirdly, I would love to have you guide us or even lead us but I don’t think you should do it for free. Your know,edge and expertise deserves something.

    I’m not sure we have an accountant. I think Cadden handles the money which makes me nervous. I’ve heard of management companies stealing funds.

    What is the best way to proceed? I live next door to the HOA President. Should I just email her a request to fire the management company and if she refuses then proceed with the petition?

    Let’s talk more about the best way to stage a “coup!” Sincerely, Lynn Rutman

  4. Dennis Legere

    Lynn;

    I edited your post to eliminate your email address , you probably don’t want to post that on the web site. While we go to great lengths to protect members identity and contact information. You can always contact me at the help@azhoc.org address. Management company employees and board members have both been involved in embezzlement schemes to often to count. That is why it is so important for homeowners and board members as well to “Trust by Verify”. As a board member it is your fiduciary duty to the community to ensure that the associations money that you take from the homeowners is protected and only spent on legitimate community expenses authorized by the board as a whole. Embezzlement only happens when people are not watching, either other board members or members of the community .

    It is my intent to energize the community homeowners to get involved in their communities. I will guarantee that the old adage of “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” in an HOA or Condo the opposite is more correct. “what you don’t know can and will hurt you eventually”. This should not be about a coup, it should be about a community helping their board make the right decisions. Clearly sometimes some boards or individual board members do not want any involvement or engagement of the community because they have a power trip and want to make all the decisions without any suggestions from the community.
    If a board or an individual board member refuses to listen to the input of the community he or she has no place as a board member and must be removed. Please do not attempt to remove a board member without first giving them an opportunity to change and actually listen to the community. No one wants controversy in their community, and a petition to remove a board member will generate controversy. But when it is necessary for the good of the community there is no avoiding it.

    Dennis

  5. Lynn

    Thanks Dennis! I apologize if I sounded overzealous. I’m just so upset to learn our retirement is marred by such nonsense and stress. Hearing about others being bullied only added fuel to the fire. I’m feeling calmer now. Thanks for the advice, it’s been very helpful.

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