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City Cutting off my Water (HOA Broke)

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posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 07:26 PM
Wow....I hate to say it, but I think SailorinAZ's problem is way worse than any of your solutions allow.

If I had to guess reading the OP and thinking about my own situation, I suspect Sailor is in a multi-unit dwelling where certain utilities are included in condo fees or a similar way.

For am in a high-rise condominium. I pay my mortgage and "own" my condo. However, I also have to play a flat rate every month for water, electricity and Heat/ well as landscaping and all the other frilly stuff mentioned above. But I am still the owner of my condo....(or co-owner since I share common walls with the over all building and such by technical definition.) And pay dues the the condo association (HOA) for all of the other stuff.

However, here is what I bet the OP's problem is...too many open units in his complex and the HOA or management company is going bankrupt....cant make the utility payments because even though OP is paying his money...other unit owners cant pay or arent there to pay and its just not enough.
OP is in a building with 10 units and he is the only one paying so guess what? The HOA only pays 10% of the bills, or more than likely keeps OP's money and makes plan to look for another job waiting for it all to come crashing down.

Most times HOA's contract out to a management company to handle all of these details and such, and when things go bad, by the time the Home Owners or board find out they are screwed, the people responsible are gone with the money.

Although it sounds criminal at first, its really not, because from the City/county perspective, if OP paid someone else to pay his bills (in essence) and they didnt do it and he didnt make sure they were, its still not their problem.

I think to the key to this issue is that the complex where the OP lives in way under occupancy and so the few people living there arent able to cover all the expenses. Again, the city/county isnt likely to care because they need their money to pay bills just like everyone else.

Another break down of a small pocket of society...if the OP can...get out, sell, move, whatever....situations like this rarely get better unless you want to serve on the HOA board and take on helping manage your complex.

Cruddy situation....really bad. I feel for ya OP.

posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 07:26 PM

Originally posted by SailorinAZ
The financial health of our nation must be getting worse. I live in a townhouse community with an HOA. I take my dog out for a walk each night and see more and more empty units each week. I swear, half of the units are empty. Either for sale, for rent, or simply abandoned. I have been paying my mortgage and my HOA dues as required every month. However, I have been receiving notices of discontinuation of certain services because the HOA has not been paying the bills. The blacktop/drive way and parking area is almost a dirt road now from disrepair. What is worst of all, I received a notice from the city that my water is going to be cut off in October because the HOA has not paid the bill. Not just the outside water, but my inside house water. What the heck am I going to do? The water comes off a main which leads to multiple units so I can’t just make arrangements with the city for my self. I am on the verge of walking away and saying the heck with it. I certainly can’t live here without water.

First of all, I would contact the media. You would also need a lawyer.

Considering the economy, paying the mortgage might be last on your agenda if they're going to turn off your water and make it unliveable. I sure wouldn't pay for something like that.

posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 08:54 PM
reply to post by XKrossX

You stated that soooo much better and classier than I did. That is what I ment to say. Sorry for comming off sounding so nasty in the other post. It really is a sucky situation to be in.

More and more places are starting to look like ghost towns. It is even more spooky in a way because they are not run down vacant places. They are nice apartment/townhomes, and some new housing additions. Only one or two tennants here and there. I've never looked at it in depth from the tennants point of view beyond them not being able to sell.

Your right, when I used to live in an apartment complex, a lot of the utilities were grouped together, water/sewer, and trash. I bet there are a lot of people in your situation or fixing to be in your situation soon.

I wish you all the luck.

posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 10:24 PM
Everyone. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!! I really, really appreciate all the support and good ideas.

The townhomes I live in where built about 3 years ago and where all sold quickly.

Now, at least half of them stand empty. It looks like some families just simply left.

The way it has been set up here, is I pay a fairly hefty amount to the HOA each month and they were supposed to pay for my outside electricity, outside water, water I use in the house, i.e. sinks, toilets, etc, The dues were also supposed to cover the basic cable TV and of course landscaping and the roadways.

All the water usage/bill is split between everyone in the townhouse community.

I received the notice from the city concerning the water and another from cable company.

I called the HOA management company today and the person who manages my townhomes was out of the office for the day. I called the city and they didn’t seem to know what to do.

When I called the HOA a couple weeks ago about how the drive is nearly a dirt road, they said that because so many units are now empty they can not afford to repair the road. They told me they even went to the city and asked for help and the city said they were also to broke to help.

I am going to heed some advice you have given me.

However, imagine if I have to pack up my family and walk away from my home due to no water. I am underwater/upside down and will end up with destroyed credit.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 07:03 AM

Originally posted by SailorinAZ

However, imagine if I have to pack up my family and walk away from my home due to no water. I am underwater/upside down and will end up with destroyed credit.

Now that is something I have heard entirely too often. Not so much due to the lack of water but all different reasons. Something to check into, I believe something has been set into place where if you have to walk away, it wont be on your credit. I could have sworn I heard something about that on the news not too long ago. So talk to the bank who handles your loan about it.

Good luck Sailor, and keep us posted if you can.

[edit on 15-9-2009 by mrsdudara]

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 07:22 AM
I have yet to know of an HOA that didn't somehow make people misearable. Yes, they keep the neighborhood from degrading, but that is about the only use.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 07:22 AM
reply to post by SailorinAZ

I hear you. The townhouse/condo market is in shambles everywhere. In my area, new complexes stand half built and covered in nothing but tyvek and shingles. Of course you have have some occupied units at the other end of the development. They got a good deal on preconstruction pricing

Demand that your city turn your water back on. Talk to your councilman and your local TV news. Surely, they can work something out. As for your HOA, getting anything from them will be like getting blood out of turnip. HOA's are nothing but a hobby for lawyers looking for extra billable hours.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 07:41 AM
HOA's are normally set up by the developer those rules are established long before ground is broken for the first house...

If your HOA is bankrupt a lawyer might not take your case... no money = no fees to collect right?

But see if they will go after the original developer. I know a lot of them have gone belly up. but one of those board members has their assets squirreled away in some shady account somewhere.

if you can get a lawyer to pursue this case then get them to file a court order to leave the water on until the case is resolved!
would be a good idea if the remaining home owners all went in on this together

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 09:44 AM
One sue the HOA and the board of directors by name.

Even if you have to act as your own lawyer.

This is a breach of contract by them.

I am underwater/upside down and will end up with destroyed credit.

If you sue, Even if you lose your condo this can not be put against your credit record. They breached the contract causing your loss of property.

You also need to talk to the other condo owners and plan what you can do.
Likely there is a lawyer in your area that would come to a meeting of owners to tell you what your rights are.
The condo owners can audit the HOA books. check to see if the board of directors is spending the money wisely.
see if the board of directors still live in the complex.
I have seen cases where members of a HOA board of directors had sublet there condos and did not live in the same town.
Sometimes retired lawyers do volunteer work doing this.

I am guessing by your handle/screen name that you live in AZ.
So here are some sites that might help.

There are other things you and the other owner can do.
if this is a elected board You can call for a new board of directors of the HOA.

The new board of directors of the HOA could by vote rent the abandoned condos to raise money if the HOA owns them by default

This would raise money to pay the bills.

I also bet that the developer has a rule added to make him/company the first to go to for repairs and other maintaince at inflated prices. This is common practice.

Who owns the abandoned condos, banks.
If so are they paying the condo fees for the abandoned condos.
If not the HOA can/should have foreclosed on the bank for back condo assessments.

Sometimes the board is run by the developer and he also runs the property management company in that case. and has been bleeding money from the property for years to line his pockets. and he knows that when the water gets turned off and everyone leaves the condos revert to him and he can resell them.
Then Each homeowner could sue for maybe $1, legal fees, and the right to take over the board and the property.

You need to do a lot of research to find out how your HOA is run and by who.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:01 AM

Originally posted by greeneyedleo

Originally posted by projectvxn
This is why HOA organizations around the country must be disbanded. I can't even believe someone thought this to be a good idea. I won't live in HOA neighborhoods because of things like this. You are not the only one going through this. Las Vegas has been suffering from HOA neglect and theft for a while now too..You ever notice that no matter how many services are cut off that the HOA will still take the same amount in dues or higher? Reno has the same problem in many neighborhoods.

Screw the HOA. You could see what legal options you have. I'm willing to bet that taking your money and not doing what is required of them is a breach of contract

[edit on 14-9-2009 by projectvxn]

I live in an HOA neighborhood of single family homes. THANK GOD. Because I have lived in non-HOA neighborhoods and continually had crappy neighbors who thought their front yards were parking lots and trash dumps.

And not all HOAs supply water to the homes. Maybe condos or townhomes, but I still have never heard of that. Mine does not. My water is set up and paid for by me. Many apartment complexes provide water - so how is that any different than [some] HOA providing the water?

My HOA provides landscaping for the common areas, great playgrounds, a community pool (only for those in the neighborhood), community center (with gym) and neighborhood activites, security and they insure that none of the houses become trashy and nobody can paint their home purple and pink stripes.

I really do not think you understand the purpose of all HOAs and how they run. Because I have never lived in an HOA run like you describe.

[edit on September 14th 2009 by greeneyedleo]

Good for you...
I believe the problem is that a few bad apples senario.

The real harsh part is that the few who fail and cause such grief upon members, and in this situation it is a peril one can ill afford thanks to a HOA.
Therefor, it makes sense to abolish these forced contracts because if it infringes on even one persons life, liberty and happiness, it is an abomination.

Sometimes, your neighbors never conform and you move elsewhere, your ideal vision is still yours.

To OP.

You say half the units are empty, abandonded.

Does this mean the residents still there all are getting water shut off?

If so, you may have some back.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:51 AM
I'm pretty sure that this is Bush's fault!! Everything is you know?
Ok, enough of that. I would definitely get your suit filed against them before they declare bankruptcy, which is a real possibility. In some states if you wait to long you have violated your protections by ignoring your due diligence! I have always thought the condo idea was nuts just because of the problems so many have been caught up in. Good luck and go see that lawyer, like tomorrow!Don't wait any longer!


posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 11:31 AM
Ok I will pipe in here one more time.
If you want to put your fate in others hands then don't listen to me.
Sueing and lawyers will give you more bills.
Be self reliant and go either get a water filter or figure out how to do it yourself.
If you are gonna rely on these people to get your water back then you might be screwed and have alot more bills to pay.
Rely on yourself and go get you some water.
Others won't help you and if they do it might be too late...go figure out how to get your own clean water as it is alot easier to rely on yourself then putting your trust in others to care about you.
If you can pay the bills then you can buy a few water filters and learn how to maintain them.
Its a skill everyone should know in these strange times...lawyers don't care about you as much as you care about you.
Good luck man.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 12:07 PM
reply to post by DrumsRfun

Thanks, and it is a good idea, but we receive very little rain here in AZ and drilling down to a water table is not an option.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 12:17 PM
Good news, well sorta.....

The city and the HOA came to an agreement and they say the water will not be shut off. However, the HOA is about $30,000 behind in water bills.

Some other services like basic cable will be discontinued.

There is no money to fix the street so I am asking them to at least sweep up all the rocks/stones, etc. The black top is somewhere between street and dirt road. Just worn out.

Thanks again for all the ideas and support.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 12:21 PM
Our HOA is facing a similiar situation with water bills and not enough homeowners paying their monthly dues, so what they have been doing is juggling the bills and carrying half of it into the next month, but in the meantime many of the homeowners and the association are getting estimates from the city and private contracters to install individual meters to each of the houses.

There is going to be upfront cost that many of us don't need right now, but it will be for the best when we're responsible for our individual water uses.

it seems late in your situation to work it out with the HOA and City but it's worth a shot, perhaps the city can give you a payment plan to have your own water meter set up??

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 01:01 PM
reply to post by SailorinAZ

I never said drill a well.

Heres the jist of it.
If I can go out in the woods with a water filter that costs less then 500 bucks and can filter up to 50000 gallons then why would anybody not want to help themselves in the situation you are in.(or were in)

1.You might be needing clean water.
2.You can buy a water filter and filter lake or river water or even stagnate water like I have done and am still alive and had no side effects.(I have made soups from stagnant stinky pond water and was fine)
3.Its less then a lawyer and you won't have to move out of your house.

Excuse my curtness but if I was in your situation I really wouldn't care because I have the water filter plus a back up. This is a serious issue,especially because you have a family.I am trying to help the best I can but you have to take this seriously.
As I said and a mod just said kinda the same thing...this might be beyond your control.
Buy a water filter and do it yourself.
No fuss,no mess,no lawyers,problem solved.

If things are fine now then buy one for the never know.

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 01:18 PM

Originally posted by SailorinAZ
Good news, well sorta.....

The city and the HOA came to an agreement and they say the water will not be shut off. However, the HOA is about $30,000 behind in water bills.

Some other services like basic cable will be discontinued.

There is no money to fix the street so I am asking them to at least sweep up all the rocks/stones, etc. The black top is somewhere between street and dirt road. Just worn out.

Thanks again for all the ideas and support.

That is great! I cant believe they are behind by $30,000. It surprises me how far people let things go before they realize it is not going to fix it self.

About the street, perhaps you and your neighbors could sweep it up? Have one or two work days a month to keep things up like the streets?

posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 01:27 PM
What happens to all those people who have to move out? Are they becoming homeless or are they moving into apartments.
I think we live in a sick soceity if properties would rather have empty vacant homes, apartments or whatever then simply lowering prices for people.
If they lowered prices or accepted welfare vouchers than I bet their occupancy rate would be higher and this problem would either be lessened or non-existent.
I will never understand why let homes fall into disrepair when there are people on the streets; many have income of some kind whether it be disablity, unemployment welfar, or a job.

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