Your recent article on homeowners associations was informative. What I would like to know is how does a homeowner remove himself from being a member of an HOA?
Our community is comprised of 51 single-family housing units. There are no condos or townhomes, the community is gated, and it has no pool or gym. Every time I request an expense report from the HOA, I don’t get any.
Is there a way I can just opt out of being a part of this? Why do we even have it?
We’re sure a lot of people would like to “remove” themselves from a homeowners association. For some people, and it appears that you fall into this category, these are poorly managed organizations with power-hungry board members who are more interested in preserving their fiefdoms than in quickly solving problems and making life better for all of the residents.
It’s unfortunate that your board is not responsive to your concerns or questions. At least once a year, the board should issue a report to residents on the budget, expenses and state of the association. That report should include the information you seek.
Since your association board isn’t being responsive, you have a couple of options. First, if the subdivision has hired a management company to handle some of the maintenance issues, you could contact that company and request information. Next, you can start hounding individual board members (we wouldn’t suggest going as far as “stalking,” but you can certainly make a point of dropping by their homes in the evening so that you can get answers to some of your questions).
You can, and should, start attending board meetings. You should be able to get a copy of the board minutes at the meeting for at least the prior meeting, and someone there should be able to get you more information.
Once you find out how the association’s funds are being spent, you’ll have a choice: step back or lean in (to use a popular phrase). If you agree that your funds are being well spent, you can step back and let others continue to manage the association. If you don’t like what you see, you can get involved. Start attending meetings on a regular basis, gather some support among your neighbors and run for the board. Change won’t be easy, but it is possible, especially if you’re willing to do some or all of the work.
As for your original question, you can’t just leave a homeowners association. It was likely set up as a master planned community under state law. You might be able to disband it, but the way to leave is to sell your home and move. We’d suggest taking all of these other steps before deciding your homeowners association is unworkable.
Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is “Buy, Close, Move In!” If you have questions, you can call her radio show toll-free (800-972-8255) any Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST. Contact Ilyce through her Web site, www.thinkglink.com.