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Ol’ Faithful HOA Saga – Final Path Forward With HOA Dispute

It has been a wild journey with the Ol’ Faithful HOA Saga. I have finally determined the final path forward with the HOA Dispute. This real estate investing journey is fun and continues throwing some interesting curve balls. If something like this would break you down, I would definitely say real estate investing isn’t for you. I enjoy going through this process because it is a stepping stone and learning opportunity I am using to become a more experienced real estate investor. This isn’t a short term play. This is a long term play to continue learning from all the situations my real estate investing journey takes me.

It is amazing continuing to see my blog and IG page grow! If you have been following the journey for some time, thank you! And if you are new to the saga with Ol’ Faithful, get caught up on everything that has happened to this point. There has been a lot and many have reached out saying this saga has been better than some of the stuff on TV they have been watching lately ūüėāūü§£

Ok, now time to jump in on the final path forward.

Where We Currently Stand

Ok, here is where we currently stand. I was awaiting a response from the Board and HOA president. They have been poor at best in responding in a timely fashion to my concerns with not being able to rent my place out. I believe this is mainly due to them knowing they are in the wrong, but more fun will continue below!

After waiting another 48 hours, here is the HOA’s response to my email:

Good Morning,

You had asked for a reason why the reservation request was denied. The request was denied in the spirit of the ban on new vacation rentals  by the Governor of Florida through the end of April.

I have attached a copy of the first amendment that covers the restriction of long-term rentals.

Thanks and stay safe.

Ok, how many times do I have to explain that I am not trying to rent my place as a vacation rental. Now I think this shit is just comical. I can’t and I won’t go away. It is pretty clear to see they know they are in the wrong, but are not wanting to admit it.

So here is another attempt to clearly explain to them what I mean by renting my place out long term.

The¬†ban doesn’t ban¬†me¬†renting out¬†my¬†place¬†long¬†term.¬†The¬†ban¬†you¬†are referencing is speaking¬†to short term vacation rentals.

I no longer have¬†my¬†property listed on¬†any¬†short¬†term¬†website¬†and¬†it¬†isn’t being marketed as short¬†term.
I have read the restrictions, and I have a right to rent from 3-6 months within the community with approval from the HOA.
For that request, why am I being denied to rent for 3-6 months as it state I am permitted to rent?
Thanks, YRB
Again, making my stance clear. I am not sure how many times I have to continue stating the same exact thing to the HOA. It is clear what I am trying to do with the property.
After waiting another 24 hours with no response, I decided to follow-up, again.

I will repeat the question again, as I guess I am not making myself clear enough. 

I would like to rent my place long term. 
 
This is in accordance to the HOA Bylaws and amendment made in April 2014 allowing 3-6 month rentals (pending HOA approval) which are considered long term rentals. 
 
Question
My request to rent this out long term was denied by the board with reference to banning short term rentals which I am not doing. Can you please provide an explanation of why I am not allowed to rent my home long term?
I hope this clears up continued point I am iterating of renting long term. Again, I want to rent long term.

If my previous 20 emails didn’t make it clear about long term rentals, hopefully this one did.

Another 24 hours go by…no response. So I will follow-up again. This time with a phone call. If you guessed the HOA president didn’t answer my call, you would absolutely be right. So back to email again. The importance of these pieces of communication is documenting the process. This will help me in a little bit when I explain the final path forward.

Here is follow-up number 3 with no response from the HOA/Board. I have waited 24 hours between each follow-up to give them time to respond.

HOA Board and GM,

I have responded to both the GM and the board (copied on almost all the emails) and even called this morning to speak with Conrad, yet I have not received a response.
It is going on 72+ hours since my email with a question asking to rent my place long term. Long term, not short term. Long term. Since that email, you (the board and HOA) have sent an email to all homeowners asking for forms of communication to run through Conrad or the board, depending on who makes sense.
I have done this, and I continue to be ignored. Is there a reason for selective responses to certain individuals over others?
Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you in this time sensitive matter. 
 
Thanks again,
YRB33

I added the piece about them being selective with their responses because I had seen other owners in the Facebook group mention they had received responses from the HOA president.

Another 12 hours later, and finally a response from the HOA president.

Good Morning,

The board is preparing a response, they should have it completed soon.

Ok, a response, but no context. Three hours later their actual response.

Good afternoon YRB,

We note that you are still seeking a way to rent out your property at the resort in the midst of the Covid-19 emergency and rather than continue to go back and forth debating a series of fresh proposals, we felt it might be better to set out our position clearly, so that, armed with this information, you will be able to reach your own conclusion as to how best to proceed.

As you are aware, in 2014, after extensive owner consultation and legal advice, the  bylaws were amended to ban long term rentals i.e. rentals of more than 6 months and additionally to require owners to gain explicit written permission to rent for between 3 and 6 months, which although technically short-term, were also considered undesirable. There are currently no plans to review these arrangements.

Under the current Executive Order, all new short-term rentals are prohibited and whilst the HOA Board has the power to approve rentals for periods between 3 and 6 months, we have resolved to act in accordance with the Governor’s suspension and not do so. Effectively, therefore, only proposed rentals which fall under one of the exemptions under the Governor’s Order will be admitted.

Unfortunately, these are difficult times for us all and we appreciate that this is not the reply you were hoping for but given that the Governor’s Executive Order is very much at the heart of this matter, perhaps you might seek advice from his office regarding¬†whether your proposed change to become a provider of exclusively long term rentals renders you exempt from the current Order. Section 1.A. of the Order suggests that it does not and so you may want to consider carefully¬†before making any decisions re. the future rental of your property.

Please stay safe

For and on the behalf of Terra Verde Board

Finally a response with a bit of substance! They are still wrong, but I can definitely appreciate the time they final sent to put together a response.

Within 30 minutes of their response, went ahead and shot a response back.

This is what Section A states to qualify in that section:

image.png
This is the clear definition of both Transient and Nontransient public lodging establishments per the
image.png
Could you please help me understand how you are considering how I am trying to rent out my place as being a transient public lodging establishment?
It is clear, to me (and I am open to being wrong) that my place would fall under a Nontransient public lodging establishment. This would therefore mean the executive order does not apply to my rental as I intend to use it.
Thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this very important and time sensitive matter.
YRB

I had to again clearly explain what the executive order actually states. I don’t like to get into technical conversations about what things say and don’t say, but feel they still fundamentally don’t understand what is going on.

Final Path Forward

Here is the final response I received from the board after my explanation pointing out what I continue articulating to them.

Good Afternoon YRB,

I wanted to let you know that we have received your email. Our decision to deny entry to new vacation rentals  through the end of April has not changed.

Thank you and stay safe.

No reason to continue hearing them state the same thing over and over. If I am right, I have enough documented responses to do with what I need.

I gave one final response to the HOA and Board before being done with emails back and forth.

GM, I understand the reasoning and position that you guys are taking. I understand that you guys truly feel you are doing the correct thing. What you feel is giong to create “safety” in the resort for the people who live their full time.

It is very disappointing the way you and the Board have handled the entire situation. You fundamentally don’t understand how the virus spreads through human to human contact.
Myself and other investors bought in the resort believing it was a good community for investors. It is now clear that you (and the Board) don’t care about following the law. It is also clear that things need to change with the Board and HOA.
Thanks for continuing to make each of these things even more clear. I get this is unprecedented times, but this is very disappointing.
Will be in touch soon,
YRB
Now, for the final path forward.
I started to do a google search for attorneys in the area who specialize specifically in HOA disputes. Thought this would be a great spot to begin. Google found me exactly what I was looking for.
I created a list of 6 different law firms in the area who specialize in HOA cases. After reaching out to each, I received a free consultation with two of the firms.
During this consultation, the first person I spoke with mentioned it would be easier for me to go to a small claims court since the damages I would be wanting to recoup would be less than $8,000.
The second person I spoke with told me they charge a flat $1,500 to review all the details of the case to arrive at a path forward. Since I am not trying to spend a ton of money on this, I honestly feel like moving forward with going to a Smalls Claims Court would do.
After doing a bit of research, I would need to simply go the right location to file the proper paperwork and would then get a scheduled court date. So that is exactly what I am going to do.
For Small Claims Court I will represent myself and will be prepared to lay out the case for a judge to make the decision on damages incurred. I am fully okay with being wrong in this scenario. If I am wrong, then I learned a crap ton through the process.

Why I Feel This Is The Right Path

I have a feeling this is the right path because it will allow me my day “in court” without spending a ton of money for an attorney. I am more than¬† happy to bring all the evidence and communication printed out for the judge to see and then we can talk through.

I wish we had never gotten to this point in everything going on, but the HOA and Board have left me no other options. I am still almost 100% sure the HOA thinks nothing will come of this situation and that I will not seek going to small claims court. They would be wrong. I feel there are fundamental principles not being followed here.

Next Steps: Continue Learning How This Sh** Works

The next steps for me are pretty straightforward. It is now time to fill out the proper paperwork to get my day in court. Not only that, but I will also be putting together the information I will use for my date in court.

There will be a lot more I will learn through this entire process and I enjoy the learning part of the process. This was bound to happen at some point in my investing journey. I am glad it happened so early down my path. I am also glad I have set myself up financially to handle all my mortgages even if no income was coming in. It wouldn’t be ideal, but I would be able to do it.

If you aren’t already, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

Thanks again for all the support and continuing to come back each day for new updates in this saga!

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2 thoughts on “Ol’ Faithful HOA Saga – Final Path Forward With HOA Dispute

  1. The one thing I would like to see here on this saga is publication dates. Since the events are affected by the EO expiration dates, not having publication dates makes it hard to see the full context.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Alishea! I can definitely add in the dates in the future. Thanks for following!

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