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My Decision On Moving Forward With A Lawyer – To Pay Or Not To Pay, That Is The Question

I haven’t decided to pay a lawyer just yet to look further into my case. There are a few different reasons I have not moved forward with the lawyer. Before we get into those, let’s take a quick look at where we are at with everything going on. As a real estate investor, dealing with things like this will be a common occurrence. It might not always be a HOA that you have to deal with, but there are always things popping up that will cause issues.

Many individuals won’t buy in communities with HOA’s. I completely understand and respect that real estate investment strategy. Especially when you are going through and reading all of this, it doesn’t make you want to buy a property with a HOA. In my opinion there are good and bad things about HOA’s. The HOA haters will point exactly to this and say this is why nobody should buy in a HOA. I will give my limited view on HOA’s in a later post.

Paying A Lawyer

Time To Jump Into Where We Are In The Saga

The latest and greatest update was the response email I sent to the HOA. The response outlined my disappoint in the HOA and how they have handled the situation. This is an unprecedented time for the entire world. I am a firm believer that you learn more about people during tough times than you do when things are going well. To that point, these are tough times and the HOA and Board have been exposed to how they will handle tough times.

If you haven’t been fully caught up yet, start from the beginning to get all the craziness and context of everything that has happened to this point. Links below!

Trust me, it is worth the time to get caught up and hear the story from the beginning.

Why I Am Not (Yet) Moving Forward With A Lawyer

I have never been in the situation I am currently in. It has been a tough situation for many reasons. First, you have everything going on with the virus and the media. This has definitely scared a lot of people and rightfully so. Second, we had a governor who wrote and signed into law one of the most confusing Executive Orders signed into law in Florida. I thought my 8th grade reading level would be able to interpret a document of law, but I was wrong.

Lastly, I am trying to deal with a HOA that has historically been very difficult to deal with and horrible in their communication. I hadn’t seen any of that until going through this experience. An article I will write tomorrow will show even more into how horrible they are at communicating.

Here is why I am not planning to move forward with a lawyer just yet. At the end of the conversation with the local lawyer I asked for her advice on what to do. She immediately scrolled down to the bottom of the Executive Order to see when it was set to expire. The expiration date of the Executive Order was set for a few days out. She told me there wasn’t much point of paying her $385 per hour (or a “cheaper” associate $220 per hour) to dig further into the law and my HOA Bylaws to see what could be done.

The lawyer did mention there is a chance the Governor of Florida signs an extension of the Executive Order prior to expiration. No need to fret. She said to let the time pass and reach back out to her on the day after expiration.

How Much Would A Lawyer Cost

If I were a betting man, I would say the lawyer would use 4-5 hours of billable time to go comb through all the documents they would need to.

For the high side of that, at $385 per hour, I would be looking at $1,925 in money spent for the lawyer to look through everything and provide her assessment of the situation.

There are a few other loopholes I have not explored yet which I will write about in a later post. This could go a few different ways, so I don’t want to write about it until I have a clear understanding if I am going to explore that option.

In The Meantime, We Wait

For now, we wait. There isn’t much worth doing until the Executive Order expires.

Want to hear something crazy though?! Just 5 hours after my email response to the board telling them how horrible their communication has been…..guess what happened?

An email was sent to all homeowners. And boy did the f**k up another piece of communication.

In tomorrow’s post, I will share the entire email to you. Let’s just say I was amazed about how bad they are getting their wires crossed. Not only that, but how they ended the email was absolutely laughable! JUST WAIT!

Things are still heating up!

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

To read the next blog post in this saga, click the link below!

Part IX: What I Think Of My HOA – The Unedited Version

 

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Ready To Pull My Hair Out On This HOA Issue! – But Time For A Political Response

I am ready to pull my hair out on this HOA Issue! But time for a political response. If work has taught me one thing, it is to understand your audience when you are communicating. This is part of the fun of real estate investing. I hope I can help share this story with any, but if there is one thing I hope you learn is that this is apart of real estate investing. This is what I signed up for when I purchased an investment property. Although I want to blow up on the HOA for a few reasons, it is time for a political response to them and see what they come back with. In tonights article, I want to share exactly what I responded to the HOA with.

Before going into the email, get caught up on the story danggit! There has been so much that has gone on to this point. Again, can’t believe this is Part VIII in this saga and it is only continuing!

 

Now Time For My Email Response!

Before my email response, make sure to checkout Part VI specifically to read the HOA response to my first email. If you didn’t read my first email, well damn! Go back to Part V: Lawyered The S**t Out Of The Final Email To The HOA & Board.

Ok, hopefully you are now up to speed on everything going on. So a quick recap:

  • I lawyered the shit out of an email (thanks to a lawyer editing it) to send to the HOA and Board outlining my stance
  • This lawyer read the law as I did. She didn’t spend much time, but she read and interpreted the Executive Order like I did
  • The HOA responded saying I was reading the Executive Order wrong and they confirmed that with their attorney
  • I spoke with a local attorney to get her interpretation of everything going on, and she agreed with the HOA attorney. She did mention the executive order is horribly written and even in Section B of the Executive Order it excludes resorts, which my place seems to claim to be

Anyways, a lot of crap going on. And it hasn’t stopped. I am not trying to egg on the HOA or be difficult. I am simply trying to rent out my home legally. I don’t plan to ask the government for assistance to pay my mortgages. For one, I think it would be too complicated for me to figure out how to qualify and secondly, I just want to fight through it and get rental income at all my properties to pay my expenses.

The Actual Email I Sent

Here is the actual email I sent to the Board and HOA in response.

 HOA Board, 

To say I am disappointed with how the community leaders have handled this matter wouldn’t be doing the word justice. Communication sent to homeowners has not been clear with specific dates and timelines. The board has not offered other options to us investors instead of shutting us down. Not allowing investors to pivot their business model due to the current situation in the world, from my perspective, is not right. I own in another resort as well, and they have allowed investors to pivot their business models.  
I get safety is the top priority. Allowing people who are stuck in Orlando to quarantine in my safe and relaxing home does not put others in the resort at risk. These are individuals who are either snowbirds or have been down here for months on end and don’t want to return to their homes in the NE until things slow down. The virus spreads through close proximity with others. If people practice social distancing and stay in their homes, these individuals would not be posing a health risk for others. 
-TheYoungRetireeBy33

Hopefully that can be read. Here are the main points I was trying to get across in the email:

  1. I am disappointed in the overall communication from the HOA. Typically, I wouldn’t expect much of any response from the HOA’s I own in based off the situation going on. Maybe just one email saying what they are doing if anything, but when the HOA decides to shut down the resort to any new guests, my expectation for their communication is at a whole different level. I plan to write an entire post early next week on HOA’s and more thoughts on this.
  2. They have offered 0 options for investors who make up 80% of the community for things we can do to rent that they will allow. That is right 0!
  3. I get safety is a priority. This one is going to be a long bullet point, because I take safety seriously. I also have received feedback from multiple people saying I am inconsiderate for trying to rent my place out right now with everything going on. Here is my stance. Yesterday, I was on a meeting with our supply chain team. We had the Senior Vice President of Health & Wellness join the call and give us an update on everything going on. In the conversation he wanted to be clear on how COVID-19 is transmitted. He said what we do know right now is it is transmitted from human to human mainly through someone sneezing or coughing. There are three spots it can enter into your body, the nose, mouth and eyes. COVID-19 can stay in the air for 2-3 hours and can exists on surfaces for up to 72 hours. He ended with saying this, there is significant evidence showing you must be around another individual having COVID-19 for more than 30 minutes to be able to contract it. For all of these reasons, having someone new come into the resort, checking in at security for less than a minute (while practicing social distancing) and then driving to my home will pose no threat to anyone’s safety in the resort.

I Am Still Lost How New Guests Put Others In Significant Harm

Again, I will be the first to say safety is my top priority, always. But with everything that I heard from our Senior Vice President, I am confused how new guests pose a significant risk to the few who live in the resort. While all the resort amenities are shut down, and everyone practicing social distancing, I am so lost as to how my guests will pose a threat to people living there.

Something I Learned From Speaking To A Homeowner In The Resort

I would also like to point something out that one of the homeowners  who is an investor pointed out to me. He told me that the resort, when it opened, was only for investors renting out properties as short term rentals. He mentioned somewhere along the people who got on the board, who also happened to own a property in the resort, added a clause in the Bylaws allowing people to live in the resort full time. This then started to create a very tight knit group of individuals who were always in the community. This group slowly took over the entire HOA board and always have immediately gone to the front desk to speak to the GM whenever they had an issue. Mainly because they were onsite.

Him and I have been going back and forth for the last three days. He said how he believes the homeowners who live onsite all talked to each other and went to the GM of the resort requesting him to immediately shut things down to new guests upon the Executive Order being signed into law. Per this other owners words “the homeowners who live there want to use the resort as their own Alamo of security and we can’t stand by this shit.” Not my words, his.

Anyways…The Plot Thickens

This is not the end to this plot. Just wait till you see what happened just 5 hours after I sent this response email to the board. I keep thinking shit can’t get crazier, but I continue to be more and more amazed around the actions of the Board than ever.

New article coming tomorrow! Stay tuned…cliff hanger 🙂

In all seriousness, it has been fun putting these posts together even though they take a long time to write each night. It would be greatly appreciated if you subscribe to the blog! Each time you go to a new post, you should receive a popup asking for you to subscribe. Thanks in advance for reading and looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

Want to check out the next post!? Click the link below!

My Decision On Moving Forward With A Lawyer – To Pay Or Not To Pay, That Is The Question

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The HOA President Responded With The Board Decision – Prime The Popcorn

The HOA President responded with the board decision. It is now time for some fun to begin.

Before going into the response from the HOA President with the boards final decision, there is too much going on in this crazy story to not start from the beginning! Below are the first five parts to this wild story. Make sure to read to get caught up prior to reading this post!

Time For the HOA Response

At this point, I am getting butterflies in my stomach each time a new email comes across. I have never gone through anything like this and the reality is I don’t want to have to seek legal action against the HOA. The last thing I want to do is cause any problems or issues. My interpretation of the executive order is that I can rent my home out for more than 30 days. Again, I could be reading the document entirely wrong. I am not a lawyer and I don’t plan to become one anytime soon.

So here we go. I received a response from the GM of the Resort. Butterflies are racing in my stomach. Hands started to get a little sweaty. I had no idea what to expect as a response. This could be the email response that leads me to go down the path of filing a lawsuit to seek damages of rental income for the resort HOA not abiding by what I believe to be the law.

GM First Response

At this point, I have to believe that the GM realized from reading my email that a lawyer helped me put it together.

Time To Take A Deep Breath

It was now time to sit down and relax a little bit. There was nothing I could do to control what the board comes back with in an email response.

It was now a waiting game.

Woosah

 

8 Hours Later…A Response From The Board

8 hours later, I received a response. However, this response was from a different email I had not seen before. It was an email directly from the HOA on an email address I had never seen before. Again, the butterflies are going in my stomach.

Here was the response

Board Response

There you go. Dagger. According to this email, the HOA board reached out to their attorney and confirmed that I am reading the state executive order wrong.

Why do documents of law have to be so complex. I went back to read the state executive order again and at this point I need to stop making my own opinion on what the executive order says and I need to get a local attorney to review.

At the end of the day, as I have said before, I want to follow the law. And I have interpreted the law as I can rent my place for over 30+ days.

Next Steps!?

Now that I have officially received a response from the HOA, it is time to speak to a local attorney to ask for guidance on the executive order. I simply want someone to be able to tell me what I can and cannot do based off this law.

There is additional research I still need to do. One thing I do want to research is what is considered a long term rental in Florida and see if I can abide by that as the executive order (I believe) makes it clear that long term rentals are fine.

Check  back tomorrow to see how the conversation goes with the lawyer! This has been a wild journey so far. I am continuing to learn new things every day this continues.

I am looking forward to how this makes me stronger as an investor moving forward.

Again, THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT AND MESSAGES! I have been trying to document this journey so hopefully others can learn or at least gain insights into some of the real challenges that come with real estate investing. Probably learning a few things about not wanting to buy in neighborhoods with HOA’s as well haha.

I will post in the coming week on my overall viewpoints on HOA’s. I am sure you have developed your own opinions of them 🙂

Want to continue reading? Next article in this series posted below!

Part VII: Time For Legal Advice From A Local Florida Attorney – Will See What Guidance They Provide