Unexpected HOA Dues Have Some DeSoto Residents Angry & Confused
DESOTO – Homeowners Associations (HOA) have become the bane of existence for many homeowners.
When it works well, it can be appreciated; when it doesn’t, there can be feelings of hatred and confusion.
In Desoto, Ten Mile Creek Estates residents are definitely feeling the latter.
The problem is that the residents are still figuring out what to do next.
Residents have contacted the city, but the City of DeSoto’s hands are tied, given that the association was created outside the city’s jurisdiction. A property management company, NewRoc Services, is currently running the HOA show regarding the implementation of the mandatory HOA for residents living in Ten Mile Creek Estates.
Ten Mile Creek Estates was developed in 2001. It was decided at that time that a Homeowners’ Association could be implemented to uphold maintenance needs for the common areas. This includes mowing common areas and the overall maintenance of the development.
The HOA question and the big problem came about earlier this month when residents received notice that they would be required to pay $50 a year for the HOA. The shock for the residents was that some had lived there for over 15 years, and this was the first they had heard of the HOA dues.
Residents Take The Issue To DeSoto City Council
Residents spoke at a recent DeSoto City Council meeting in protest, including Ten Mile Creek Estate Phase III resident Byron Bradford.
Bradford asks the City Council to amend and dissolve the city Ordinance no. 1417-01 for Ten Mile Creek Estates to remove the HOA condition by Harlan Properties, LLC, now known as Sumeer Homes.
Bradford explained, “We purchased our home in 2006, 17 years ago; it was never disclosed we were moving into an HOA area, nor were we given the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions guidelines. According to the Property Code Title II. Restrictive Covenants, 207, Disclosure of Information by Property Owner Associations. Section .003 DELIVERY OF SUBVISION INFORMATION TO OWNER. The Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions guidelines were to be given to us before closing on our home.”
Bradford said that it is 17 years later that NewRoc Services has decided to form an HOA and send an association bill is unacceptable.
“There are about 129 residents with the same or similar experience, some longer and some shorter periods yet the same experience,” Bradford added. “This was discovered in our meeting last Friday with the city manager, our council person, and the Property Management company. Any “reasonable person” would be hard-pressed to believe that all Title companies had the same issue of not disclosing that Ten Mile Creek Estate Phase II was an HOA area.”
Residents Purchased Property To Avoid HOA
He said all 129 residents selected their homes because they were looking for a non-HOA area.
The City of DeSoto City Manager Brandon Wright said the city is looking into the situation; he sympathizes with the residents and is now looking at the contracts and paperwork to determine what can be done.
Bradford said he believes Harlan Properties, LLC, now Sumeer Homes breached its contract by the nondisclosure of the HOA, which should allow the City of Desoto to amend and dissolve the city Ordinance.
NewRoc Property Management did not return phone calls by press time. Still, it was noted a representative of that company had said in the past they were hired by Sumeer Homes to take care of HOA matters for Ten Mile Creek Phase III and that Phase III is included in the HOA.
What Is The Solution?
DeSoto Councilmember Place 6 Crystal Chism has also expressed that this is not the first time Sumeer Homes has done this to residents living in one of their developments.
And while Sumeer Homes might be at fault for this, it still leaves a hole in who can fix the problem.
Chism has said she would like the city council to amend the ordinance of the developer and possibly let the city decide what to do.
But it takes work.
Currently The City Does Not Have Standing
City of DeSoto Attorney Joe Gorfida said, “Based on the information that the city has received and reviewed to date, DeSoto has no standing at this point to intervene into a dispute between the homeowners and the developer as a relates to the formation of the association as well as requirement for the homeowners to pay association dues. Our hands are tied, and we are doing what we can at the moment to determine what we can do, if anything, to help the residents in Ten Mile Creek Estates.”
The first step has been for the City of Desoto to look at the contracts between the Homeowner and Sumeer Homes to ascertain what was written in the contract in the first place. From there, more action can be taken, but at the moment, there is not enough information for the city to know what direction it can legally go in the situation.
In the long run, when Ten Mile Creek Estates is complete with its final Phase III, the homeowners can take control of the HOA and hire its own board members. At that time, they can decide if they want an HOA, and that is when the city will get involved to determine if it agrees on a dissolution. That, however, could be years since it has taken Sumeer Homes almost 20 years to begin its final development phase.
“The city will continue to gather information as it relates to this association, but as of now, it appears to be a matter between the homeowners and the developers,” Gorfida concluded. “In the event the association determines they want to dissolve, that would require the consent of the city. It is important to note, however, that without a functioning HOA, there will be the issue of who is maintaining certain common areas within the development, which is the responsibility of the association per the filed plat.”