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Category Archives: homeowner association

It’s time: HOA budgets for 2010


Homeowner associations (HOAs) generally have fiscal years that correspond to calendar years, which means that it’s time for HOA boards to begin work on their 2010 budgets, so that the new budget–which establishes the HOA board’s authority to collect assessments and spend money–is in place before the start of 2010.

Missouri HOAs, other than condominium owners associations (COAs), don’t have any special statutes to follow. Instead, they are governed by corporation statutes and by their recorded covenants and by their bylaws, which are often not recorded.

Here’s an overview of the sources of general and financial powers of HOAs and COAs: Read the rest of this entry

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Missouri PSC asserts jurisdiction over one tiny utility company, but many others escape


Water and sewer services to residences and businesses are essential. Most of us take for granted that the operations of those who provide these services are reliable and are regulated. In reality, many water and sewer providers fall through several holes in Missouri’s statutory framework of regulation by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC).

DNR’s regulations

DNR sets engineering standards for water wells, treatment and storage facilities, and distribution systems (mains and valves). DNR licenses well drillers and maintains a registry describing each water well, based on data required to be submitted by well drillers. DNR does not regulate rates charged by water sellers, but does require that permanent entity (called a “continuing authority”) be established for each water system serving more than 15 users. A continuing authority for water is required to show DNR that it has the technical, managerial and financial capacity to operate the system, or at least that’s what the rules say. DNR implements its regulations by requiring submittal of engineering plans for the issuance of construction permits and certfications from private engineers that water and sewer facilities are completed according to the approved plans before issuance of operating and discharge permits. DNR also licenses operators of water and sewer facilities. Read the rest of this entry

SB 230: The Uniform Planned Communities Act


Today, I’ll travel to Jefferson City to testify before a Senate committee in favor of the Uniform Planned Communities Act, which is Senate Bill 230, sponsored by Sen. Joan Bray.

I have testified in support of the UPCA at two or three times previously. I’m not a lobbyist, and I testify for myself at my own expense, taking off work to do so. Here’s why: Read the rest of this entry

Styron & Shilling’s HOA database project


Suppose you are buying a home in a subdivision. You don’t see many occupied houses in the subdivision, which is not in a city or town. But you see a water wellhouse and storage tank and maybe an odd looking structure that must be a sewer treatment plant or pumping station. You don’t see any signs indicating that these belong to a local government entity. You wonder who maintains the streets, the water system and the sewer system. The answer is that a homeowners’ association (HOA) is responsible for maintenance and operation of these essential facilities.

But where is the HOA?  You can’t find it in the phone book or on the internet. The public records are sketchy. Read the rest of this entry

HOA trustees can enforce covenants, even though they didn’t have annual meetings


If you want to stop a homeowners association from collecting assessments or enforcing restrictions, often the best tactic is to smear the HOA.

Here’s how the smear works. Read the rest of this entry

Defunct HOAs: what to do?


Outside of incorporated cities in the Ozarks, the homeowner association (HOA) is often the government for homes in subdivisions and condominiums. The clean water rules enforced by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources include HOAs as eligible “continuing authorities” to own and operate drinking water or sewer facilities, or both, in subdivisions not served by public utility companies regulated by the Public Service Commission or by governmental providers. In addition, the HOAs often have the responsibility of maintaining subdivision streets unless and until the county commission adopts an ordinance to maintain the streets.

HOAs are ordinarily established by the subdivision developer, in order to obtain permits for sewer or water facilities and to create an entity for road maintenance. An HOA’s power to collect assessments from lot owners (or unit owners, in the case of condominiums) is established by the recording of subdivision covenants (usually called CCRs or a declaration). The HOA is almost always set up as a non-profit corporation, with the developer and the developer’s associates making up the initial board of directors.

Even under the best of circumstances, the developer fails to file annual reports for the HOA with the Missouri Secretary of State, and the HOA, as a corporation, is administratively dissolved. When few lots are sold, that also happens. And there are worse omissions and consequences: Read the rest of this entry

Working with troubled real estate developments


Over the next several months, many investors and lenders will be looking at busted projects and trying to make the best of them. I’ve added a Law Article to this site, which I’ll keep updating as I learn new strategies,  called “Working with troubled real estate developments.”

As with all my other writings, this article is primarily based on my experiences in Missouri, though some of this one comes from my time spent in the 1980s, working with troubled real estate in Oklahoma, after the successive crashes of the oil and gas, banking and real estate sectors.

I’d appreciate your comments.

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