Gateway Sun

For those of you who missed it, on October 15 the Silverlakes HOA board ordered all debris from Hurricane Irma that was piled on the street to be removed at the homeowner’s expense by October 26.

And if a homeowner refused, or wanted to wait for FEMA, the Silverlakes HOA would do it themselves and send the bill to the homeowner.

One man wrote to us noting an important detail in the letter. Part of that letter says: “The Board investigated engaging a contractor to remove the yard waste immediately after Irma passed, but all companies contacted either declined, did not respond, or indicated that it would be 2 to 3 months before they could do so.”

So the HOA knew that no contractor could get to them for “2 to 3 months”… and yet they gave their homeowners only 11 days to find one.

But if you thought that was the most heartless and unreasonable thing the Silverlakes HOA would do in the clean-up phase of the hurricane … then you must be new to reading this publication.

On October 10 – just a few weeks after Irma – the Silverlakes HOA cited a homeowner for violating the “EXTERIOR APPEARANCE” clause of that community’s governing documents.

The homeowner’s roof was damaged in the storm and still has multiple leaks, however the problem … and this is true … is that the roof is not clean enough for the HOA’s liking.

With your purchase within Silverlakes at Gateway HOA you made an agreement to abide by the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.” the letter to the homeowner said.

Please arrange to have your roof pressure washed.”

Needless to say, pressure washing a damaged and leaking roof will only cause more damage and leaking.

Area contractors have jobs lined up for months. Even their radio commercials are apologizing for the delays and promising to get to everyone as quickly as they can. It’s not as if these particular homeowners are enjoying life in their leaking house and are thumbing their nose at the HOA. They’re on a waiting list.

But the larger point here is that if you were the person tasked with going around the community to inspect rooftops, and you came across a few with blue tarps on them (which there are in Silverlakes) wouldn’t the thought cross your mind that maybe this isn’t the best time for roof inspections?

Apparently not, when it comes to the Silverlakes HOA.

Your neighbors have a right to expect that we will enforce the rules for them. We appreciate that not everyone may find the rules of interest or importance; nonetheless we must ask everyone to comply,” says the letter.

break-line

There are two main reasons we write stories about the ridiculous actions of HOA boards like the ones in Silverlakes and Stoneybrook.

The first reason is to deter other community HOA boards from behaving like they do in those two communities. The Silverlakes HOA is operated by really old, extremely bored people. While I’m glad that operating their HOA gives them something to do and something to focus on, they have proven time and time again to be out of touch with the busy realities that working people face. In Stoneybrook’s case the HOA president will purposely disrupt the lives of the residents just to get the attention of this publication. It’s sad to watch.

Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about these two boards. It will be a lost cause for as long as the residents refuse to fill out proxies and vote for other people.

But the good news is that there are dozens of other communities in Gateway who have HOA board members who “get it” most of the time. As of 9:03am today, exactly 33,931 people were shown the Silverlakes street debris Facebook post and thousands read the article. The majority of HOA board members seem to understand that they really don’t want to have most of Gateway and plenty of their friends and families see their name come up for being a jackass.

The second reason we chronicle insensitive actions from HOAs is to alert potential homeowners and renters of what they’re in for.

Silverlakes, in particular, has an HOA that gets their jollies by sending violation letters and issuing fines to people.

In March 2016 alone they issued violations to 18% of the homes in their community.

For those of you keeping track at home, yes .. that’s one in five in just one month.

I lived in Silverlakes for a brief period and got 4 violations. One because my car was parked one inch of the tire (they took a photo as proof) touching the lawn. One was because my mailbox wasn’t clean enough. One for the roof, but the contractor who came to clean it was adamant that our roof was completely fine (to this day I believe that was retaliation by the board and management company for something the Gateway Sun wrote about them.) And one because I guess somebody’s cat was near my house or something.

I’m really sorry if you have your house up for sale and you think people might search Silverlakes in Google and take a pass on your home to avoid the nonsense. And I promise that when the day comes that the current Silverlakes board is replaced with reasonable people I’ll be sure to set the record straight that things are different.

But until then, people deserve to know what they’re getting in to.

And in Silverlakes, that means they’d have an HOA that had no common sense or sympathy for people dealing with hurricane damage and debris.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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