Topic Tag: HOA

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Real Estate February 29, 2016 at 10:39 am

Amnesty for D.C. condo buildings until Feb. 29 – Question

I recently learned that the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) has introduced an amnesty program, through February 29th, allowing associations and businesses to come into full compliance with agency rules without penalty. Apparently to legally transact business here, a business or association, including HOAs, based in the District must register with DCRA.

However, I’ve recently learned that the city offers two registration options for condos: a General Business License (which costs about $350) or Cooperative Association License (which costs about $150 and applies to co-ops and HOAs). From the website:

[a] condominium association does not need a general business license when it is only providing or offering to provide services to the unit owners and not the general public. However, if the condominium association provides or offers to provide any services to the general public a general business license is required. In addition, a condominium association that offers units for sale to the general public must have a license as a real estate broker.

Given this, it seems like the Cooperative Association license would be more appropriate since we don’t conduct business for the general public (no pool, etc. Just homeowner business) but neither DCRA nor the Office of Tax and Revenue were very clear on the difference and what would be required.

I wanted to inquire if others in HOAs know anything about the requirements for a business license and if we might need one. This would be very helpful with the deadlines (which is tomorrow for the business license!) and fees.


General Discussion October 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm

HOAs – a growing evil? Help save my friend's house from one, please!

I would assume given the changing landscape of DC and the uptick in condos, many people have experienced some rather terrible moments of their lives with HOAs. I had no idea the legislative power they have or how bad it can get for people until a few days ago, when my good friend and co-worker told me she was about to lose her condo. I didn’t know that was possible when you don’t have a mortgage and are paying taxes, but – it is, and it can happen SO quickly.

The short story is that she’s been living in DC for several years, renting out her condo down in Florida. Fortuitously for the HOA, despite the fact that she gave her HOA her DC address, they sent mail about an unauthorized person living in her apartment and its associated $500/month fee to her Florida condo address every month for nearly a year. They then sent the notice of a lien paperwork to her condo address, following by lawsuit paperwork to foreclose. By law, they must send paperwork to the most recent address on file, so this was an illegal move on their part. She owes twice the original amount of the fees because HOAs are allowed to add interest, administrative, and lawyers fees.

My friend obviously did not receive this mail, because her (awful) tenant was throwing away this mail. So, how did this all come to light? She was attempting to sell her condo, because she is a stage 4 cancer survivor with medical debt, and she’s trying to get back on her feet. She has attempted to negotiate with the HOA, despite their actions (and general lack of movement on anything – she claims nothing had ever been fixed by them, even leaking ceilings, broken outdoor stairs, etc.).

They turned down her offer of a payment plan, and they are stalling on a response to her request to pay them once the house is sold (she has two buyers), and they’ll likely stall on approving them as buyers, as well. She doesn’t have money for a lawyer, but she took advantage of a free consultation with one, who said he knew her HOA well and had several clients with cases against them. He also mentioned there were many other owners with debt 20 times greater than hers, and the HOA was not pursuing collection. It is clear they are after her condo because she is attempting to sell.

Now, she has 7 days until they take her house away. I’m just disgusted and sad. My friend is the most giving, kind-hearted, and strong person I know. She’s been in public service for almost 15 years to help protect the country. This HOA is greedy and might ruin her chance at a fresh start.

I wanted to share her story with you to open discussion, but also as a shameless plug to add her fundraising page I made for her with it, as well. Anything anyone is willing to donate is so appreciated. Thank you all. The fundraiser page with more info is here:

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