Some Houston condo owners fed up with $6,000 in annual HOA fees

Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Some Houston condo owners fed up with $6,000  in annual HOA fees
A Southwest Houston condo owner reached out to 13 Investigates upset about where his $550 monthly HOA fees are going.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- From broken glass and torn up sidewalks to a dilapidated children's playground and wacky wiring, John Seckar gets frustrated every time he walks outside his Southwest Houston condo.

Seckar said despite paying off the two-bedroom, two-bath condo in full, he still pays $550 in monthly fees to his HOA. But for all that money, he said he isn't happy with how they're taking care of his Piper's Crossing property.

"I take care of an older, more disabled brother, so it's very frustrating and scary, but it's also a learning opportunity, and boy, have I learned," Seckar told 13 Investigates' Kevin Ozebek. "It's just sad that there's no accountability."

Seckar took 13 Investigates on a tour of Piper's Crossing, pointing out the mailroom's broken door, a giant hole in the perimeter fencing, faulty wheelchair access and several loose dogs on the property.

Piper's Crossing board members, who are volunteers and fellow condo owners, did not grant us an interview about Seckar's concerns.

It's just sad that there's no accountability
John Seckar, home owner

In a statement, the board's attorney told 13 Investigates the HOA "would rather spend money on repairs and not legal fees."

"The complex is maintained as funds allow, and there are currently not enough funds to make all the repairs at once. Due to Mr. Seckar's complaint and Channel 13's investigation, the Board is meeting with our firm to assist and provide guidance," the attorney said in a statement. "Sadly, however, the more funds spent defending complaints or allegations means less money will be available for needed repairs and maintenance. For financial reasons, the Board will likely not want our firm to provide an interview. We all share the same goals and that is to make all repairs possible. The issue is which repairs to prioritize due to limited funds."

Seckar isn't the only condo owner who is concerned about the state of the property.

William, who owns multiple units at Piper's Crossing, said he regrets investigating there.

"Some of the things have gotten worse since that initial visit that we had," he said. "We decided to invest there because the price for a unit was really attractive to us. We thought that we can, over time, be able to increase the rent but we never knew that the HOAs would be increasing faster than inflation and what is a reasonable amount to raise rent as well."

Despite having around 200 units, a financial statement for Piper's Crossing shows at the end of 2023, the HOA had just $61,175 in assets. The document also shows it ended last year with $770,806 left to pay on a loan it took out for repairs.

Real Estate Attorney Richard Weaver said that's not adequate funding for an HOA of this size.

"If you look at this community and you see how in disrepair it is, it is really shocking," Weaver said.

Weaver said if a homeowner isn't satisfied with their HOA, the first step is making sure more tenants attend board meetings to bring up their concerns.

"The people in Piper's Crossing, if they want to start taking action, what they may want to consider is getting the right people on the board and that starts by taking a look at their roles. They also need a quorum and they need to be involved because too often people show up to an HOA meeting and they do not have a quorum and so they cannot remove their board," Weaver said. "It's too common that people are not involved and those people often complain and so we need them to become more involved."

Seckar said he wasn't happy with how the HOA was handling his concerns, including the pool which had green water last year, according to a photo he shared with us. Seckar took his concerns to the City of Houston and in January this year, the Houston Health Department shut it down.

Seckar said he plans to continue advocating for him and the other residents, and will be more careful in the future when looking at properties.

"From now on when I buy a home, no matter how pretty it looks and everything seems exciting and all the security, double check and learn about HOAs," he said. "I've learned about HOAs. HOA - that term, I want to say is almost a cuss word now."


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