Amy gets answers about HOA rate increases & bad gasoline

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Our KPRC 2 Investigates team is getting answers for you! We are getting more questions into the “Ask Amy” mailbox, so keep them coming! This week we start with one of the most debated topics we touch on: homeowners associations.

Ask Amy: HOA rate increase worry

Q: I know that you have reported extensively on HOA issues in Texas. I live in a townhome that is governed by an HOA. One of the buildings in our complex had a big fire that completely destroyed that building. Just wondering, based on your experience, am I at risk of having the HOA raise the dues by a big amount to pay for damages and cleanup? Or should that be covered by the HOA’s insurance? Is there insurance available that can cover against having an HOA suddenly raise the monthly dues by a huge amount?

A: Houston attorney David Kahne specializes in homeowner property rights. We asked him about this. Here is Mr. Kahne’s response:

“Fire insurance is available and, in a well-run association, fire damage to townhomes should be covered. Insurance may be required by the declaration (aka CCRs or deed restrictions) and, for condominiums, by statute. Unfortunately, not all condominiums, and not all townhomes structured as subdivisions, carry sufficient insurance. I have been involved in lawsuits concerning such deficiencies.”

“Whether or not there are insurance deficiencies, some boards will use fire as an excuse to increase assessments. Homeowners need to be vigilant. Homeowners should also be vigilant about whether their association has reserve accounts that should be used. The starting point for any discussion is to ensure that the association maintains transparency with respect to finances.”

David A. Kahne Law Office of David A. Kahne

RELATED: HOA fence stain debate and Top HOA questions and answers

Ask Amy: Insurance claim for bad fuel

We’ve done a few stories about people fueling their cars with bad gas. This can cause thousands of dollars in damage and it’s not always easy to get the help you need after it happens. Here’s what one viewer asked:

Q: Why should I file a claim against my insurance if I get bad gas if it is the gas station’s fault?

A: In a perfect world, you would file with the gas station’s insurance, but often it is very difficult to track down who owns the station. So, filing with your own insurance is often the only option you have. Also, you should always get a printed receipt when pumping gas so you have a record, just in case something happens.

Do you have a question we can answer for you? Email and we will work to find you an answer!

Here is last week’s Ask Amy about what to look for on your credit report and help with canceling subscription services.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.