HOUSTON – Homeowners in one Katy neighborhood have hit a wall trying to work with their homeowner’s association. We are talking about a literal concrete wall that surrounds their subdivision. At issue: who is responsible for it. KPRC 2 Investigates has a story that could impact anyone with an HOA.
Tall concrete wall is a sound barrier and hides shopping center
Imagine moving into your brand new subdivision and being told that the perimeter wall is not your property. You can’t change it. You can’t take it down; and you can’t fix it. Then, 21 years later, when it needs repairs and replacement, your HOA says, “It’s all your responsibility.”
The huge concrete wall is in Mark Hollar’s backyard.
“This was a reason I bought this house because of that wall,” explained Hollar.
This 8-foot high concrete perimeter wall separates Hollar’s property from a commercial parking lot and the nearby Grand Parkway.
“This is a sound barrier from the highway and what goes on back there,” Hollar told Davis.
Several houses down the same wall has protected David Bowman’s backyard since he moved in 22 years ago. When he moved in, it was part of the homeowner’s associations’ property. Fast forward two decades and some change and the Falcon Point Meadows HOA of Cinco Ranch is changing its tune.
“No fence. Y’all are getting nothing. Now, that’s what they told us,” said homeowner Alex Cepeda.
Demolition and construction of a new perimeter wall has already started at the front of the neighborhood; but the HOA told 12 homeowners at the back their deteriorating wall would be replaced with a wooden fence. When they complained about the material, the HOA said they won’t even get that.
A letter from the HOA’s attorney reads, “It is my understanding that the wall is not located upon property owned by the association,” and, “The association has no intention of maintaining, repairing or replacing the wall.”
“Well, I think if we’re all in this neighborhood association paying the increased annual dues, that the perimeter fence should be replaced as it’s being done in the other sections of the neighborhood for consistency and to maintain our property values like everyone else,” said homeowner Ed Larsen. “If they’re doing it for other properties in the neighborhood, why is our permanent corroded wall not being included?”
Attorney fights for homeowner’s rights
Attorney David Kahne represents homeowners by protecting their rights against overreaching HOA’s.
“The common-sense solution is that everybody should be treated the same,” said Kahne.
He read the Falcon Point Meadows deed restrictions and covenants.
“Their own deed restrictions say it should meet the community-wide standard. And community-wide means the same for all sections, including the 12 lots where the association doesn’t want to fulfill its responsibility.”
So what can these homeowners do?
“If the homeowner’s association doesn’t voluntarily do the right thing, the homeowners, unfortunately, are probably going to have to sue them,” said Kahne.
No one from the HOA, the management company, or the HOA attorney returned our calls or emails and these homeowners say no one will speak with them about it anymore either.
“I think they didn’t realize the total cost of replacing the perimeter fencing. And they were trying to find ways to save money,” said Bowman.
Unfortunately, in Texas, there is no regulating or governing body that oversees HOA’s to mediate these kinds of disputes. So homeowners are forced to take legal action if their association won’t reason with them. We will follow this case and let you know what happens.
New rules related to HOA’s did go into effect last year.
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