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Vent: Frustrated with my HOA not letting me have an AC Update in Comments

behsco90behsco90 Oregon
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edited June 2014 in Not Engaged Yet
Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  My condo faces southwest, and I'm upstairs, so when it's more than 75 degrees outside, it's likely 85+ degrees inside my condo.  More than 90 degrees if God forbid I have laundry to do.  I sent in a request in MARCH to get an AC installed.  It is now near the end of JUNE, and they are dragging their feet giving me approval to get it installed.  It's basically the board president who is dragging his feet.  Half the time I email him or leave a voicemail, he tells me he never got my email/message.  I'm calling bullshit.

I have told them that I have a thyroid condition, and the heat aggravates it, but apparently that doesn't make them go any faster.  I've been physically sick because of the heat, and am becoming a very unhappy and impatient person.  I have told them that I will have to move in with my parents if I do not get this approval, I do not want to make my health worse.  Maybe they'll get on the ball if I tell them they can pay my mortgage and HOA fees if I have to let my condo sit empty.

I have no patience left with this situation, I am ready to SCREAM at someone!  Anyone have any advice?
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Re: Vent: Frustrated with my HOA not letting me have an AC Update in Comments

  • No advice except... holy shit. I would stab someone. Not really, I'm not into violence. But still. 

    And I'm sorry! You could try getting a lawyer you know to draft a letter. That often gets things moving. 
  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey
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    I don't know anything about how HOAs work but you can't even put in a window unit? 

    Can you go to the board president in person instead of trying to call and email?



  • eilis1228eilis1228 Southwest
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    I would definitely get a lawyer involved if they don't get back with you soon. He's putting your health in jeopardy, which is a huge deal. 

    In the meantime, I agree with @swazzle. Can you put a window unit in until they come to a decision?


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  • We just went through this with FMIL. We ended up having to get a letter from her doctor stating why she needs an AC unit. FI made an appointment with the head of the housing unit (mind you, this is low income housing that she lives in, yet they act like they're on 5th avenue, anyway..) to present the doctor's note, the original request to have the AC unit put in and the deposit for the AC. Once that was done, the AC was installed within 48 hours.

    If I were you, I would get the doctor's note, call the President of the HOA and make an appointment and tell them what's going on. Keep calling and emailing, a squeaky wheel gets oiled all the time.

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  • That's not even safe! Why can't you install one yourself and just charge the HOA for it in the interim?  Even if your HOA rules prohibit you from doing so, check to see what the penalty is (could just be a warning letter). 
  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta
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    Wait, did the AC break down and need to be replaced? Or was there not one in the condo when you bought it? Also what kind of unit are you looking at - does it have any components that go outside the building? When FI had to replace the HVAC in his condo, they put in a new unit that is contained completely within a little closet inside his unit. If that's the case for you, then why does the HOA have to give approval? What's the worst that could happen if you go ahead and do it without waiting for their approval?

    Do you know any of the other board members? Or anyone else in the building who has been in a similar situation? Maybe they could advise on how to get things moving. Otherwise, I second the suggestion of having your attorney send a letter.

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  • behsco90behsco90 Oregon
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    Thanks ladies.

    As for the window AC, the windows in my living room (which is where it is the hottest) do not open.  So I would have to get new windows (which would of course require approval from the HOA) and then approval for the AC unit.

    The reason they are dragging their feet is I am requesting a mini-split ductless unit, which no one in our complex has, so it's all new to them, so they want all this information from my contractor.  Every time we give them information, they have more questions.  Well my contractor gave the board president all the final required info on June 6th.  It's been almost 3 weeks since then and I'm still waiting.

    I do not know where in the complex the board president lives.  If I did, I would be knocking on his door every single day until I get the approval.  I don't know what his job is, but apparently he's on the road a lot.

    My uncle is a lawyer, if I don't hear back from the board president today, I will email my uncle and have him write up a letter.
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  • Does your HOA have regular meetings? In my condo complex, they have monthly meetings open to the entire neighborhood. You could raise your concern there. Hopefully if it was in their meeting notes they would be forced to deal with the situation by the next month's meeting. Also, the entire board would be aware of your issue instead of just one person.

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  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta
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    behsco90 said:
    Thanks ladies.

    As for the window AC, the windows in my living room (which is where it is the hottest) do not open.  So I would have to get new windows (which would of course require approval from the HOA) and then approval for the AC unit.

    The reason they are dragging their feet is I am requesting a mini-split ductless unit, which no one in our complex has, so it's all new to them, so they want all this information from my contractor.  Every time we give them information, they have more questions.  Well my contractor gave the board president all the final required info on June 6th.  It's been almost 3 weeks since then and I'm still waiting.

    I do not know where in the complex the board president lives.  If I did, I would be knocking on his door every single day until I get the approval.  I don't know what his job is, but apparently he's on the road a lot.

    My uncle is a lawyer, if I don't hear back from the board president today, I will email my uncle and have him write up a letter.
    I've had my aunt do this for me a few times when I've had landlord issues. Even if you can draft the letter yourself so all your uncle has to do is send it on his letterhead, it definitely helps. Good luck!
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  • Ugh, lawyers for the win.  And doctors.  Good luck - no AC sucks (in fact, I'm pretty sure FL has a time limit on the time that landlords have to replace/fix AC on in rentals because well, it's FL)
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  • behsco90behsco90 Oregon
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    @blabla89‌ sorry idk why I didn't see your previous post. There is no AC in the condo, the original owner chose not to have it installed.

    The unit I am looking at does have two units, one goes inside mounted in the wall and the other will sit outside on my deck. They have to give approval because it will be something that can be seen outside and because the units will be connected thru a wall so they have to do plumbing inside a wall.

    I have already gone to the last board meeting (they only happen once a quarter) and it was discussed there. They said it should be approved, just as long as they got the additional information they required and they got that info more than 2 weeks ago.
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  • Dignity100Dignity100 Northeastern Ohio
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    Do you have a contract with your HOA saying how long before you get a response after submitting a request? I'd just get a lawyer to write up something saying that you need a decision.  Do you have any other windows that open that you could get a portable AC unit in (they're pricey).

    How about a RedNeck A/C unit ;) :
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  • FoxandBunnyFoxandBunny Alabama
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    I have nothing to add except that this sucks. 

    I agree with PPs and would get a doctor's and a lawyer's note and see if that doesn't make them more responsive. 
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  • behsco90behsco90 Oregon
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    Thanks everyone. I've emailed my doctor to see if I can get a letter. I was really hoping I could get this taken care of before I leave for Mexico tomorrow, but it looks like that's not going to happen... I honestly want to call my HOA and tell them they can pay my HOA dues for me until this is fixed. Ridiculous.
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  • behsco90behsco90 Oregon
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    edited June 2014
    Gahhhh I'm ready to strangle someone.  The board president completely ignored the email I sent him yesterday, and sent an email to my contractor and CCed me, with MORE QUESTIONS about the installation.  I'm literally ready to send him an email saying that if he does not send me the approval letter by Friday at 5 pm then he will be hearing from my lawyer.

    I'm not a violent person, but my thyroid condition makes me irritable, so when you add in extreme heat and nausea, I'm beyond irritable, so I am ready to punch somebody in the face.  Like if I saw him right now, somebody would have to hold me back.

    Edit: I typed up an email to send to the community manager of the HOA.  Please tell me what you think, if it is too harsh or what.  Obviously I'm not in the right frame of mind to know what is ok or not.

    Hi Community Manager,

    It has been nearly 3 months since I first put in a request for approval to have an air conditioner installed.  At the last board meeting, I was told it would be approved pending final information provided by my contractor.  It has been more than 3 weeks since my contractor provided this information and Board President is dragging his feet approving this.  More information given to him just causes him to ask more questions, and request more information.

    I have informed Board President that I have a thyroid condition that causes me to have intolerance to heat.  My condo is always at least 80 degrees and in the evenings is at least 90 degrees.  It has not been below 80 degrees since about the beginning of May.  I have experienced nausea, being physically sick, hot flashes, unable to perform daily activities, and of course aggravation to my thyroid condition.

    This heat has caused me to become a very unhappy and impatient person.  I am sure you would feel the same if you had to live this way.  I will be contacting my lawyer if this is not approved soon, as I am not going to risk my health condition getting worse because the HOA can't get their act together.  I will also no longer be paying my HOA dues until this situation is resolved. [IDK if I should say that last part, but honestly, why the hell should I pay my dues if they aren't doing shit for me?]
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  • eilis1228eilis1228 Southwest
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    edited June 2014
    I would provide pics of your thermostat at those temperatures as well. You'll need absolute proof of your claims, so the doctor's note will help a lot too, especially if this does end up in court.

    I would also probably not use phrases like "dragging his feet." And maybe edit out "I am sure you would feel the same if you had to live this way." It's really accusatory and may make the community manager defensive. You want the CM on your side 100%. Maybe something like...

    Dear CM,
    It has been three months since I first submitted a request for approval for an air conditioner. At the last board meeting on (provide specific date), Board President stated the request would be approved pending final information from my contractor. More than three weeks have passed since my contractor sent the requested information, and Board President still has not granted approval.

    I have a thyroid condition that causes me to have an intolerance to heat. As you can see from the pictures, my condo is at least 80 degrees the majority of the time. In the evenings, the temperature rises to 90 degrees. I have experienced a nausea and hot flashes and am unable to perform daily activities. My thyroid condition is aggravated, and my health is at risk. I have provided a letter from my health care provider that confirms my condition.

    I will be contacting my lawyer if the air conditioner is not approved by (insert date here). I cannot continue living in this condition.

    -behsco90



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  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta
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    I don't think there's anything wrong with being firm in your email, but I also wouldn't give them any more time to respond before they hear from your lawyer/uncle. At this point I'd just go ahead and tell them that they will be hearing from your lawyer, and have him send the letter right away.
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  • lilacck28lilacck28
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    edited June 2014
    @weewittlewizabeth is correct, and her letter looks good. You want this letter to be exceedingly respectful, factual, and professional. 

    The bits about "he keeps asking for more questions!" will hurt your case. It is presumably their prerogative to ask as many questions as they deem necessary when it comes to changes to the building. Bringing up the fact that he has more questions suggests you are asking for a difficult thing. 
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  • lilacck28lilacck28
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    edited June 2014
    and the bit about not paying your HOA fees... what is in your contract? I know nothing about condos or HOAs. What will happen if you do not pay? That could be grounds for eviction, or at lthe very least mentioning/ threatening that will not endear you to the board and may make your situation even more difficult. 
    eilis1228
  • eilis1228eilis1228 Southwest
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    lilacck28 said:
    and the bit about not paying your HOA fees... what is in your contract? I know nothing about condos or HOAs. What will happen if you do not pay? That could be grounds for eviction, or at lthe very least mentioning/ threatening that will not endear you to the board and may make your situation even more difficult. 
    That's why I left that part out too. I wasn't sure what the ramifications would be by saying that. I know you can withhold rent when leasing, but I don't know how HOA fees work. @behsco90, if you are able to withhold fees, I would definitely cite the clause from your contract in your letter.


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  • lilacck28lilacck28
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    edited June 2014
    @weewittlewizabeth Hold up... you can withhold rent??? Is that standard? And what allows a renter to do so? I should have done my renter's rights homework more seriously!

     The lease I just signed was ridiculous (but I love the apartment... it is much closer to a townhome). My lawyer mom hated it. It was something like "if the place burns down rent will not be lowered". The property said the company does not change the lease when my mom handed it back to the leasing agent with red marks and edits. My mom said if we had to we could make a negligence claim but...  if withholding rent is standard for certain issues... I'd like to know what they are!
  • eilis1228eilis1228 Southwest
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    edited June 2014
    You can withhold rent if something like the AC goes out and they don't repair it. If you repair it yourself, you can take that out of next month's rent. Basically if a major repair is needed and the landlord doesn't take care of it, rent can be withheld because the apartment is considered unlivable. In Texas, not having an AC qualifies for that, but I don't know about in other states with milder climates.


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  • ah, okay. Thanks! 

    Yeah, in the last apartment the heat went out in the middle of winter in our living room (the bedroom was fine). They had a guy come right away, but then it was broken again once he left so we spent about two days freezing before maintenance came back (a storm came and made it impossible for them to come quicker). And it took them three weeks to fix/ replace the dishwasher. I thought about trying to withhold rent (was going to ask questions about it), but changed my mind because they fixed the heat  as timely as they could, and the dishwasher was not a necessity. Even if it felt like one to me. 
    eilis1228
  • eilis1228eilis1228 Southwest
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    @lilacck28 Yes, exactly! Dishwasher isn't a huge emergency, but heater in the middle of winter is. If they'd waited too long on that, you could have either withheld rent or had it repaired yourself and deducted the cost of that repair from your rent. Or if your toilet breaks in an apartment with only 1 bathroom, that's an emergency... basically stuff that would make the apartment unlivable. 


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  • behsco90behsco90 Oregon
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    Thanks ladies.  I will reword my email.  @weewittlewizabeth I can't show pics of my thermostat because I just have baseboard heating, so I just turn a dial, so the only way I know how hot it is, is because when I turn the dial, it will click when it gets past the current temperature.

    Anyways, I guess I will have to wait for the letter from lawyer/doctor since I am headed to Mexico today.
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