New Lennar HOA (?) in Lancaster , Pa

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Latest post Mon, Jan 7 2008 1:50 PM by anon3. 5 replies.
  • Sun, Jan 6 2008 6:11 PM

    New Lennar HOA (?) in Lancaster , Pa

    My wife and I purchased a Lennar Townhome in the new Hawthorne Ridge Community in Lancaster PA. When we purchased the Home, we were informed that there would be a community center, swimming pool, walking trails, tot lot and playgoround. At that time, we were told that this Lennar community would consist of 297 units. We were the first to move into this community in July of 2007. As of this date, only 20 units have been sold and I was told by the Lennar Baltimore Office President, that the decision has been made to only build a total of 77 units. We have also been informed that Lennar will not be putting in the pool and to offset the cost of what we paid for the pool in our purchase price, Lennar has offered to pay for a 3 year membership to the County Pool at the rate of $57.00 per year. We feel that this is an insult to us and in part we purchased this Home for the pool facility-to be able to walk a short distance to enjoy the pool facilities whenever we want and not have to drive to the local community pool. We also hoped to be able to enjoy this pool for years to come and not for the 3 years Lennar is proposing. The selling features that sold us on this community (stated above) are not materializing and we feel that we have spent money on ammenities that were only selling features and not fact. According to the Township, the plans submitted by Lennar never included a pool facility. In a conversation with the President (Baltimore Area) of Lennar, it appears that the Community Center quite possibly won't be built either. There were other communities that we looked at that didn't have these ammenities, were less money, but with the promises from Lennar-advertisements, signage and verbals from the sales associates we went with Lennar, only to be deceived. We could have had what we purchased here, at one of the other communities for less money. We are basically still living in a construction site. We have been charged $82.00 HOA fees per month for pool, community center,grounds, street light maintenance etc. of which none of these exist as of yet. Also, to date this hasn't been turned over to the Homeowners Association and my understanding won't be until the complex is approximately 80% completed. The fees have been going to a management company of which $75.00 of the $82.00 is going to this company for their administrative fees. We received a letter stating that these fees will go down to $28.00 per month (these fees go towards administrative fees for the management company and to pay for electricity for the street lights that don't exist) because Lennar has been maintaining the construction site and surrounding area from the very beginning. I contacted Lennar to see if we were going to be reimbursed the difference and they said that the management compay set the fee and to contact them. I contacted the management company and was told to contact Lennar as Lennar had set the fee. I also asked how much was in the Homeowner Associate Account and I was basically told that it was none of our concern that Lennar controls everything in the community and when you sign the HOA Booklet/Rules (which doesn't exist yet) whatever Lennar states, we have to abide by. This is the third home we have owned but the first dealing with a national builder/HOA
    and any advice/help would be appreciated. These are our specific questions:
    1. Do we have any monetary recourse for paying for the ammenties promised and not receiving, pool etc.
    2. Due to the fact that there isn't a HOA as of yet,
    should the monthly fees and capital improvement fees charged at settlement be placed in a Trust Fund to be turned over to the HOA when it is established.
    3. Nothing has changed as far as the maintenance
    is concerned (we cut our own grass, pull weeds, shovel snow) are we entitled to ask for the difference of what we were paying and what the new rate is.
    4. As a current homeowner, do we have the right to know where the monthly fees are going and the distribution of the funds and who has control of it.
    Again, thanks for any help/suggestions you may have.









  • Sun, Jan 6 2008 6:51 PM In reply to

    • anon3
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 15 2000
    • Posts 528

    re: New Lennar HOA (?) in Lancaster , Pa

    Consider suing Lennar for breach of contract and all fees and costs, and go buy elsewhere. IMHO, this will deteriorate.
  • Mon, Jan 7 2008 10:55 AM In reply to

    re: New Lennar HOA (?) in Lancaster , Pa

    "we were informed that there would be a community center, swimming pool, walking trails, tot lot and playgoround. At that time, we were told that this Lennar community would consist of 297 units."

    What you were "informed of" and what you were "told" is likely to be irrelevant if those items weren't made part of your purchase contract. Read your contract. There's probably a clause in there that says this is the entire contract and anything said or done outside the contract doesn't count. There was also probably a disclaimer in all the brochures and sales material.

    Lennar has offered to pay for a 3 year membership to the County Pool at the rate of $57.00 per year. We feel that this is an insult to us and in part we purchased this Home for the pool facility-to be able to walk a short distance to enjoy the pool facilities whenever we want and not have to drive to the local community pool. We also hoped to be able to enjoy this pool for years to come and not for the 3 years Lennar is proposing."

    Unfortunately, feelings and hopes have nothing to do with the contractual issues of buying real estate.

    "The selling features that sold us on this community (stated above) are not materializing and we feel that we have spent money on ammenities that were only selling features and not fact. According to the Township, the plans submitted by Lennar never included a pool facility."

    Ordinarily I'd say relying on hype is a bad idea but, in this instance, if Lennar submitted development plans with no pool and then continued to hype the pool as an amenity, that could amount to civil fraud and you might just have a cause of action there.

    You will, of course, have to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit. I can almost guarantee that the builder will just stonewall you unless faced with litigation.

    "verbals from the sales associates we went with Lennar, only to be deceived."

    Now you know never to rely on "verbal" anything.

    "1. Do we have any monetary recourse for paying for the ammenties promised and not receiving, pool etc."

    Theoretically, if you are being charged for something you aren't getting, you should get the money back. But you will probably have to sue for it.

    "2. Due to the fact that there isn't a HOA as of yet,
    should the monthly fees and capital improvement fees charged at settlement be placed in a Trust Fund to be turned over to the HOA when it is established."

    That would be nice, but I'm guessing that there is nothing in your purchase contract or in state law that requires that.

    "3. Nothing has changed as far as the maintenance
    is concerned (we cut our own grass, pull weeds, shovel snow) are we entitled to ask for the difference of what we were paying and what the new rate is."

    You are certainly entitled to ask. Does your purchase contract say that those services are to be provided?

    "4. As a current homeowner, do we have the right to know where the monthly fees are going and the distribution of the funds and who has control of it."

    I don't know.

    You'll have to look up the statutes to see if there is anything in them about that.

    Here's a link to PA Real Estate statutes. Look at Subpart D - Planned Communities and see if that hepls.

    http://members.aol.com/StatutesP9/68C.html

    Unfortunately, PA statutes are not completely on line so you might have to visit a law library to review what's missing.

    Bottom line: I don't think you are going to get anywhere just by nudging Lennar or the management company.

    You should be talking to an attorney.


    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Mon, Jan 7 2008 12:05 PM In reply to

    • anon3
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 15 2000
    • Posts 528

    re: New Lennar HOA (?) in Lancaster , Pa

    I just googled "Hawthorne Ridge Community Lancaster PA" and looked at the Garage townhomes ameneties. It does not mention a pool, walking trailS, or playground, but does say community center, HOA, tot lot, trail. It also looks like you are bound to comcast cable, which, inmho, probably means the developer will be getting $$ for a LONG time for THAT! (there's no other reason for that).
    Your printed brochures and local print and tv ads may say something different.
  • Mon, Jan 7 2008 12:20 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,645

    re: New Lennar HOA (?) in Lancaster , Pa

    Suggestions from a retired PA LL:

    You just bought into a pig in the poke!

    Unles this is a planned residential community you may have few rights--and the recourse even if this is a PRC in PA is somewhat hollow if the developer does an intentional belly up .

    Generally unless its in the deed or as part of a published public offering statement its dead meat--and the public offering statement may have been written by a crafty attorney--certainly not employed to protect buyers!


    If the seller takes a powder you are up the creek for all pactical puposes. t ever see the promiesed

    If the seller bails by the side door by conversion of unsold units into Section 8 /affordable housing units you may be able to kiss your assets value goodbye.

    Perhaps, long shot---if you have very skilled paid counsel you can hang up the builder --but I'm not sure how. (If the builder is financing the sales-doubtful--then you might have cause to withhold payments--but if its a mere holder in due course I doubt holding up payments is viable.)

    Sometimes when a ship is sinking its wise to get off before the others jump into the lifeboats!

    Me, I'd get multiple copies of every planning docuement the developer presented to the township and copies of every printed ad or promo or disclosure upon which your relied and your deed --and I'd be talking to the best RE attorneys with a litigation practice inhte county.

    Ask up front if there is a conflict of interest with this particular developer ! And if you really are on your toes you may be able to figure out how to conflict out all the leading RE attorneys in your Pa county by a short discussion of your facts with EACH such attoreny who is not already conflicted out by dealing with this developer.



  • Mon, Jan 7 2008 1:50 PM In reply to

    • anon3
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 15 2000
    • Posts 528

    re: New Lennar HOA (?) in Lancaster , Pa

    "Unles this is a planned residential community you may have few rights--and the recourse even if this is a PRC in PA is somewhat hollow if the developer does an intentional belly up."

    If it is a planned community, you have few rights. HOA's are corporations--check to find out if it has been incorporated yet--contact your state corporation commission. If the developer has not incorporated it yet, you may have (a little) more protection.

    Be aware that the builder agreed to do certain things to get the city/county to allow him to build. If they are not following through with their end of that agreement, that governing agency will want to know.

    If the seller takes a powder you are up the creek for all pactical puposes. t ever see the promiesed
    Consider shedding light on the builder if you get nowhere with your situation: Check local and state picketting law, and armed with very accurate info, take your neighbors and picket Lennar's other sites to let people there know what was promised and what was delivered. Maybe have simple maps to your neighborhood... Be sure your info is accurate so you are not open to libel or slander suits.

    If the seller bails by the side door by conversion of unsold units into Section 8 /affordable housing units you may be able to kiss your assets value goodbye.
    Maybe the city agency that agree to such a switch rather than requiring Lennar to complete needs picketted, too.

    Perhaps, long shot---if you have very skilled paid counsel you can hang up the builder ...
    Be very careful to NOT get an attorney associated with Community Associations Institute (CAI) they are anti-homeowner. You need an attorney knowledgeable in corporate law, as an hoa is a corporation. Consider going to http://www.CHORE.US Coalalition for Homeowners Rights and Education for links to sites that might be helpful to you.

    Ask up front if there is a conflict of interest with this particular developer !
    You may have to go way out of county for such an attorney.
    Also you might consider joining with the other owners there to split the bills and help each other out in other ways.
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