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I present a lot of information here and I try to keep it brief. I merged 3 different documents that were meant for the different audiences so it is not clean. This is my first property that I have bought in Colorado. This has been a brutal learning experience for me. There are no HOA laws in Colorado. HOA’s know that it is very expensive for individuals to take HOA’s to court and the HOA’s take full advantage of their residents who bought a property, and Hammersmith, as a HOA management company, is very happy to help. Hammersmith representatives have BLATANTLY LIED to me repeatedly in writing and it is easy to prove they are lying. The HOA board has also lied repeatedly. It is this blatant lying that has me most concerned. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life. Having elderly HOA board members lie is one thing, but to have a supposed HOA management company like Hammersmith do it, including their attorney is another. My HOA, which Hammersmith Management is the HOA management company, is responsible for areas outside two tiny fenced lots (a front and back patio).
The HOA is responsible for all Common Areas and all siding, brickwork, and roofs. I have engaged with the HOA starting in October 2017 after I moved in September 2017. I submitted requests to Hammersmith and followed up by going to the HOA board meetings. I made reasonable requests to only get delays and a runaround from the HOA board. These delays are significant when there is significant damage to the siding of my townhouse in two different areas. Also, there is a drainage problem outside of my lot. My lot that I am responsible for has proper drainage but that drainage has nowhere to go because of some of the abnormal tree root growth and bad landscaping practices around my townhouse in the HOA common areas. Below are some relevant excerpts from the HOA BYLAWS that I have: Architectural Review Committee: ARC has rules which requires them to "watch” for "activity which may adversely affect the residential value and livability in the community”.
This includes the landscaping and exterior of all the townhouses. This HOA board is required to monitor the property. Common Areas: "The Association, along with its Management Company, is responsible for the operational management and oversight of maintenance and improvement of these areas.” This includes siding, roofs, fences, gutters, and brickwork. This includes "Common Areas” and landscaping. 3 section C. "The Association is responsible for all maintenance and improvements in the Common Areas.” That has not happened around my property in years. Who is on the ARC committee? No one has told me who they are. They are supposed to exist. Clearly they do not. The HOA attorney states in a May 2018 response that Section 4.3 imposes on each Owner to promptly report ….. I did this starting in October 2017 right after I moved in, only to be given excuses and then the previous owner and my home inspector were blamed by the HOA.
The HOA is responsible for the issues I identified and I promptly notified the HOA when I identified a problem. The HOA and their lawyer have been blaming the previous owner (she is dead) for not reporting issues and then the home inspector, who did not examine HOA areas of the property and that is typical in these situations. The previous owner is dead and home inspector’s normally do not inspect HOA areas of a property. Issues reported: 1) Drainage issues. Water spouts were not installed correctly on my building. This is the only thing the HOA fixed and they did it incorrectly. All the other townhouses have this done correctly. Drainage is still not good along the side of my townhouse where there has been a "community garden” for about 20 years. 2) Landscaping issues a plenty: The HOA deny there are issues. I had to get not one but two experts to take a look and they found more than what I saw. The first expert was an arborist and he found problems the required a landscape architect to look at.
I was shocked at what they found and if you know what to look for it cannot be hidden. There has been major neglect of the landscaping around my townhouse for about 20 years and the HOA board knew about it and covered it up. The landscaping around my townhouse is trashed and the rest of the property is excellent. The landscaping around my townhouse is not maintained but it is for the rest of the townhomes. 3) Front brick siding on my townhouse had some movement and there were gaps. Cold winter wind was blowing straight into my house. They refused to fix this. They have refused to reimburse me. They manufactured lies to justify not paying. First the HOA board recognized it needed to be fixed. Later the HOA attorney claims that there was no need to fix this brick. I went ahead and fixed it because is was cold inside my townhouse. Then the HOA attorney made another false claim that the HOA’s licensed contractor stated that part of my sidewalk that goes to my front door that is my responsibility caused the brick movement.
That contractor told me and my contractor that he could not determine the cause. I give lengthy details later. But there are multiple factors due to HOA negligence in maintaining the common area that certainly caused the problem. So the HOA lawyer introduced some new lies that totally shocked me. 4) The rear external wood has rot where it meets the foundation. I notified the HOA in October 2017. In January 2018 they said they would fix it but would not give a time table. In the meantime, there have been numerous expensive projects on the property. One that is unnecessary, putting a water sprinkler system by the HOA sign at the front of the property. It is July 2018. I still have major wood rot in my exterior wall. 5) The landscaping has gotten so out of hand in the front that the soil baseline is higher than the foundation. The HOA refuses to address this properly. Discussed later. 6) The HOA’s sidewalk heaving in front of my townhouse. This is from abnormal tree root growth. HOA keeps claiming they won’t fix normal tree root growth. They don’t have any experts who have come out because they won’t pay for them. But they lie that they have had experts come out.
Most of these tree roots are dead and come from a massive cottonwood tree that was removed 5-7 years ago. Google maps show this massive tree in 2011 and it is obvious that tree is too close to the property and undoubtedly caused all the damage. My property and the landscaping around it have not been properly maintained for years. I am talking about HOA common areas and wood siding and brickwork that are the HOA responsibility. At least one current HOA board member has been on the property for over several years gardening for at least 6 months every year. She could see all of the problems I have identified on a daily basis. This gardening activity at this particular location is harmful to the property (both common area and to the townhouse itself) and at least one current HOA board member has been involved. I keep making reasonable requests and I have encountered deception, excuses, false stories and lies. The landscaping around my townhouse that the HOA is fully responsible is in horrible condition due to many years of neglect by the HOA.
The HOA ARC committee is responsible to "watch” for this. These problems are well documented by both experts I hired. There is no other property in the complex that has been so thoroughly neglected. Not even the weekly yard service maintains the HOA common areas around my townhouse. All other townhouses have the grounds well-manicured, while I have weeds all over and big weeds and bushes that are overgrown. The fundamental problem is that the HOA landscaping around my townhouse is grossly inconsistent with how well maintained ALL the other townhouses. HOA residents do notice that the landscaping around my townhouse and only the landscaping around my townhouse is horrible. All the HOA board members have fantastic landscaping and excellent maintenance of their townhouses. What are my HOA fees being used for? In the HOA meeting I attended in March 2018, HOA board members admitted to knowing there was a long-term landscaping problem around my townhouse which they refused to correct.
HOA board members blamed the former owner for being insistent on doing her own landscaping and gardening around this townhouse. They all knew that this was wrong and potentially damaging to the landscaping and possibly the property. They did not stop her. Apparently, she was ill-tempered and demanded to have her way. No home owner can do landscaping without HOA board approval. Where is the mysterious HOA ARC committee? The HOA let her do what she wanted and she had at least one current HOA board member participate with her gardening activities. Plus, other residents were encouraged to garden next to my townhouse by HOA board members. (When I moved in there was massive traffic gardening next to my townhouse and people were continually coming into my private patio to use the water faucet to water the garden.) That board member is still on the board. I cannot say about the other board members. This board is very secretive and the HOA board meetings are done in secret. The HOA should never allow such gardening on a property like this. Especially where there is poor water drainage next to my property and tree problems all over the property.
Does this HOA/Hammersmith have a master landscaping management plan for the entire property? If so, the Common Area around my property is left out. The HOA Hammersmith representative repeatedly claimed they have arborists come out here once a year and then 2-3 times a year. That is false. Their arborists never heard of this property until I accidently contacted them. It took them a week to figure out they were under contract to this HOA. I should have never been put in the position where I had to bring in my own experts (an arborist and a landscape architect) to tell me the truth about how badly Hammersmith is mismanaging this property. Hammersmith has never had an arborist or landscape architect take a look at the common area around my townhouse. They lied when they said they did that. My arborist and landscape architect made excellent recommendations. Their reports were given to the HOA. The HOA has not followed any of these recommendations so far. The HOA refuses to reimburse me. This HOA does not do their job! Based on my interactions with the HOA representatives the current HOA Board members have collectively not "acted in good faith”.
At this point I have no doubt they have conspired against me all along. Their meetings are done in secret. I am new to the property so they appear to have taken advantage of me at every turn. This HOA board does not have a good track record on what they disclose and do not disclose. They have deliberately hidden numerous things from me so far. Points the HOA keeps bringing up the following excuses: 1) The previous owner did not complain. It is very convenient for the HOA to claim the previous owner did not complain about the issues I brought up. The previous owner is dead and cannot speak for herself. Her children that sold the property claimed no knowledge of the condition of the property or history. From what I can tell they knew a lot and did not want to say. Maybe her children asked the HOA to fix some things and they got the same response I have? That is most likely. Someone trimmed the trees and bushes in the common area around my townhouse before I bought the place. You could not see how bad it was. Now these plants have grown back and you can see a big problem. I’m sure the HOA did not cooperate with the children of the deceased previous owner. The previous owner may have complained as far as anyone knows about all the issues I have been forced to deal with like the front brick siding the HOA refused to fix.
We will never know the truth. She was rarely home the last years of her life. The HOA board is selective about what they will and won’t disclose or claim. Did the HOA take advantage of her? After I moved in numerous residents mentioned that the previous owner rarely was home for years and was traveled primarily to Texas to spend time with her children. Many basic items in the home were either broken or in poor working condition. The children of the previous owner remodeled the upstairs bathrooms. Otherwise everything else was worn down or broken outside of the A/C and furnace that were installed in 2015. Clearly the previous owner had not spent much time in the home for many years. Neighbor comments and the condition of the interior of the townhouse confirm this. The HOA board disputed that the previous owner was rarely home for years when I mentioned it in the March 2018 meeting. I was yelled at when I mentioned this. The landscaping and exterior and interior of the townhouse reflect no one has spent much time on the property for years. The HOA ARC committee is supposed to watch all the properties. If one property or surrounds degrade it affects all the other properties. It was no secret the previous owner was rarely home for years.
The HOA is claiming the previous owner did not complain and was always home, but she was rarely home and she may have complained and they do not want to admit to that. Interesting. The truth is that the previous owner had terminal cancer for the last years of her life and did spend most of her time in Texas with her children. The previous owner died from cancer. A number of neighbors know this. Her children were having a hard time selling the place because it was in poor condition as well as the exterior that is the HOA responsibility is still in poor condition. The exterior plants were trimmed significantly before I saw the place, probably by the previous owner’s children. Yet this is all the HOA’s common area that they HOA is supposed to maintain. The HOA board knew she was rarely home and let the areas of the property that are the HOA’s responsibility fall into disrepair. The HOA took advantage of the situation and did no maintenance in this area of the complex. Now they still don't want to deal with what is their responsibility because they are too busy making sure everything is perfect around their townhouses. 2) The HOA says the home inspector should have found the HOA’s defects.
Home inspectors are not landscaping experts. Home inspectors will not inspect areas that are the responsibility of an HOA. This HOA responsibilities for the roofs, siding, and brickwork, as well as the common areas, are clear. The HOA blames the home inspector for not examining areas that are the HOA responsibility. No new home buyer or their realtor and inspector could expect to inspect these types of issues when buying a property. I would have had to bring in an arborist, landscape architect, and a hydraulic engineer to properly examine the common area around my townhouse. That is what the HOA is implying. This is nuts! These areas in question are the responsibility of the HOA and I promptly notified them that they needed to be fixed. This HOA has refused. The HOA will make things up to justify not fixing things that are the HOA’s responsibility while at the same time concealing facts that completely destroy their arguments. Hammersmith and the HOA are consistent with this. Both parties have repeatedly deceived me and then they have flat out lied. 3) The HOA keeps claiming they are not responsible for normal tree root growth. There are major trees in the common areas of the complex that are a threat to all the properties. This was an error on the part of the original developer.
However, the HOA is allowing new trees which are the wrong type of trees to have in a townhouse complex. 2 such trees are right next to my property and are a threat to the structure and can and should be cut down are removed right away, but the HOA so far refuses. The two experts (an arborist and landscape architect) that came out here pointed out that the tree root growth around my place is NOT normal. The arborist documented that well. I was surprised by that. And that it is easy to correct. HOA and their attorney keep repeating that the tree root growth is normal and is not the HOA responsibility and that they won’t correct the issues in the common area. It is in the HOA common area and it is easy for them to correct and they make excuses to not do anything. The experts also documented lots of other surprises. Gross landscaping negligence is very noticeable when you look close enough and know what to look for. The common area problems around this property are not up to the standards of any of the other common areas. Where is the HOA ARC committee? Where are the HOA arborists and landscape architects? A cottonwood tree was improperly removed over the last several years. Those dead roots and the new cottonwood tree growing in its place need to be removed.
That trees roots undoubtedly caused the damage to the brickwork in the front of my townhouse. Those roots are massive and go straight towards the damaged brickwork. Some of the evidence of the damage was removed when the tree was removed. This HOA keeps refusing to maintain the common area around my townhouse as they have for the last 20 years. The worst part is that the retaining wall next to my townhouse is unstable. It will be expensive to replace and it does need to be replaced. The "community garden” has been located on a section of this retaining wall. This "community garden” as the HOA likes to call it has caused significant damage to this wall over the 20 or so years they have been pouring water there. The drainage is poor next to my townhouse and someone decided to put a garden there with the HOA’s blessing. No landscaper architect would allow this. This has contributed to abnormal tree root growth that has caused the HOA’s sidewalk to heave in front of my townhouse. There are wood blocks that hold the wall in place. There is significant wood rot on a number of these from all the irrigation of the garden. You won’t see wood rot on any of the other retaining walls in the complex. It is caused by all the water the gardeners have poured on it. The wall is leaning noticeably and significantly and has no support.
It may only take a heavy rain to knock it down. HOA board members have been gardening there for years. HOA board members have caused so much damage to the property right around my townhouse for years. At least on current HOA board member caused this damage. It did occur to them that it was a bad idea at the time and they did nothing. 4) The HOA refused to fix my front patio brickwork siding. This is where a recent (May 2018) HOA lawyer response presented new false information to me. The lawyer said there was nothing wrong with the front brick in the first place. She also said the HOA’s licensed contract stated that the front side walk (my responsibility) caused the brick movement. These are two major LIES that are easy to refute. This is a new surprise to me. I did not expect to see something like this let alone an attorney put this in writing. Last year the HOA board recognized that the brickwork needed repairs contradicting their own attorney. The HOA was given the opportunity to examine the brick. They demanded the deck be removed to see it clearly. The HOA representative (supposedly a licensed contractor), on 12/28/2017, did inspect the front brick siding after I removed the deck so it could clearly be seen.
There were major holes exposing the interior insulation that were noticeable. You could put your fingers through and touch the insulation. Cold winter winds would go straight into the house where it was very noticeable. Those holes in the brick were worse than the holes in the wood rotted siding on the other side of the house. By that time (January and February 2018) the HOA had kept stalling and refusing to honor their obligations with excuses. This HOA flat out makes things up to refuse fixing things that are their responsibility. I made sure there were enough meetings and communications with me, my contractors, and the HOA and the HOA contractor for there to be no misunderstandings. I made sure I and any of my witnesses and the HOA representatives clearly understood the conversations we had. The sidewalk in my lot (front patio) that is my responsibility did NOT cause the brick siding movement. My sidewalk did not touch any of the brick or anything attached to the brick. My sidewalk was clearly poured in recent years AFTER the brick moved. That sidewalk is so new it does not look like it has ever moved from the day it was poured and we could clearly see everything.
The brickwork movement was old. The previous owner had not spent much time in that home in many years because she was very sick and dying and was in Texas with her children. On December 28, 2017 the "licensed contractor” that works for Hammersmith said he "could not determine the cause of the brick movement”. My contractor also was present. I kept asking questions to make sure everyone was clear about the conversation at that time and that we all agreed. My witness can back me up. That is what the HOA’s contractor did say. This contradicts the HOA’s attorney’s response from May 2018. I have plenty of photographic evidence to back this up that the sidewalk could not have possibly caused the brick to move. That new sidewalk did not come close to even ever touching the brick that moved. Did the contractor change his story because he works for Hammersmith? I and my witness heard what he said. Again, the HOA’s attorney’s response looks like fiction created by the HOA board members themselves. I’d be surprised if that "licensed contractor” would lie like this, but everyone in the HOA that I have dealt with so far has lied and a lot.
Sounds more like something this HOA board would make up to avoid paying for repairs. In a January 2018 written HOA response, they claimed my sidewalk "probably” caused the brick movement. Their "licensed contractor” could not determine anything. This is the game the HOA has played with me all along. The HOA will make up fake information to avoid repairing anything. They dragged their feet while cold wind was blowing into my townhouse and snow sometimes accumulated on the open gaps. The HOA knew all along there were other major problems with the brickwork installation and major landscaping problems all around my townhouse, especially the front. In March 2018 I found it necessary to hire and arborist and then a landscaping architect to analyze the landscaping around my townhouse. They found major problems that would explain the damage to the brick. A massive cottonwood tree existed only a few years earlier and there are still tree roots going straight into my patio area (known as a lot) that is considered home owner responsibility. But all the siding and brickwork are the HOA’s responsibility. Also, the soil line was higher than the foundation.
After the deck was removed there was evidence that water did flow towards the foundation. There was plenty of evidence that the HOA common area that has not been maintained in about 20 years had caused problems to the front of the townhouse exterior structure. There is some remaining evidence, but some was probably removed in the last several years. There is overwhelming condemning physical evidence in the soil 1) in the form of large dead tree roots, 2) new cottonwood tree growing too close to my townhouse, 3) badly damaged retaining wall caused by ill advised gardening on that retaining wall, 4) noxious bushes growing next to my front patio, 5) a variety of young trees that should not be next to the townhouse or any townhouse for that matter, which includes a young cottonwood, the Russian olive tree and its roots must be removed, 6) the Austrian pine tree roots need to be trimmed,7) the landscaping tarp that caused the abnormal tree root growth needs to be removed, etc… The HOA needs to correct their own landscaping which has botched everything around my townhouse. These are all the causes for the brick movement is caused by the grossly neglected common area by the HOA.
I refuse to let the HOA board members or anyone else they have encouraged over the years to use my water faucet and hose in my private back patio area to continue gardening and damaging the retaining wall next to my townhouse. Their solution is to use a retaining wall next to their townhouse. It will take about 7 or so years when that retaining wall will start to have noticeable damage. By that time that one HOA board member and her husband, who are elderly, will probably be dead or in nursing homes. Whoever buys their townhouse next will most likely be dealing with surprises. The damage around my townhouse took about 20 years to do. This HOA and Hammersmith, the HOA management company, are doing everything they can to continue the neglect and damage to the property. That HOA board member has most likely read my landscape architect’s report about how the gardening damages the wood block supported retaining walls on this property; yet, that HOA board member continues this practice that damages the property. Now she is just doing next to her townhouse. Most of the residents and HOA board members are elderly and will be dead 7 or so years from now when the damage gets more significant.
Hammersmith representatives have been going along with their practices and forcing new residents like myself to repair things that the HOA is responsible for that HOA board members caused the damage either by neglect or deliberate damage to the property. My landscape architect has made an excellent long-term recommendation to correct the high soil line in the front of my townhouse. The HOA won’t respond. They obviously don’t want to correct problems they created and are responsible for. Worst is that the HOA conceals information that they know. They knew about the cottonwood tree and its huge roots. They removed the tree within the last 7 years. These massive dead tree roots are clear evidence of the real cause to the damage to the front brickwork on my townhouse. They knew there were landscaping problems in the common area in front of my townhouse. You can see where the sidewalk in the common area was grounded down because it heaved in many places. The brick siding on almost all the townhouses were improperly installed and did not have ties. My townhouse brick siding has no ties. So, it could have been just falling off, or a previous landscaping problem from that giant cottonwood tree that was removed several years ago under the HOA’s control and responsibility affected the poorly installed brick.
If the brick was properly installed it would have been fine regardless. The soil line is above the foundation in the front of my townhouse and there may have been flooding at one time. This soil line was definitely below the foundation when the place was originally built to pass code. That is how bad the landscaping in the front has been for at least 20 years. The HOA in the past would not disclose information that would destroy their case for not fixing things. Again, the HOA would not disclose who or how the cottonwood tree was removed, but it was done incorrectly as the experts I brought out have pointed out. There are Russian olive trees that are used as bushes in the front. These are considered noxious weeds in the state of Colorado and they have huge roots causing the soil line to be high. This HOA board members have lived on this property long enough to know the real facts and will not mention them. They conceal everything. The arborist and landscape architect pointed out numerous issues that could cause my front brickwork serious problems. All the damage to my building has been caused by gross neglect of the common area landscaping by the HOA! The physical evidence is undeniable.
All that brick is HOA responsibility. A neighbor told me that 2 years before my move in the entire brick siding on the West side of my townhouse was replaced because it was falling off. The HOA never disclosed this or other related items to me such as the brick was never installed correctly in the first place. No ties were used to hold the brick in place. This is another example of the HOA deceiving me so they can renege on their responsibilities. That brick siding, like most of the townhouses, was not installed properly and that was the root cause of the problem. I was forced to fix the brick myself to stop water and wind from getting in. The HOA refuses to reimburse me giving me a false story. There is an obvious cover up by the HOA board about the actual history of the landscaping around my townhouse and how it has affected my front patio area (in my lot) and how it has affected the front brick siding which is the HOA’s responsibility. At least one current HOA board member has spent time gardening right where she could see all the problems throughout the years she has lived here. But it is safe to say they all know based on their responses since I have lived here. All of them lived here a long time.
Conclusion: So far since I moved in last September, the only thing the HOA fixed is putting down spouts on the west side of my townhouse, but they were installed incorrectly. Just look at the down spouts for all the other townhouses, and then look at the ones they installed on mine. It was done improperly. This HOA was most reluctant to even do this task. There is a major inconsistency with the HOA maintenance of my townhouse exterior and landscaping relative to ALL the other townhouses. I notified the HOA and the HOA claimed owners are responsible for reporting everything to them even about problems in the HOA controlled Common Areas as well as with external siding, roofs, and brick siding. They claimed the previous owner did not complain. But I am complaining because there is a problem, and they renege on their responsibilities by claiming the dead previous owner did not complain or blaming my home inspector. The HOA is still responsible for these things. I have promptly notified the HOA. At least one current HOA board member has known about these specific problems for years, they all probably knew all along, and the whole HOA board has known for years there are potential landscaping issues that they have deliberately ignored.
Officially the HOA said they would fix wood siding that is rotted out in my rear patio area in a document in January 2018 not giving a timeline. I asked for this to be fixed in October 2017. It is now June 2018. This HOA takes too long to take any action. This wood rot is significant. It still is not fixed. While remodeling the basement we could feel a draft from this gap when replacing drywall in the basement room below. Yet, in early May 2018 they installed an expensive water sprinkler system by the front sign for the complex. That wood rot was caused by excessive use of the water faucet in my private rear (street side) patio by all the residents and HOA board members that have been gardening on the retaining wall next to my townhouse for the last 20 or so years. The previous owner apparently allowed everyone to use the water faucet in the fenced lot to water the garden. She’s now dead. I’m not allowing it now. When I moved in these people would be using the hose all day long and making a mess with the water along that rotted wall. That is when I first noticed the wood rot. I don’t see how all the other people regularly using that water faucet in my private patio could not see the damage to the wood siding.
(There is much peeling paint and warped wood and wood rot. Someone put brick on the foundation to cover the wood rot and holes, but it is obvious when the faucet handle is accessed.) This includes at least one current HOA board member. At least that one current HOA board member could see that damage and the many years of damage and decay going on in the Common Area around my townhouse that she used daily for gardening. The HOA agreed in January 2018 to install a French drain to ensure proper water drainage in the front of my townhouse. In February 2018 they reneged on that. The HOA selected landscapers who were tasked to install the French drain could see there were major problems installing a French drain because of tree roots and thick bushes. There were two landscaping companies contacted to do this that I know. The first landscaping company said they could not do it. So the HOA got a second. And they said they could not do it. Those landscapers did not have arborists on staff and were not insured to do such type of work because they would have to cut tree roots. They were also told they were only budgeted 2 hours of labor to do the job which even if there were not tree roots in the way that was not possible because of all the bushes.
Apparently the HOA and the Hammersmith "licensed contractor” decided how a landscaper should do the work. The HOA was micromanaging contractors that are experts at what they know. The HOA will ignore what they don’t want to hear and fire contractors that point out that what the HOA is doing is incorrect. The HOA deliberately chose contractors that could not do the job. The HOA tries to keep these things secret from me, but I managed to find out by chance. The HOA is only willing to pay a few hundred dollars to fix a problem that took many years to create. Yet, the HOA had a company spend a full week installing an expensive water sprinkling system by the front HOA sign in May. They would only budget for 2 hours for doing a task in front of my townhouse. I have to wonder what is going on. This HOA collects $322/month from me, which comes to $3864 per year. This HOA collected a similar amount from the previous owner for the 20 years she lived here which is approximately $77,280. So what is going on? This HOA has spent all that money elsewhere on the property over the years. It is very noticeable how well maintained the common areas are all around this complex, EXCEPT around my townhouse. Hammersmith repeatedly claimed that they had arborists come and examine the property.
At that time, it was becoming clear there were serious landscaping problems that are the HOA responsibility and I was being misled. Even the HOA chosen landscapers were having issues with the historically bad landscaping in the Common Area right around my townhouse. Hammersmith does have a landscaping company they use that does have arborists on staff but they (HOA and Hammersmith) chose not to use them. Why? Because they cost more? I know who Hammersmith’s arborists are. I found them by accident. They did not know they were contracted to this property. The HOA kept stalling and flat out not telling the truth at that point. I found it necessary to find my own arborist to find out what was really going on. I was shocked what he found, which forced me to bring out a landscape architect. All of their findings are condemning of the HOA and Hammersmith. No professional arborists have ever been around my townhouse. They could have installed a French drain. There were other problems they need to fix and it is doable. Some are directly caused by previous official HOA activities like improper removal of a large cottonwood tree.
There is plenty of written documentation, experts, and witnesses that can back me up. All the HOA has provided is hearsay, excuses, deception, fabricated stories and BLATANT LIES. The HOA responsibilities are clear. This HOA and Hammersmith has repeatedly not "acted in good faith”. When you look at the amount of money over the years this HOA has collected in HOA fees and how run down the common areas are around my townhouse, there is no excuse for this on the HOA’s part. The rest of the HOA property is in excellent condition. At least one current HOA board member directly contributed to the damage over many years and cannot claim they did not know about it. Anyone who spends enough time on the property can see the problems. Even new residents can see it. Only recently in early July 2018 has the HOA trimmed the massive overgrowth all around my townhouse. This has happened only once in the 10 months I have lived here.
1) Big weeds have been removed and overgrowth of bushes have been trimmed. 2) They partially removed a Russian Olive tree that is listed as a noxious weed in Colorado. They only removed the top part. They did not remove the massive roots from that bush. So that noxious bush will grow back. These roots cause the soil line in the front of my townhouse to be higher than the foundation. 3) All the HOA did was trim that cottonwood that should not be so close to a townhouse. They have not addressed the more serious issue as to why there is a new cottonwood tree growing next to my townhouse. That tree should be and can be easily cut down. That cottonwood tree is the offshoot of a giant cottonwood tree that was removed in the last 7 years. There are photos in google maps of this massive tree and the dead tree roots from that tree go straight into my patio area where the brick has been damaged. The original cottonwood tree was not removed properly thus these offshoots exist plus all the dead tree roots causing a drainage issue. The last one clearly had everything to do with damage to the front brickwork siding. The massive dead tree roots caused the main sidewalk in the common area to heave and you can see one of these giant roots going underground straight to the front brickwork on my townhouse. 4) the Austrian pine trees roots above the ground can be and need to be trimmed. The growth on top of the soil is abnormal cause by bad landscaping. 5) My arborist and landscaping architect uncovered other things as well that are the HOA’s responsibility.
The HOA can correct the issues but they ignore the issues and lie that they had their own arborists look at the property. I accidently found who their arborists are and they never knew about this property and had never been out here. Examples of the HOA NOT "acting in good faith”: 1) The HOA concealed information about the brick siding on these townhouses. Brick siding on my building (and most of the townhouses) was improperly installed by the original builder. Within 2 years of my move in the HOA replaced the brick siding on my West wall. I was never told about any of this. I found out from various neighbors over time. (All the brick siding is the HOA responsibility no matter how it was originally installed.) The root cause of any brick falling off any of these buildings is their lack of ties to hold them in place. The HOA made up stories so they would not honor their responsibility to repair the brick. 2) The HOA deliberately has concealed information about the landscaping around my townhouse in the common area. A large cottonwood tree was removed from right in front of my townhouse. This was clearly done incorrectly and presents new problems. This was done sometime after 2011.
I know at least one current board member has lived here long enough and been using that "community garden” next to my townhouse could see that tree every day before, during, and after it was removed. Those dead tree roots are still in the ground causing a drainage problem. There is a new cottonwood growing almost on the exact same spot and should never have been allowed to exist. Again, at least one HOA board member saw this every day while gardening next to my townhouse. 3) HOA claimed in multiple emails that arborists come out multiple times a year to inspect the property. That never happened around my townhouse. It is questionable who removed that large cottonwood tree. Clearly, they did not know what they were doing. The common area around my townhouse is landscaper’s nightmare as it turns out according to the landscapers that have been out here. Many young trees need to be removed because those types of trees represent threats to the property. 4) HOA representatives keep repeating that the tree root growth is normal. I already had 2 experts come out and say it is not normal growth right where I live. Other parts of the property that is true, but not where I live. Where are the HOA’s arborists?
They’ve never been out to see the common area around my townhouse. The sidewalk heaving issue because of tree roots can easily be fixed in front of my townhouse; unlike most other areas on the property. Some of these tree roots are dead and are from the massive cottonwood tree that was removed some years ago. 5) The HOA board members knew all along there were questionable landscaping around my townhouse for years and did not try to correct it. This was concealed from me all along until the March 2018 meeting when they all admitted to this. 6) At least one HOA board member has a conflict of interest in regards to the issues I have brought up. At least one HOA board member has been gardening right next to my townhouse on the retaining wall in the common area for years. This has contributed to the damage of the common area all around my townhouse as two experts point out. It appears that this and other HOA members are using their positions on the HOA board to cover up their misdeeds as board members. 7) At least one HOA board member has caused damage to both the Common Area next to my townhouse as well as contributed to damaging the wood siding where the water faucet she was using every day for years splashing water causing the paint to peel off, warp the wood, and rot the wood.
She could see the damage every day she was on the property. It is right in front of her when she used the water faucet. 8) The HOA conceals that it is only willing to spend a small amount of money (probably no more than $750 total) to fix any and probably all issues around my property. The $750 is based on a number used in an official HOA response and the restrictions they put on contractors doing any work around my place like how to install a French drain or address any drainage issue around my place. This number limit was used in one of the HOA official responses. I pay a very high monthly HOA fee and the HOA refuses to do even basic maintenance let alone fix anything. This HOA has ignored my property for probably about 20 years, except doing a poor job of removing a giant cottonwood tree. But maybe the HOA forced the previous owner to remove that tree in the common area? 9) This HOA meets in secret. Only they know how they set the priorities around this property. This allows them to conspire against residents, like me, who make reasonable requests.
No one that lives here actually know what they do. A non-essential expensive water sprinkling system was made a priority over all the issues around my townhouse that they knew about for years. This HOA board is not trustworthy. They have demonstrated this repeatedly in their dealings with me. 10) There appear to be many HOA board member conflicts of interests that are kept secret which can only explain how things have gotten into such a poor state in the common area around my townhouse as well as the siding. HOA board members appear to be directing HOA money to ensure their townhouses and common areas are properly maintained while mine has been neglected for many years. Their townhouses and the surrounding common areas are well maintained and look great. Again, where is the HOA ARC committee? 11) Regular HOA maintenance of the landscaping in the common area right around my townhouse is not being done (i.e. weeds, tall weeds, overgrown bushes, ….), but it is being done everywhere on the property. This has only been one time recently in early July. I’ve been here 10 months and the rest of the property is well maintained on a weekly basis. 12) The HOA attorney claims that the HOA "licensed” contractor said that my sidewalk "probably” caused the front brickwork damage.
The physical evidence contradicts this and that "licensed” contractor told me and my contractor he could not find any evidence of what caused it. That contractor did not know there was a massive cottonwood tree at one time out in front. The evidence by the brick was removed when the tree was removed, but there are still these massive dead tree roots going under the ground towards that damaged brickwork. There is a HOA Architecture Review Committee that is supposed to go around the property to ensure the overall integrity of the property is maintained but that has never happened for at least 20 years around my townhouse. Then the HOA attorney points out a clause in the documents that owners should notify the HOA of issues. I have done that after I moved in. Their response was to refuse doing anything because the previous owner, who is deceased and spent her last years in Texas dying of cancer, did not complain. The previous owner probably did complain as far as I know. There are many elderly residents in this complex and the previous owner of my place probably had dementia and she was dying of cancer and spent most of her last years out of state. All the neighbors know this.
The HOA board pretends not to know this. They knew the previous owner well since she was an HOA board member at one time. The HOA board and Hammersmith have been extremely dishonest repeatedly during my process of trying to get damage around my townhouse addressed. They have made up excuses and lies at every turn. The HOA board definitely knew about potential problems and ignored them for years. It is very difficult for a common area around one townhouse to get so messed up without someone on the HOA board thinking something was wrong. The previous owner was in Texas dying from cancer for many years and the HOA let the property go downhill. The HOA board members use this HOA to ensure that their townhouses and the common areas around their townhouses are well maintained. The common area around my townhouse has been grossly neglected by the HOA for years. That money should be spent on paying for the damage that HOA board members have done to my common area. HOA board members have for at least several years been gardening next to my townhouse where they could daily see the deterioration and they were directly causing the deterioration by excessive irrigation. This has caused significant damage to a common area retaining wall next to my property as well as caused undesirable tree growth and abnormal tree root growth. Hammersmith representatives including their attorney keep LYING!
These people don’t have any ethics. It is just one lie after another lie. They are so deep in their lies that they must feel like they cannot back down at this point. The physical evidence on the property contradicts all their claims. So far, they have not corrected the real problems that have been identified. They refuse to pay for things that are the HOA’s responsibility by making up LIES and hiding the truth! The arborist and landscape architect made excellent recommendations on how to fix the HOA’s common areas around my townhouse. That was March and I have not heard anything. They only trimmed the bushes one time. I must point out that the HOA board members have the best maintained townhouses and common areas around their townhouse. I’m new here and they have taken full advantage of me. Hammersmith has been more than happy to help them. There are no HOA laws in Colorado. HOA’s know that it is very expensive for individuals to take HOA’s to court. What is truly sad is that all the problems I have identified were easy to avoid in the first place with proper landscape management. The existing problems are straightforward to correct and manage. Hammersmith and this HOA have refused to do this.
If Hammersmith and the HOA they represent did their jobs and due diligence there would be no problems around my townhouse. Hammersmith has spent more money on time and employees lying to me and covering their negligence up, than what it would take to correct most of the problems, except probably the badly damaged retaining wall (which will be expensive). Hammersmith has the money and a staff of people that monitor the blogs, google maps, etc… to try to whitewash any negative comments made about them. Hammersmith, like many businesses, probably put fake positive reviews on various websites about their business. I’ve seen suspicious positive reviews about Hammersmith. I know a lot about digital marketing and how companies abuse the Internet with fake positive reviews and techniques to make their business look good. They have the resources to do this. They have successfully manipulated the BBB to give them an A+ rating. Yet, the BBB still has many negative comments on their site about Hammersmith. BBB has falsely claimed to me that Hammersmith made a "good faith” effort to resolve my dispute with them. That is a total lie!
The BBB takes Hammersmith’s word which my experts easily proved false. Hammersmith spends more time and money doing damage control than doing their job. If they actually took responsibility for what they are responsible for there would be no problems here. Hammersmith has been so polished at lying and making up stories with me to renege on their responsibilities that they must do this every day! It is how they do business. Hammersmith and the HOA have repeatedly demonstrated that they are incompetent and malicious! The way the legal system works in Colorado they focus on lying because it works. They can’t do anything else. Any individual in my position does not have the money to take them to court. It gets super expensive fast. They know this. That is why they resort to lying undoubtedly all the time instead of honoring their responsibilities. It is just too easy for them.