If you live in an association which is still under developer control there are often many things the community wants to do but can’t because it have no real contact with the developer and no easy method to call meetings. In these tough economic times there are communities which are continuing longer than expected under developer control only because of a lack of sales. Both the developer and the homeowners may be anxious to “move on”. So, what can you do? Most HOA documents allow the developer to transition control when it suits until a certain higher percentage of the units are sold — then transition is mandatory. Some developers will still want to stick around and maintain control over the community in which they continue to have a large investment and a desire to insure a quality level is maintained.           

Having a successful transition from developer control to owner control in a homeowners association or a condominium association is not necessarily a difficult process.


Continue Reading Our Developer isn’t Selling Many Houses and Over Half of the Houses are Sold – Can We Transition From Developer Control? – WHY, WHEN AND HOW –


Do owners have the right not to accept transfer of control of an association from the developer? If so, where is that right granted? If we are trying to get the declarant to fulfill his contractual responsibilities and use the transition as a carrot, can we do that?


Transition is a frequently misunderstood concept. Assuming your association is in Virginia, by transitioning control you gain just that: control of the association. Generally you lose nothing regarding any claims you might have under Virginia law. The laws are different for condos and HOAs. Of course, I cannot speak for what might be contained in any written documents to which you have committed or is set forth in your governing documents. You really should meet with a community association lawyer on this topic – you will get a lot of good info and it really won’t cost you that much. You will need an attorney to guide you at transition and afterward.


As was stated in one of your answers, passage of title to common areas is sometimes overlooked. What remedy other than going to court exists when a Declaration does not provide for formal conveyance of title and declarant ignores requests?


Declarations often do not provide for the conveyance but it is generally shown on the subdivision plat as common area to be conveyed. The developer may be paying taxes on a parcel not conveyed. If the developer cannot be induced to cooperate, then a suit is required. If you contact the developer’s counsel first, it might produce better results. Once the suit is filed and the developer seeks counsel, you will likely get a deed promptly. This process shouldn’t be too expensive.

QUESTION:  I just moved into a new townhome community. The HOA is still run by the builder who contracts with a management company for maintenance to common areas and trash collection.

The builder inadequately planned for trash collection. There are no garages or areas to place collection recepticles for collection. I was told by the buider to store the recepticles to the rear of our property and cart them around the building to the front on collection days.

Unfortunately, owners would need to trespass into the backyards of other owners to accomplish this task. If anyone builds a fence, this would make the plan infeasible as well. The management company is evasive. They refuse to appropriately address the problem in a timely fashion and continue to say they are "working on it." It is clear the builder did no planning for trash collection. They did say that a dumpster will not be considered.

I suggested a non-obstrusive trash bin caddy in a common area near the parking lot, but no action has been taken. We are all throwing our trash into construction dumpsters, but soon they will be gone. The collection company agrees there is a problem. Since we are the first two townhome buildings, there is no system in place at this time. Any ideas of what to do?

ANSWER:  The first thing you should do is to carefully review the governing documents of your HOA to see if the developer provided for owners to have "easements" across each other’s properties. It would not be uncommon that the Declaration establishes an easement in favor of each owner to cross any other owner’s property for purposes of ingress/egress, utility line repairs, or for any other number of reasons.

Continue Reading Trash Collection

Document turnover at transition is covered in Section 55-79.74G of the Condominium Act and Section 55-509.2 of the POAA. The triggering event is that the majority of the members of the board are owners of improved lots and the developer is no longer the holder of the majority of the votes in the association. In the Condominium Act, the triggering event is the election of the unit owner board after units representing three-fourths of the common element interests have been transferred to buyers. Continue Reading Document Turnover at Transition