FISHERS— People who live in a Fishers community will have to pay a $25,352 special assessment to pay for repairs in the neighborhood.
Homeowners in Conner Creek, located at 116th and Allisonville Road, voted 65-58 in favor of the $3.6 million special assessment.
If a homeowner can’t pay the $25,352 in one lump sum, they have the option to pay an additional $211/month in dues for the next 15 years.
Homeowners tell WRTV that means their monthly dues will be more than $500 a month.
The Conner Creek Homeowners Association is responsible for providing exterior maintenance of the homes and buildings in Conner Creek, however, the association has insufficient cash reserves.
Records show the special assessment will be used for siding and trim replacement, repair or replacement of frame rotting, balcony repair, landscape repairs, concrete replacement, patio wood fencing, stone wall repair and replacement, and exterior building repairs and replacements.
It’s an update to a story WRTV Investigates brought you in 2021 when homeowners voted down the special assessment.
A Conner Creek homeowner filed a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s office alleging Conner Creek failed to follow proper procedure with the special assessment.
In its response to the Attorney General, an attorney for Conner Creek Homeowners Association denied the allegation and said everything was done according to Indiana law.
The Attorney General’s office closed the homeowner’s complaint, but the agency would not reveal any further details.
Approximately 840,000 Hoosiers live in nearly 5,000 community associations, according to the Community Associations Institute.
These residents pay $1.5 billion a year to maintain their communities.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office oversees some aspects of homeowners associations (HOAs).
“The best way of thinking about it is your HOA is a tiny government and their role is to serve the people that live in that neighborhood,” said Chase Haller, section chief at the Indiana Attorney General’s Office Homeowner Protection Unit. "When we get a complaint we take it very seriously, but obviously we want to hear the other side."
The agency has received 42 complaints since 2009 about HOAs alleging things like billing disputes.
Indiana law allows the Attorney General’s Office to take action involving an HOA only on five specific things such as if an HOA intentionally or knowingly misappropriates funds, if the HOA violates its requirements related to budgets, or fails to properly use proxies.
"It's very specifically laid out in statute what we can investigate, those are things like misappropriated funds, fraud or criminal activity by board members, proxy voting violations-circumstances where the board is not keeping adequate records in that regard, budget approval processes, and access to financial records,” said Haller.
Records show many complaints are closed because the Indiana Attorney General’s office finds no violation or has no jurisdiction to investigate.
“Often, we get complaints like the HOA is not cutting the grass often enough or maintaining the common areas, or it might be a personal dispute with the HOA,” said Haller. “Those are not areas where we have jurisdiction."
When the Attorney General’s office does have jurisdiction, they can mediate disputes among HOAs and homeowners.
They can also take HOAs to court.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office has filed two lawsuits against HOAs since 2020 alleging violations of the Indiana Homeowners Association Act for things like failing to provide records to homeowners.
"If there's no other option available then we will sue to ensure enforcement,” said Haller. "What we want to avoid is where people who are in small positions of power are abusing it."
In one case, the Attorney General’s office obtained a consent judgment and an assurance of voluntary compliance from the HOA.
The other lawsuit remains pending.
The state can’t comment on the complaint filed against Conner Creek, but the state does have enforcement authority over budgets and special assessments like the one approved in Conner Creek.
"The HOA is supposed to follow a process, the number of meetings they have to have, and then the members vote,” said Haller. “How the members vote dictates what action the organization takes. As long as they follow those steps, we will allow the process to exist for the benefit of everyone."
To avoid an HOA nightmare
- Research the HOA before you move in
- Get educated by reading the covenants, bylaws, and attending HOA meetings
- Elect board members or run for a position yourself
- Get approval before you make changes to your home
- Do not ignore a violation letter
- Pay your dues on time