Homeowners pay thousands to illegal HOA

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CUMBERLAND, Ind. – For more than a decade, homeowners in a Cumberland neighborhood have been paying dues to an illegal HOA.

According to state records, the Harvest Glen HOA was dissolved in 2002 because required paperwork to reinstate the organization was never completed.  A few days ago, the neighborhood treasurer sent each homeowner a letter and a stack of approximately 100 pages of detailed expense reports showing how HOA dues were spent.

Every year, every Harvest Glen homeowner pays $50 for HOA dues, which is mainly for lawn care upkeep in the common areas. For the past 14 years, state records show the neighborhood hasn’t had an operating HOA.

“Don’t tell me you’re a homeowners association and you’re going to fight to protect our neighborhood and then you don’t have any legal power to do such,” said Dee Dee, a Harvest Glen homeowner.

The treasurer is the only officer for this neighborhood “HOA.”  He called a meeting on Tuesday night to clarify the situation.  He claims when duties were passed down, he didn’t know about the paperwork that had to be filed to keep the HOA title.

“This is a lay individual as many are on homeowners associations and didn’t recognize all the state requirements for filing with the secretary of state,” said Paul Carroll, an attorney.

Even without the official HOA title, some homeowners are still pleased with the way their dues were spent.

“They seem to take care of the neighborhood and if anyone has a problem yard they seem to mention it to them and it’s gotten cleared up semi-quickly,” said  Joe Kouch, a Harvest Glen homeowner.

Dee Dee, a Harvest Glen homeowner for the past 11 years, told us she’s paid nearly $500 in dues, but to her it’s more than just about the money.  She feels if homeowners have to follow the rules, so should the organization that supposedly created the rules.

“We’ve had them sign off on stuff to get a deck built, and all this time there was no homeowners association. If they want to act as a homeowners association they need go through,” she said.

In order to be a state-recognized HOA, paperwork is required to be submitted to the Secretary of State. The neighborhood treasurer declined our interview request.

The next neighborhood meeting is on June 12.