Friday, August 1, 2014

Letter From A Heritage House Resident

Got the following e-mail from a property owner and resident of Heritage House earlier today and thought my readers would like to read it. I've redacted a few words that might allow others to easily identify the writer.

"hi i've been reading your blogs on the heritage house with great interest.

please feel free to use info in your blog, but please keep my identity private. and perhaps you will let the aclu folks know about me...i've been thinking i need a lawyer, but if there are other owners in the same suit (represented by the aclu it may be a case of strength in numbers...)  somebody needs to get sued for negligence. i think that would be the hoa, but they seem broke.

here come a brain-dump, and sorry if this message is long: filter what's important and not important for your purposes. glad to see you're trying to get to the bottom of what's happening and how its legal.  google search for heritage house news doesnt always show your stuff, but today i did a search on your site... other than 1 or 2 posts, i was seeing only news-record updates, with an occasional tv news station spot...and their coverage never seemed to try to get to the point. today i see more interesting things.

i own a single unit there with my wife.  we bought in REDACTED last year after moving to greensboro. sure it wasnt a great place then, but it was better than the recent news has shown it to be... apparently the common areas have really been neglected. we bought it to live there while waiting to sell our home in another state. the plan was to then buy a home near greensboro, and sell off the condo. in the mean time, our unit itself was quite nice. very nice in fact, and nearly the same money as we'd waste on an apartment during the time waiting to sell our home in REDACTED. i had a couple repairs to make to the shower and toilet and airconditioners, which were done quickly. other than the nasty people doing nasty things in the elevators and stairwells, the place was ok (once we got inside our unit and closed the doors).  well actually the only other negative was the daily fire-alarms at all hours.  when we were there there were efforts to clean up the place...workers went floor by floor cleaning the hallways, and everyone was issued keys to new locks on the downstairs doors...something about a plan to work with the police to imporve the property by securing the entrances to undesirables.

anyway, after a short time we decided to go work in REDACTED and try to sell the unit...shortly thereafter we decided we didnt want to stay in REDACTED and decided to go back to greensboro after our apartment lease was done, and do our original plan again to live there, and move into a house after selling the out-of-state home.  timing on the recent activity there was either perfect or terrible depending on the point of view. we were planning to put in 30-day notice here on our apartment yesterday, and move back before the first of september. now we have no home in greensboro. but we have done nothing wrong. our home was just taken away. how is that legal?  so i tend to think its good luck we got enough twinkle to make me look into news posts... if it had not been for that, we'd be in a uhaul in a couple weeks driving to a boarded-up home. so lucky that didnt happen.

so a month or so ago i got a letter from city of greensboro saying we passed some kind of inspection. i didnt think much about it, other than that it seemed strange. how could they have inspected my unit? i  figured it must have been a building inspection of some sort. a few days later (planning for a return to the condo) i asked my father to go see if everything was still there and working (meaning nobody broke-in and took my refrigerator or something stupid like that.) he told me that the deadbolt was not locked, just the door-knob was locked, and there was some warrant thing taped to the wall...the condo unit itself was fine, but the common areas were worse than the year before.  ok, so somebody picked my door locks to post a warrant inside? that's not ok. and they couldnt be bothered to pay the lock-picker to re-lock both locks? again thats not ok. that's private property, and we pay tax. and they left it less-secured after they did whatever they did to determine that we passed inspection.

so i started looking online for news, and soon found out about the 800whatever violations, and a pic of a paper posted in the building about the water shutdown. i didnt think they could do it. so i took a wait-and-see approach.

a couple weeks later i got a call from somebody claiming to be with the hoa asking for money to pay the electric bill. i thought hmm electric over-due too? now i tell you i do have problems with the hoa. i never got anything from them to officially join the hoa, and despite asking never got cc&r's or bylaws, or anything like that. i paid their dues for the 2 months we lived there, and told them i'd pay some adjusted amount during the time the place is vacant, but not the full amount because most of that is for water, electric and trash. they never got back to me. so i figure silence is acceptance, and they were ok not getting paid. so difficult to get anything out of those folks. never sent me a single piece of mail. just as a matter of luck i met nina coffey when i had to get one of the new keys for the downstairs locks i spoke about before. that day i gave her my contact info and she said the hoa would get in touch with me. well months and months later, i finally got an email with the address to send yeah, i paid 2 months worth, and that was all. told them they had to give me a fair/reasonable amount to pay for not using any uitilities. maybe will have some heart-burn over that, but i never got any paperwork about the hoa. anyway this person asked for 2000 dollars, and i said no way, i dont owe it, maybe owe some percentage of it, but no way it's 2 grand.  and told her to talk with nina coffey about the emails she and i had previously. this person also said she'd mail me the bylaws. she didnt, and nina coffey didnt call me either. i asked that woman to tell me how much the electric bill was past due, she said she didnt know, and would call me back. well she didnt. that hoa is a total joke. almost impossible to find anything online for them too...just that stupid thing on vestal site from ms coffey about how great a job vestal does with their finances. i had read that months before and thought it was lame. i had a giggle this morning at your posting that same text to your site here....

last week i called the city attorney office...was told all the staff was in a meeting, and somebody would call me back to tell me how their actions were legal. well, you got it, they didnt call me back.

oh and yesterday i got a letter from the city housing office dated i think the 25th saying the building to be condemned ont he 30th, but it came on the 31st and it was already done. basically the city screwed me. i had no chance.

i think you're right that something is going on with the place...why would they make efforts to clean it up last year, then totally let to go to shit? must take months and months to rack-up a 50k dollar water bill...its as if they knew it was going to be taken by the city.

so yeah here i am totally screwed out of my home that was bought in good-faith, and that i have a deed to, through no fault of my own.

for what tis worth i had tried to call a real eatate atty last week, but was put off by the fact that they wanted money for their 'free initial consultation'  so i need to find someone willing to help, maybe that is the aclu?  i never figure the city politics was a part of the whole situation...but you seem convinced that it is the driving force behind the recent activity.

now that it's said and done, and really condemned, i need to move forward with some kind of lawsuit. i really think somebody need to compensate me over the loss."
So as I discussed with one city council member: is perhaps the reason you thought there were no owner/residents of Heritage House because the Heritage House Homeowners Association and possibly the City of Greensboro kept them out of the loop of communications? Could it be other council members and city staff are peddling you lies?

I forwarded the letter to the rep at the American Civil Liberties Union along with the writer's contact info.