Sage Hill homeowners are fighting back after legal threats over unpaid fees

Homeowners petition for extraordinary general meeting with intent to remove board members who threaten lawsuits for unpaid resident association fees

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Homeowners in the Sage Hill community of northwestern Calgary are organizing a petition with a view to removing their residents’ association board members after the association threatened hundreds of residents with legal action for unpaid fees.

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Several residents found documents taped to their front doors in mid-June demanding payment of overdue association fees as well as significant legal and administrative fees. Some say the $105 annual fee paid to the Sage Hill Residents Association sets their fees well over $1,000. Despite signs around the community advertising due dates, many owners say they never received a bill for fees or a warning that their payment was past due.

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The SHRA is responsible for the maintenance of common areas in the community section. Homeowners’ associations such as the SHRA were common in some new communities, created by agreement between the developer and the City of Calgary which transferred responsibility for general maintenance to the developer, who then outsourced those duties to a not-for-profit homeowners’ association. The association is funded by an annual fee mandated by foreclosures on property, a total of 1,689 homes in SHRA cases.

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Bridgeland Law’s Richard John previously told Postmedia about 1,200 homeowners who did not pay their fees before this year’s May 1 deadline. John said the SHRA hired him to get payments from 361 homeowners who had not paid for several years.

Despite the residents’ claims, John maintains that the property manager did send the invoice. He also noted that he was open to working with residents to reduce the legal costs cited.

Now, residents are trying to remove the board of directors who are said to have put them in this situation. A petition circulating among residents calls for an extraordinary general meeting to be held with the aim of dismissing the four existing councilors and installing a new one.

Laurie Elliot, who owns a house in the area she rents, said the petition currently has about half the signatures needed to trigger the meeting, a number they believe is around 170 homeowners – roughly 10 percent of the association. membership — in good standing with SHRA. If new board members are appointed, Elliot said they would likely look into moving the service to the City of Calgary and potentially dissolving the SHRA entirely.

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“People are very concerned about how four people decided to sue hundreds of people when there were huge red flags of disruptions in their own internal processes… They never thought to look and see why suddenly the number of unpaid residents went from 350 to 1,200 in one year,” Elliot said.

Elliot said most plan to settle with John, with some seeing legal fees cut in half after consulting him. Even though the payout was still hundreds of dollars more than what they were used to getting, Elliot praised John’s understanding and willingness to work with residents.

Ward 2 Council. Jennifer Wyness has heard from a number of Sage Hill residents who are concerned about the request letter. In a letter to affected constituents, Wyness said he took issue with “the handling of this whole situation”.

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“During a sensitive time for fraud scams occurring across our city, a multi-page letter taped to a door demanding payment will be of concern to many people,” Wyness said in the June 23 letter.

Wyness said his office contacted the SHRA requesting a meeting to gather more information about the situation, but instead he heard back from John, who told his landlord to read his letter, educate themselves about the process and contact his law firm to negotiate. settlement. Wyness encourages residents to be open and communicative with their neighbors about their settlements as long as there are no non-disclosure agreements.

“I hope that once these issues are resolved, Sage Hill will establish an RA that is grounded in the strong core values ​​of the community, and in this predicament, I am proud to see so many of you displaying that collaborative spirit,” said Wyness.

Postmedia reached out to John and SHRA for comment, but neither responded.

[email protected]

Twitter: @michaelrdrguez

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