Under the Virginia Property Owners Association Act, HOAs are supposed to provide:
2. The actual salary of the six highest compensated employees of the association earning over $75,000 and aggregate salary information of all other employees of the association; however, individual salary information shall not be available for examination and copying during the declarant control period.
But that’s not how John Whitbeck, then president of the Lansdowne on the Potomac HOA board, answered such a request in May 2010, three years after the end of the declarant period, when the budget showed a transfer of more than $.5 million for salaries to a handful of HOA employees. Instead, he answered that
“The Association does not have any employees so there is no actual salary information to convey to you. The Association has engaged a professional management company to meet its staffing needs. Thanks for your inquiry.”
He meant the employees work for a management company that is under contract to the HOA, not directly for the HOA. The residents who pay those salaries could not rely upon the Virginia Property Owners Association Act, which has no enforcement mechanism, to find out if they were being paid at market rate.
HB 791 says “the powers authorized in the bill or by the governing documents shall be exercised by an association in good faith and not exercised frivolously, vexatiously, or primarily for purposes of harassment of the owner.”
Those subjective words are a weak and unenforceable mechanism that won’t stop HOAs like Lansdowne, and attorneys like Whitbeck, from suing residents for covenants violations of any severity and blowing off objections that they are “frivolous or vexatious.”
This is a Very Bad bill.