June 14, 2013

Follow-up on HRW

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A few days ago, I posted about my experiences trying to get information about a condo from the company managing the community’s HOA. This company is HRW, Inc.

I called the phone number of the person listed on the “Purchaser’s Research Package” screen and left a message. She called me back the next morning and asked me to email a list of my questions to her. She said she couldn’t answer my questions and said she would forward my email to someone who hopefully could help me. I was very pleased with this response.

My email was forwarded to the community manager, the same person who had hung up on my real estate agent and kept referring her to the web site. This time, however, the community manager, answered my questions. She said if I have any additional requests for documents, I should talk to the other person who handles documents or go to the web site. I wrote a polite email response thanking her for the time and answers.

Of course I now have additional questions. So, I’ve emailed back the other person and am waiting to see if I can get a copy of the budget.

Why should I have to go through loops like this instead of someone just answering questions? No wonder this condo has been on the market for 200+ days. People probably run into this kind of nonsense and just walk away.

Out of curiosity, I posted at work and asked for other people’s experiences with HRW. It’s been mixed. I’ve had three responses. Two were cautious and wary, but one was very positive. It was really nice to hear that someone has had a positive experience with HRW. That gives me some hope.

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4 Comments

  • Having over 30 years of experience with directing contracts and hiring various service companies from coast to coast, it is my shared opinion that Associa HRW is the worst HOA management company in Raleigh. This comes from 7 years of direct experience as a Board member, 20 years as an owner, along with testimony from other Realtors and attorneys, it also includes experiences with various good HOA management companies (eg, Elite, PPM, Talis, Omega), slightly above average companies (eg, Charleston, WPM) and others (eg, CAS, WPM, Pindell Wilson, etc).

    So here are just a few examples about Associa HRW if helpful:

    – they do not pay important bills on time- not once, but many times over many months, for many important services. As a result, we incurred late fees, reconnection fees, trash piled up for nonpayment, property insurance almost cancelled (twice in 9 mos)

    – they forget and delay payments to valued contractors- causing some to leave and others to place our needs low in priority. So do not be impressed when they mention having multiple “payment methods”, since none of them are efficient.

    – their online vendor signup process takes vendors to a 3rd party insurance verification service (“ERC”) that charges $150 per YEAR to work onsite. But since nobody else charges this, they told our attorney that the service is “opt-out”, but still hound our contractors who skip this process.

    – they do not post any of our community documents on our website, but still charge us a monthly fee to maintain. And despite repeated requests over one year without our governing documents being posted, it seems they want to charge Realtors and others for these documents that we normally make available online for free.

    – they rarely issue work orders to our contractors without multiple (at least 4) requests- by Board members and owners alike. In fact, they seem to only respond correctly if the work order goes to their inhouse maintenance service (Associa OnCall) who provides marginall results for premium price. My experience with eserve studies, home inspections and construction, allow more examples if there was time.

    – they do not follow our Collection Policy and would quietly charge extra fees to owners without informing the Board and also cause corrective efforts to require several reminders. As a result, because they see delinquencies as revenue, our delinquencies almost tripled in less than one year from unnecessary hurdles that upset owners. For example, they do not accept payments at the counter and turn owners away to collect convenience fees for making payments online to avoid late fees. And this is no fluke, since they increased our delinquencies from $3k to $38k (yes, thirty eight) once before from 2006 to 2011.

    But worse than everything else, is how they are so accustomed to regularly misrepresenting truth and also pointing blame at other members, departments and Associa. For as a volunteer, this quickly takes the air from anyone’s balloon and was the last straw. For without honesty and integrity, there is nothing.

    So if this review helps one person, it will be worth the effort, since I appreciate the effort from the original person who shared their common complaint from realtors. Do not be fooled by their promises- spoken or in writing. For the proof is easy to provide where they did not honor our contract, policy, minutes or emails. But since they caused me to sell after 20 years, there a license agency is needed for companies like this- being my next mission. For I’m certain that they regularly cause the decline of many good communities. For this does not address all the work that they cause the Board and our Treasurer, which would take another 5 paragraphs.

  • Your comment makes me exceedingly glad that I did not end up in a HOA that was managed by HRW. How can they get away with acting like that?

    Did HRW impact your options when you chose to sell a property managed by them?

  • I’m glad for you too, for “how” indeed. Someone there once shared their general negative opinion about owners (since I was deemed an exception), but I now wonder if this is in their training to justify their despicable ways. Anyway, it’s hard to say how much they effected my sale (I’m sure it did), but still concerned about the community with all the turnover as the smart owners leave.

    For anyone considering them, they lied to get our business and every realtor and attorney agreed with a story about them along the way to the signing table.

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