March 7, 2019
Dear Fellow Members and Friends:
Like all of you, we were surprised by the Board and Managements (BM) change in policy concerning rentals. Naturally, we have received many calls and e-mails concerning same, asking if it is legal. As an attorney for over 50 years (admitted in NJ 1966 and US Supreme Court 1976) I do not think so. Various Federal and State Statutes protect the consumer from being made to use and pay real estate firms and providers that are not of their choosing and our own By-Laws clearly state that members have a RIGHT to rent their homes with membership privileges when they are not in residence. However, we will not be forced to fight a war against BM when they have the unlimited resources of the member’s money. Only a $100 assessment of 695 members’ by BM raises $69,500.00. HR Properties cannot combat that, nor will we.
However, we will ask you, the members, to stand up and demand that you be allowed to be independently represented by a Realtor of your choice in the rental of your home. It is a fundamental right. It is morally and ethically wrong for BM to take this from you. They will be able to charge whatever commission they want and whatever fees they choose and you will be helpless. It is just another power grab by BM. What commission will you be charged by Harbour Ridge Realty? Any amount they wish! Years ago when we started HR Properties, rental commission rates at Harbour Ridge were 15%. We felt that was too high and began charging 10%. Everyone had to follow our lead and it has been 10% ever since 1994 when we began. Another example, the State of Florida recently felt sellers were being gouged by some Homeowners Associations charging exorbitant fees for estoppels when one sold a home and limited it to a maximum of $200.00 an estoppel. Harbour Ridge had always charged $20.00 for an estoppel and immediately changed its charge to the maximum of $200.00 per estoppel for 3 estoppels or $600.00 an increase of $540.00 for our sellers- paid in advance! If the Board cared about the members they could have and should have kept the charge at $20.00, a fair price. Further, Harbour Ridge Realty charges its buyers and/or sellers a Broker’s Fee of $495.00 in addition to its 6% commission. Outrageous, we would never do that it is tantamount to gouging. They also charge a substantial cancellation fee if you wish to cancel your listing. Why would any business what to hold you captive, if you want out? Greed! They make these unnecessary charges while maintaining the worst sales record of any comparable community on the Treasurer Coast in addition to keeping its costs and fees among the highest in Florida. BM will not stop; it is up to you, the members, to stop them.
Thank goodness, they cannot stop us and other independent Realtors from representing you in sales. The state of Florida and our license protects us. It is a good thing. Remember, Kathy, Gwen Deisler and I have for decades protected you and brought some stability and sense to the HR real estate market. We will continue to do so. BM has tried to stop us at every turn. They continually harass us by bringing countless complaints with the Board of Realtors and the State of Florida Division of Real Estate, all of which have been summarily dismissed, but at the cost of time and money, yours and ours. The President has written and distributed a scurrilous and untrue letter about Kathy Stein. BM has recently retained a Patent, Trademark and Copyright Attorney to threaten to sue us for baseless and fictitious claims of infringement. You can have a look at these guys to understand the topic better. The list goes on and on.
What does BM want? They want HR Properties and all independent Realtors out of the way so that they can control the HR real estate market and charge whatever they wish for commissions, Broker’s fees, cancellation fees, cleaning, maintenance and other fees with NO COMPETITION.
Well it will not work. HR Properties, Gwen Deisler, Kathy Stein and I are here to stay. We started HR Properties when the members had a need for independent representation in 1994 and 25 years later that need is even greater. We will not be deterred and we will not be forced out. We have some pretty NEW and EXCITING ideas for the future. To our friends, clients and fellow members, I say stick with us; the best is yet to come!
A. A. (Tony) Stein III