Updated Legal Docs Q&A

As questions roll in before the upcoming vote on the development’s updated legal documents, I thought it might be good to publicize some of these as a Q&A. It might help to address common questions. Please check back soon as this page will update frequently.


It is possible for you to vote using the ballot above, unfortunately, given our current bi-laws, you cannot vote electronically. That is something we hope to change. Please mail the proxy, or drop it off to Carolyn at 6235 Brighton Dr. North Olmsted OH 44070.

If you would like to read and/or download a copy of the proposed document changes – please use these links:

Downloads: Declaration 1-10-19 changes accepted – DRAFT COPY
Code 1-10-19- changes accepted – DRAFT COPY

These questions are all from BR residents…here are a few:

  • 1.Updated Legal Documents
    Resident questions about the updated governing documents for the neighborhood.
  • I was wondering how the ban on sexual offenders would not get us or the board sued for a Fair Housing Act issue

    Being a sex offender is not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. Protected classes include race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. Additionally, we cannot ban sex offenders from buying or owning property in the BR development, but he or she cannot physically reside in the home.

  • In one of the documents it refers to "Exhibit B", but there's no "Exhibit A" that I can find - is this right?
    Exhibit A is the legal description, which is not changing.  This is the legal description (starting at "which is known as being...":
    Inline image 1
    And, yes, the legal description is still relevant.  It is standard procedure (and I believe required) that a legal description be attached to any recorded document.  This legal description of the property will be added as Exhibit A.
  • I either read or heard somewhere that if the HOA folds, the pool and park revert back to city ownership. True or False?

    There is nothing currently (or in the past) stating that the Association and Park would default to the City.  Our attorney verifies that she has never seen a provision like that previously.  She says, "It's very difficult for an Association to fold.  It can do so voluntarily, whereby all owners agree to dissolve the Association and then any common elements are sold off and each home is a fee simple property without deed restrictions.  An involuntary dissolution could happen with court involvement, and then a receiver could be appointed to dissolve the Association."

  • I was talking to my neighbor and he said something about he was grandfathered in or he doesn't have to pay dues, I thought we all had to pay dues, can you clarify?
    Dues are mandatory, and there is no such thing as grandfathering or exemptions for homeowners. There are a few neighbors who make that argument each year. Dues have always been mandatory for all homes in BR. There was a legal case some older homeowners like to quote as the 'turning point' where dues became optional. This couldn't be further from the truth. These updated legal documents make our dues compliant with state law and as a result are more easily legally enforceable. So, that old case is no longer a valid argument why someone shouldn't pay dues. Even without the legal enforcement, all homes should pay their fair share to help keep the neighborhood safe, modern, and attractive - after all our property values benefit from a well-kept neighborhood!
  • If the vote passes how exactly does this empower the HOA to actually collect the dues besides putting a lien on the property?

    The updated documents create an environment where all homes are expected to participate in the association. It also enables us to outsource the collection of back-dues to our attorney. Currently, and in the past, the board membership chair was responsible for collections. This often created awkward situations between residents of the same community. Ultimately, we're all in this together, all residents of Bretton Ridge.

    Outsourcing the collection of back-dues, and placing leins helps quite a bit to lift the burden of collecting debts off of resident volunteers (board members) and gives it to a third party. It puts this responsibility in the hands of legal professionals.

    The first steps after letters from the HOA and the attorney would be a leins on the property. After that, the legal team takes over to determine how to best collect - again removing that responsibility from us...collection agencies would probably be the next logical step. But, we as the HOA would not do the actual collecting, that part would be outsourced to professionals who can do it more effectively.

    Outsourcing this task enables us to focus more on community building and leave conversations about billing/collections and leins to a disinterested third party.

  • Re: sex offenders, is it not the responsibility of the city and county to police this. Is the HOA taking legal matters into their own hands?

    yes, the enforcement of that policy is the responsibility of the police and the county. Having a clause like this in our documents, however, puts us in the first line of defense. Registered sex offenders are not protected by the Fair Housing Act, so we are able to say that in our docs without legal discrimination repercussions.

    No, the HOA isn't taking legal matters into their own hands, and has no interest in the enforcement of this issue - more-so the protection of residents. We're not equipped or interested in that. Providing a statute like this in our governing documents does send a message that our community is concerned about the safety of its young people - and there are tons of them! The board felt it was an ok statement to leave in the revisions for the safety of all residents.

    I understand there may be concern that the HOA may be reaching to 'control' more elements of the neighborhood. This is not at all the case. There were, in fact, other clauses in the revisions that we voted to remove because we didn't want to get into the 'enforcement' of rules. Just about all of the restrictions we have in this neighborhood come from the city and not from the HOA. We have always defaulted to the city codes whenever there were questions of what homeowners can and can't do on their property. We have no interest in becoming an enforcement gang.

    What we hope, is that all residents will see that these changes to our binding documents will increase membership and revenue, enabling us to continue modernizing and improving our common areas. There are so many ideas and just as many required updates to equipment we want to complete - just never enough income. Rest-assured the HOA isn't overstepping here. The seven current board members are very passionate about this neighborhood and want to see the pool and park modernized and made sustainable for the foreseeable future.

  • Regarding Article V assessments #2. Special Assessments: It looks like an open checkbook. What limits are there on this?

    First, to be clear, this provision has been in the HOA's legal documents since the very beginning. It is a common way for associations like ours to pay for MAJOR capital expenses that aren't typically in the budget. For us, that could mean a something like a new pool, parking lot resurfacing, or something huge like that.

    I look at as an emergencies only measure. The short and direct answer to the question is that I don't believe there is a limit. However, I look at special assessments as an emergency measure and not a financial planning measure. So, if there was an emergency we couldn't pay for like a major pool repair, we could assess homeowners for what we couldn't afford from regular dues.

    Other projects that might fall in that category are capital expenses that are beyond the annual budget. Say a major playground upgrade or a new Cabana building - something the neighborhood would want or need and would all benefit from.

    The HOA board would use resident feedback and exhaustive discussion before going down this path. We would budget what we could, and assess homes to cover the difference in expenses and maintenance endowments.

    Keep in mind that board members would be assessed like all other residents, and all projects that could fall into this category would be discussed and scrutinized at length.

    *Also keep in mind that board members are volunteer residents of BR, voted into these positions by the neighborhood. Any resident in good standing is welcome to run for a board position every year. 

  • There are a few homes that are owned by the same family. Those members have occasionally used the argument that they pay for one house therefore they are in good standing on all homes. Is it clearly stated that all lots need to pay?​

    Yes, every Lot, regardless of who owns it, pays the assessment.​ The answer is that all homes have separate deeds, and by deed, each home is a member of the association. Much like rental properties, even if you own three rentals, each address has to pay its own assessment. ​

  • If you are an absentee owner renting your house, it would appear to me that the by-laws state this apply to the house owners and they are responsible to pay dues whether or not the renters want to pay or not. Is that correct?

    Yes, the Owner of the Lot is ultimately responsible.​ That does not mean that the landlord cannot make the annual assessment a part of the lease agreement with a tenant, just that the owner of the property is responsible for seeing that annual dues are paid.

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