and Video Courtesy of Channel 10 News -- Tampa Bay
By Kendra Conlon
August 25, 2016
Imagine paying Homeowners' Association dues for
years, along with fines, only to find out your property isn't legally a
part of the HOA. That's what more than 3 dozen waterfront homeowners in
the Bay Port Colony subdivision of Town N' Country discovered.
Neighbors tell 10News WTSP the HOA is holding their
boats captive, but now neighbors are fighting back.
“I would like to use my boat and go out on the water,”
says Rugh Cline. Right now, Cline’s boat, along with 38
other neighbors are high and dry. That's because the HOA
revoked their key access to the Bay Port Colony boat
lift to get from the neighborhood canals out to the Bay.
“They said the canal themselves are a community amenity,
which we're not entitled to use, which is not true,”
It's just one of the battles, along with access through
the homeowner lane at the guard gate, in the war waging
between the HOA and 39 out of 137 property owners in the
“I guess they're called the enemies,” says neighbor Amy
Neighbors like Metcalf have been paying the average
$1,200 annual HOA dues for years, but in 2014 they got a letter saying
because of a "filing error" the lots "were never properly bound by the
original governing documents" of the HOA. The letter went on to say that
homeowners "must opt-in" after their "lot has always been assumed to be
part of the Association for the past 30+ years" and warning "only
members of the Association can use the waterways, boat lift and other
“I'm under no obligation to pay the HOA,” says Cline.
When asked why Cline feels he and neighbors shouldn’t have
to pay and still get the same access, he responds, “I think
we're being very reasonable with the Association. The
problem is, they won't even talk to us. They forced us to
file this lawsuit,” says Cline.
The HOA president, Noah Jacobson, wouldn't talk with 10News
either. “I don't consent to doing that. I would ask you to
call our attorney,” says Jacobson.
10News’ calls to attorney, Dan Greenberg, and Qualified
Property Management went unanswered.
Cline put several pink flamingos in his front yard,
back yard, and window to prove the HOA has no say over the holdout
“Since we put the flamingos in our yard, we have not heard a single word
out of them,” says Cline.
But neighbors hope to end the fight in court.
“We're suing for everything. Basically back-paid dues, the modifications
we've made to our property, they didn't have the authority, so I’d like
them to reimburse me for that, and I'm looking for a key to the boat
lift,” says Cline.
Neighbors also allege in the lawsuit that the HOA knew that the 39
properties weren’t included in the original governing documents for at
least 3 years before they alerted homeowners.
“By now, it's the principle of all of it all, the lying, the us versus
them mentality,” says Metcalf.