News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reston's Hilarious Condo Boards: Life, Liberty, and the Inalienable Right to Air Conditioning Are Only For Those 'In Good Standing'

You've got to love Reston's many "clusters," homeowner associations and condo associations. Step out of line, and they turn up the heat -- literally.

Shadowood condo owner Mihai Alexei, 46, and his family of four had their air conditioning shut off about 5 p.m. Friday, June 6, just as weather forecasters were predicting an unusual late-spring heat wave.
Sweet! That has a lot more sting than some nerdy, 432-page "disclosure document" liberally peppered with words like "muave," "faded paint," and "unacceptable level of lawn statuary."
Air conditioning is among the amenities the association calls privileges, along with cable TV and parking, that Shadowood's board can withhold if an owner is not "in good standing." That could be because someone is behind on monthly dues or special assessments, or has not paid fines levied for violating various rules.
In your face, you... non-mauve painter of various wooden surfaces! Actually, like Moldgate, this apparently goes far deeper... and, like Moldgate, the whole brouhaha involves... well, mold, or at least water seeping somewhere it doesn't belong.
[Alexi] and the condo board have been arguing for almost a year about who should pay for nearly $1,000 in damage to an apartment downstairs from Alexei's that resulted from a water leak somewhere in or around Alexei's apartment... The matter is scheduled to go before the Fairfax County General District Court next month.
Awesome -- another nuisance lawsuit! But Alexi claims the board timed the shutoff to coincide with the heat wave, something other warm-hearted organizations like the electric company apparently never do.
I asked Olivia whether the board took weather forecasts into account before a shut-off. "We do not make any consideration for the weather," he said. "Why should we? Why would that be fair to people who paid?"
Lest you think the Shadowood Board is completely heartless, let the record show that they did agree to turn the AC back on when Alexi pointed out his daughter was at home recovering from an automobile accident -- but only after he provided a doctor's note. No word on whether it was filed in triplicate, using only recycled paper.


  1. FYI - Shadowood's mgmt is independent and not responsive to a owners board since most of the owners are not occupants. Thus the managers get to charge the renters/occupants all kinds of ridiculous fees to maximize mgmt's profits

  2. I am sure that you will find the next day's Washington Post article about turning off the power (not just the air conditioning) in a Maryland woman's home for her $400 (not $1000 like SCS's) electric bill. Perhaps she used that much electricity boiling her water?

    No medical exceptions or 60-day advance notice there---it was poof -- out with the lights and that was that. No court, no judgements, no "moralists" there to save that poor soul.

    And, just what would the condo board (which, by any measure IS a Business) do if IT couldn't pay the master electric bill? Imagine that--no a/c Internet, lights, hot water, cooking, laundry, TV and more....

  3. Anonymous: You are a cowardly idiot! Always playing dirty and getting the weak of mind and absent of character to do your never-ending, harmful, pathetic dirty work!

    First: 65 percent of SCA owners live there. That's "most" of them. Any real estate agent can get that data from the MLS in two keystrokes. Fewer than 35 percent of the units are owned by non-resident owners.

    Second: The management company, of course, is independent! It is, by contract, an agent of the Board of Directors and does that which it is contracted to do -- a rather fundamental concept of law in this country. And, of course, the management agent, as a private company, is in business to make money. The management company either does or doesn't do that which it is contracted to do. If it does, it gets to raise its rates. If it doesn't it gets its contract terminated. Period. No big fat severance checks for incompetent staff and no termination agreements (fully legal, by the way) for the same staff, which if they did what they were paid to do, would not be the recipients of termination notices in any event!

    Third: The management agent is managing Shadowood for a LOT LESS than when it was being done in house. That's in black and white from the budgets posted on the association's web site.

    Fourth: No management agent can NOT, EVBER!, charge any tenant any fees. Those fees, which are properly called "assessments," are levied, by covenant, by the association onto its members -- all 450 of which are owners and bound by those covenants.

    If you don't like living in Shadowood, sell your unit and get the hell out! If you are who I assume you are, don't play victim -- you could have left in 2005 and taken your equity and gone with the "real" (non)managers. Even in today's market, you still have a ton of equity. And you should go. ASAP.

    It's long past time for you to go -- the damage you have done to the community is vast -- in fact, it is now suffering from the worst declines in value ever -- thanks to your mismanagement and outrageous AND ridiculous "awards" to the "real incompetent" staff.

  4. Shadowood Condo -Advantage Community Management needs to pay attention to details. They are negligent in the handling of tenants legal documents as required by law. Always losing and or claiming to have never received documents. Beware and let the Reston officials know. Richmond is always happy to hear from you as well. Stay away ~ they're not worth the headache.

  5. Lois aka "anonymous" -- would you PLEASE get a life and leave your "anonymous" bull shit out of every one's face?

    You are an abominable waste of human DNA and your legacy of failures -- from family to marriage to professional to volunteer is pathetic.

    Enough is enough --- GET OUT of Shadowood if, as your published diatribes state, you HATE it so much!

  6. one happy EX RESIDENT!June 24, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    As a former owner/resident, it was my experience that the shadowhood association and management were overly pompous and obscenely rigid. I would never recommend ownership. There was a ridiculous amount of "legislation" and paperwork for this bottom end property. I could clearly hear the occupant above me relieving himself while I was seated in my living room. My point? You get what you pay for. There is a reason they are selling for $100k. They are crap. The fees are high, the rules are many, and the property is old.

    I live in another property now and I thank god often for making the change. No 30 page leases, no volumes of governance, no $200 move in fee. WTF is that any way? WHY DOES THE ASS charge a move-in fee? What moving costs does the association offset exactly? Nevermind don't care anymore.

    At one point, maintenance turned off my HVAC unit to work on the neighbor's unit on a Thursday only they didn't turn my unit back on when they finished. I called several times but they were TOO BUSY to see why my unit stopped working when they went in the utility closet. They felt no obligation to see what they did. They advised me that I could pay for an emergency service call since A/C was a priviledge and they would only return when they had time. They did not check on my unit for 4 more days when at that time they simply turned my HVAC back on. Thank you so much!

    On a completely separate and equally frustrating Thursday they came around and did their "spring maintenance" of the HVAC units. They entered my unit with the HVAC functioning, did their maintenance (replaced air filter), and left with the unit NOT FUNCTIONING. Did they check to see if it was working when they finished? No, did they care? Apparently not. The same emergency repair option was offered. 4 days later someone came and turned the unit back on! Again? Really? WTF is wrong with you people? When you "fix" something don't you test it? They entered a working unit, "broke" the unit, and left. Zero obligation and zero responsibilty was accepted even though both times the AC stopped working directly after they entered the unit. Thank you so much for your repeated disdainable indifference!

    "Your car is ready sir we replaced the air filter".
    "I can't start it".
    "Well if you want you can pay us extra to look at it now or you can wait until we get around to it even though we caused it to stop working by not hooking the battery back up."

    I received a written threat from mgmt that they would fine my unit if people continued to congregate on the building stairs which is obviously a violation of shadowhood rules. The association threatened to fine all of the units in the building because of this loitering incident. Logical? no. Insane? You bet. Glad I left? DUH!

    I received written notices from malcontents looking to change the board and then would get written responses from the board challenging the accusations of the malcontents. I considered it rather childish and unprofessional to send out he said she said pointless memos airing the associations dirty laundry and association politics. Keep association communication professional and dignified and stop being so moronic!

    I could keep going but you get the gist, attitude and incompetence is what I repeatedly encountered as an owner from management, the board, and the staff. I am not generalizing as there were some who were pleasant engaging and helpful.

    In my experience Olevia and his condo crew are heavy handed, standoffish, petty, and have been extremely rude, indifferent and downright arrogant when dealing with property issues. Stop acting like the hand of god and treat everyone with respect for their dignity.

  7. Oh my --- an unhappy former camper in Reston?

    That doesn't happen very often here with the Pantone-perfect patina everywhere, the Utopian ways of practicing Socialism, the less than lovely buildings and structures (and, apparently, their plumbing and soundproofing subsystems) and the left-of-Liberal ways of life in the place called Reston.

    And, such an erudite way to disparage "Shadohood"? Grow up.

    But, the living there must be good since market values are up 55 percent from the $100k you sold your unit for and one's under contract now for $185k. Oh well, your loss -- quite literally in this case!

    Happy camping wherever you are renting now --- and don't forget to nibble some cheese now and then to temper all your whine.