As a property owner, we each have certain rights granted to us when we purchase property.  The most important of these is our deed restrictions which are a legally binding document that run with the land you purchase.   Typically, when you purchase you receive a title report which includes your title to the property and the deed restrictions which govern your rights in the development in which you purchase.


Timberwood Park was built on a platform that kept things simple.  GG Gale, the original developer of Timberwood Park, lived by the “keep it simple” rule.  He never liked overregulation and/or overzealous or overreaching HOAs which was why he kept the restrictions to your property to be on average, and this is unit by unit, about 15 numbered items.  There are 3 or 4 items which discuss easements, and the remainder reflect those things considered unacceptable for the overall development standard.  The goal was to minimize the influence an outside agency like an HOA could involve themselves with the use and enjoyment of a property owner’s property.  The restrictions vary here and there unit by unit, which means one unit may have a restriction that another doesn’t or vice versa.  Because Timberwood Park was developed as a custom home community– generally speaking no two homes are the same—likewise no two units are exactly the same with deed restrictions.  Therefore we have what essentially is 60+ units of owners, each being able to manage their unit independent of another unit due to the differences in deed restrictions.  What binds us all together is the park which we all own in common as property owners in Timberwood Park.


For lack of a better word, we became self-ruling on January 1, 2011, when after a negotiated mediation the developer agreed to release their control of the neighborhood to the property owners of Timberwood Park.  Since that time, we have been managed by a management company and HOA created during the turnover process  that is supposed to be representing the best interest of ALL property owners.


As owners in Timberwood Park, we have a unique opportunity to enjoy a beautiful 30-acre private park solely for owner use.  This was one of the visionary aspects the developer decided would be an amazing addition to living in a custom home community outside city boundaries in what was “country” at the time. Since the original development began back in the 1970s there was nothing else around Timberwood Park and it was considered living in the country, just look at the difference now!  The private park offers the opportunity to have events which were begun and held annually even before we were under self-rule like Music in the Park, Picnic in the Park, Easter Egg Hunts, have celebrations for your friends and family in the clubhouse, etc. It also allows for walking trails, playgrounds for the kids, a 7-acre lake to enjoy catch and release fishing in, and so much more.


All these great, wonderful amenities, limited restrictions to the use and enjoyment of your property, living on larger, treed lots with abundant wildlife roaming freely, and we pay a mere $217.00 a year!  What a bargain!


So, that brings me to the point of this narrative.  Wouldn’t it be sad if we found ourselves in the middle of something we don’t want to be a part of —- like a lawsuit settlement?  There are currently several lawsuits either filed, pending, or in the process of being settled against our HOA.  Each of these pertains to property rights, arbitrary regulation placed on the owner by the HOA which is does not have the legal right to do, and made up rules, regulations and specifications which not only were NOT voted on by property owners as our deed restrictions require but are not part of our deed restrictions…the ONLY legally binding document we, as property owners, are bound by in this development as to use of our property.


Click here to see a recent lawsuit settlement relating to HOA negligence and governance.  These property owners will effectively each be paying a portion of this settlement when it’s all said and done because the HOA insurance does not cover the settlement amount.  Lawsuits filed against the HOA are important to watch and understand because they CAN affect you as a property owner under the HOA.  Do you want a bill from the HOA for a special assessment as a part of paying claims needing to be settled from lawsuits filed by property owners who are being thwarted in the use and enjoyment of their property by the HOA?  In the instance you watched from the link I believe the number was about $80,000 per property owner will be assessed to pay out on this claim.  Of course, there will no doubt be appeals, etc. and who knows where the number will ultimately land, but whatever it is, would you want to share in that expense?  So, how does that affect us you ask?  What does that have to do with us?  Read on about the current lawsuits either won by property owners or underway by property owners……

  1. The recent lawsuit most of you are aware of by now either from newsletter editorial, social media or other news outlets, was ultimately won in the Texas State Supreme Court on appeal.  It is one example of a potential where property owners might have to share the bill for the ultimate settlement to the property owners who won their case because the HOA board believed they can rewrite/adapt existing deed restrictions with the flick of a pen and no property owner involvement or vote to accept those changes.
  1. The second lawsuit underway involves loss of use of property and rights of the property owner leaving a home sitting in a state of disrepair since 2015 when an improvement project was submitted for approval based on our existing deed restrictions. Interestingly enough this project was begun back in 2007 as a several piece or stage improvement project and was at that time initially approved for the incremental stages of the project as a part of the entire plan.  The homeowner’s circumstances changed, and they were unable at that time to complete the original submission in its entirety.  In good faith, they resubmitted the same plan in 2015 when they were ready to re-start the project to the current board for approval to continue and complete it and the board denied the project for several reasons, one of which was a masonry requirement for outbuildings which differs by deed restriction versus what the board was requiring at the time.  The property owner attempted to work in good faith with the board to remedy the disparity between them but were unsuccessful.  The HOA began assessing fines to the property owner for an incomplete project and during this 3-year process of negotiations and delays the property owner was ordered by the board to cease all construction.  The property owners felt they had no choice but to file suit against the HOA to bring the matter to a close.  And the icing on the cake—one of the property owners is a disabled veteran. How do you think this lawsuit will end?  Similarly, to the previous one listed where the property owner prevailed?
  2. There is NO place in our deed restrictions that allows fines.   Period.  Yet from the period 2012 through 2017 our HOA collected from you, the property owner, $168,880.00 in fines! Were you one of those individuals who was fined?  Check your deed restrictions.

If any or all these things mean payback or payout to property owners for damages there will be an end to what our insurance will cover and where we, as property owners may/will be responsible for paying for these issues as they are settled.  Everyone should be paying attention because this may cost YOU down the road as a property owner in Timberwood Park.  That $217.00 a year won’t be the only thing you are paying.


It’s great to keep moving forward and make the most of our park and its amenities.  We’ve seen much needed improvements completed in the park under this HOA. We went from a developer controlling how to spend his money to a HOA board controlling how to spend “our” money.  The HOA isn’t just about social activities and improvements to our park.  It is supposed to be protecting our property rights not undermining them with arbitrary additional requirements and rules which do not exist legally in our deed restrictions.  It is supposed to represent every property owner fairly and equally according to the legally binding rules which exist.


If we are borrowing to build a new clubhouse, which looks like it might be the plan based on the discussion line item which addresses financing under the special meeting notice sent out for July 24th, we will be incurring debt which will have to be paid back.  Or, in the alternative if we have the funds to build, we will be depleting funds which we may need to settle lawsuits? Will we also have debt to be paid for lawsuits which are underway, have been ruled on, or might be coming down the pike as well?  What if property owners decide to sue for fines which were levied without legal means to do so?  Will we be paying for the reimbursement of those monies as well?


For all those property owners who are interested in newer, bigger and better don’t think that this property owner isn’t looking at best interest of the entire neighborhood.  Keep in mind that while that new clubhouse is being built there will be no place for events to be held for your family and friends, no work out center, no ability to hold Music in the Park, etc. unless we totally overlook the liability of having people in the park in large numbers while construction is underway—both property owners and those who attend from the many neighboring developments now around us.  There will be much liability with construction going on in the park — will we be closing it for the construction period?


I’m sure all these things will be addressed at the special meeting July 24th.  It’s in your best interest as a property owner to attend and hear the discussion first hand.  Make time in your schedule and attend the meeting!