Friday, March 22, 2013

Feeling Blue About Amber Property Management in Mission Viejo

I guess I had an intuition this year that I needed to get more involved in politics at the local level, the extremely local level. I'm running for one of the worst jobs in America - a spot on my HOA board of directors.

I'm running for a position on my HOA's board of directors, in part, because I got fed up with the way that Amber Property Management was picking on me. They have been driving me nuts with their arrogant attitudes, their barely disguised contempt for me and my neighbors, and a level of sloppiness and careless that I find to be both disconcerting and potentially dangerous. A quick Google search reveals I'm not the only one fed up with their bizarre behavior, and their inadequate attention to procedures and details.

One of the most disturbing mistakes occured this month when I got a letter dated March 13, 2013 asking me to take out the safety lighting sensor on my building. Since this sensor - which controls the building's outdoor lighting - was near my front door, they obviously concluded that it was some sort of spy camera or other device I had installed without their permission. See their letter below:



Letter from the HOA Board of Directors asking me to remove the
building's safety lighting sensor dated March 13, 2013.
I, of course, immediately fired off and indignant complaint daring the to touch even the tiniest cord in this lighting sensor without my express permission. Even so, it tooks them a couple of days to figure out how mistaken they were and to send a follow up letter to let me know that the safety light sensor was safe.


New letter from Jamie Hackwith of Amber Property Management indicating
that my safety light sensor was now safe from destruction at the hands of the HOA.

Sadly, the list of errors caused by Amber Property Management goes on and on. Just this month, they failed to properly notice the board of directors meeting. They put up a sign that indicated the date of the meeting was in the previous month, not the current month.

In 2016, I caught our Amber Property Management representative, Jamie Hackwith, sending out violation letters that violated our own rules. These rules call for the violation letter to indicate the exact rule broken by the homeowner or their tenant. Instead, the letters coming from Amber Property Management made only vague charges against the homeowner or tenant.

One of the most disgusting things about Amber Property Management is that when I have complained about them in the past to the Better Business Bureau or some other agency, they have managed to send me a letter threatening legal action against me. Clearly, their aim is to intimidate me into silence. I talked to two homeowners just this month that cannot stand Jamie Hackwith. One called me in tears to report that Jamie insulted her by saying he understood she had an "angle" when she called to get information. Another homeowner just shared with me that when he speaks to Jamie Hackwith, Hackwith makes him feel like the homeowner is working for Amber Property Management rather than the other way around.

Luckly, there are now many avenues available for complaining about your HOA or property management company. I found, for example, that you can read the complaints of others and add your own at www.yelp.com. In addition, Google+ also gives you an opportunity to tell the truth about your HOA services. In my case, I'm lucky enough to have this blog and about 100,000 thousand followers on Twitter. All of this means that consumers have more power to fight back when they are mistreated or, as in my case, apparently blamed for the ugly eyesore installed two years earlier by their own HOA.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.