STAY INFORMED AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION
by Cheryl Chaytor
What have I missed?
The first 2020 Carriage Hills Board of Directors meeting is fast approaching. It will be held on Tuesday, February 18 at 1 p.m. on-site at the Stanhope building. We have not yet seen an agenda, but do anticipate some topics. Minutes from the 2019 AGM are due for approval. Given our current financial situation, we are looking forward to seeing end-of-year balance statements, etc.
Carriage Ridge Board meeting is on February 25th. Look for details on their website.
Owners can attend in person, by logging in to the Members Only section of the CHOA website and pre-registering, https://carriagehillsoa.ca/. There may be time for a Q&A at the end. If you are waiting to be registered on carriagehillsoa -- or if you are having technical glitches -- please send an email to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to inform them of your intention to attend.
For those who cannot attend, we are looking forward to live streaming of Board meetings, for the first time ever. Provision for telephone inclusion is in the By-Laws, and it has been promised since the last AGM. This should be accessible via the CHOA Members Only page, where the link is supposed to appear. See: “Board of Directors Meeting - Live”.
We have already been told that the BDO proposal will NOT be discussed at the February Board meeting.
We were at 20% delinquencies in August 2019. In the words of our Board president, at Aug. 26, 2019 Board meeting, “people are defaulting faster than we are collecting from old owners who have defaulted”.
As our Management Company, Wyndham recommend a 20% increase our fees this year, as documented on page 4 of minutes from August 26, 2019 Board meeting. The board agreed to 10%. When will the money run out? We are on the hook for a special assessment at any time, whenever our Management Company can persuade the Board to implement one.
The timeshare agreement (please read!) makes all remaining owners responsible to cover delinquencies. We pay $300+ per deed extra to cover delinquent owners. [source: our Owners 2019 AGM Report - question #12, response from D. Chapelle]
Delinquent owners are being sent to collections and small claims court, where they are losing and having to pay hefty fees.
There is no empathy for personal situations. The board has stated they can garnish your wages and put a lien on your home.
The “in perpetuity” clause is real and binding. We have examples of second generations having to deal with inheritance and tying up estates. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the deed, it WILL stay in your estate until it is transferred.
Well, what about all the lies we were told when we bought? There is a clause --known informally as a license to lie -- in our contract which absolves the developer of any claims made in the sales presentation. You can find this on page five under "Covenants, representations and warranties of buyer".
There is no Third-Party Exit team who can relieve you of your timeshare. There is no resort that will “take Carriage Hills off your hands” if you buy into their resort.
We need 75% of owners to agree to obsolescence. [This is stated on page 38 of the Timesharing Agreement, in Section 11.05 (b).]
The owner list, which we fought for and now have, turns out to be woefully inadequate and is making it difficult to reach owners.
What headway have we made?
The Facebook group has been active for over 2 years. We have grown substantially in numbers but still have a way to go.
We set up a Transition Committee which met and discussed exit options for presentation to the Board. This “exit subcommittee”, formed in late 2018, reviewed various third party companies being recommended, and found them severely lacking. It also drafted an owner’s survey, which the Board revised and sent out by email in September. Results from that are available on the CHOA and CHCR websites.
We sponsored a visit from a US timeshare activist, Irene Parker, with owner group informational meetings, making media contacts while she was here, etc..
We have had interviews on Pat Foran’s Consumer Alert. We have reached out to all media. We have written and met with MPP’s. Becky Raetsen has written some fantastic sample letters to get people started, available in our Facebook files. The most recent is dated January 26 (labelled as “Required Reading”); it is a downloadable PDF and includes email addresses.
We have had a successful meeting with Lisa Thompson’s office, the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, at Queen’s Park. If anyone has any contacts that could be helpful, we implore you to reach out.
We have almost 1700 people in our Facebook group now. We have a logo, business cards and a website for Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge owners**.
We had so many owners come out to our October 2019 AGM that it had to be rescheduled to a larger room at Casino Rama, where it is estimated over 1,100 people showed up again!
We did get some answers and specific numbers as a result of questions submitted to the Board at the Carriage Hills AGM in November. For instance, from the 31 questions asked, we now know: Carriage Hills Resort Corporation (“CHRC”), a subsidiary of Wyndham Destinations, owns 1225 intervals in the Association [question 4]. The total number of owners at Carriage Hills is 9154, the number of delinquent owners is 1790 [question 18]. There were “280 plus” letters to owners that were returned with incorrect address [question 17].
We had a group of people take notes at the November AGM and were able to compile an informational Owners Report from that event, as official minutes take so long to appear (even a draft version is still not posted on CHOA). This report is available on the CHCR website, https://www.chcrowners.org/agm-report.
Well, we have made a start, but more is needed. What can we do?
Sign up on our Facebook group, Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge Owners
Sign up on our owner-run website, chcrowners.org
Find our Twitter handle, @chcrgroup
Attend a board meeting, whether in person or by telephone
Find Becky’s letter in our Facebook files and write to your MPP. If you have written, do so again! Continue reminding them of our issues as the Ministry consultation continues, it is important they recognize our concerns.
Keep up with what is going on, and make contact with owners who are not informed. Be familiar with the Timesharing Agreement, By-Laws, etc.
Help us elect 3 owner-friendly candidates at the 2020 AGM in October. We need to have 3 (and only 3) candidates so we don’t split the vote.
MAKE SURE that your current snail and email addresses are registered with Carriage Hills. The best way to accomplish this is sending them an updated Address form. Don’t give them any excuse for not being able to reach you, or exclude you from participating.
We have many people who are in favour of not paying. Not paying your fees (although I completely understand it) is a dangerous game as you will be forced to pay back fees and extra penalties on top.
We have many people who are suggesting filing a Class Action lawsuit. We have heard from several owners in the group that have been involved in Class Action lawsuits. They tend to drag on for years (time we do NOT have) and often provide no result or a worse result than had things been left alone. I fear we will be bankrupt before this could even be launched.
** This group also represents owners at Carriage Ridge, and any advocating we do will benefit both resorts