Meritage Homes Overreach Is Rubbish

Meritage Homes website screen shot

Being told what color you can paint your home, being told to pull your weeds, being told where you can park your car, and being required to get approval to landscape your yard are just a few of the things that people are used to seeing from their Home Owner Associations (HOA). Some people find value in the restrictions placed on them by their HOA through their Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs) believing that the restrictions will protect their investment in a home, but others either don’t like or even avoid living in a HOA because they expect more freedom in the enjoyment of their home.

How would you feel if you were being told you were being required to use a specific trash service? Well, that it exactly what Meritage Homes (https://www.meritagehomes.com/state/az/tucson) is requiring of residents of Madera Highlands of Sahuarita (http://maderahighlands.com).

Madera Highlands has been around for over 10 years and the home builder, Meritage, is still actively building in Madera Highlands after all this time. The HOA is controlled by the builder until all the home construction in the neighborhood is complete. The neighborhood was recently surprised by the letter from the HOA linked here (http://maderahighlands.com/uploads/MeritageOverReach.jpg) where they are telling residents what trash collection company they are required to use. Reportedly, Meritage created an addendum to the CCRs which gives the Madera Highlands HOA the authority to name an exclusive garbage company without any input from the residents.

There is a hand full of companies that pick-up trash in Madera Highlands – large companies such as Waste Management, a midsized company – Republic, and two locally owned companies who serve hundreds of customers – Arizona Sanitation and Amado Waste Industries. The HOA does not pay for trash collection from HOA dues, our neighborhood streets are maintained by Sahuarita, and many residents feel strongly that Meritage Homes has no right to dictate who we individually contract with to collect our trash.

There has been outrage when our local government has gone too far to pick winners and losers in business, but isn’t that exactly what Meritage is doing in selecting “exclusive providers” through their control of the Madera Highlands HOA?

Cadden Community Management

Linda Hansen, who manages the Madera Highlands HOA for Cadden Community Management, was out of the office when called for comment.

Meritage Homes Corporation

A call was placed, and a voice message was left for Jamie Bowers of Meritage Homes Corporation to discuss this situation, but as of time of submittal, no response has been provided.

Waste Management (WM)

Waste Management was called to provide an opportunity for comment on the HOA’s decision, and after getting through a voice mail tree, reached an individual which politely explained they are a nationwide company and provided me a number to their corporate office. No way could be found to talk to a human at that number; therefore, no comment was received.

Republic

A pleasant customer service representative from Charlotte, NC took the time to explain how their service works. Residents will get a 95 gallon container for trash and a 65 gallon container for recycling. The 95 gallon container is 46” tall – nearly 4 feet tall, and the customer service representative acknowledged that some people might have an issue dragging the containers back and forth if stored in the back yard. She shared that there are no additional monthly fees – taxes or environmental impact fees, but also could not confirm how long the pricing would be honored.  Residents have called and got a different answers…”I don’t know” for example.  There are the possibility of additional fees including: $35 service interruption fee, $5 late fee, $20 container replacement fee, and the trash will be picked up between 5am and 6pm on Thursdays – a single day per week.

With Republic a neighbor complained that once when his container’s lid was open about 2 inches Republic refused to pick up his garbage, but took the time to leave a sticker explaining why. The customer service representative confirmed this does happen to avoid trash being spilled during their automated dumping process.

Amado Waste Industries (AWI)

When AWI was called, Vince Cano, owner/operator AWI, answered the phone himself and indicated that his company was not given an opportunity to bid on providing exclusive service for Madera Highlands and didn’t know anything about what was happening until he started hearing from his loyal customers. Vince formerly a Republic employee shared that “kick backs” to HOAs are a common practice, but his approach is to provide a service which satisfies his customers.

AWI has faced it share of adversity recently by losing one of their trucks to an engine compartment fire, and although it wasn’t easy AWI has maintained the vast majority of their customers through that difficult time. AWI uses the smallest trucks and actually pick up trash the old fashioned way, they pick up your containers by hand and dump the trash into their trucks. AWI is the only provider who is willing to pick up an extra bag of trash sitting by your cans when it doesn’t fit in your containers, provide twice a week pickup, and allows you to have the number of trash containers you want.

Arizona Sanitation

Crystal with Arizona Sanitation indicated they were disappointed that Meritage decided to go exclusive with a single provider, but they were given an opportunity to bid. Crystal further conveyed that for their existing customers who pre-paid for a year of service, they would still be providing service through the March 31, 2018 deadline imposed by Meritage and would refund the unused portion of what the customers paid for their service. Arizona Sanitation had invested money in several mailings to Madera Highlands to build their business only to find out about a week ago they were effectively being thrown out despite having a number of satisfied customers.

Why?

Several people are wondering why Meritage Homes would take this bold step, but in researching this article this practice was found to be fairly common. Meritage stated to a resident that there were complaints about all the different trash trucks in the neighborhood; however, if the trash trucks were an issue Meritage could have dictated one or two days a week for all trash collection to be completed. Additionally, the streets in the neighborhood are maintained by the town of Sahuarita – is it right that residents are limited to who they can conduct business with – coming to their home? In the future will there be other exclusive relationships such as exclusive furniture stores, service providers, etc?

What is likely to be discovered is what is best for Meritage Homes likely won’t be what is best for the residents of Madera Highlands. The exclusive internet service provider, Cox Communications, proves that the lack of competition does not serve well the residents of Madera Highlands.

 

19 Comments on "Meritage Homes Overreach Is Rubbish"

  1. Trust me, you do not want to live in a neighborhood with multiple garbage companies running their trucks through your neighbor hood. The suggestion of limiting trash pickup to just one or two days a week only means you will be inundated with garbage trucks and recycle trucks for 10 hours on those days. After about the 5th crash bang truck goes up and down your street you will start to look at Amazon for ear protection.

    Most people say they want to live in a “nice quiet” neighborhood. After you factor in garbage trucks, recycle trucks, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers and illegally modified exhaust systems on your neighbors Harley or pickup truck, you can forget the quiet part. Noise is pollution.

    • I have been living in a neighborhood with multiple garbage companies for 10+ years with no issues. By selecting the company they have selected, they are limiting garbage pickup to Thursday each week.

  2. An HOA is about the same as living under hitler. We did it once some time back, and never did again.

  3. Live in Rancho Vistoso in Oro Valley. I’ve heard the hoa initially got preferred rates from Waste Management but their prices kept going up because they could do it without repercussion. Now we have multiple companies & trucks on 1 or 2 days & I’m greatful for the choice & the savings. However, my Republic bill has a recycling fee which sounds environmental to me. After forcing us to recycle, now they charge extra to take it.

  4. Quentin Richter | November 17, 2017 at 7:54 am | Reply

    The letter that the residents of Madera Highlands have received is not from the HOA. We have not been notified of any decision by our HOA to go to a single trash service. The management company, Cadden Mgmt., has also not said a word of any action taken by our HOA to go to a single trash service. The letters that the residents have received are from a salesman that is employed by Republic Services (trash business). We are not aware of any meeting conducted by our HOA that decided this action. There is no comment from Cadden Management and our Manager from Cadden is always unavailable to answer questions. The residents are completely in the dark as to who/what authority is dictating this decision. Republic is the only voice we are hearing, and why not, they stand to benefit financially from such a deal.

  5. I lived in a KB neighborhood managed by Cadden and I could not take the micro management and loss of freedom. Sending me a notice about the # of plant/shrubs in my front yard was the final straw. I now live in a neighborhood w/o an HOA and sure, a neighbor or two parks an RV and some yards are not as manicured as others but it doesn’t bother me because that is what freedom is about. Cadden and others will always look to take more control such as dictating garbage collection and there will always be busy body neighbors defending them such as a previous commenter; ” After about the 5th crash bang truck goes up and down your street you will start to look at Amazon for ear protection.” Next will be speed humps. No thank you!

  6. I happen to agree with John Backer on this issue. Just because folks live in a community with an H.O.A. does not mean our Constitutional Rights cease to exist. This dr draconian practice of the few deciding for the many, with the few being the Meritage H.O.A. Board, whose members do not live in our community,haing the only say so in this matter is terribly wrong. The reseidents of Madera Highlands are the ones that should decide how to handle this issue. If Meritage wants to be fair then the folks who live here should be thevones voting for or against it. As a former customer of Republic it would not surprise me if once established, that they would brgon raising our rates for trash service. With no competition who will prevent it? Meritage? By the way Jamie Bowers one of tje folks in the Meritage team who voted to impose this measure and does not live in our community, told me on the phone that she has Republic gorvher trash service. I believe that may be a conflict of interest. Choices are always a benefit to the consumer. When choices don’t exist the consumer suffers in their pocket book.

  7. What this issue basically comes down to is this. Do the residents of Madera Highlands have the ability to control their own community? Obviously not! As a small cadre of individuals from Meritage, who do not live here have dictated a draconian response to an issue, that issue being trash removal. It seems to me that the people living in this community shoyld have been allowed to vote on it. The few should not rule the many, particularly if those few do not reside hete in the firsr place.
    We also need to take into consideration that choices are hood for all of us, the us being consumers in this case. As a former customer of Republuc I had many issues with them over my trash being collected, with notes being left on my container saying the garbage wouldn’t be removed bevause the lid could not be closed flush with top. When I phoned a representive spoje to me un a rude and nasty manner. The cavest in this was that I had other companies to choose from. With this devision by Meritage this option will no longer exist. Its like being told you have to shop at only the store’s that they would allow. The streets here are public roads. I would like to know how this will be enforced. Perhaps Meritage will have folks dressed up in Trash Police uniforms to monitor the issue and assess fines. I find this decision extremely ubfortunate with it having bern made using very poor judgement.

  8. Bette & Bernd Immel | November 17, 2017 at 11:16 am | Reply

    I can’t begin to say how furious I am at being treated like a nonentity; like a prisoner of my own community. I did not surrender my rights — CC&R’s and all — when I moved here and I’ll be damned if I will permit people who don’t even live here to dictate to me. What I want to know is who got the kickback? I do not believe that there won’t suddenly be trumped up reasons to raise the rates once Republic has its tenticles in Madera Highlands. We absolutely need to stand together. Since we have NOT heard from Meritage or Cadden, only an employee from Republic. What a bunch of Coward!

      • I got a letter from Cadden. The letter had information from Republic, but it came from Cadden. Letterhead and return address were Cadden.
        Having trash trucks in this neighborhood 5 days a week is insane. Those of you that don’t think so must be gone during most days. I have 2 kids under 2 and a spouse who works third shift. When it isn’t the train waking them up, it’s the non-stop trash trucks. We also all signed CCR’s agreeing to this. Section 5.18 to be exact. Right or wrong, a HOA is what it is. Most are the same and many more strict than this one. Why are you all so surprised that the HOA can tell us what color to paint our house and how many trees we can have but not who can pick up our garbage? We all CHOOSE to live here. One of the previous commentators stated that they could take the HOA anymore and moved. I commend them for that and recommend that for others. I myself feel fortunate to live here and will abide by the CCR’s that I agreed to when I moved here.

        • I work from home the vast majority of the time and prefer the freedom of choice and the competition which brings better service and costs to everyone. Just look at how many complaints we have about our only internet provider – Cox. Everyone would have loved to had options. I have not seen trash trucks in Madera Highlands every day of the week, but if that is the issue, I would prefer the HOA to limit the days of the week trash trucks are permitted on our public streets.

  9. First thanks Bette for your dynamic response to this issue. Now in the efgort to reduce any confusion regarding this I can say I have spoken to several people involved on this unhappy decision.
    Fitst Jamie Bowers 520 225 6852. This individual is employed by Meritage and zi spoke with her by phone on 11 08 17 for approximately r5 minutes. Ms. Bowers informed me that she is on the Meritage HOA board for Madera Highlands and voted for to implement this severe response, which was due to a few, she would not or coupd not provide a specific number, of noise complaints. Ms. Bowers was advised by me that the issie could have and should have been approached by advising every resident about it and letting us vote as to whether or not we wanted to impose restrictions upon ourselves. Ms. Bowers mentioned thst the CCR’s allow the boatd to decide for us on this matter. I have not been able to find any such addendum in my records to indicate the Board at Meritage has any written authority. In paragraph 4, subsevtion 5 on page 14 it only states that trash containers should not be visible from the street following pickup s. Im paraphrasing a bit but you can look it up if you wish. Ms. Bowers also told me she currently retains Repblic for her service at her residence, where ever that happens to be, but it ismt in Mafera Highlands. She also said that no board members who cast their vote live here. I mentipned to her that I was concerned about a conflict of interest on at least her part. But she dismissed this out of hand.
    On 11 15 17 I personally stopped by the Caddon Management Office in the Green Valley shopping center to speak with Linda Hanson regarding this issue. I have kbow Linda for a number of years as John Backer, Bette Immel and I all served on the advisory board for the HOA run by Meritage. Ms. Hanson confirmed that the intent by Meritage was to implement the one trash company measire begining January 1 2018. Our conversation was similiar to tje one I had with Ms. Bowers. Linda also said that the CCR’s about tradh service may have been modified by the Board giving them this authority as well as the ability to charge us all by addong the service to our quarterly payments. I told her I was never made awsre of this and feel thst if addendums to CCR’s ate being made residents need, not only to be made aware, but also have input on them, since we live here. I left a four page, handwritten letter with Linda to gove to Meritage and the HOA Board concerning my personal displeasure with their offensivee actions.
    Linda’s phone at Caddpn is 520 648 6730. I suggest tjose concerned call both hervand Jamie Bowers about this issue and demand it be rescinded immediately.
    As myself and John Backer have contacted KGUN 9 On Your Side.. I have also btought this matter to the attention of Carol at the Arizona Association of Community Managers. Both Caddonamd Meritage apparently members of this group. Staye Sen. DeAlessamdro’s office has been contacted as well. My suggestion was to introduce legislation prohibiting any HOA in Arizona from implementing measures without properly informing residents andvseeking their direct input and a majority vote.
    Sorry to be si lengthy but this information needs to be provided yo everyone concerned.

  10. Hope Mike and his family are happy when Republic raises trash rates through the roof and they have no recourse to choose another vendor for trash removal. I have lived here 10 years retired and home most days. 65 years old a
    N Army Veyeran and tetired police officer. I have yo put up with the noise of children and that fine. If you want quiet ypu should putchase acreage so you will not be bothered. I would love to sell my home here. However this area’s hpusing is so depressed we can barely get what we paid for our homes.
    I biughtva home here with the CCR’s only stating concern about trash can location. The addendum you have referred to was added later by Meritage without input from any residents. Looks like they back doored that one as well.
    Happy for Mike that he likes not having s voice for choice.

  11. Madera Highlands Resident | November 18, 2017 at 8:56 am | Reply

    Let’s be clear: That letter did not come from Cadden. It came from from Republic.

  12. Madera Highlands Resident | November 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Reply

    Perhaps if Meritage built a better home, so you wouldn’t hear the truck 25 ft outside your bedroom, this wouldn’t be an issue. Free Enterprise works. Monopolies destroy the free market. This is wrong on many levels.

  13. let look at it simply. Who pick up the garbage wants to pick up as much tonnage in as quick as possible. It ALL HAS TO GO TO A LANDFILL, Landfills dont recycle. Refuge collection centers have to pay or sell what cant be buried. China has the 12 of the most polluted cities of the top 20. Oxygenated fuels carbon output to dangerous unbridled expansion for the last 3 decades has put China in a quagmire. The same has happened to India. The Paris agreement tried to stop us and restrict out output till they come up to speed. Here it is simple the big boys know that China will not buy our contaminated recycled material. China want’s a cleaner product because to clean cost them to much in fuel and carbon output. So they know landfill tip fees are going to go up no matter who picks up the refuge. The big boys know that competing to transport picked refuge on residential and have to supply recycle containers on a contract basis is not worth the 1/2 million investement in a truck let alone the management maintenance and labor.
    they say let the independents price themselves out of business and with inflation and increased tip fees really theres no money here for a business

  14. There is nothing in the CCR’S suggesting that Meritage can mandate such a compliance. Also when buying, Meritage did not mention this kind of mandating or control their HOA over utility services. If this had been disclosed to me, I would Not have bought this home, which I regret by the way. I suggest that anyone looking for a new built home not to buy anything affiliated with Meritage Homes. This is the 8th track home built in my life time and have never seen such poor construction. Sorry, getting off the subject. I have a prepaid contract with Arizona Sanitation Services until early summer. Linda,HOA Representative as you read above, never answers her phone calls or gets back to you with complaints you may have. The people of this neighborhood should demand a better representative. There are better ways to resolve the garbage truck noise. Since Waste Management is in the neighborhood on Mondays or Thursdays, people utilizing their services should pick Mondays. Republic comes on Thursdays, so they come on that day. I know Arizona Sanitation comes on Tuesdays because I have them. Now, there problem solved, right???? You deal with the situation with choices for the people NOT MANDATE OR DEMAND. Another point, HOA tells people of this mandating less than 2 months away? How ignorant is that???? You should negotiate with the neighborhood a good year away if this mandate was legal. Again, I have a garbage contract that is PAID until early summer. I find MERITAGE Corporation do not know how to do business. They are an awful company to deal with. I am disgusted with myself that I bought a home from such a company.

  15. John, ur not thinking about the big picture,first as a good Realtor why would u want to show a home in a neighborhood that always has garbage can and garbage trucks running thru it.The current situation is ugly and also dangerous, will you take the responsibility for the first child that gets hit because of all the trucks driving thru. Yes, some day it can and will happen with multiple trucks. When I count 6 to 8 garbage trucks driving past my house a day, I live on Madera Grove ln, ur welcome to come over and count if you don’t believe me. It’s noise ugly and dangerous. Can’t believe a realtor is in favor of this. This change is also being done in a lot of neighbors all over the US. Safety and savings are the main reasons. I am also part of the life styles committee, if this really is a concern of yours besides just social media why haven’t you showed up at out monthly meetings. Guess it’s noon really a personal concern of yours?? Finally one person in the whole community showed up at one of our meeting this week, this gentleman left, with what I believe was a better view on the situation and seemed happy for the change, one person out of the community, sounds like you and the rest just like to complain. I like saving about $400 a year and have one garbage and one recycle truck a week on my street. Win, win…. Yes, I don’t think it could have been handled differently, it was just sort of thrown at us, but as I said a few times, safety, noise and savings are a good thing, and since nobody wants to show up at the meetings would doing it a different way really accomplish a different out come?? Maybe if you really care about your community the way you say you do ( who wants to make signs and protest so as to get on the news) you would have the right answers as to not make crazy comments like this.Yes, contact me if you like. I for one am very happy this is happening and also are most people that are informed

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