The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Billingsley Corporation — Fraud alert
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
In 2005, Austin Ranch, a multi-family apartment residence in The Colony, built a unique mixed retail/residential area called Austin Square. This was sold as a for sale only condo/townhome community nested in the middle of a 2500 unit all-rental property. It included 44 One and Two-Bedroom Condos along with 8 Townhomes. The concept by Billingsley Corp. was to establish a mixed retail/residential environment similar to The Shops at Legacy (See: http://www.austin-square.com/).
In March of 2006 I finalized loan documentation and closed on my loan for one of the townhomes. @ this time, only 2 of the other townhomes had sold & were occupied. There were 5-6 condo owners @ this time of purchase, 3/2006. Subsequently, a total of six condo units sold along with six townhome properties. In 2006, I, and all the other owners, purchased at top market prices. The price they were asking was too high and units were not moving at all as they had hoped so they decided to begin renting all the previously 'for sale' units.
I found out about a year ago that there were buy-out letters mailed to 6 - 8 residents who had purchased before me. Two condo owners took the offer and sold their properties back and moved away. This offer was only given to the current residents, which did not include myself, as I was closing my loan. This buy-out letter was dated prior to the closing of my loan, 3/2006. I was never told during my negotiations with Billingsley representatives that they had changed their "vision" and were planning on renting all of the Austin Square units that did not sell, roughly 40. Unfortunately, I do not have any of this in writing but I do know a previous employee of Billingsley that is not longer w/ them and would be able to verify what I was sold.
Everything below I learned after meeting with the other owners and discussing our problems with refinancing our loans due to government guidelines prohibiting the origination of a loan in an HOA where there are less then XX% (I believe it's 50%) owners in the property. There is less than ~50% (?) ownership @ this time, 11/2009.
The owners that didn't take the offer were "promise[d]" by Billingsley that more units in the next Phase would be for sale thus not crushing our potential resale opportunities. During past HOA meetings w/ Billingsley we were told multiple times that they planned on building more for-purchase properties adjacent to Austin Square. They were very accommodating with us at that time. We were told it was an economic decision to rent rather than sell the rest of the properties however, the economy had not even begun it's decline.
The next Austin Ranch Phase opened this year (2009), a $57 million project and not one unit is for sale. Has Billingsley suffered so much economically that they spent another $57 Million (See: http://dallas.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2008/04/07/story12.html)?
Now, since only 10 units out of 54 rental units (in Austin Square) inside all of Austin Ranch (~3000 units) are owned we thought it only made since that Billingsley should simply buy us out. We met with Kimberly Meyer and their in-house attorney earlier this year to discuss a buy-back of our remaining 10 units. Since potential buyers cannot get financing and owners cannot refinance, we decided Billingsley should own all their units since they have no plan of EVER building condos or townhomes to sell again. They flatly refused to buy-back our units and said we could rent our units instead. I did not intend to purchase a home to rent it out as Billingsley is suggesting. Just because they are in property management on a large scale doesn't mean every American wishes to do the same.
However, since I cannot refinance, I cannot rent for what I owe plus the Property Owners dues. They have a poorly run Property Owners Association and we have no voice in the association (we can't even call a meeting). George Billingsley heads up this association and has made it impossible for us to rationally deal with them. We have pleaded to Lucy and Henry Billingsley but to no avail. They will not respond to one of our e-mails.
I could go on with a list of disputes but as a collective community all 10 homeowners have stayed together. Our goal is to have Billingsley make a fair offer to buy back these units since they have no intent of selling more. Billingsley did sell one remaining townhome that was in foreclosure to a Billingsley employee for $173, 500 (nearly $100K less than original value). This new owner will be leasing the unit to a 3rd party.
We are all currently placing our units up for sale to prove our point. In the meantime, Billingsley is building even more communities all over town. More billboards announcing Grammercy Park, Austin Waters, Hemingway Court and One Arts Plaza show their success. Why they won't consider buying back 10 measly units inside their own investment at Austin Ranch is beyond my comprehension.