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Homeowners' Associations - love / hate relationship


Off-Topic Discussions

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Andoran

We are currently renting a townhome in a neighborhood with a Homeowner's Association.

The H.A. of course, bills its benefits (no need for lawn mowing or external maintenance, neighborhood swimming pool, etc.), but sometimes I feel like those benefits came by way of an infernal contract, complete with fire and sulphur fumes.

For example, on the day we were moving in, we reminded several times that the moving van was not in a designated parking area. We told them that the van wouldn't be parked, the movers were trying to unload and leave, so that they could get to their next job. Nevertheless, they felt the need to leave a nasty little note on the moving van windshield stating that it was improperly parked.

A few months later, one of the other residents rudely demanded that I move from "her" parking space. One that, interestingly enough was listed as visitor parking. She claimed that the H.A. by-laws gave her rights to that space. I went home and checked the by-laws and found no such provision. I made a mental note to point this out to her next time I saw her only to find out that she was one of the H.A. Directors.

Now I understand the "good intentions" behind a Homeowners' Association, but I swear it seems like it is nothing more than a magnet for petty, small-minded jerks who fancy themselves politicians.

When we finally move to another place, I will definitely see a Homeowners' Association as a *negative* to buying a house.

Taldor

Welcome to home ownership. Luckily I intentionally avoided that trap. When looking for a house I specifically insisted that the house we find not be part of a Homeowners association. I understand their good points too, but I don't like paying people to decide by commitee how I can decorate my house.

Andoran

If we did own, we might be treated better. We are renting from the owner. We pay the H.A. dues as part of our rent, though.

We were supposed to get a copy of the by-laws when we moved in, we didn't. I borrowed a copy from my next-door neighbor and made copies.

We were supposed to get a copy of the key to the swimming pool, we didn't. Again, I borrowed the neighbor's and made a copy.

Basically, we're getting second-class citizen treatment, but at least our hedges look nice.

Andoran

Cuchulainn wrote:

If we did own, we might be treated better.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I don't mean to seem snarky to you or anything.....power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. They don't care, if you own you're a serf. The only way is to take over and get elected to something, but thinking about the kind of person that has the idle time for that...

Andoran

Yeah, I'm not laughing at you, just crying with you.
I had to repair my backyard privacy fence this weekend; ca ching!!!
I was under the impression that it was both owners' fiscal responsibility, but the HOA said it was mine.
The covenant has enough elbowroom in it that they can say whatever they want. Not that they can't anyway, I can't afford legal representation, not that it would get me anything anyway.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I also specifically looked at homes that were not part of an HOA. Depending on where you live, that can be a problem because it seems like almost all newer subdivisions have HOAs.

HOAs are kinda like communism: sounds great on paper, but most people get royally screwed in practice.

-Skeld


This is one of the many reasons i don't want to own a house...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Seldriss wrote:
This is one of the many reasons i don't want to own a house...

Owning the right house is great. Owning the wrong can be a nightmare.

-Skeld

Taldor

Seldriss wrote:
This is one of the many reasons i don't want to own a house...

hah, yeah i guess it would be better to rent into eternity and never get a return on your investment :P

Seriously though homeownership should be an achievable goal for people, honestly thats why I'm glad the crash hit, because without it home ownership costs were rediculous and right now as the market stands it is actually better to own than to rent, whereas two years ago if you wanted to own good luck unless you had a substantial downpayment and could afford twice your rent, oh that is unless you are interested in our variable rate loan, trust me you'll be able to refinance when interest rates drop and that way you get a low monthly payment.

And I still say HOAs are the spawn of Satan

Taldor

lastknightleft wrote:
And I still say HOAs are the spawn of Satan

That pretty much covers my thoughts. Why would I want to go through the trouble of getting my own place to have someone sticking their nose in my business. No way...

Cheliax

lastknightleft wrote:
Welcome to home ownership. Luckily I intentionally avoided that trap. When looking for a house I specifically insisted that the house we find not be part of a Homeowners association. I understand their good points too, but I don't like paying people to decide by commitee how I can decorate my house.

I have always seen homeowner associations and cc&cs as completely unAmerican. I find it laughable that people around here who would be lining up with torches and pitchforks if the government told them what they can and can't do with their property would then turn around and give that power to their neighbors. That is why I will never live in a neighborhood which has either.

Taldor

David Fryer wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
Welcome to home ownership. Luckily I intentionally avoided that trap. When looking for a house I specifically insisted that the house we find not be part of a Homeowners association. I understand their good points too, but I don't like paying people to decide by commitee how I can decorate my house.
I have always seen homeowner associations and cc&cs as completely unAmerican. I find it laughable that people around here who would be lining up with torches and pitchforks if the government told them what they can and can't do with their property would then turn around and give that power to their neighbors. That is why I will never live in a neighborhood which has either.

what's a cc&c?

and on a related note, the county I live in already has provisions on how tall your grass can be etc. I got notice when I moved in before I got my lawnmower.

If the county can cover basics like how tall the grass is why do we even need an HOA

Taldor

lastknightleft wrote:

what's a cc&c?

It's CC&R.

A homeowners' association is a legal entity created by a real estate developer for the purpose of developing, managing and selling a community of homes. It is given the authority to enforce the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) and to manage the common amenities of the development.

Osirion

I haven't heard of anyone having a good experience with a HOA.
They really are petty little people that have power go to their heads and they have no idea what they are supposed to be doing. (Much like the TSA.)

Andoran

Skeld wrote:

I also specifically looked at homes that were not part of an HOA. Depending on where you live, that can be a problem because it seems like almost all newer subdivisions have HOAs.

HOAs are kinda like communism: sounds great on paper, but most people get royally screwed in practice.

-Skeld

I will do that next time.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I grew up out in the woods, where leaves and grass take care of themselves. Out of respect for my neighbors, I have gotten used to the idea that in a village, leaves need to be picked up and grass should be trimmed, but the thought that someone is paid to go around and snoop to maintain this anti-natural status quo, well, not crazy about that.

There's a good chance I'll end up back out in the woods someday, I think. :-)

Taldor

Skeld wrote:

I also specifically looked at homes that were not part of an HOA. Depending on where you live, that can be a problem because it seems like almost all newer subdivisions have HOAs.

another two good things about the housing crisis, it has managed to slow down and even in some areas stop subdivision sprawl which is another spawn of Satan, getting people accustomed to living with their house within arms reach of another person. and there is a large market for pre-owned homes not under HOAs for new buyers.

Taldor

Trey wrote:

I grew up out in the woods, where leaves and grass take care of themselves. Out of respect for my neighbors, I have gotten used to the idea that in a village, leaves need to be picked up and grass should be trimmed, but the thought that someone is paid to go around and snoop to maintain this anti-natural status quo, well, not crazy about that.

There's a good chance I'll end up back out in the woods someday, I think. :-)

Yeah I know the feeling, I grew up 7 miles from the nearest cement road

Cheliax

Callous Jack wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:

what's a cc&c?

It's CC&R.

Yeah, that's what I meant. Still stupid no matter what the acronym is.

Cheliax

lastknightleft wrote:
Trey wrote:

I grew up out in the woods, where leaves and grass take care of themselves. Out of respect for my neighbors, I have gotten used to the idea that in a village, leaves need to be picked up and grass should be trimmed, but the thought that someone is paid to go around and snoop to maintain this anti-natural status quo, well, not crazy about that.

There's a good chance I'll end up back out in the woods someday, I think. :-)

Yeah I know the feeling, I grew up 7 miles from the nearest cement road

Only seven? Pansey

Taldor

as opposed to your mileage oh wait we haven't heard yours yet, probably because you were raised by a pack of wild cars in a mall parking lot.

Andoran

I love the "cement" qualifier. You had roads.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Conversation yesterday between Guy-with-Chainsaw and Me:

Me: Why are you cutting down that big healthy oak tree?
Guy-with-Chainsaw: The condo corp. is afraid it will fall on several of the condos. It's too big.
Me: Why don't you cut down that ugly rotting tree in front of my condo.
Guy-with-Chainsaw: They aren't worried about that one. If it falls, it will only destroy one condo.
Me: Yeah, mine!
Guy-with-Chainsaw: Right.
Me: ...
Guy-with-Chainsaw: ...
Me: I'll give you $20 to put that chainsaw down right here at my feet and go take a smoke break.
Guy-with-Chainsaw: ... Ummm ...

Taldor

Heathansson wrote:
I love the "cement" qualifier. You had roads.

Um you know I'm in Florida right, in hurricane alley none the less. Roads is a very vague term that could only be applied two thirds of the year, bogging trail applied the rest of the time. I mean is it any coincidence that my parent only own 4 wheel drive vehicles capable of going off road.

Andoran

Yeah, I grew up there.

Cheliax

lastknightleft wrote:
as opposed to your mileage oh wait we haven't heard yours yet, probably because you were raised by a pack of wild cars in a mall parking lot.

I grew up in a dying mining town with 250 people. The only road in or out of town was about 16 miles of pot holes and wash board that had been paved at one time, but nobody had bother to do it in about 50 years or so.

Taldor

Oh okay, you were raised by a pack of wild cars, in a beaten up, old parking lot... better?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Well, I always thought that kind of mentality was a german invention...;-)
Still, I could not fathom why the hell anyone would want to control just how high the grass in my backyard grows (If it is the "standard" variety of grass...), or why I should care if I park my car on somebodies assumed private parking slot as long as it is marked as guest parking. What can they do, anyway, besides whining all day? Especially if you only rented that house, you can always move out. That´s one reason why I would not want to buy a house: If I bought one, and the neighbourhood is awful, I can have serious trouble getting rid of the house. Buying a house can be awful expensive in the long run - you are the one responsible for the upkeep, not some landlord.

Stefan

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Stebehil wrote:
What can they do, anyway, besides whining all day?

Most HOA's have provisions allowing them to levy fines. If you don't pay the fines, they continue to accrue. Eventually they sue you. Most HOA's are allowed to forclose on unpaid dues, fines, or penalties. And the courts will side with the HOA (news stories over the past few years have been full of "HOA takes old lady's house" stories).

-Skeld

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Yeah, my HOA is a pain in the ass too. We have to hire landscapers in once or twice a year to come tame the jungle that arises from our lawn in the early summer because otherwise they'll fine us $100 a month. We live on a golf course, so the "I-make-$100k+-a-year-and-spend-most-of-my-time-golfing" crowd gets upset when they can see weeds in our backyard from the tee at hole 8. These are the same people who can afford regular landscapers and thus don't have the financial problems we do when such arrangements have to be made. The landscaping work typically costs almost $200. It's retarded and I hate it, but it's a fact of life.


I guess we belong to the homeowner's association around here even though we rent. It makes it easier to know what the enemy is doing when we're in their den getting all their transmissions. Lets me know when to hide the stash and keep the noise down. Also affords some measure of protection because we get nicely worded warnings in the form of dirty looks as opposed to visits from cops.

Although why they would find the sound of happy D&Ding until 2am more offensive than the five kids across the street being beaten in broad daylight by grandma I will not comprehend.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Skeld wrote:
Stebehil wrote:
What can they do, anyway, besides whining all day?

Most HOA's have provisions allowing them to levy fines. If you don't pay the fines, they continue to accrue. Eventually they sue you. Most HOA's are allowed to forclose on unpaid dues, fines, or penalties. And the courts will side with the HOA (news stories over the past few years have been full of "HOA takes old lady's house" stories).

-Skeld

Well, I´m sure glad there is nothing directly comparable over here. That sounds indeed horrible.

Stefan


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Fatespinner wrote:
We live on a golf course, so the "I-make-$100k+-a-year-and-spend-most-of-my-time-golfing" crowd gets upset when they can see weeds in our backyard from the tee at hole 8.

"Are you playing golf already, or do you still have s.x?" is a common question for those folks over here :-)

These HOA stories would make for a good movie - horror, tragedy or thriller most probably.

Stefan


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Susan Draconis wrote:


Although why they would find the sound of happy D&Ding until 2am more offensive than the five kids across the street being beaten in broad daylight by grandma I will not comprehend.

Mow your lawn, wash your car, beat the kids - your usual routine, and nobody elses business. But playing all night long? Hey you have to be some strange folk indeed. I love those narrow-minded people. A friend of mine lived in an area with new houses in a village for several years. As he is an vampire live player with an unusual schedule, and has a home business (selling books), he had all kinds of trouble from those folks. As soon as you differ from what is percieved as normal, some hidebound people are sure to pick on you.

I´m lucky that rent in our city is still very affordable, so I don´t have to live in a suburb or in some village.

Stefan


Stebehil wrote:

Well, I always thought that kind of mentality was a german invention...;-)

Germans are really good at that though :) Fortunately the neighbors have little more rights than whine about it...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber
magdalena thiriet wrote:
Stebehil wrote:

Well, I always thought that kind of mentality was a german invention...;-)

Germans are really good at that though :) Fortunately the neighbors have little more rights than whine about it...

And keeping the legal courts busy with that kind of nonsense...

Stefan

Andoran

I have covenants but no HOA. So some of my neighbors have complained about my weeds (only 12" tall this year instead of over the fence, I'm trying, people (When the house was put on the market, my neighbor had to call the city and have them come cut down the backyard - the entire yard (nearly a quarter acre) was weeds 6 foot high)) and my house color (grey with purple trim, I didn't paint it, but like it, if you want it changed, pay the painters), telling me that neither is within covenants. But since there is no HOA, they can't do anything. However, I do worry that one day an HOA will form.

Now if only I could read the covenants, but the only version I have is a fax of a fax of a fax.


Cuchulainn wrote:


When we finally move to another place, I will definitely see a Homeowners' Association as a *negative* to buying a house.

The quality of the association is only as good as the board members and the homeowners. The board is elected and can be replaced. However, the homeowners need to participate to make things work. Go to meetings, raise issues, call for votes, volunteer to serve on committees, etc. One way for irritated homeowners to change the HOA is to volunteer for or get elected to the board. In most cases, such requires only a few hours work (if you can call it work) each month.

When done right, an HOA can be of great benefit to a community by maintaining reasonable standards that help improve property values and quality of life.

They should not be dismissed out of hand, nor should they be accepted without some investigation.

Taldor

Michael Donovan wrote:


The quality of the association is only as good as the board members and the homeowners. The board is elected and can be replaced. However, the homeowners need to participate to make things work. Go to meetings, raise issues, call for votes, volunteer to serve on committees, etc. One way for irritated homeowners to change the HOA is to volunteer for or get elected to the board. In most cases, such requires only a few hours work (if you can call it work) each month.

When done right, an HOA can be of great benefit to a community by maintaining reasonable standards that help improve property values and quality of life.

They should not be dismissed out of hand, nor should they be accepted without some investigation.

The problem I have is that in my opinion homeowners associations are a tool of complacency. They encourage the erosion of private property rights. Yes, they can do good things with the right people in them. but at any time the members can be changed and it can become a beaurocratic nightmare. Also while it's one thing to have community standards, homeowners associations change standards to enforcable rules and what winds up happening is the people who live under them become used to having other people tell them what they can and cannot do with their property, why then would they fight if the government steps in and starts doing the same thing?

Andoran

Michael Donovan wrote:
Cuchulainn wrote:


When we finally move to another place, I will definitely see a Homeowners' Association as a *negative* to buying a house.

The quality of the association is only as good as the board members and the homeowners. The board is elected and can be replaced. However, the homeowners need to participate to make things work. Go to meetings, raise issues, call for votes, volunteer to serve on committees, etc. One way for irritated homeowners to change the HOA is to volunteer for or get elected to the board. In most cases, such requires only a few hours work (if you can call it work) each month.

When done right, an HOA can be of great benefit to a community by maintaining reasonable standards that help improve property values and quality of life.

They should not be dismissed out of hand, nor should they be accepted without some investigation.

I wish I could be this optimistic. I see them more as the Citizens Watch group from Hot Fuzz. If I went to the meetings, I would not be surprised to find them in black cowls chanting, "the greater good" over and over as they came at me with knives.

Cheliax

lastknightleft wrote:
Oh okay, you were raised by a pack of wild cars, in a beaten up, old parking lot... better?

Much.

Cheliax

Cuchulainn wrote:
If I went to the meetings, I would not be surprised to find them in black cowls chanting, "the greater good" over and over as they came at me with knives.

Well since most members of an HOA that I have ever met are closet Chelaxians, you're most likely not wrong.

Cheliax

Winter wrote:

However, I do worry that one day an HOA will form.

I don't think you need to worry about that if you plan on staying in the same place. If an HOA formed, you would still have the option of just not joining it - they can't strip property rights from you without your permission.

The problem most people are having is that residential developers create the HOAs to govern subdivisions, so whenever anyone buys in, their property is already encumbered by the HOA.

Cheliax

PulpCruciFiction wrote:
Winter wrote:

However, I do worry that one day an HOA will form.

I don't think you need to worry about that if you plan on staying in the same place. If an HOA formed, you would still have the option of just not joining it - they can't strip property rights from you without your permission.

The problem most people are having is that residential developers create the HOAs to govern subdivisions, so whenever anyone buys in, their property is already encumbered by the HOA.

An excellent point sir. Also remember that most older neighborhoods don't have HOAs, CC&Rs, or covenants. In most cases the people who live there don't want them either. House prices and rent are usually lower in those areas, and they are usually more centrally located in relationship to schools, stores and resturants. That saves you on both housing prices and on gas because you live close enough to the store to walk instead of drive. It's also healthier because you end up walking more places.

Taldor

David Fryer wrote:
PulpCruciFiction wrote:
Winter wrote:

However, I do worry that one day an HOA will form.

I don't think you need to worry about that if you plan on staying in the same place. If an HOA formed, you would still have the option of just not joining it - they can't strip property rights from you without your permission.

The problem most people are having is that residential developers create the HOAs to govern subdivisions, so whenever anyone buys in, their property is already encumbered by the HOA.

An excellent point sir. Also remember that most older neighborhoods don't have HOAs, CC&Rs, or covenants. In most cases the people who live there don't want them either. House prices and rent are usually lower in those areas, and they are usually more centrally located in relationship to schools, stores and resturants. That saves you on both housing prices and on gas because you live close enough to the store to walk instead of drive. It's also healthier because you end up walking more places.

Oh don't get me started on subdivision sprawl, at least one good thing about the housing crash, is that it is now more economical to buy a pre-existing home in a residential neighborhood than to buy a new subdivision home, and the subdivision sprawl has been stopped and by extension a lot of new HOAs

Taldor

Ooh anyone remember that story (maybe not it was a local one) where the HOA banned flags on properties because they wanted to get the guy who was hanging his mexican flag, but then started fining people with american flags who refused to take them down. so it wound up being like 5 houses vs the homeowners association and they had somewhere along the lines of $1000 dollars each in fines.

Oh I just remembered that they also started levying fines against people who stopped paying their dues.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Completely different experience, I love my condo's board. Right now they're the ones fighting the developer to repair all the mistakes made in construction. The Rules & Regulations Committee was set up as separate from the Board to avoid centralization of power, and any rules added have intentionally been as un-intrusive as possible... usually it's to prevent others' intrusions (like: What's my recourse if my assigned parking space is taken?). Pool is officially open all night. Lots of volunteers show up for things. Highly involved annual meetings. And so on.

I guess we fall under the "when done right" category.


WIZE FWUM YUR GWAVE

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

LULz

Andoran

Ok So the townhome that I owned previously. I had wanted to replace my single pane windows with double pane windows. I went to the board only after speaking to my neighbor with him telling me that this is the proper course.

So I go in and tell them my plan, their response

1. Will this be done by a professional contractor so as to minimize damage to the exterior? Perfectly logical question. Why yes it is as replacing windows is a skill i do not possess.

2. Can you provide us with a drawing of what it is going to look like when it is completed? After I was done chuckling, Well It's going to look like it does now only the the exterior will be white vinyl instead of aluminum. Not good enough

So I run to my home grab a piece of paper and draw 2 squares representing the front and rear of the property and put in smaller windows representing windows and sliding glass doors and head back to the meeting.

Their response According to the CCR you need architectural drawings. My response I'm not an architect, but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night.(crickets chirp).

Yes I admit I did not read the 300 or so page document that is the ccr and while I am confessing I have not read any pathfinder book cover to cover either.

This is from the same HOA that voted on letting their own clique add really nice deck extensions to their properties. Of course I wanted to add a deck on my roof but that is a story for another day.

Needless to say I live in a non hoa now and love it. if i want pink flamingos in my front yard, damnit, I'm putting them out!

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