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rshaslam said:   
Well worth the $40 per year that we all pay. That $40 pays for code enforcement twice a month using a management company so that board members are not fully involved with fines. The best part is any owner can call the management company to report an issue. This helps keep the community civil and as the management company becomes the "bad guy" for fining any owners.

As for unpaid fines, once they reach a board determined limit or amount of time, they are passed on to a lawyer who places a lien on the property to ensure the HOA is paid. The lawyers fees are added to the lien and they only get paid if the HOA gets paid. This reduces the HOA costs.



I can tell you that this is how my community was run initially. Having someone else manage enforcement can be bad. My neighborhood wasn't as large as yours, but the first thing I did was stick my nose in there and start knocking on doors of people who wouldn't respond to fines. Bad guy? I don't care - talking with the neighbors is part of the job and allowing the mgmt company to do it was just passing the buck.

Often the mgmt company would write fines on a home that was in foreclosure or against a resident who was in bankrupty. These fines wouldn't get paid. They'd next go to our attorney, who for $150 per form letter, would mail a more threatening warning. Guess who pays if the resident didnt? That's right - the entire HOA. We were essentially running up our own legal costs.

They key is that someone with a brain had to figure out when to enforce and when to let it go due to the current financial situation on the property. A home in foreclosure (or pre-forclosure), you're just running up legal bills that the HOA will have to pay. You can lien the home, but you're in 2nd or 3rd position and you won't get paid. This is a great example of how a $50 "yard" fine becomes $2000 in bills due after the lawyers send letters and lien. And when that home turns over, the lien gets cleared and the HOA is still paying the price.

I didn't just let people pass, but if you could show me that you were in bankruptcy or were a renter on a home that was being foreclosed on, I'd drop the enforcement for 6 months and ask if we could "help" with the yard.

We found at least one owner that was hiding his property in trust, taking in money on lease-to-own, and then not paying the mortgage or hoa... Lots of interesting stuff.

I think you - as a board member - have an obligation to go knock on doors.. Not for every little thing, but go talk to your neighbors before you make a little fine a big deal.

wordgirl said:   I really, really hate HOAs, for all the reasons stated here and more. The thing that bothers me most about the HOAs is that the rules can change drastically, with very little notice and basically on a whim. Even the good boards, like RedCelicaGT's, can turn nasty with just one election (though of course we know Red would never allow that to happen) ).


I can tell you that it can be worse the other way. That is, if you make the rules hard for the neighborhood to change, like via requiring 75% "present" participation to change the CCR, then nothing can get changed. It's nearly impossible to get 50% of the neighborhood in one place at one time and many HOAs won't allow proxy votes. This means bad rules stay.. And leads to selective enforcement.


wordgirl said:   
I would never consider buying or renting in a neighborhood that has an HOA.


The reality is that this will massively narrow your housing options in many parts of the country.


wordgirl said:   
That said, I can't help but wonder if there was a "sweet spot" in this particular story where the Ferrans would have garnered enough public sympathy to launch a coup and oust the petty, angry little nastyman who was at the heart of the troubles and reinstate some reason into this situation (the story does say they declined several settlement offers). That would have been an honest-to-goodness win-win.


That assumes that the board would allow a legally called re-election or similar. The reality is (in Texas) that you're indemnified as a board member and you could chose to ignore such requests from the community. I know that our management company would have listened to the board, even if asked to do some things that were not on the up and up. Could you sue? Sure.. but again, you're suing yourself.

What needs to change is HOAs power to remove people from their homes needs to be revoked/limited and or have that power balanced by real ramifications to board members if they abuse their positions.

My HOA has 4 members and it's like the bar scene in Star Wars, with the personality to match.

I think they mean well and keep up with the core guidelines, but not exactly the brightest bunch.

From what I can tell, HOA board memebers started with a good intent but somewhere along the way, the direction became clouded and developed a superiority complex.

Since it's impossible to spell out the specifics to every scenario, it goes through the board and then it's a popularity contest where they just make things up.

EradicateSpam said:   ...here's why I dislike HOAs. People don't read the rules and then get ticked off when the HOA goes to enforce them. How would your outlook change if the HOA had come over and said "hey buddy, nice wall that's almost done, BUT WE DON'T ALLOW WALLS. Rip it down".

My point is that most don't read the rules. You didn't. You built a wall that your HOA rules likely said must be approved IN ADVANCE.

<snip>

Too many people are idiots - and HOAs have to deal with them. This is our 2nd home that has an HOA, and I tried to avoid having one. Given a choice, I would never have one again - but would also check local zoning laws and enforcement.


Why hate the HOA?

People also don't read their credit card (loan/mortgage/insert any agreement here) agreements and get ticked off when the bank goes to enforce them. When this happens, FWF usually responds with "You should have read the rules! PYBDB!". The response is the same for any consumer agreement (cell phone/utility/medical).

I don't get all the HOA hate. The deed restrictions are known (or should have been known) at time of purchase. If you get special treatment from your HOA (for your paint color, or fence, or political sign), every homeowner will expect special treatment. Pretty soon, the rules cannot be enforced because of all the exceptions.

If you don't want to deal with an HOA, move. It can't be said any clearer!

I would never buy in a community without one, unless I'm buying 500 acres and have enough room to build my house away from every neighbor. But then, that's not a community, is it?

mikef07 said:   No one is changing their oil on the front lawn
Didn't know it was such a sin to change your own oil. Our HOA only specifies no automotive projects over 24 hours outside your garage.

I used to live in Fairfax County. HOA was a real property value saver. Despite fact that they were $600k houses (on 1/4 acre,) there were derelict foreclosures and unsavory residents with multiple un-registered vehicles. It took HOA to get county's attention in cleaning them up. Nice not to see RVs, Boat/camper trailers and marked commercial vehicles in the neighborhood. Those that aren't considerate of their neighbors need to move out in the country on their own 10 acres. Last year I sold house there for full asking price within 6 days - due in large part to HOA diligence and the amenities they supported(soccer field, basket ball area, bike and hiking trails). Those on the board were all volunteers - those who disagreed with bylaws were equally invited to be on the board. Many preferred just to complain vs helping with real solutions. Regretfully not everyone has the same social living standards. Everyone who moved into neighborhood got a copy of the bylaws when signing purchase or rental contracts.

cherry3m said:   EradicateSpam said:   ...here's why I dislike HOAs. People don't read the rules and then get ticked off when the HOA goes to enforce them. How would your outlook change if the HOA had come over and said "hey buddy, nice wall that's almost done, BUT WE DON'T ALLOW WALLS. Rip it down".

My point is that most don't read the rules. You didn't. You built a wall that your HOA rules likely said must be approved IN ADVANCE.

<snip>

Too many people are idiots - and HOAs have to deal with them. This is our 2nd home that has an HOA, and I tried to avoid having one. Given a choice, I would never have one again - but would also check local zoning laws and enforcement.


Why hate the HOA?

People also don't read their credit card (loan/mortgage/insert any agreement here) agreements and get ticked off when the bank goes to enforce them. When this happens, FWF usually responds with "You should have read the rules! PYBDB!". The response is the same for any consumer agreement (cell phone/utility/medical).

I don't get all the HOA hate. The deed restrictions are known (or should have been known) at time of purchase. If you get special treatment from your HOA (for your paint color, or fence, or political sign), every homeowner will expect special treatment. Pretty soon, the rules cannot be enforced because of all the exceptions.

If you don't want to deal with an HOA, move. It can't be said any clearer!

I would never buy in a community without one, unless I'm buying 500 acres and have enough room to build my house away from every neighbor. But then, that's not a community, is it?



True, HOA's are not for everyone. It is by choice that people buy into them. People need to understand what they are getting into when buying into a HOA community. It can be good or bad, weigh them and then decide. In the meantime, I'll be working on my car in my garage with the garage door open while some music plays from my stereo system. Oh the grass is an inch or 2 taller than most everyone else's but it's ok I'll get to that once I finish changing the oil on my car and finishing my 3rd beer.

P.S. the picket fence is painted gray because white paint wasn't on sale.

cherry3m said:   EradicateSpam said:   ...here's why I dislike HOAs. People don't read the rules and then get ticked off when the HOA goes to enforce them. How would your outlook change if the HOA had come over and said "hey buddy, nice wall that's almost done, BUT WE DON'T ALLOW WALLS. Rip it down".

My point is that most don't read the rules. You didn't. You built a wall that your HOA rules likely said must be approved IN ADVANCE.

<snip>

Too many people are idiots - and HOAs have to deal with them. This is our 2nd home that has an HOA, and I tried to avoid having one. Given a choice, I would never have one again - but would also check local zoning laws and enforcement.


Why hate the HOA?

People also don't read their credit card (loan/mortgage/insert any agreement here) agreements and get ticked off when the bank goes to enforce them. When this happens, FWF usually responds with "You should have read the rules! PYBDB!". The response is the same for any consumer agreement (cell phone/utility/medical).

I don't get all the HOA hate. The deed restrictions are known (or should have been known) at time of purchase. If you get special treatment from your HOA (for your paint color, or fence, or political sign), every homeowner will expect special treatment. Pretty soon, the rules cannot be enforced because of all the exceptions.

If you don't want to deal with an HOA, move. It can't be said any clearer!

I would never buy in a community without one, unless I'm buying 500 acres and have enough room to build my house away from every neighbor. But then, that's not a community, is it?
I am pretty sympathetic to both sides of this debate. I totally get the fact that people are concerned about their geriatric neighbors with nothing better to do walking around looking for hyper technical and highly subjective violations. I also totally get the concern over power hungry board members with no common sense doing completely arbitrary things. These things make my blood boil, as I can't stand things that fail the common sense test (although I certainly recognize that reasonable people can disagree over some of these things).

As I've previously posted, there are certainly plenty of fairly easy to implement solutions to this (as I've mentioned, for instance, because of this exact concern our HOA does not have the power to impose fines for covenant violations; they can whine about it but can't fine you. They can only take enforcement action with respect to people failing to pay their annual dues, which are something like $600/year and which are used to maintain a gorgeous private pool with a lifeguard, a childredn's playground, tennis courts, common areas with walking trails, etc...) but implementing them can be time consuming and I certainly get the concern.

By the way, I also get the concern over moronic neighbors in non-HOA neighborhoods doing things that work for them without any concern for their neighbors and, in the process, potentially driving down home values. I do often find that the same people who say that they can't stand HOA's are often the most vocal ones where their neighbors do something that they find to be objectionable. So, I don't think that there is a perfect solution out there.

I do know that the vast majority of people out there tend to really enjoy and specifically focus on their subdivision amenities, just as I know that the availability of those sought-after amenities can very much increase home values. You generally can't have those without an HOA and, given the choice between sought-after subdivision amenities with a HOA vs. no subdivision amenities and no HOA, most people opt for the former.

mikefxu said:   mikef07 said:   No one is changing their oil on the front lawn
Didn't know it was such a sin to change your own oil. Our HOA only specifies no automotive projects over 24 hours outside your garage.


As in on their lawn.

And yet my HOA can't get my neighbor to take her dog that sits outside and barks 24/7 inside.

mungbai said:   

You're forgetting that the board itself was threatening litigation: "He wrote that he was prepared to make a motion to put a lien on the Farransí house if they didnít comply." With his references to Saddam Hussein, Mr. Hughes certainly should understand the doctrine of preemptive war.


Nope. Not forgetting that at all. I never said they should not avail themselves of their legal rights. In fact, I'm a big fan of civil justice (especially as opposed to hitting each other over the heads with baseball bats.)

I'm just saying that the Farrans don't come out of this smelling like roses, or looking like cool rebels. Instead of making allies of their neighbors, they made enemies (there's not a single voice in the story that implies otherwise.) Instead of the neighborhood being better off, it's WAY worse off. There was an opportunity here to unseat a petty dictator and everyone was so caught up in their own little pissing match that the opportunity came and went. There is no winner. There could have been.

It's kind of like Romeo and Juliet, in a twisted sort of way. "All are punished."

"They (The Farrans) acknowledged that the sign broke the rules..."

This is why a lot of people don't like HOA's. They want to live in a neighborhood where all their neighbors follow the rules. They just don't think they should have to follow them themselves.

Sometime you win, sometime you lose and have to pay $70k for having a tall tree:

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020235877_innisardentree...

or this:

There on the counter, along with the disclosure forms, were the "protective covenants" put out by the homeowners' association. And under No. 15, this:

"No persons of any race, other than White or Caucasian race, shall use or occupy any building or any lot, except . . . domestic servants of a different race domiciled with an owner or tenant."


http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=1999092...

Keeping the property value up, no kidding.

corporateclaw said:   And yet my HOA can't get my neighbor to take her dog that sits outside and barks 24/7 inside.
Have you tried aiming one of those hypersonic devices that "shouts" at their dog whenever it barks in a way the humans can't hear?

http://www.amazon.com/Bark-Off-Ultrasonic-Training-Aid/dp/B003O4...

I'm on my HOA board and I'm probably the biggest violator of our by-laws, hah.

Being on an HOA sucks, its a thankless job and everyone hates you, it's a lot of added work and most everyone is a moron - contractors, other residents, other people on your board etc etc.

I'm on a co-op board. Most of the other board members are cranky, have been on the board forever, and the favorite topic of discussion is that children in our building are not adequately parented. They spend a lot of time talking about (but not actually pursuing) fines for perceived dangers related to these "wild" children. I think our building is managed responsibly, for the most part, but it is definitely rule-obsessed. They want to know when guests are staying in apartments. The monthly meetings are tortuous, and I spend a lot of time trying to talk these people out of being overly controlling. They are also obsessed with secrecy, and hate having to talk about anything, even popular stuff, with the community at large. I ran specifically to try to dilute this culture, and I've encouraged many of my sane neighbors to run, but nobody wants to, and I can't totally blame them. Most elections are uncontested. It only takes a couple of reasonable people to break the cycle of outrage and try to keep things under control. But reasonable people are often too reasonable to get involved.

wordgirl said:   mungbai said:   

You're forgetting that the board itself was threatening litigation: "He wrote that he was prepared to make a motion to put a lien on the Farransí house if they didnít comply." With his references to Saddam Hussein, Mr. Hughes certainly should understand the doctrine of preemptive war.


Nope. Not forgetting that at all. I never said they should not avail themselves of their legal rights. In fact, I'm a big fan of civil justice (especially as opposed to hitting each other over the heads with baseball bats.)

I'm just saying that the Farrans don't come out of this smelling like roses, or looking like cool rebels. Instead of making allies of their neighbors, they made enemies (there's not a single voice in the story that implies otherwise.) Instead of the neighborhood being better off, it's WAY worse off. There was an opportunity here to unseat a petty dictator and everyone was so caught up in their own little pissing match that the opportunity came and went. There is no winner. There could have been.

It's kind of like Romeo and Juliet, in a twisted sort of way. "All are punished."


I imagine that once it became a "can they actually fine us?" fight, the HOA board wasn't going to concede anything for fear of losing that power.

xerty said:   corporateclaw said:   And yet my HOA can't get my neighbor to take her dog that sits outside and barks 24/7 inside.
Have you tried aiming one of those hypersonic devices that "shouts" at their dog whenever it barks in a way the humans can't hear?

http://www.amazon.com/Bark-Off-Ultrasonic-Training-Aid/dp/B003O4...


Those don't work. I tried one because the little fluffball neighbors dog wouldn't stfu. The neighbors never got the hint even when I would stick my head out the window and yell at the thing. Apparently those yips are also attractive to bobcats... one day the dog was missing and a few weeks later pieces of him showed up in a nearby wash. I named the bobcat 'snuggles'

As was previously mentioned - HOAs can work if all involved (HOA trustees & residents) are reasonable. This has generally been my experience. However, when someone (either a trustee or resident) starts to become unreasonable, they need to be called out on it.

soundtechie said:   If the laws don't say to close the door, Tell him to jump in a lake.
Personally, I would have told him to pound sand.

When I told everybody at the HOA board meeting that I was going to run for a board position in the next meeting, I got a round of applause from the group (including the guy who's term is up- he wants out). Its hard to find people willing to serve.

I always thought the idea behind neighbors wanting their neighbors to keep their
Garages shut was to not attract theives? I live in a nice neighbirhood, but I can vouch
for the existence of that risk factor, cost me my favorite dumpster bike(a cannondale, sniff!).

I manage several properties, a few of them are in HOAs.

House #1: Ontario, California
Acquired the home about 6 months ago. Got a notice that there were cobwebs and dusts on the windows and doors and to clean it down. Hired someone to complete the task for $40 and it's been quiet since.
Monthly: $240 - includes Club House and Association Pool

House #2: Las Vegas, NV
Acquired the home in 2011. Get monthly/quarterly notices about weeds present in the landscaping. Have had to hire students to pull weeds for $25. Submit photos to the HOA to have the violations corrected. I'm getting used to dealing with them on a regular basis. Odd thing is that when I'm out there to look at the property, there are easily a dozen homes in the community that have weeds present on their landscaping. I feel I am targeted because the property is a rental and the HOA feels like we have positive cash flow. Perhaps a board member lives across the stree/next door? I have enough pictures to show all the homes in violation. If it wasn't so far away, I would be running as a board member to see what is going on.
Monthly: $25 - includes graffiti removal

House #3: Las Vegas, NV
Acquired the home in 2012. No notices whatsoever. There are some small weeds present in the landscaping but are also present in the surrounding neighbor's properties. It's quiet... a bit too quiet.
Monthly: $25 - note sure what but I think includes graffiti removal

My parents live in a small neighborhood with a self-absorbed, nazi-ish HOA president. They wanted to put in a very nice, modest sized garden shed in the back of their wooded lot, it would have had matching siding and shingles with their home, and they would have planted some evergreens around it to obscure any further view from the road. Because my parents merely submitted a copy of the plans and the petition for HOA permission to the board, rather than come directly to the HOA president and brown-nose him, he decided to be a king a-hole and basically intimidated the several other HOA board members into denying the request; presumably he did not have to intimidate all of them, since his wife was also a board member (that in and of itself is rather corrupt - should be one member per household). Arguably they did not issue a denial in the time specified by the subdivision bylaws, equating to an automatic approval. My parents would have won if they went to court, but they did not want to be known as the ones raising everybody's association dues and assessments because of litigation (the president made a lot of very vocal threats about suing), so they went to Plan B: they built a 4th bay onto their garage, which expressly was allowed by the bylaws without seeking HOA approval. It cost them a few thousand more than they wanted to spend, but my dad's now got all the storage and shop space he needs and I think it ultimately pissed off the HOA president even more than a shed would have, since he has to see the extra garage bay every time he drives by.

It's a rare example of local government or pseudo-governmental bodies where there isn't at least one egotistical jackass trying to bully everyone else into following his or her unreasonable whims and perogatives. If you don't believe me, go sit in on a local school or zoning commission board meeting.

TrueKnight said:   ...
Acquired the home in 2011. Get monthly/quarterly notices about weeds present in the landscaping. Have had to hire students to pull weeds for $25. Submit photos to the HOA to have the violations corrected. I'm getting used to dealing with them on a regular basis. Odd thing is that when I'm out there to look at the property, there are easily a dozen homes in the community that have weeds present on their landscaping. I feel I am targeted because the property is a rental and the HOA feels like we have positive cash flow. Perhaps a board member lives across the stree/next door? I have enough pictures to show all the homes in violation. If it wasn't so far away, I would be running as a board member to see what is going on.
...


Why do you think you're being singled out? Do you know for a fact that all the other homes arne't getting the same notices as you? How do you know that?

dcwilbur said:   "They (The Farrans) acknowledged that the sign broke the rules..."

This is why a lot of people don't like HOA's. They want to live in a neighborhood where all their neighbors follow the rules. They just don't think they should have to follow them themselves.


I think you are focusing on the smallest part of this story. Who cares that he was in violation. Everyone messes up. However, after breaking the rules, he immediately adjusted to comply. I presume the new separate signs were each within the size limit, and that there were no restrictions on having multiple signs. Maybe it's a technically, but he complied. If the people in the HOA don't like it, then adjust the rules accordingly.

Furthermore, the HOA did not have authority to levy fines, yet they passed a resolution to do so. And the fine was $900 per violation. That seems outrageously high to me. And they enacted this at an unannounced meeting. That's 3 strikes in 1 right there.

corporateclaw said:   And yet my HOA can't get my neighbor to take her dog that sits outside and barks 24/7 inside.

Do your CC&R restrict barking? Typically this is a call-the-city enforcement issue.

StevenColorado said:   wvtalbot said:   

Coming from a rural area I just cannot fathom why anyone would live under an HOA, seems like you are paying someone to have power over you.
The article claims that 20% of Americans are governed by an HOA. When you realize that apartment dwellers are part of that 80%, you realize that a LOT of homeowners live under HOAs.
Actually, it's approximatly 20% of *homes* governed by HOA of some form.

Yes the number of residents governed by HOA's is higher than 20%, because many of those are family homes with multiple residents, as opposed to apartments with 1 or 2 residents.

LordKronos said:   dcwilbur said:   "They (The Farrans) acknowledged that the sign broke the rules..."

This is why a lot of people don't like HOA's. They want to live in a neighborhood where all their neighbors follow the rules. They just don't think they should have to follow them themselves.
I think you are focusing on the smallest part of this story. Who cares that he was in violation. Everyone messes up. However, after breaking the rules, he immediately adjusted to comply. I presume the new separate signs were each within the size limit, and that there were no restrictions on having multiple signs. Maybe it's a technically, but he complied. If the people in the HOA don't like it, then adjust the rules accordingly.
It might be the smallest part of the story, but it is the most relevant. His next step wasn't compliance; his next step was to act like a smartass. Grown men acting like children.

xerty said:   corporateclaw said:   And yet my HOA can't get my neighbor to take her dog that sits outside and barks 24/7 inside.
Have you tried aiming one of those hypersonic devices that "shouts" at their dog whenever it barks in a way the humans can't hear?

http://www.amazon.com/Bark-Off-Ultrasonic-Training-Aid/dp/B003O4...


I wonder if I could just erect some kind of giant concave mirror type device that would concentrate the sound and send it back as some kind of sonic boom and blow the roof off her house.

dcg9381 said:   corporateclaw said:   And yet my HOA can't get my neighbor to take her dog that sits outside and barks 24/7 inside.

Do your CC&R restrict barking? Typically this is a call-the-city enforcement issue.


It restricts nuisance as defined as what the HOA votes is a nuisance. The cops were called everyday for almost 6 months, the brilliant municipal attorney restricted the trial on the issue (yes she fought the 50 dollar fine with a real attorney) to just one night that that one ticket was for and the brilliant municipal court judge ruled that "disturbing the peace" required a "habitual disturbance" would could not be achieved with a single ticket from one night from the police. Apparently I can get hammered and start a bar fight and it's not disturbing the peace if I only do it once in each bar in my city...

dcwilbur said:   "They (The Farrans) acknowledged that the sign broke the rules..."

This is why a lot of people don't like HOA's. They want to live in a neighborhood where all their neighbors follow the rules. They just don't think they should have to follow them themselves.


However, they ( The Farrans) cut the sign to conform to the rules.

geo123 said:   cherry3m said:   EradicateSpam said:   ...here's why I dislike HOAs. People don't read the rules and then get ticked off when the HOA goes to enforce them. How would your outlook change if the HOA had come over and said "hey buddy, nice wall that's almost done, BUT WE DON'T ALLOW WALLS. Rip it down".

My point is that most don't read the rules. You didn't. You built a wall that your HOA rules likely said must be approved IN ADVANCE.

<snip>

Too many people are idiots - and HOAs have to deal with them. This is our 2nd home that has an HOA, and I tried to avoid having one. Given a choice, I would never have one again - but would also check local zoning laws and enforcement.


Why hate the HOA?

People also don't read their credit card (loan/mortgage/insert any agreement here) agreements and get ticked off when the bank goes to enforce them. When this happens, FWF usually responds with "You should have read the rules! PYBDB!". The response is the same for any consumer agreement (cell phone/utility/medical).

I don't get all the HOA hate. The deed restrictions are known (or should have been known) at time of purchase. If you get special treatment from your HOA (for your paint color, or fence, or political sign), every homeowner will expect special treatment. Pretty soon, the rules cannot be enforced because of all the exceptions.

If you don't want to deal with an HOA, move. It can't be said any clearer!

I would never buy in a community without one, unless I'm buying 500 acres and have enough room to build my house away from every neighbor. But then, that's not a community, is it?
I am pretty sympathetic to both sides of this debate. I totally get the fact that people are concerned about their geriatric neighbors with nothing better to do walking around looking for hyper technical and highly subjective violations. I also totally get the concern over power hungry board members with no common sense doing completely arbitrary things. These things make my blood boil, as I can't stand things that fail the common sense test (although I certainly recognize that reasonable people can disagree over some of these things).

As I've previously posted, there are certainly plenty of fairly easy to implement solutions to this (as I've mentioned, for instance, because of this exact concern our HOA does not have the power to impose fines for covenant violations; they can whine about it but can't fine you. They can only take enforcement action with respect to people failing to pay their annual dues, which are something like $600/year and which are used to maintain a gorgeous private pool with a lifeguard, a childredn's playground, tennis courts, common areas with walking trails, etc...) but implementing them can be time consuming and I certainly get the concern.

By the way, I also get the concern over moronic neighbors in non-HOA neighborhoods doing things that work for them without any concern for their neighbors and, in the process, potentially driving down home values. I do often find that the same people who say that they can't stand HOA's are often the most vocal ones where their neighbors do something that they find to be objectionable. So, I don't think that there is a perfect solution out there.

I do know that the vast majority of people out there tend to really enjoy and specifically focus on their subdivision amenities, just as I know that the availability of those sought-after amenities can very much increase home values. You generally can't have those without an HOA and, given the choice between sought-after subdivision amenities with a HOA vs. no subdivision amenities and no HOA, most people opt for the former.
Have you ever served on a HOA board?

tolamapS said:   tjguitar85 said:   Nice? That is awful. This couple screwed over all of their neighbors, not just the board.

Interesting though that an HOA can go bankrupt. I would have thought that the owners would be on the hook for its debts.


I hope that with that kind of logic, you are not a board member of HOA in Sometown, USA.


Not for much longer, thankfully. I'm not defending the Virginia board, as they obviously had issues and could have easily prevented this disaster if they let it go after the sign was split into two signs. It doesn't change that 1 homeowner decided to stick it to the rest of them, possibly killing their own value in the process. Who is going to buy into there now?

My experience is that most homeowners have no idea and are not interested in what goes on in the HOA. They only show up if they have something to complain about, to fight a fine/bill, or if an assessment increase is proposed.

tolamapS said:   tjguitar85 said:   Nice? That is awful. This couple screwed over all of their neighbors, not just the board.

Interesting though that an HOA can go bankrupt. I would have thought that the owners would be on the hook for its debts.


I hope that with that kind of logic, you are not a board member of HOA in Sometown, USA.


Can you explain this? If an HOA goes into bankruptcy, don't they just increase dues? Therefor doesn't that make the homeowners on the hook for its debts? Parquedematthew said that's what happened below.

Can't an idiot HOA member just run up a bunch of bad debts and then cause the homeowners to have to pay?

parquedematthew said:   My HOA just went into bankruptcy on one of my rental properties. As a result, dues went from $360 a month to $560 a month. This on top of a $1500 assessment they levied last year where you had 30 days to pay it or you could finance it for 36 months at a 15% interest rate. They've got some building issues they're trying to fix but they act like raising dues by 50% is no big deal. There's been a history of corruption so seeing them get their just desserts as well would be nice.

dcwilbur said:   LordKronos said:   dcwilbur said:   "They (The Farrans) acknowledged that the sign broke the rules..."

This is why a lot of people don't like HOA's. They want to live in a neighborhood where all their neighbors follow the rules. They just don't think they should have to follow them themselves.
I think you are focusing on the smallest part of this story. Who cares that he was in violation. Everyone messes up. However, after breaking the rules, he immediately adjusted to comply. I presume the new separate signs were each within the size limit, and that there were no restrictions on having multiple signs. Maybe it's a technically, but he complied. If the people in the HOA don't like it, then adjust the rules accordingly.
It might be the smallest part of the story, but it is the most relevant. His next step wasn't compliance; his next step was to act like a smartass. Grown men acting like children.

Since when is complying with the rules acting like a smartass?

My favorite story was about a HOA that went after the wrong home owner, He was a brilliant retired lawyer that just wanted to paint his home. He was approved for color that wasn't listed in the bylaws but was then told to stop after getting half of the house painted because someone complained. He studied the HOA rules and determined that they had a list of approved colors but did not specify how many could be used so he used them all! After several court appearances the HOA caved when they realized they would not be able to afford to pursue it any longer. They agreed to drop all charges and pay to repaint his home in the very color they had previously approved.

HOA rules are often not disclosed until contingencies have already been removed.
http://www.inman.com/buyers-sellers/columnists/tara-nicholle-nel...

To find out everything about the HOA, it seems you must go into escrow and then pay a fee and wait 20 days for them to deliver the documents. It certainly would be nice if all information was made public. Even better, would be if Realtors made easy access to this information a requirement.

Very often there is a $200+/month HOA and nobody has an answer to what the HOA rules are or everything the HOA covers.

jaimelobo said:   
Yes the number of residents governed by HOA's is higher than 20%, because many of those are family homes with multiple residents, as opposed to apartments with 1 or 2 residents.


The number is much higher for new construction. If you're buying new, chances are you're buying into an HOA.

corporateclaw said:   It restricts nuisance as defined as what the HOA votes is a nuisance. The cops were called everyday for almost 6 months, the brilliant municipal attorney restricted the trial on the issue (yes she fought the 50 dollar fine with a real attorney) to just one night that that one ticket was for and the brilliant municipal court judge ruled that "disturbing the peace" required a "habitual disturbance" would could not be achieved with a single ticket from one night from the police. Apparently I can get hammered and start a bar fight and it's not disturbing the peace if I only do it once in each bar in my city...

So it's both an City and *maybe* and HOA issue. I'd have to read your CC&R to interpret nuisance. Sounds like the city enforced and they lacked a neighbor that had been keeping records to have a successful prosecution.
I'll bet that keeping a log - or even calling multiple times would have helped this case.

This is why I prefer to live in established communities within the city limits without HOAs. I have a house in the VA Beach area in an established neighborhood and there's nothing that a city ordinance or a neighborly visit couldn't handle. No overgrown yards, no ugly cars out front, no crazy parties, just a friendly neighborhood with an associated you can join, but aren't forced to.

I know there are good associations out there, but stories like this makes me wonder how many others operate like this, but haven't been exposed yet.



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