Oh what HOAs can do to you.

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The management company does what the HOA tells them to do, and is in the scope of their contract. If you don't want a ma... (more)

NEDeals (Dec. 29, 2016 @ 6:41p) |

NY

DTASFAB (Dec. 30, 2016 @ 8:52a) |

Its likely that our management company has saved us a good portion of what we pay them over the years.  Being a big buil... (more)

RedWolfe01 (Dec. 30, 2016 @ 10:02a) |

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People who ignore HOA demands have liens, but it is my experience that if there is any controversy with two reasonable sides, and the unit owner is willing to go to court, judges will push both sides to common ground and have them sign play nice agreements.



 

While I'd be skeptical of a survey run by a HOA trade association, an online survey which only counts those who actively reach out to participate, and is hosted by and run on the site of a group that's an active HOA opponent, is guaranteed to be useless.

"But a survey now underway by the Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest, a consumer advocate group formed last year to prevent HOA abuse, is finding just the opposite.

“The vast majority are not satisfied with their HOA, and the number one issue is a lack of transparency,” said Sara Benson, a Chicago-based real estate broker and coalition board member.

Benson said the online survey, which can be found at www.chppi.org and wraps up Jan. 15, indicates that nearly 80 percent of those responding were dissatisfied with their HOA.

She said preliminary results of the survey also show that 67 percent of those living in homeowners associations said they were not aware before closing on their home that the association had the legal right to foreclose on their home if they became delinquent on assessments, fees or dues. And 58 percent, she said, were not aware when they bought in an HOA that it had the ability to fine them.

The survey also indicates a growing tension between homeowners and their HOAs, said Benson, co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail.”

When asked if law enforcement had ever been summoned to their association board meetings due to unrest, 25 percent said yes, Benson said. And 20 percent said that security officers had been hired to attend their association board meetings.

Meanwhile, stories of HOA abuse keep mounting."

Why anyone would buy a house and be subject to an HOA is beyond me.

prosperity said:   Why anyone would buy a house and be subject to an HOA is beyond me.
In some areas (FL comes to mind) it's hard to avoid.
Obviously, if you buy a condo or townhouse (vs. single family), you're going to be subject to some HOA.

Local governments are all for HOAs, at least in my area. HOAs take on big expenditures when a new subdivision is built and it saves the county huge amounts of money.

Good luck finding any politician at the local level who would help in fighting hoa shenanigans.

this just sounds like news clickbait to me. (I'll probably get red from all the HOA haters)

The HOA is fighting a vet for multiple violations?
From reading it isn't just trash cans, it's a whole litany of front side violations (grass, fence, trash cans). And most HOA's don't want a home bringing down the property value just because a single owner is letting his lot go to seed.
Yes , yes, the guy is a Vet and in a wheelchair, but he took a house for 'free', and it seems to me he treats it as anything 'free', who cares about it, it was free.

The mom who had a child die because of cords in HOA required blinds?
Something that is solved by using up to date blinds (Which no longer go to the floor) or possibly tying them up higher? Lets sue to association for that.
That sounds like some kind of 'blame game' or possible path to sue the maker of the blinds (In a wrongful death lawsuit you sue EVERYBODY)

While I agree that some HOA's go nutso over stupid things (Like the one who sued a dude for $100,000 because he had an Obama sign in a Rommney zone), the two examples up there are not 'Evil HOA' more of just lets find two very pitiful people and somehow blame the HOA for all their issues.

We have a house with an HOA. The neighborhood is great, though I can't think of any HOA rules about home maintenance or upgrades. The city supplies those. Do you have trouble understanding why anyone would live in a city where you pay taxes and have to put up with zoning and other code enforcement? That can go bad too, but I think usually makes for a nicer place to live for everyone.

Our hoa is under $50/mo, and that covers trash and snowplowing plus community parks and seasonal pools. It's a great deal for us and presumably most of the other residents, and we never even used the pools.

prosperity said:   Why anyone would buy a house and be subject to an HOA is beyond me.

For me it's because i like living in a nice neighborhood and I want to maintain my property values. During the RE crash I had to sell my house and we took a 15% loss, had I been a mile away not in a hoa it might have been a 40% haircut. Having said that hoa is a pain in the butt, I keep getting letters because I don't have enough pine straw. Thankfully my hoa doesn't have a lot of power.

I have a funny story, was getting a new roof put on and I never got hoa approval. After the new roof was on I get a letter asking who approved it, I said I didn't ask because i didn't change the style or the color. They said I would have to redo the roof after getting it approved, I said the builder is responsible and I'm sure he'd be happy to do that. Never heard from them again. In another case I had a dumpster in front of my house because of a remodel, it was there longer than I wanted. They told me I would be fined if I didn't remove it because it was unsightly. Again my response was to give them my contractors number because I found it unsightly too. Again nothing ever came of it.

I can see where a HOA would be useful and in many places it isn't really a choice. But I still wouldn't buy a house where there is one. I would have to know an awful lot about the HOA before feeling right about potentially subjecting myself to the whims of people who care far too much about what other people are doing.

HOAs on streets with detached homes are for busy bodies who like to spy on their neighbors and dictate behavior.

HOAs in condominimums and co-ops are a necessary evil that typically are comprised of incompetent power hungry busy bodies with a Napoleon complex.

Very happy our house does not have an HOA. We benefit that all the other houses in the neighborhood are in an HOA, so they have to keep their properties looking nice, but they can't tell me what to do.

Yeah, I don't get the hating on HOAs.  It's always about one guy wanting to get away with something he prolly wouldn't tolerate everyone else doing.

I have a car on blocks in my driveway for two months?  "It's my frigging house and this is a Free Country!  I'll do what I want with my own property!  F-you!"
You have a car on blocks in your driveway for two months? "Hey a$$hole:  you're destroying the neighborhood and pulling down my home value!"

HOAs are generally a good thing.  If you don't like how your HOA is behaving, get elected to the board and change it.

cestmoi123 said:   She said preliminary results of the survey also show that 67 percent of those living in homeowners associations said they were not aware before closing on their home that the association had the legal right to foreclose on their home if they became delinquent on assessments, fees or dues. And 58 percent, she said, were not aware when they bought in an HOA that it had the ability to fine them.
 

In other words, people are either too lazy or stupid to read what they are signing

That does not surprise me in modern day America. 

My neighborhood does NOT have a HOA.
What we do have is a busy body neighbor that likes to put letters in mailboxes informing you of what she thinks is wrong with your property.

Lord help us if she ever gets the legal power of a HOA behind her...

woowoo2 said:   My neighborhood does NOT have a HOA.
What we do have is a busy body neighbor that likes to put letters in mailboxes informing you of what she thinks is wrong with your property.

Lord help us if she ever gets the legal power of a HOA behind her...

  Call the postal inspector on her.

Really there are two reasons why you join a HOA.

The first is that the house you want is in an area that requires it.

The 2nd is IF you want "the rules enforced".

We live in an area that has a HOA (because wife wanted that house). I find it expensive for what they offer although maybe I'm wrong and if the HOA didn't exist there would be garbage all over the place but I doubt it. Ive found our HOA to be a little too aggressive with the rules. I personally believe the management company does this to give the appearance of worth their cost but again maybe I'm underestimating the value of the HOA. I actually get a notice twice a year about something. The last one was that some trees needed an extra inch of height clearance that were close to the sidewalk. Now I didn't measure it and just cut some of the lowest branches but I doubt anyone here would have looked at the trees and felt there was a problem that needed to be addressed. The time before that was that the HOA felt some of my shutters needed to be powerwashed. They had just been painted a month or two before so I just ignored the notice and never got another one about the issue. As far as I could tell, they actually looked good.

dhodson said:   
We live in an area that has a HOA (because wife wanted that house). I find it expensive for what they offer although maybe I'm wrong and if the HOA didn't exist there would be garbage all over the place but I doubt it. Ive found our HOA to be a little too aggressive with the rules..

  An easy way to tell is just drive into one of those non-HOA areas near your house.

Here's what I found after driving 2 miles from my area.
1) Non HOA's are usually lower priced housing. (Usually because of #2 and #3)
2) Non HOA streets are usually full of mismatched colored houses or houses that haven't been painted in over 20 years.
3) Non HOA streets seem to have more 'stuff' in front, usually trash cans that never move.
4) (Now this one I don't know why) More non HOA houses have fences around their yards than in my HOA neighboorhood (Though we have a few)

I didn't see 'junk' (well 1 street did have lots of cars that were pretty dirty) but I did see examples of what a non HOA looks like after 10-20 years.

Yes but as you seem to know, the HOA homes are more expensive. It maybe that people who buy more expensive homes have more money and thus less of the issues you mentioned in the non HOA areas. As I've mentioned I might not be giving enough credit to the HOA but still the things you mentioned are likely more causality related with the economics of those home owners then anything else.

psychtobe said:   Very happy our house does not have an HOA. We benefit that all the other houses in the neighborhood are in an HOA, so they have to keep their properties looking nice, but they can't tell me what to do.
  
I've got the same situation.    We're in a small infill development of a few houses and we're surrounded by larger neighborhoods on both sides that have HOAs.    So its pretty much the benefit of HOA keeping the surrounding houses looking nice and no HOA rules governing us.   I enjoy rules that keep the neighboring riffraff in line but don't inconvenience me. 

forbin4040 said:   
The mom who had a child die because of cords in HOA required blinds?
Something that is solved by using up to date blinds (Which no longer go to the floor) or possibly tying them up higher? Lets sue to association for that.
That sounds like some kind of 'blame game' or possible path to sue the maker of the blinds (In a wrongful death lawsuit you sue EVERYBODY)

 

  
That bit of the article is very confusing.    It mixes up two families.   

The one family that fought their HOA over the blinds had their daughter nearly die by strangling on blind cords.   Then they also talk about another family that did have a similar age child die in that manner.

I'm assuming theres more to the story about the legal battle over blinds and the HOAs requirement.    If it was as simple as "get cord free blinds" then there would be no logical reason for it to ever go to court.   Unless maybe the family had a somewhat paranoid fear of blinds after nearly losing a child and couldn't live with any kind of blind in their house after.    But again, I assume theres more to the story and we don't know the specifics on why they sued or what the exact rule was.

 

My house is in an HOA, and so my solution to guard against an overreaching HOA was to get elected to the HOA board.

I can't speak for any other HOA, of course, but I will say that my experience has been that nobody on the board wants to be a busybody or be involved in other people's business. The only time we have acted is when we receive complaints about blatant rule violations, and even then I pushed through a rule change for one such violation instead of making the people comply (they had chickens, so instead of making them get rid of the chickens I put it up to a binding vote to allow them- it was a PITA to get everything done and recorded in accordance with CA law).

The biggest problem we have encountered as an HOA board is people not responding to us. Most of the time we are just looking for a dialog with them to find a solution that will make everybody happy, but when they don't respond they back themselves into a corner.

HOAs aren't completely horrible, at least compared to devoting expensive and inefficient city government resources to regulate quality of life issues. The lesser of two evils and all of that.

jerosen said:   
I'm assuming theres more to the story about the legal battle over blinds and the HOAs requirement.    If it was as simple as "get cord free blinds" then there would be no logical reason for it to ever go to court.   Unless maybe the family had a somewhat paranoid fear of blinds after nearly losing a child and couldn't live with any kind of blind in their house after.    But again, I assume theres more to the story and we don't know the specifics on why they sued or what the exact rule was.

 

  

I'm assuming that any HOA which won't let you choose whether you have blinds, drapes or curtains on the inside of your windows is an HOA that deserves to be sued into oblivion.
And anybody who can't figure out how to eliminate the loop at the bottom of a blind or curtain pull doesn't need to breed.

tennis8363 said:   In other words, people are either too lazy or stupid to read what they are signing

That does not surprise me in modern day America. 
 

  

In Okemos, Michigan there was a huge uproar when wolverine wanted to replace/upgrade their ancient and failing gasoline pipeline.
What? There is a gasoline pipeline under my yard?? NIMBY!!!
(most of that community was just a swamp decades ago when the pipeline was built, for all I know the fill dirt for the original pipeline project created those lots)

Hey, idiot, if you'd read the easements on your property, you'd know that you already have one under your lawn, and it's got a deeded easement.
Would you rather have a new one with the latest safeguards, or keep the old rusty one?

(the solution was to re-route the pipeline through Lansing, where the residents are poorer than those in Okemos)

Every time this thread restarts the HOA-are-the-work-of-the-devil crowd fires up again.

99% of HOAs are just fine, some are overpriced but that is usually because there is too much being added to the other end. My HOA works just fine, all our major repairs are done including a new roof last year and we are about to do a major elevator upgrade. Rates are lower than most, went up 3% this year to replenish the reserves after the elevator work. Last year we were all WANTING to do a reserve study to make sure we were paying enough. (mine is $225/mo with the largest units being roughly twice that much)

To many that sounds high, but in a large multi-dwelling in good repair that isn't bad at all. It includes a lot, a part time manager split between two properties and a full time maintenance/porter as well as night security. Common area lights, pool, insurance, elevators, roofs, ect.. Single largest expense is the security contract, but it is what it is when you live in the urban core of a major city. Never had an assessment in 12 years of living there.

Every so often the greenie hipsters who like this sort of common building want to do something like put in recycling (tore out the bike storage area for another dumpster, which we PAY additional for even though they are supposedly recycling it -- what a racket, you split off the stuff we can resell and we will only charge $75 a month) Every so often someone wants to add more security or features like the argument to add Arlo style cameras to entries and such and make (or not)the server public. We do have an older DVR type camera system, which was upgraded a few years ago with better cameras in some spots. For a while we had the guard in a room watching, but that died in the usual "we want to SEE him" stuff.

At least the solar panel argument always loses in the bright light of day when you look at cost/return -- we actually HAVE the perfect roof and light, but Texas is about as unfriendly a legislative environment as exists for green power. Maybe if it gets a LOT cheaper -- the reality of roof repair chilled a lot of THOSE guys off. I am fine with solar, only IF it has a decent ROI and multi-tenant buildings get NO tax breaks.

Frankly HOAs for multi unit is a different beast.

In my development there isn't even a common park.

Still I personally agree with you that besides being over priced, it's fine. A little too intrusive as I noted but no big deal.

I own a house in an HOA that is run by fatwallet types that are aways looking to get a better deal or bulk buys on services/goods the HOA uses. The problem is good folks running HOAs eventually get tired or want to do something else with their free time.

One issue with the HOA is folks end up subsidizing others. Some HOAs pay for pet cleanup stations monthly, regardless if you personally own a dog or not. Others have frequent (multiple times per week) trash service because some folks make a lot of messy garbage or don't care when they put it outside.

But for many, an HOA overseen by competent residents who are reasonable and who use professional/skilled management companies are very useful and provide good value.

kenblakely said:   Yeah, I don't get the hating on HOAs.  It's always about one guy wanting to get away with something he prolly wouldn't tolerate everyone else doing.

I have a car on blocks in my driveway for two months?  "It's my frigging house and this is a Free Country!  I'll do what I want with my own property!  F-you!"
You have a car on blocks in your driveway for two months? "Hey a$$hole:  you're destroying the neighborhood and pulling down my home value!"

HOAs are generally a good thing.  If you don't like how your HOA is behaving, get elected to the board and change it.

  
You are describing a good HOA.  Unfortunately, HOAs tend to go bad and it can be effectively impossible for a Working Person to get on the board.

LorenPechtel said:   
kenblakely said:   Yeah, I don't get the hating on HOAs.  It's always about one guy wanting to get away with something he prolly wouldn't tolerate everyone else doing.

I have a car on blocks in my driveway for two months?  "It's my frigging house and this is a Free Country!  I'll do what I want with my own property!  F-you!"
You have a car on blocks in your driveway for two months? "Hey a$$hole:  you're destroying the neighborhood and pulling down my home value!"

HOAs are generally a good thing.  If you don't like how your HOA is behaving, get elected to the board and change it.

  
You are describing a good HOA.  Unfortunately, HOAs tend to go bad and it can be effectively impossible for a Working Person to get on the board.

  That's your opinion.  I have a good HOA and for the last 5 years it has had 2 openings in the board.  Because no one wants to be on the board of a 'good' association.

Many (most?) HOAs are very reasonable and typically have common sense guidelines. Some are written very Kafka-esque but you do get to review the CCRs prior to buying. Make an informed decision. They're not for everyone, Free Country and all.

In HOAs you exchange some amount of freedom to do whatever you want in exchange for certain minimum levels of property maintenance and appearance from those around you. They often also have pooled amenities (e.g. a swimming pool, tennis court, park) that might otherwise be a collective-action problem to fund and maintain. What often fails most is busy-body neighbors who hyper-enforce grass blade width and whether your house numbering is serif or sanserif. Joining the board, or even attending an occasional meeting is a reasonable option to help attenuate stupid.

If you want these things, voila, buy or rent in an HOA. If you don't, then don't. I realize people sometime inherit a house in an HOA or otherwise windup in one without being 100% onboard (grudgingly buy due to school district, commute distance, etc.), but life is about weighing pros and cons and making choices.

jarfykk said:   Joining the board, or even attending an occasional meeting is a reasonable option to help attenuate stupid.
  I used to live in one that didn't allow anyone at their closed-door meetings.

dhodson said:   Ive found our HOA to be a little too aggressive with the rules. I personally believe the management company does this to give the appearance of worth their cost but again maybe I'm underestimating the value of the HOA.
 

  
My HOA keeps talking about retaining a management company and I've been against it for exactly this reason. Currently the HOA only takes action if a neighbor notices a violation and reports it to the board. Major issues (1-2/year) get attention and there is nobody is nitpicking about stupid little things which is what I fear would happen if a management company was getting paid to actively look for those violations. I do understand why the board wants a management company, since they work hard and do a great job running the association for very little appreciation.

doveroftke said:   
dhodson said:   Ive found our HOA to be a little too aggressive with the rules. I personally believe the management company does this to give the appearance of worth their cost but again maybe I'm underestimating the value of the HOA.
  
My HOA keeps talking about retaining a management company and I've been against it for exactly this reason. Currently the HOA only takes action if a neighbor notices a violation and reports it to the board. Major issues (1-2/year) get attention and there is nobody is nitpicking about stupid little things which is what I fear would happen if a management company was getting paid to actively look for those violations. I do understand why the board wants a management company, since they work hard and do a great job running the association for very little appreciation.

When I was on our condo board, the management company we selected would only take action against an individual with direction from the trustees (per our instructions). So, it was great in the sense that they were on top of common area issues and general maintenance, but not overbearing or nitpicky. We made it clear we didn't want them to go after people for insignificant things. I think if the trustees set direction, the management company will follow.

DTASFAB said:   
jarfykk said:   Joining the board, or even attending an occasional meeting is a reasonable option to help attenuate stupid.
  I used to live in one that didn't allow anyone at their closed-door meetings.

  
What state was that?  Most states have open meeting laws for HOAs, with only certain topics (e.g. contract issues and non-paying resident handling) exempt from the open meetings.  

doveroftke said:   
dhodson said:   Ive found our HOA to be a little too aggressive with the rules. I personally believe the management company does this to give the appearance of worth their cost but again maybe I'm underestimating the value of the HOA.
  
My HOA keeps talking about retaining a management company and I've been against it for exactly this reason. Currently the HOA only takes action if a neighbor notices a violation and reports it to the board. Major issues (1-2/year) get attention and there is nobody is nitpicking about stupid little things which is what I fear would happen if a management company was getting paid to actively look for those violations. I do understand why the board wants a management company, since they work hard and do a great job running the association for very little appreciation.

  
The management company does what the HOA tells them to do, and is in the scope of their contract. If you don't want a management company to actively look for violations, tell the management company not to actively look for violations.   If your HOA is self-managed, that's great, but how much time are you willing to give up as a volunteer to run the association instead of having the community pay a manager to do the paperwork housekeeping and oversight? 

NEDeals said:   
DTASFAB said:   
jarfykk said:   Joining the board, or even attending an occasional meeting is a reasonable option to help attenuate stupid.
  I used to live in one that didn't allow anyone at their closed-door meetings.

  
What state was that?  Most states have open meeting laws for HOAs, with only certain topics (e.g. contract issues and non-paying resident handling) exempt from the open meetings.  

  NY

doveroftke said:   
dhodson said:   Ive found our HOA to be a little too aggressive with the rules. I personally believe the management company does this to give the appearance of worth their cost but again maybe I'm underestimating the value of the HOA.
  
My HOA keeps talking about retaining a management company and I've been against it for exactly this reason. Currently the HOA only takes action if a neighbor notices a violation and reports it to the board. Major issues (1-2/year) get attention and there is nobody is nitpicking about stupid little things which is what I fear would happen if a management company was getting paid to actively look for those violations. I do understand why the board wants a management company, since they work hard and do a great job running the association for very little appreciation.

  
Its likely that our management company has saved us a good portion of what we pay them over the years.  Being a big building there really isn't another option, besides the half cost of the manager and the full time maint payroll they also take care of collecting and accounting for the dues.   We had a crappy management company before, and then a better one.  

Things like utility programs to upgrade lights - they automatically applied for all properties they manage.  After hours they often have contracts that reduce the "emergency" callout costs, ect...

Our current company specializes in management (they do have a division that does real estate, but not the same team) and cost savings is a very major focus.

 



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