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HOA- Homeowners On my Ass


Lucky
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Last summer I made the serious mistake of getting myself elected to our HOA. I did it before in my San Francisco condo, but the people here make those folks look sane.

 

Quite a few gay people live in my HOA, so the board has four of the five members being gay. If I had to come up with one word for the board, petty would be it. Just like judges let the black robe go to their heads, so does a position on a homeowners board. Although totally willing to skip the rules that apply to them, many HOAs see boards take Soviet style means to enforce the rules. Freedom of speech is not welcome, and dissenters are shunned.

 

Last month I painted my garage door, and the fur flew. The property manager called me saying that she had to do something about all of these emails flying around. I said I hadn't received any- and don't forget, I am on the board- but she told me complaints were coming in because I had painted the garage door a different color without getting permission.

 

Can you imagine that? You maintain your property, but rather than thank you for it, certain queens get their knives out to stab you in the back. Well, I had them, because my door was painted the color it was in the first place. I had a new, unpainted door for a while, so when I went to paint it, I painted it the color it was supposed to be. No permit needed. This left the queens with their knives limp in their hands, and egg on their faces. They didn't like it at all, so they are likely to try again. Where does it end?

 

We have an election coming up, so I hope a sane person gets on the board with me. The chances are though that the new members will be happy to show how tough they can be on enforcing the rules and spending the money. Unfortunately, the temptation for me is to fight back, and believe me, some of these people are very vulnerable themselves on following the rules. But the bf just wants me to quit the board. If I thought that meant I could live in peace, I would.

 

Any HOA stories out there?

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This is an interesting topic. For work reasons, I am looking to buy a second home in Atlanta because a work project will have me in the city alot in the next few years; I am considering a condo rather than renting hotel rooms every time I have to be in town. I would like to hear some HOA stories, and some advice on issues I need to be informed. I am keeping my primary home near Savannah, and have never been apart of an HOA. I could sure use some wise comments from those with experience.

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Oh Lucky! The stories I could tell you...

 

The flower bed in the front of my home does not get much (if any) sunlight. I have replaced the contents at least 7 times since I've occupied my home. I did receive a letter from the HOA 'police' stating that my flower bed was 'out of compliance'. When I politely contacted the Management company to inform them of my difficulties in keeping flowers flourishing, I was told to 'correct the situation or face a possible fine'. Nice! I asked if artificial flowers were permitted - the young lady responded as if I said a curse word. "They most certainly are not!"

 

So, I then asked what flower the HOA 'recommends' that are planted. I was told "The HOA can not make recommendations as to what a homeowner owner can or can not plant" **HUH??** But the HOA can tell me my flower bed is subject to a fine unless I get some flowers planted.

 

Next is the story about having the backside of my fence painted... but you get the picture...

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Lucky,

You have already experienced a bit of how these power queens can be based on this past year. You are going to have to decide whether having access and input into HOA activities is worth the grief you are surely going to have to suffer through in the coming year. At least now you have one vote against levies and increases you don't believe in.

Good luck buddy.

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Before you buy or rent, be sure and read the CC&R's. Covenant Condition Restrictions. Similar to the other stories so far, I painted my house without "permisson". Then I got these nasty grams saying the color was inappropriate, all 3 members of the committee to crucify homeowners who dare to choose a color without permission signed off on my misconduct. I had picked a color that looked like a very light grey to me on the paint chart but the Nazis said it had purple in it. I said so what. Not approved. I went around the neighborhood and took pictures of several really ugly colors and emailed them including some that looked to be purple to me or worse, ugly shades of green.

 

After using up my easy to find ammunition and facing hiring an attorney to proceed farther, I relented and painted my house the same color white it had been before. It ought to last a bit longer with an extra coat of paint on it.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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Oh dear god in heaven I could write pages on this topic. I live in a condo complex consisting of fifty plus units in Southern California. I am currently the chairman of the board. I am extremely fortunate to have a great group of people on the board all of whom have their heads on straight and aren’t on power trips. Two of the best members are women over eighty five – damn are they bright, reasonable, and great to work with.

 

The f—ked up California Legislature has saddled HOA’s with the Davis-Sterling Act which makes it virtually impossible for a complex to be self governed. The state laws regulating board elections virtually require the hiring of an independent company that specializes in running HOA’s annual meetings and board elections. The Legislature is now considering passing a law requiring each HOA homeowner to pay into a state fund one dollar a month. The money will finance a State Condo Board to govern HOA’s. The board will be appointed by the governor and state legislature. Thus they will be able to appoint termed out legislators and friends to a board which will probably pay each member a yearly salary around $150,000.00.

 

Even the federal government is getting involved. My complex is currently spending approximately $25,000.00 to bring our swimming pool into compliance with the Virginia Graham Baker Spa and Pool Safety Act. The law dictates changes that many government officials readily admit are not possible BUT insist we MUST try to do. Go figure!!!!!

 

I have lived in my condo for over twenty years and love the complex. However, during the last few years the State of California has, as far as I’m concerned, made condo ownership a pain in the ass. I would NEVER, with the current state rules and regulations, recommend condo purchase to my worst enemy.

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Ah, the joys of home ownership in an HOA. I have belonged to two, in an apartment house in New York and a townhouse development in Philadelphia. The one in NYC was a snakepit: certain owners fought for places on the board, so that they could control things as trivial as the choice of wallpaper in the entrance foyer, or could make rules to penalize other residents they disliked (such as a rule that dogs couldn't ride in the elevator, in order to harass a 6th floor resident with an arthritic German shepherd). Voting power was determined by the size of one's apartment, so elections were as fraught with deals as political conventions; one couple bought the apartment next to theirs in order to exercise more clout.

 

The opposite problem existed in Philly: no one wanted to serve, so rules were poorly enforced. One homeowner decided to drastically alter his facade in the middle of a row of architecturally uniform attached houses, and the board ignored it, even though it clearly violated the bylaws. When one owner succumbed to entreaties for someone to take charge of the neglected plantings, and she invested a great deal of time and energy in refurbishing them, people who had said nothing and contributed nothing in the past complained vociferously about her choice of plants! When a meeting of owners was called about the problem of illegal parking by outsiders in the complex, I agreed to take responsibility for enforcing the rules--and promptly got attacked by a couple of owners for having their guests' cars towed from in front of our fire hydrants; naturally, I got no support from the elected board.

 

I am happy to be back in a private home, with neighbors who are actually more cooperative voluntarily than the ones in those HOAs.

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Too bad the HOA can't do anything about your nutty neighbor!

 

"Nutty Neighbors"

We have a neighbor who is constantly screaming...not 24 hours a day, but periodically he stands in his yard and just yells. He has a dog that barks all of the time as well. Since his home is down the street from mine, I'm not an immediate victim, but it is annoying. Just like with barking dogs though, the cops can't do anything if they don't hear it, and then, hearing it just once hardly brings it to the level of nuisance that it really is. What do you do if a neighbor is a nut?

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Guest zipperzone

In Canada the HOAs are called Strata Corporations and the owners who by and large run the show on a daily/monthly basis are called the Strata Council.

 

I live in a high-rise of 91 suites. Our council is comprised of 9 owners elected by the owners annually. The election process is pretty much of a farce as no one wants to serve and the same crew are usually voted back in by acclamation.

 

A few years ago I was the president of mine. I had previously been on the council and when the president resigned due to health reasons I took on the job simply because no one else wanted it and we needed somebody to do it. I lasted for six months doing a thankless job. Another council member complained that I was not doing a good enough job and that's all it took. I resigned from the job and from the council, on the spot, and will never serve on one again.

 

In my experience, these councils are comprised of two types of individuals. (a) The retired executive you has previously been in a job of authority and can't stand to give the authority up. and (b) the busy-body types who have never had any authority and now in retirement find satisfaaction in becomming "Strata Police"

 

Where ever possible my policy is to completly ignore the whole lot.

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About 8 years ago I found myself transferred to the Denver area and expected to be there for a few years. I still wanted to maintain my retirement home in Utah and the thought of apartment life didn't interest me.

 

So, I bought a small 2-bedroom home in a quiet neighborhood. I didn't pay attention to all the paperwork I was signing and didn't realize that the neighborhood was governed by a HOA.

 

Two weeks after moving in my employer sent me to a long-term project in Northern California. So, I put my "new" Colorado home on the market. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the perspective owners had to be approved by the HOA prior to the sale.

 

For NINE MONTHS I had to deal with the HOA trying to get them to approve the buyers for my modest home. It was so bad that I actually considered paying someone to torch the place for me. I actually looked into donating it to Habitat for Humanity just to get rid of it but the HOA wouldn't hear of that.

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Today I had to attend a board meeting, so, after 2 hours of hearing resident appeals, and being flexible, I asked the board just what they wanted me to do about my garage door. Unbelievably, these same people who were so flexible earlier could not be flexible for me. These same people who had just assigned a variety of tasks to me could not accept that my door color is one shade off from what they want it to be.

So I resigned from the board and will let them go through the hoops. It's nothing I wasn't expecting to happen, sadly.

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When you say in Canada HOA's are Strata Corps, you are talking about British Columbia, which is Canada, albeit a small part. From my cursory examination, a Strata Corp, which I have never heard of, is some creature under the Strata Act of British Columbia, again, not Canada, just a small part.

 

In Quebec, which is still a part of Canada and is quite a bit larger than BC, condos are organized under syndicates of owners. Each syndicate elects their board of directors, and they run the condos, with the support of the votes of all the owners.

 

I happen to be a member of the board of my condo syndicate and have found the experience satisfactory. Maybe I just have reasonable neighbours, not that we don't have a few problems such as one owner who hasn't paid his condo fees for over a year but otherwise we work things out when issues arise.

 

I also own a chalet where I am free to do what I want within the bylaws of the municipality. All my neighbours, who thankfully live out of sight, have in the last five years covered their houses with either aluminum or plastic siding, which I personally abhor. All our houses were built over 70 years ago and I prefer to keep the original wooden siding, despite the upkeep costs of painting regularly. In a condo situation, I would have been outvoted.

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You just can't win with HOAs. My resignation was written with the caveat that it would only take effect upon the election of my successor by the homeowners. The annual meeting is in April Nonetheless, my former (?) cohorts have already filled the position, despite the little technicality that the resignation is not yet effective. In doing so, if they get away with it, they maintain the majority on the board. To avoid that, I put the effective date caveat in there, but I guess they want a fight.

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Here in California if a homeowner does not pay his monthly assessment the consequences can be disastrous for him. By California law a HOA can foreclose on any homeowner who owes his association $1,800.00 or is one year in arrears, which ever comes first. First letters of failure to pay are sent, then a lien is filed, and finally a letter of intent to foreclose is delivered. The whole process takes several months. Most homeowners incorrectly believe that only their mortgage holder can foreclose on them and that if money is tight they can simple NOT pay their monthly assessment. Thus far my association has only once found it necessary to file the intent to foreclose on a homeowner. He paid almost immediately as he finally realized he was in serious jeopardy of loosing his home. The sad thing is that he also had to pay several thousand additional dollars for lawyer’s fees, and paper

work.

 

P.S. Fines incurred by a homeowner may NOT be included in the $1,800.00. The only way a HOA can collect fines, if the homeowner refuses to pay, is to take him to Small Claims Court.

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One of our board members at the last meeting said there is a much, much cheaper way to comply with the swimming pool rules, but I don't remember what it was. Seemed like less than $1,000. We're too busy trying to get members to pay dues to worry about little things like paint and drapery colors.

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We have too many termed out legislators and not enough cushy jobs. This should help them. I wish every one of the California legislators were termed out tomorrow. The legislature would function better if we randomly picked 120 prisoners to take their jobs, and it would help the budget by reducing the prison population.

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Guest zipperzone

>When you say in Canada HOA's are Strata Corps, you are

>talking about British Columbia, which is Canada, albeit a

>small part. From my cursory examination, a Strata Corp, which

>I have never heard of, is some creature under the Strata Act

>of British Columbia, again, not Canada, just a small part.

 

I really must be physic - as I was typing my post, I realised that probably other parts of Canada would have different names for them and I JUST KNEW you would be writing to contradict me. But whatever name you give them back east, the concept is the same.

 

>In Quebec, which is still a part of Canada and is quite a bit

>larger than BC,

 

I wonder why you had to mention that Quebec is "quite a bit bigger than BC. Is that relevant to the discussion? Or are you originally from Texas which we all know is bigger than everywhere?

 

>condos are organized under syndicates of

>owners. Each syndicate elects their board of directors, and

>they run the condos, with the support of the votes of all the

>owners.

 

Same with a Strata Corporation - small world eh?

 

You certainly be officious when you put your mind to it.

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Guest Jesse Dane

I'm living in a neighborhood with an HOA now for the first time and HATE it! It just seems ridiculous to pay people so they can tell me how to live. And what do I get out of it? A pool full of children in the summer and a gym the size of my bathroom. Oh yes, and a fountain at the entrance to the neighborhood that is apparently the biggest expense on their budget.

 

I plan on being out of here within 2 years (housing market willing) and don't plan on ever being a part of an HOA again!

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Guest Jesse Dane

I'm living in a neighborhood with an HOA now for the first time and HATE it! It just seems ridiculous to pay people so they can tell me how to live. And what do I get out of it? A pool full of children in the summer and a gym the size of my bathroom. Oh yes, and a fountain at the entrance to the neighborhood that is apparently the biggest expense on their budget.

 

I plan on being out of here within 2 years (housing market willing) and don't plan on ever being a part of an HOA again!

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