HOAs

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by woodstock, Jun 14, 2005.

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When you get an HOA letter, do you...

Poll closed Jun 16, 2005.
  1. comply quietly

    2 vote(s)
    8.7%
  2. ask them to come do it for you

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. tell them to put their letter where the sun don't shine. no I am not talking about Erie PA

    21 vote(s)
    91.3%
  1. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    about two weeks ago I went home for lunch to wait for a TV delivery. I let the delivery guys out of the house in time to see someone slowly driving past the houses taking pictures.

    thinking it was the folks appraising my house (I am re-fi'ing) I said "hey, are you the appraisers". the guy looked surprised but chatted a bit - nope, just the HOA looking at everyone's house. I thought hmmmmm, bastids.

    yesterday I got a letter - "your lawn needs edged. you have til June 18 to comply."

    protest is futile (I've lived there a year and a half and can assure them I've never edged it and never heard a peep from them) so I guess I better figure out what the heck to do. apart from calling a lawn guy - what do you do? can I get away with just mowing it all short? I think edging is pulling the grass away from the very edges using some kind of hoe-like tool, (edger) right? (seems useless to me frankly)

    I have no green thumb in case this isn't apparent.
     
  2. Ed Guthrie

    Ed Guthrie Cleared for Takeoff

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    Edging a lawn is done with a variety of tools. Most popular is an electric or gas powered blade, spinning in a vertical plane, pushed parallel to whatever edge object the lawn might abut (i.e. sidewalk). Second choice are some creative hand tools. One of those is a little wheel & blade on a broom handle. Another is a simple large blade mounted to a broom handle. Another choice is a simple power weed whacker rotated 90 degrees so that the string rotates in a vertical plane. Any rental yard will be able to set you up with one of the powered specialty edgers, or go to the lawn & garden section of Home Depot, Lowes, etc.
     
  3. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    they can bite me.

    maybe I will call a lawn guy - it would likely cost as much as these tools. they won't come out every week and check things out, right?

    thanks for the info though. why is this a big deal? especially since the front lawn is about 10x6! not kidding - townhouse lawn.
     
  4. Carol

    Carol Line Up and Wait

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    All very good suggestions. I would add only getting someone else to do it.
     
  5. Ed Guthrie

    Ed Guthrie Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, the 22 year old, shirtless hunk wielding any of those implements is of course any woman's perfect solution to the problem.:yes:
     
  6. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    I like that! heh heh

    I took a peek - all my neighbors lawns look the same as mine. I think I am going to call them and see if they want to get one guy to come out for the whole row and split it.

    this is really out of control. what next?
     
  7. Kaye

    Kaye Line Up and Wait

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    I wish! Don't know what happen to those gorgeous hunks, but they're not doing lawns around here anymore :dunno:
     
  8. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you have a weed whacker, you can use it, just hold it so the string is vertical. As for the "Association", personally I'd tell em to go f*** themselves and release a sailors tirade of obscenities at them, but then again, I rent, so what do I care.:cheerswine:
     
  9. fgcason

    fgcason En-Route

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    This is one of the many reasons why I am currently searching for land outside of town away from the gustappo where I can hide myself away behind the trees. If you don't like the way I cut my grass or paint my house or anything else I do, well, the only way you could have found that out is by trespassing and you'll be looking down a barrel or I will sick my lawyer on you, or more likely, both.

    Gustappo can stuff it. I've had it with their crybaby nonsense.
     
  10. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    nope, no way, not a chance. not taking a chance on something hitting the GOOD eye b/c these clueless SOBs want me to edge my lawn.

    I am getting tempted to tell them where to stuff their letter. what are they gonna do, take my house?
     
  11. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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    Get yourself a little electric weed whacker for $50 bucks - B&D makes a model that rotates around for edging. It will be cheaper in the long run than paying someone and the HOA can certainly add a lot more grief to your life if you try to fight them. Life's too short to worry bout it.

    (This from the guy who will NEVER move to a neighborhood with an HOA, ever.) ;)
     
  12. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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    And get a $5 pair of safety goggles while you're at it to eliminate the eye worries.
     
  13. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    I live on a couple of acres on a hill out in rural Amish country. The rabbits edge the lawn for me. When they start edging the garden, I shoot the rabbits. Sometimes eat them. Problem solved.

    I suspect none of this would go over well with a HOA, would it? :D

    That's why my nearest neighbors are more than a rifle shot away. That would be their way of "neighborhood appearance control". Distance = safety.

    Jim G
     
  14. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Amen Mr. Gratton,

    It's thing like HOAs that make me wonder why anyone would want to live like that. I've got an acre and I feel cramped.
     
  15. RogerT

    RogerT Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've lived in two townhouses and we paid dues to the association and
    they had someone do the lawn in the summer and sidewalks in the
    winter.
     
  16. L10MAN

    L10MAN Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Don't water lawn, when it turns brown paint green. :D Just out of curiosity do your covenants and by-laws specificly address lawn triming or edging. If not, tell them to stuff it.
    Ron
     
  17. RogerT

    RogerT Cleared for Takeoff

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    They'll hire the work done by one of their crook cronies and place
    a lien on your property.

    Wear eye protection when you weed wack.
     
  18. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Actually, they can put a lien on your house to pay for the work. That would be covered in the covenants and restrictions document you were supposed to get when you bought the place.

    I once was president of my HOA for a small development of 10 houses in Coconut Grove, in Miami. These kinds of HOAs are useful. However, where I think the problems begin is when the homeowners contract out the HOA managerial duties to larger companies, which basically takes it away from being a homeowners association, where common sense prevails, to a management situation in which there are no shades of gray.
     
  19. MSmith

    MSmith Line Up and Wait

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    This is a good point. You're a lawyer, Beth - time to start reading.
     
  20. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    I actually want more space than we have, and hope to acquire some pasture and woods beside the driveway, eventually. I am pretty sure the pasture is big enough for an ultralight strip. I figure, walk to ultralight, fly ultralight to airport, get bigger plane there, fly elsewhere. No driving.

    Jim G
     
  21. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    First, I'd check to see if I actually signed something as stupid as a contract that dictated when my lawn needed edging. I'll bet yours just says something about keeping the yard in presentable form and the bit about edging is straight out of some neighborhood Nazi's fantasy. Second, I'd check with some logical thinking neighbors and see if we can drum up support for nixing this in the bud. If you let this go unchallenged, you'll wake up one day to find that the HOA is dictating the color of your car and the material for your window dressings.
     
  22. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    what is funny is - the edging is the least of it. that particular day it definitely needed to be mowed, and my spring flowers had died off and the stalks were looking kinda straggly. edging is the least of it - at least they let the rest go. ha!
     
  23. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I beg to differ.

    In many places, the HOA is useful only for being an outlet for power-hungry jackbooted thugs that want to rule the world. Not all, but many. They'd never run for public office, but they'll run a neighborhood because they want some measure of control over the neighbors.

    We have a couple of them down here that specify not only the usual stuff (like what color your house can be painted and whether you can have a basketball hoop), but also go as far as to say whether and how long your garage door can be left open (only brief periods not exceeding 3 minutes to allow your car to be taken in and out. Under no circumstances will the garage be left open while you are doing lawn work).

    HOA's are another thing foisted on the unsuspecting American public - and given the teeth of law - to enforce rules that (in many cases) were established by developers in order to sell homes. It's quickly getting to the point in some places where the government and courts have no power, it's all vested with the HOA. "It's for your own good, Mr/Ms Public, and you can't buy a house without it".

    Fortunately, some states are now passing laws to reign in the biggest abusers. One can only hope that trend will continue.

    Ken, I'm sure your group was reasonable and fair. A lot of them - and I mean a LOT of them are not.

    Can you tell how I feel? :rolleyes:
     
  24. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    Well, I'm 38 now, living in PA, and doing financial services instead of lawns :D
     
  25. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    I don't have an HOA, which means I can tell the world to stuff it, but I also have a neighbor that makes me see the usefulness of them. Turd just cut the grass in his backyard for the first time this spring so they could have a babyshower for his preggers daughter. Grass/weeds were above the top of the fence. The darn yards are only 13' x 30'. I cut mine in less than an hour with a $20 weed eater from Wal-Mart, an implement soon to be replaced. Now, after the party, they lazy SOB has a backyard full of trash. Renter, of course. They are supposed to be gone by July. If they aren't, I guess I'm going to have to yack at the owner, for all the good that will do. Still, I'd rather deal with the hassles of one pig neighbor than an HOA that thinks it has the right to tell me how to maintain MY property. Someone tells me to edge my lawn on my property, I get to tell them to bite my butt zits.
     
  26. Dave Siciliano

    Dave Siciliano Final Approach

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    I develop subdivisions for a living and many times don't have a choice but to form an HOA. In any case where common areas need to be maintained, not much choice. Cities often force me to install things which must be maintained by the community; so, no choice but to form an HOA. In the past, some developers made assessments to maintain common elements voluntary; it was just a matter of time until enough folks didn't volunteer and common elements deteriorated. The city had to step in. Then, they required HOA formation.

    New land planning is pushing the trend to HOAs. As is more density to keep lot prices more affordable. We used to have homes front along a street. Now, cities have set up thoroughfares and collectors: don't want homes fronting to those!! So, traffic is channeled into the subdivision at specific points. Homes back or side to the street and a screening wall or fence is installed (common element). In Frisco, there is a mandatory greenscape area between the wall/fence which must be planted, irrigated and maintained by the homeowners. I have open space in my subdivisions (like private parks) which must be maintained. Some have a pool and club house.

    All this said, the formation of an HOA doesn't mean there needs to be rigid policies. The Covenants, Codes and Restrictions (CCRs) are general rules that empower and guide the board of directors. From those powers, they can establish policies which are reasonable. When third party management companies are hired, things become less personal, but management reports to the board. Out of control policies are correctible by electing good board members and removing poor ones. In my subdivisions, management is essential as there are too many owners to have a few owners do this on the side like Ken did (400 lots).

    These can be good and I stay on each board for several years to coach the board and assist it in understanding its responsibilities. In large subdivisions, the revenue stream is pretty significant as is expense control. These associations are set up to be what the homeowners want. If a few have taken over and gone to far, time for a reality check and to challenge them. Get a better board installed.

    I wouldn't challenge them until you do all your homework. They can generally fine, and place liens in addition for foreclosing (usually a last resort). They will charge late fees and legal fees. All that said, I have had to take issue with them a few time and have always prevailed (because of knowing the rules and taking proper actions).
    Best,

    Dave
     
  27. rfbdorf

    rfbdorf Pre-Flight

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    Our lawn was getting unpleasantly high and I was tired of mowing, so I ran the electric fence around it and let the cattle in for a week. I don't suppose your HOA will approve of that solution? ;)

    - Richard
     
  28. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    I pay 720 a year for the HOA fees, as does everyone else. they already have a big ol' mower for the common areas, why can't they just pass through the back of everyone's miniscule lawn and finish the job? I can see not wanting to individually weed whack for that price, but running a mower through the worst of it would help.
     
  29. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This is the reason we bought a home in an older neighborhood with minimum 1 acre lots and mature trees. No common area, no HOA, no hassles.
     
  30. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    You are paying for the priviledge of being yelled at for not "maintaining your property"? I thought the point of paying was to get this work done for you. Not to pay to be policed and told that you need to "get 'er done".

    Jim G
     
  31. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    OK, valid criticisms, and very true. I should have said "CAN BE". Abuse of power is certainly a concern. But my two GOOD HOA experiences involve developments of 10 and 8 units -- really too small for nazism to take hold, I think. The place where I live now, 250 houses, has an off-site management co that does a "professional" (ie black and white) job of enforcing the rules. Let too many weeds grow, you get a letter. But so does every neighbor who lets too many weeds grow. There was a "border dispute" between two neighbors that escalated into late night vandalism against each other, the HOA got it resolved. One neighbor painted the house flat black (stucco. in florida. idiot) and that got repainted in short order and the owner moved.

    But I will also say that it does help to be married to a lawyer who in her past has written condo and HOA docs. She knows the ins and outs, especially the outs. Can you say "selective enforcement"?
     
  32. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    I am likewise perplexed.
     
  33. BillG

    BillG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I guess this is a slightly different situation but I'm a trustee of my condo association (like everything else, I'm the only sucker who would take the job). My neigbhorhood has a couple hundred houses whose foundations are connected by a cement wall, thereby making them "condos" (it was a sleazy way for the sleazy developer to get around zoning issues). Each house has a small section of "exclusive use" property, and there are public use areas around too (a couple of playgrounds, the roads, etc). We have a professional management company that handles the condo fees ($50/month) and everything else. There are the usual late fees, unkept lawns, etc. Biggest pain in the neck issue is putting up a new fence separating the basketball court from its neighbors. The neighbors want a huge buffer zone (increasing their exclusive use area) while the most vocal opponent says that the neighbors are stealing hundreds of feet of property. It's a lose-lose situation - no matter what we decide to do the trustees are screwed by someone...
     
  34. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If the HOA is truly a community association solely dedicated to maintaining the common elements (i.e. private roads & sidewalks), that's one thing. As long as there was some say as to the need for the common elements.

    It's entirely another to intrude on the ability for homeowners to use their property in a reasonable fashion without being jerked around by power-hungry folks.

    And Ken, no, I wouldn't particularly agree that the color of one's house paint is a matter for the neighborhood nazis. You may disagree, but that's what makes this country great.

    I currently live in an area that's the worst of both worlds... some of the neighbors together and got it declared a historic district. Not only does the city historical commission have to approve everything from house colors to landscaping, but this little neighborhood group has convinced the city that they, too, should have a say in things (and they oppose anyone who doesn't grovel at their feet).... even if you have a non-historic house. There are tales of folks being unable to repaint their houses the existing colors, the city library was soundly opposed when someone *donated* a house adjacent to the library for use as a conference center & offices (the city fathers ruled in favor of the library on that one), and we have a house a block or so away that was struck by lightning last year (rebuilding has not yet commenced because the owners, the historical commission, and the neighbors are arguing about how the rebuilding is to be done so as to fit into the neighborhood.... meanwhile it's an eyesore).
     
  35. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you agree to do something, shouldn't you.... do it?

    What does your agreement say.

    BTW I would never sign such a thing, sounds draconian to me. But if I signed that I would, it would get done. Or I would be outta there by my choice.
     
  36. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've had houses with various degrees of HOAs. One in California was the best - HOA owned and operated the pool and club house and otherwise stayed out of your hair. One in Colorado that had common areas, great pool and club house, but had design covenants. The one I have now has common areas, private roads (now, there's a cost item that can BITE! big time) and design covenants. Plus, we just re-built the dock and are about to have the bulkheads re-built to prevent erosion from wave action. 30+ homes, $100,000 worth of bulkhead repairs, $35,000 work of dock repair. And we dropped about $100,000 into the roads a couple years ago. These special assessments are adding up, fast.

    Design review is a pain. All I can say is, get yourself on the committee (I chair it). Given my choice I wouldn't live were this nonsense exists, but over the past 20+ years everytime I find a nice house in a nice neighborhood, guess what comes with it. And I have an addition beef with them, I'm a ham radio operator and they usually try to control antennas, too. Looked at a house in Oregon 10 years ago and the covenants on that subject proved to me why they are put there. It's not easthetics, it's not property values. The covenants said that when TV cable became available antennas would be banned. Guess what? That's to enhance the franchise fees paid to the city by the cable company. It has nothing to do with the other nonsense spouted on the subject. Had we made an offer on that house it would have been contengent upon the HOA allowing my ham antennas. Cable system doesn't do me any good and 100 watts of HF into the cable would have taken out the system.

    Check your covenants. If they address the lawn, suck it up and trim it. If not, tell them to go away. I bring this up in our HOA board meetings every time some board member starts up on something they don't like. Is it covered in the covenants? Yes - we can say something. No - leave it alone. And, we have legal interpretation that says that we can't amend our covenants, or we'll have to change some things we don't want to change because the laws have changed since the early 1970s. I love that lawyer. That ruling really quells some bad ideas that float around now and then.
     
  37. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    I'm planning to hire someone to take care of it. may as well have them trim a few other things while they are there too.

    frankly for the 50-100 bucks this will take to get them to back off it's probably worth it. still rankles to have someone tell you what to do - especially since I saw them sneaking by and taking pictures. bastids.
     
  38. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Generally true. However, if they are targeting you and not others, you may have a case for selective enforcement. But then you have to ask yourself it it's worth the hassle to fight.

    I look at HOAs as a necessary evil, especially in the suburbs of Florida. They can be irrelevant, as in the neighborhood I'm about to leave. Pretty much the only thing this one does is encourages people to sod when bugs/fungus takes out a patch of grass.

    And they can be useful, as at my beach condo, which has an 8-unit HOA. "Meetings" there are three guys talking in the parking lot. We talk about how to keep the property looking nice -- such as whether to prune the lime tree or not.

    Every association has its own personality, depending on the people who live there. Live in a neighborhood full of jerks, and your HOA will not be pleasant.
     
  39. gibbons

    gibbons En-Route

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    Sounds like maybe you should consider becoming a part of the HOA board.
     
  40. PoAdeleted5

    PoAdeleted5 Deleted by User Request

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    Federal law supercedes their auuthority in this matter. The HOA can *NOT* prevent you from installing a TV, satellite or internet service antenna on your building, whether or not cable tv is available. Nor can your local government.

    I can go dig up the actual code if need be, but that is the case.

    The rest of it, well, you have to read the bylaws of your HOA to find out whether they have the authority to tell you to edge your yard. There's a fine line between requirements and opinions.

    They probably *can* tell you. But I'm kind of surprised if it is a condo location that they don't take responsibility as part of your fee for the visible landscaping.

    I owned a rental house once and a management company kept trying to get me to turn over management to them. I had no reason to, so I didn't. Then the management company stacked the board of the HOA and began harrassing every rental property owner in the suburban development. They refused public records requests, violated the state's open meeting laws and a whole lot of other stuff that wasn't quite legal. This went on for about 3 years, they sought liens against the properties and so on. Finally, a group of homeowners and land lords filed suit against the BOD, the rental management company and the individuals. After another 3 years, they voluntarily gave up control and turned it over to a corporate management company - but only after a criminal investigation began. That kind of ruined my taste for being a landlord.