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Why I wont join a homeowners association

 
 
Reply Sat 4 Apr, 2009 06:03 pm
http://www.tampabay.com//news/humaninterest/article989591.ece?/

Quote:
TARPON SPRINGS " Robert Wirth Jr. may lose his house " all because of walking his dog in a deed-restricted community without a leash.

What seems like a relatively minor infraction has snowballed into a protracted court battle that he claims has cost him more than $100,000 in legal fees.


This is why I would NEVER join a homeowners association.
There is no way that I would allow anyone to tell me what I can do with my property, especially my own home.

But this is the part that gets me...

Quote:
Foreclosure cases like Wirth's are "unusual, but not unheard of, " said Gary W. Lyons, a Clearwater attorney whose specialties include real estate law.

Lyons is also aware of foreclosure proceedings that stemmed from painting homes the wrong colors or improper shingles on roofs.[/[/size]quote]

What makes anybody think they have the right to tell anyone else what color they can paint their own home.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 13 • Views: 4,327 • Replies: 41
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roger
 
  2  
Reply Sat 4 Apr, 2009 06:06 pm
@mysteryman,
Agree. As soon as you set up a homeowners association, someone has to set up a committee. With nothing else to occupy their time, they start writing rules, which you've already bound yourself to.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Sat 4 Apr, 2009 06:11 pm
I guess it's the same in gated communities. I put a garden in for a woman who lived in a gated community and a committee had to approve everything. It took forever and cost the woman a lot more money because of the time I had to put in making a bunch of Know Nothings happy. She also mentioned when her clothing dryer broke she was not allowed to hang her wash out on a laundry line or over her deck, instead she had to drive to a laundromat 15 miles away to dry her clothing.

A few rules can be good for a community, but many of these places become little fascist states run by people who want to micro-manage the universe.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Apr, 2009 06:19 pm
@Green Witch,
I agree with everyone here so far..

my first experience with this was in one of my first jobs in landscape design. My then boss was showing me some projects, and stopped by his own house to show me the aviary..
anyway, he mentioned in an apologetic way that he couldn't put ceramic pots out in front of his entry area. I was stunned, as in, you're kidding, aren't you?

The clotheslines thing is particularly aggravating.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sat 4 Apr, 2009 07:28 pm
I find dealing with the HA, which I help fund to the tune of $400 a year, irritating. On the other hand my property is worth more because the neighborhood does have standards that are enforced. The subdivision next door has no HA, and it is trashed. It also has noticeably more crime, which might be related to it being more down market and the fact that it caters to those who want to be able to do whatever it is that they want to do.

I am thus ambivalent about the wisdom of having Homeowner Associations, there are pluses and minuses
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Apr, 2009 07:43 pm
@hawkeye10,
I was going to add that to some extent I am for some zoning (I'm well aware of zoning abominations) and for building and safety rulings.
Cosmetic choices by homeowners associations rankle for me.

One of the places I've lived is Venice, CA, home of lots of artists and movie people and, for decades, my neighbors were a butcher and a postman. We had to struggle in our land use hearings to avoid what I call blind prohibitions and admit, instead, performance criteria. We didn't care what the hell your fence was made of, even chain link (Gehry was going to build a block from my house, although he's recently changed his mind, but he's famous for playful use of chain link on his own house in Santa Monica), as long as the fence height followed neighborhood agreed limits - which related to community as understood by the community.

I can see disagreeing with me on that, but I see front yards in tightly built urban communities as mixed spaces, both private and public-in-effect. Another whole subject.


0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 09:54 am
This is one of the cases that you need to hear both sides first.

I live in a home owners association " it is considered “pet friendly” as there are few restrictions around having pets except of course when you are in the common areas. We have two cats and plan on getting a dog soon so we definitely love all sorts of pets and animals.

However, living in a community where there are shared areas " comes with compromises. We also have a rule that pets must be on leashes and you must clean up after your pets " that is really all the rules. Now common sense would say that these rules make sense, but people still break them. We had discussions with neighbors of ours because they did not clean up after their dogs.

Same goes for leashed pets. One of our neighbors has a very sweet lab. Our kids love him, but not everyone is dog crazy and they let him run without his leash. He ran into the street once and just missed getting hit. He runs through our back yard (shared of course) area and right through all the flowers and garden area. Our neighbor has gotten numerous complaints about this.

If the home owners association warned them first and then let them know they will be fined next time they broke the rules, and they continued to break the rules, then I see no issue here. When you buy in such a community, you read the rules and agree to abide by them, if you cannot abide by them then you simply live elsewhere " simple.

I do not think asking some one to leash their pet is too restrictive " however, I do understand some associations are a bit too restrictive " and I would prefer not to live in such. Also, if they handle infractions too severely " there should always be a warning first " with clear stated outcomes of fines and when they homeowners need to meet these requirements.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 10:07 am
Hell with all that. Homeowners Assoc' are nothing more than ways for people to harass their neighbors, who have nothing better to do.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 11:30 am
@mysteryman,
mysteryman wrote:
What makes anybody think they have the right to tell anyone else what color they can paint their own home.

Uh, it's usually in the by-laws of the HOA ... right there, under "acceptable house colors."

Honestly, if someone doesn't want officious, meddling HOAs telling them that they can't park their junk cars on the front lawn or paint their houses pink, then they shouldn't move into a neighborhood controlled by a HOA. On the other hand, if you live in such a neighborhood, then you need to follow the rules. And that includes walking your dog on a leash.

Quote:
TARPON SPRINGS " Robert Wirth Jr. may lose his house " all because of walking his dog in a deed-restricted community without a leash.

What seems like a relatively minor infraction has snowballed into a protracted court battle that he claims has cost him more than $100,000 in legal fees.

Translation: Robert Wirth Jr. is a colossal dick who is entirely responsible for magnifying a minor issue into a major clusterfark. I don't see why we should express any sympathy for him at all. As the linked article notes:

Quote:
The River Watch Homeowners Association said Wirth violated a deed restriction that said, "A dog must be kept on a leash at all times when outside."

He says the provision is too broad. But in court, Circuit Judge Bruce Boyer said his actions clearly violated River Watch deed restrictions. Boyer's final order said testimony indicated that Wirth "was the most flagrant and continual violator of the pet restriction within the community."

Wirth admits he still walks Cole without a leash.

Dick.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 11:43 am
@joefromchicago,
I kind of read into the same thing out of the article, but I tried to give him a little bit of a some doubt - like if the association immediately slapped him on with a fee.

Most good associations try to work with the individual and give them a few warnings first. This has been my experience and then if they still snub the warnings, they fine them and so forth if needed.

If you live in a reasonable association - this actually is a good thing - you don't want your neighbors painting their door/house pink, leaving crap around and having dogs running for a free for all as this will make your life a living h*ll and bring down the value of your property. I had a neighbor that didn't clean up after his dog - he just didn't want to - he eventually moved - most likely due to pressure from the association. That was good thing for 99% of owners who take pride and care of the property.

One other thing - this guy is a real estate broker so he knows the drills about association rules.
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 11:44 am
@Linkat,
What's wrong with your neighbors painting their doors pink?

This is starting to smack of The Gammage Cup.

Cycloptichorn
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 12:50 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Read above - I just used that as an example - but if your neighbors trash their yard, house or have their house painted an odd color, it could bring down the value of your own property.

The majority of potential buyers do not want to buy a house in a neighborhood that is like the examples above.
Cycloptichorn
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 12:52 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

Read above - I just used that as an example - but if your neighbors trash their yard, house or have their house painted an odd color, it could bring down the value of your own property.

The majority of potential buyers do not want to buy a house in a neighborhood that is like the examples above.


A trashed-out property is one thing. But painting odd colors?

Heaven forbid that people paint their houses a color that other busy-bodies don't like! Why, it might bring down the value of their property a percentage point or two!

There is something essentially and inherently wrong with this, don't you realize that? Maintaining standards of cleanliness, requiring people to pick up after their dogs - fine. But dictating things like flowerbeds or paint colors? That's a whole world of craziness.

Cycloptichorn
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 12:55 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
And like Joe mentioned - you do not have to buy in an assocation if you do not like the rules. If you do buy in such an association you agree to abide by the rules - no matter how inane they are.

That is why it is very important to make sure you read all documents. My association is not very restrictive - about the only rules we have is for common areas that would impact everyone. And the association does not even push any of the rules unless some one complains. Fortunately we have mostly reasonable people who live their so small things are usually over looked.

Most people wouldn't complain of a dog running loose (even with our rules) if the dog didn't run through flower beds and cause a problem for example. But if the dog tears up the flower beds and shubbery it ends up costing the association to repair and looks like crap.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 12:58 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I personally don't see a lot of value in it but I see why others might. It's basically a contract where the neighborhood determines how gaudy they can let themselves get.

Some merely draw the line before others would, but I think just about everyone has a line somewhere.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 01:11 pm
Well, I understand that such things are voluntary; but I find restrictions such as this to be a sign of a real problem, the idea that one's home values are more important than other people's freedom of expression and freedom to do what they wish with their property.

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 01:19 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I don't think it's just home values though, in this particular example it may be concern for the safety of their kids that makes them want dogs on a leash, and for gaudy colors it may be that they want to live in aesthetically pleasing (to them, of course) community.

I've seen very beautiful communities where I can understand them not wanting an eyesore for a paint job.

Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 01:29 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I agree regarding the safety issue. And like I said it is your choice whether you want to live in a more restricted association.

I personally don't and therefore I made sure my association wasn't very restrictive - I made sure that rules were ones I would be comfortable with. But with that comes issues as well - one owner had a pit bull (she claimed it was a bull terrrior - which is another name for a pit bull). Any way we have no restrictions on pets or owners for that matter. This owner had little control over the dog. For the most part he was friendly and seemed nice, but very strong - he broke loose from her and bit an elderly neighbor. We, as a condo association, were lucky he didn't sue - instead he said she had to have the dog destroyed or else he would have sued.

Everyone is different so some prefer a free for all - others want things prestine and no originality - to some where in between. But if you buy in an association you agree to abide by the rules - otherwise live elsewhere.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 02:28 pm
I live in a condominium, so we have to have a condo association (it's the law). It's somewhat different, therefore, from a HOA, which isn't mandated by law, but it's pretty similar. In the process of revising the by-laws (which looked like they were modelled after some high school's student council rules) we went over all of its many "thou-shalt-not" clauses. One of the rules was a prohibition against throwing garbage out of a unit's windows. I said that the rule sounded a bit extreme, but personally I was ok with it because I didn't want to live in a building where throwing garbage out of the windows was even an option. Turns out that a previous unit owner actually did throw garbage out of his windows, so there was a real need for such a rule.

In short, these kinds of regulations are often drafted with the "lowest common denominator" in mind. The guy in the linked article didn't just let his dog out once or twice without a leash. He did it all the time, and he's still doing it! As for house colors, frankly I don't really get that. I doubt that a home's value is drastically lower because it's next door to the pink house, but it's clear that other people place much more value on these kinds of esthetic issues than I do.

That, however, is the whole point: HOAs are all little democracies, and the majority gets to decide what color you can paint your house because the majority of the HOA thinks that's something important. The easiest way to change the leash rules or the rules regarding acceptable house colors is to get a majority of the HOA to agree with your position on those subjects. You don't like the fact that your tightass neighbors have given you two choices for painting your house: white or off-white? Run on the Pink Party ticket and take over the HOA board! Until then, stop complaining about living in a neighborhood that is governed by a HOA.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 02:57 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Only voluntary in the sense you are free to live elsewhere.
0 Replies
 
 

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