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Loftus001 wrote:

The meeting is Jan. 22, and you can bet that I will be at this meeting voicing my feelings on all these proposed rules.

if your hoa is like mine, there are a "select" few that try to run the entire neighborhood. i remember, after i moved into my house, i had a pile of topsoil in my front yardthat i was going touse to spread out to lay mysod on. since i was doing the work myself, i could only do iton the weekends. the hoa boardshowed upat my door one day, telling me that i HAD to get rid of "that eyesore"or they were goingto "assess" me and "call the city" about it. i told them 1st that they cant tell me what to do and secondly that the dirt wasstaying like it was because it was a landscaping berm and that all i was going to do was plant bushes on it and cover it with straw ! :laughing:they quietly went away. i am constantly battling mine, especially when it comes to spending MY money. if you really want to get their attention, walk in there with a lawyer and let him do your talking for you. i did that one time and it straightened them up pretty quick. they didnt care for it too much, but im not one to be pushed around either, especially when it comes to what i can do on MY property. the way i look at it, when they start paying my mortgage, then they can tell me what to do. i also suggested to them that they buy an insurance policy because one day they were going to get sued. they asked me if i was threatening them. of course i told them i wasnt , but, if they kept on the path theywere going down that it was inevitable. my attorney told me that 2nd to indoor air quality/mold/mildew issues, hoa's are the next largest category of litigations going on, and with good reason.

thyno

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Actually Thyno when you purchased your house, at the closing, you signed a document saying that you had been provided a copy of the HOA rules and that you would live by them. Sorry to tell everyone but ignorance of the rules is not an excuse for non-compliance especially whenyou freely purchased a house on the private property controlled by covenants setup by the HOA and allowed by the city or municipality.

Jeff

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An association is governed by the people that live there. You appoint members to the board on your behalf. Yes you signed an agreement that said that you would follow the rules. If you don’t like them, change them. Chances are that other owners agree with you.

Get together with your neighbors and discuss your concerns and come to some type of agreement. Then schedule with your board, some time to talk about this at the next meeting. You may need to send a repetitive to the board meeting as space may be limited (we used to meet at some ones house). The board can set up at larger place where all association members can meet and vote on changing the rules. We’ve done this on occasion.

Your by-laws were written by the builder and a lawyer and city representatives and handed over to a board of directors elected by the original owners. I was on my original board so I know how this works. The board also has a set of rules that they must abide by too. It’s not exactly a cushy job either and they don’t get paid.

People always thing the board members are bad guys. Hey, you can always run for election. There’s a good chance that you get it. Then you’ll know.:)

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It's time to reign in the bashing of the HOAs. (That's the Moderator's request)

Personally I think associations have a legitimate purpose and are not inherently bad. My association has about 4,000 homes in it. And although there are always criticisms (some warranted), for the most part things run smoothly. We are fortunate that our leadership (and the many hardworking committees) are well stocked with diplomacy, common sense, and a passion for the good of the community. "Violations" of the governing rules are met with a friendly phone call to advise the owner (in case they weren't aware of the issue) and explore whether there are any ways the association can be of assistance (such as referrals to various tradespeople or in-town volunteers). If the problem hasn't been resolved in a couple of weeks we send the first letter which is still of a friendly nature, but includes the association documents pertinent to the issue. And if the problem remains after another month (or more depending on the issue) the association may consider imposing penalties.

If you don't want to live within the Association's guidelines then you shouldn't be a part of that development. (And, no, you cannot withdraw your property.) Association rules (bylaws, charter, deed restrictions, etc.) aren't secret - they are public records. Our experience for the most part is that people want the association's rules (and want them enforced) UNLESS it happens to be against them. For example, I don't want my neighbor having car up on blocks in the front yard, or painting the house pumpkin with lavender polka dots, or permanently erecting an advertising billboard on the corner. (We are in an unincorporated part of the county which does not prohibit any of these actions -- so the association rules needed to take on that responsibility.)

We had a broadcast message earlier this week gently reminding folks that decorations should be down soon. Officially January 10th, but no one will raise an eyebrow if it takes until the following weekend to get things packed away and yards ready for springtime. That seems reasonable to me.

Rather than the association being the villain, I think it's more often the leadership and the "attitude" they take in carrying out their responsibilities. "Good Neighbor" policy versus "Vigilante." And isn't that mostly true of daily dealings in almost any situation? In the age of email and voicemail and other substitutions for genuine personal communication, it is so refreshing to deal with someone who is friendly and pleasant rather than confrontational.

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Guest Bob_Moody

I'm not sure what has happened to my original post in this thread, but everything between the "take a breath" and my name is missing and when I tried to edit the post, the additions were excluded.

The part this is missing was actually a reasonable list of suggestions to Loftus regarding his concerns. Without that section of my post, the post loses it context and appears asnothing more than the rantings of lunatic.

As for the comment "HOA's and other such "Holier Than Thou" organizations need to be crushed"; it was inappropriate in this environment and I appologize.

-- Bob M

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oh, i know jeff. regardless of what they say, there are still legal limits. besides, what i give them fits about are the little obscure things. unlike them, ive read the entire thing, several times. they just read what they want. i pick 'em apart everytime :laughing:

thyno

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I think a good way to handle the HOA is to talk to the president and see what kind of a timeline they are considering for the lights and decorations to come down. They should have a timeframe in mind that the members will vote on.

If the time frame fits than don't sweat it, if it does not than ask him a few questions about lenghtening the timein whichlights can go up and come downbefore the meeting. It might also be a good idea to talk to some of your good friends in the nieghborhood and get them on your side. The new bi-law might be for those who keep their lights up all year.

I like Jeff am on the Board of our HOA. They can be both a bad an a good thing. My real conern is more upkeep of property.

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jen grissett wrote:

I think these are out of hand and most times a ridiculous way to keep the "right kind of people" in the neighborhood...back in TN we had to pass on a very nice neighborhood that we wanted to build in...it was a well to do area...we could easily afford the mortgage and other house expenses but no way we could have paid the poa fees of $125 month...and that was also going to be doubled because we were planning to purchase the lot next door as well...

I bet I know which one you are talking about Jen!

I have a real good friend who is a county commissioner and he says 75-80% of the calls he gets is about what people are doing in their yards, or to the house. I have heard horror stories about HOA's in this area (prob the one Jen was talking about). My subdivision has restricted lots (mines not one) but the restrictions are about farmyard animals in the front yard and such.

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I too live in a small nieghborhood with an HOA...

I took the approach mentioned already...

6 years ago when the Association was turned over to the homeowners I held my hand up at the meeting and have ended up being the President for 6 years running..LOL!

Fortunately our bylaws and covenents (rules) are pretty down to earth, so we have not had very many problems.

I have actually spent more time explaining to people when they get upset with a neighbor and they come to talk to me about it...that the association CAN"T do anything about it because whatever they are upset about is not covered by our bylaws (and some of the things have been pretty petty, trust me!)

I usually suggest they TALK with their neigbor if possible to work out the issue.

And I always try to take the side of the "offender" if some rule IS broken, and talk to the person...there may be very good reason for the situation that might be beyond their control at that time, and given a chance they will rectify it.

Sometimes a neighbor may need a bit of help also, but are too proud to ask! This gives you a chance to help them out if you can!

Bottom line...the communication is the key!

(From both directions!)

Heck my main concern with my first year of LOR this year was my "Listen On 88.3 FM" sign !

(we do have a rule about signs, only for selling a residence, or for a garage sale, placed in your yard)

No one mentioned it...but just in case...

I guess I need to see if I can get creative and do it in a way that it doesn't "look" like a sign next year!:}

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"there may be very good reason for the situation that might be beyond their control at that time, and given a chance they will rectify it. Sometimes a neighbor may need a bit of help also, but are too proud to ask! This gives you a chance to help them out if you can!"

To me, that's the very essence of being an active and caring community.

I chuckled at your remark about your sign ... I had the same concern (we have similar signage limitations). Not a peep from anyone ... in fact the display (and FM broadcast) were mentioned in the town's newspaper.

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Jeff_Womack wrote:

Actually Thyno when you purchased your house, at the closing, you signed a document saying that you had been provided a copy of the HOA rules and that you would live by them. Sorry to tell everyone but ignorance of the rules is not an excuse for non-compliance especially whenyou freely purchased a house on the private property controlled by covenants setup by the HOA and allowed by the city or municipality.

Jeff

FUnny you write this Jeff. When we closed on our house 4 years ago, we never signed anything about HOA. They sent their welcome person to our house about 1 week later and gave me the by-laws. I have always wondered if they could make me pay dues and follow their rules, even though I never signed anything.

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It may vary according to state ... but in Florida, the requirement to be a part of the Association and to abide by the by-laws is recorded in the public records and "run with the land" meaning whomever is the owner is bound to the obligation. I suspect most states would be similar.

Thus, even if you didn't sign anything (or indeed even know of the Association) you are still obligated. Just the same as if other rights to the land have been obligated or sold. For example, in many areas around here the mineral rights (e.g., subterranean pockets of oil) were sold long ago and landowners have no claim to any oil which might be found.

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Didn't mean to dash your hopes!

Real estate laws (and customs) are very quirky.

I don't think this is hijacking the topic as it's still about Association rules.

I'm on our association's "Covenants Committee" (we're a 'good' association - try to help rather than rant and rave and issue violations and fines). Anyway, there is a restriction on parking commercial vehicles within our community for periods of time when they are NOT servicing a residence or business. A homeowner who has a business was parking several commercial vehicles on a street which is owned by the county but is within our community. The general public (me included) would think that anyone can park anything on a county-owned ("public") street.

However, it was confirmed that the developer recorded the deed restrictions (including the prohibition on commercial vehicle parking) when the original tract of land was defined as a planned community. Those restrictions continue in force even though the streets later were deeded to the county. The only time that would change would be if the county, state or federal governments had a rule which conflicts with the deed restrictions. And, indeed, there are no rules which require commercial vehicles be permitted on-street parking.

I thought that was quite interesting (in the order of precedence of who rules what) and is a good illustration that what we might think is "our right" may not be the case.

Happy ending ... off-street parking was secured in a nearby office park.

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Loftus001 wrote:

FUnny you write this Jeff. When we closed on our house 4 years ago, we never signed anything about HOA. They sent their welcome person to our house about 1 week later and gave me the by-laws. I have always wondered if they could make me pay dues and follow their rules, even though I never signed anything.

I have actually had customers go into a neighborhood with a HOA and build a home without there approval. Funny thing is, they now have no control over those homes. LOL.

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itsmejrv wrote:

Loftus001 wrote:

I have actually had customers go into a neighborhood with a HOA and build a home without there approval. Funny thing is, they now have no control over those homes. LOL.

That IS interesting...

If the HOA has filed all covenants and bylaws with the State and County government and it has been accepted as record they should actually have control should they choose to take issue with the homeowner.

And without approval, the homeowner COULD be forced to make some expensive changes if not in compliance,IF they decided to press the issue.

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse"

At least locally!

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terrypowerz wrote:

If the HOA has filed all covenants and bylaws with the State and County government and it has been accepted as record they should actually have control should they choose to take issue with the homeowner.

And without approval, the homeowner COULD be forced to make some expensive changes if not in compliance,IF they decided to press the issue.

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse"

At least locally!

That's my understanding as well-- the requirement to belong to a HOA is part of the deed to the property, just as any easement or other restriction would be. This should have come up in the inspection/permitting process and never been allowed. And if the property was built outside of the permitting process, it would be up to the propety owner to bring the property into compliance or raize it, just as if they had built on top of an easement or the like.

-Tim

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I amnot sure how he got away with it, but he did 2 houses this way. It was actaully pretty funny knowing about it thou. As far as the design of the house meeting the requirements, they did. I designed the homes to there standards, he just didn't have any of the meetings like your suppose too. In the end the homes somehow slipped thru the association and are not part of it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

MEETING UPDATE:

Well, last night was the big meeting. It will be remembered as the meeting from hell. :devil: It started off really nice at first. The board acknowledged my letter and requested my permission to show all attending my views, which I agreed. But before the discussion of rule changes took place, the meeting was side tracked on the issue to continue to have an association by a member (NOT ME) or eliminate it and turn it over to the city to maintain the common grounds. :shock::shock::shock:Talk about total shock from me and the board. So this meeting is now continued till next month. As for the 12 new rules, of the 228 homeowners, only 58 returned them. 43 voted "no" to any changes.

The rule to put a time limit on seasonal decorations was removed from the vote. This was found to be a single personal issue with one board members (not about my display) and was found NOT to be in the best interest of the association. Also at the meeting was a lawyer who lives in the association that has challenged the by-laws. He states that some of the rules are not legal and that records of the vote need to be provided. And that some of the by-laws conflict with state and local laws which over write any association rules. WOW. So for me, the lights will continue to shine. As for the town that I live in "Sherman" The mayor of the town was there last night as well. I talked to him and he said that he loved the display and can not wait to see it next year. (BONUS):waycool:

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Wow....glad to see it has worked out in your favor...maybe they will not bring that issue up anymore...if you still have an association...seems to me there is not enough interest in it anyway...228 residents and only 58 bothered to even fill out and return the ballot....always good to have the mayor in your corner...:]

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Glad to here this turned out in your favor. Well it was going to anyways. I really coudn't of seen them restricting you like they were mentioning. Also glad to hear that you weren't the reason for this possible change, I am sure its nice to know that also.

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