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Homeowner's Associations

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Hustle, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Hustle

    Hustle Guest

    It seems like we're heading for a showdown with our HOA. We bought a house that had not been inhabited in better than a year and are taking many steps to improve it: growing a lawn that was previously just weeds; pulling out old, dead holly bushes in the front that were eyesores; getting new windows. All of this would seem to improve our home's value and, thus, our neighbors' as well.

    But no, we're scofflaws, because the windows we got are not the right color; white is unacceptable, apparently. Three days after they were installed, I got a call from our snarky rep at the management company (the same guy who took three weeks to get us our visitor parking pass) who insisted that what we did was no better than installing a bright pink front door. After another phone call to this asshole a few days ago, we've decided that from now on, we will deal with him in writing only.

    We had our first HOA meeting tonight; my wife went and I was sidelined by work, which was probably for the best. The HOA president compared us to those who willfully break our county's laws on multi-family homes. He didn't know my wife was one of the 11 people there.

    I do my best to be a nice person on here and in real life. But I know my shortcomings; I hold grudges like a motherfucker and certain things push me into a seething where I am unable to function normally. The second phone call to the yahoo at the mgmt. company nearly left me hyperventilating and by the grace of God I didn't tell him to go fuck himself with a rusty pitchfork and get the tetanus shot through his balls. (I later asked my wife to pass that message along to him, tho.)

    So, has anyone successfully fought an HOA? Any tips or tricks?

    And does anyone know a good way to combat irrational rage syndrome?
  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    I can tell you what doesn't help the irrational rage: Posting here. :D :D :D

    Never dealt with asshats like that, but my advice is to take a deep breath and pet the cats.
  3. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Any chance the agreements/covenants are old enough that they include race-related exclusionary clauses? If so, consult a lawyer to see if you can get the thing tossed entirely. I'm not a lawyer, but this stuff does hack me off.
  4. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    I've got a question. I'm not a home owner yet but will be looking to be on in the future. Exactly what powers does a HOA have and couldn't you just tell them to f*** off? I'm not exactly clear on the process so perhaps I need some explaining to help be understand this, but I just can't understand spending upwards of $300K on a house only to abide by someone else's rules.
  5. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Read your bylaws. Do the windows violate some weird rule? If so, then the prick has a point. When you moved in, you agreed to abide by those rules, no matter how lame.

    But if they're not, the rusty pitchfork idea works.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    White windows hurt the property values?
    You swine!
  7. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    What other windows do they want you to have? You can't have white molding? Do you live in historic Charleston or something.
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I have no idea how Homeowner's Associations work, but as big an asshole as that guy is, didn't you sign on to their rules when you bought the house? If so, you really have no choice.

    I can definitely relate to those kinds of frustrations. I live in a co-op apartment in NYC (a beast that is difficult to describe to people not from here). It's more ridiculous than even what you describe. Instead of owning my apartment, I am technically a shareholder in the building and based on the attributes of my apartment, I own a certain number of shares in the building, like a stockholder in a company. It has nothing to do with what I paid for the place, which was solely between me and the people I bought from (although they couldn't sell to me without the co-op board of directors approving me).

    As shareholders, we elect a board of directors--anyone is free to run for the board. The co-op has a list of rules you have to abide by; a lot of them are good and common sense, but others are ridiculously petty and silly. Personalities often dictate how the rules are applied. A year and a half ago, I ripped my place apart and did a complete renovation. I had to submit detailed plans and get approval from the board (just to make any changes to *my* place), which was 100 times worse than anything you are dealing with--and these are people I actually know. It took me forever to get my approvals and I had more stupid rules governing what I could and couldn't do than anyone I have explained it to believes. If you aren't well-liked, they can make it impossible to do anything--worse than what I even dealt with.

    On top of that, I live in a landmarked area. So from the building's standpoint, we are not allowed to do anything to the outside of the building without some commission giving us permission. And those rules are even more ridiculous.

    I walked into the situation knowing what I was getting into and I just deal with it. In your case, if the house was vacant for that long, I am assuming there are other houses like that in the area, and the idea of an association trying to enforce rules like those when they should care more about getting rid of any eyesores is ridiculous. But that's not for me to decide. And if you signed on to their rules when you bought your place, it just is what it is, unfortunately for you.
  9. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    I sit on an HOA of a rental property I own.

    We need more background on the windows. What exactly did they want? I cannot see new white windows being a problem unless you live in a historical section of town, but man, that sounds a little harsh.

    What an HOA can do varies. They can keep slapping fines on the homeowner and do little things to screw with them. The biggest screw job we did was tow people's cars who did not pay their HOA dues. We have two parking spaces in front of the house of a non-state maintained road. Those are the HOA's spaces, so we took them away from people who never paid dues. They quickly paid up.

    In a house on a state-maintained road, I guess they could put a lein against the title of the home if it became bad enough.

    Like I said, more info on the windows is needed.
  10. Rough Mix

    Rough Mix Guest

    What is in the the bylaws are what matters. Not the windows. If the bylaws state that windows must conform to certain specs then that's all there is. No wiggle room.
  11. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    You might be able to have some wiggle if all of your neighbors sign off on agreeing that the windows are OK.

    Good luck with that, though, since I am guessing one of them ratted you out.
  12. bagelchick

    bagelchick Active Member

    Are there specs on file as to what the replacement windows must look like?

    Our HOA has specs for everything...front door, windows, etc. The entire plan has to have brown/bronze windows with muntions in the windows. It's very specific. Did you have to submit paperwork to replace the windows? Any change made to the outside of the unit (in this case, my condo), has to be submitted in writing and an approval received. If the submission doesn't meet the spec, it goes to the Board/Design & Review committee for a recommendation to the Board.

    If you put in white windows and the spec says brown, unfortunately you're probably SOL.
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