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Ignorant Property Associations

6338 Views 41 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  ekim
At the bequest of my wife we took a drive last weekend. We stopped at a "golf and country club" in the Sierra Mountains - I'd say foothills but its really beyond them and in to the mountain range. It really is a beautiful property. They have suffered like any other and lots are available there for $495 now. They are about a half acre and were marked as we drove through the subdivision. This is a big subdivision / community. There are nearly 3000 homes already built and probably 500 or so empty lots left most of which are held by someone. They have a lot of nice amenities including an air strip / hangers, golf course (if you dig - I did in the past - not lately), SHOOTING RANGE (yeah baby), and all of the other typical stuff (tennis, pools, trails etc etc) and its on a lake too. As things go - this isn't bad. Its only 75 minutes from my primary residence AND its actually "on the way" to my BOL. Things were looking positive. So I started to do a tad bit of homework this week only to learn:

1) I can't build myself unless I"m a licensed contractor - thems' the rules.
2) No solar, no how, no way, even if I "hide" it - have to pay "the man" his PG&E rates to the extreme.
3) No generators if they can be heard by anyone - someone hears is - you lose it? Is that possible?
4) Must build 1200 minimum square feet and oh building permits start at about $15k - now you see why the lot is $495
5) And them dues - $158 a month for life - never goes away - doesn't even include property taxes.

Sorry honey, I'll build you a driving range pad on the BOL.
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I lived in two property associations and dealt with two others who my parents lived among. I have no trouble with rules and enforcement. In fact I tire of the "its my property" BS that people spew which is why I investigated the rules before I decided to buy or not. The community provides a great deal for $158 a month but I don't want to get into paying that much so its not for me.

As for solar the mistake and the reason I call them ignorant is that it can be done out of sight on such propert - remember the lots are 20,000 to 30,000 square feet in size its not that hard to place a ground mount system in place and hide it from the neighbors. An emergency back up generator that makes no noise so that "no one" can even hear it seems quite over the top - a reasonable decible level would suffice. Last - requiring a licensed contractor to build is just a burden - they have design standards (like 1200 sq feet minimum) and plent of DIY people can manage to build on their own just as nice as any contractor. So its no wonder to me the association itself is selling lots for $495; with those rules they aren't even worth that.

There is nothing ignorant about it.

The developer decided this was the product he wanted to offer and thought property owners would like their investment protected from those wanting a different lifestyle. So the developer drew up a set of covenants and restrictions. These in most states are recorded and part of the public record.

This is a prime example of property rights and contracted protection from cheap construction, small shacks, and garish taste.

I am both the President and treasurer of such an association. Believe me it only takes a few homes to hurt property values. There is a development only a couple miles down the highway that has destroyed the value of early buyers because of poorly written restrictions.

Granted the developer runs the risk of not being able to sell his lots because his product concept is priced outside the local demand.

Our current dues is only $204 a year but we have zero clubhouses, golf courses and the like. We have limited common areas to maintain and our board's biggest job is enforcing aesthetic compliance.

I know of association dues as high as $300 to $600 a month. These neighborhoods are sold out and brokers have names on buy list if one goes on the market.

This is part of freedom. This is part of property rights. This is far better than having a government zoning and planning commission.

There is nothing ignorant. It is informed.
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Ah but you can do better than vote them out - don't buy in.

I want to lead a rebel assault on my home owners association! Any organization that you have to join and can't vote them out is communist!
I am amazed at how many people buy a condo / town home / or such property in an association and don't realize the rules they have accepted when they signed the contract. I lived in a relatively small one (80 units) once and we saved up enough money to tent / for termites the entire complex ($12k) which means everyone was getting it within their dues for no assessment and it was needed. We had a termite issue. The association was required to cover the exterior of the units which was starting to eat into reserves. It was voted on by the entire complex with 55 votes yes and 25 people not bothering to vote (55-0) vote. A date was agreed upon. Notices were repeated and the company showed up in the morning on a Wednesday to tent and would allow us back in on Friday at 5 PM. One family basically said "screw you" I'm not moving out. Well you can't tent if you don't move. So we lost our $4k deposit thanks to them, and we sued them for it - and won. Only when we sued we also applied added damages for new pest repairs and won nearly $20k. It amazing the stupidity of some people. We tented the property about 18 months later after they were forced to vacate by a judges order.

First you are not required to join an association. Homeowner associations are legally binding contracts you consent to joining if you buy particular pieces of property.

I never saw one that the property owners did not elect the board. Many require renewal; automatic renewal or rewriting every 20 years or so. With changes requiring a two thirds vote.

Your calling them communist demonstrates an ignorance of both homer owner associations and communism.
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If you can't live by the rules don't buy the property. Which was the point in my original post.

No not at all. Home owner associations have nothing to do with property rights...they are however the breeding grounds of petty tyrants...
I love the "i had to buy" there comment. I've heard it before, and its purely ludicrous. You bought there because the price was right and you didn't want to drive any further distance to a property not governed by an HOA. When you bought - you agreed. DONE; live by it or run a campaign to take over the board and change it. Its amazing how much people who hate the rules, don't want to live by the rules, and won't USE the rules.
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Personally I hate my HOA they seem to think they are some form of bosses over what we do with our private property. I and my neighbor have a sort of unique situation back here on this street in that we legally control and maintain the greenbelts and ponds that are protected wetlands back there in the woods. We are the kinds of people that the other folks in the neighborhood know to not cross, tell their kids to stay out of our yards ECT but those bozos on the HOA never seemed to catch on. I don't mind when someone wants to keep a neighborhood looking clean and keep it running smoothly but that's rarely what a HOA does. At least in my neck of the woods. Sure they start under that premise but as you know if you give someone a millimeter they will take a god damn nautical mile. Awhile back the president of the HOA just up and sends out notices that he and some people are starting a 'swim team' for some local kids and we would be restricted to using the pool only on weekends. Yeah, that didn't fly when every homeowner threatened to cut off their payments to the HOA. Then he sends out apology letters a week or two later and backpedals.

OH, yeah then there was the time the same dumb bastard pulls up to MY pond and tells me to get my truck off the grass. I just eye him and went 'I'll do as I please with my land." and he walks off shaking his head like 'well shit'. As if I'm the ass.

Yeah, then this one I recall where he wants me to mount a new mailbox and everything but he lets his pal who lives at the end of the street add a second cottage in the back yard (which is strictly forbidden according the rules) because he knows him personally. Needless to say that same old mailbox is still right out front.

There's too many examples of this asshat to list. They get the graduation sign each spring and you can't even read the kids names. They won't fix things that are becoming blatantly dangerous but they'll spend my money having a party I don't even want to attend. As far as I'm concerned there is no homeowners assoc. here because they aren't worthy of the title. The last real run in with the head of the HOA I had was him threatening to put a lien on my property for the chimney cap being rusty. After a few choice words about how I handle people who threaten me with my shotgun and a fashionable reaming about his obnoxious dogs he lets run the neighborhood, I informed his city slicker ass that should he put a 1000 dollar lien on my house or whatever, I'll spend 75 bucks file a lawsuit and either way it'll be no less than 15k for him. "Even if you loose asshole." I think were my very words. Haven't heard a peep since.

But this is my take on it. Sure, HOA's are probably started with good intentions. One lesson I have learned to be true is that the roadway to hell is paved with good intentions. Best of intentions.

They still are invalid and ignorant. Sure, nobody wants some screwball to come into a neighborhood and trash a property, make a problem. Did the genius developer maybe think about who he sold the land to before selling it down the river after collecting logging money on top of his bloated profit? Hell no, because big fat rich cigar smoking toad kings who broker these deals couldn't care less if its the last tree on earth they want a parking lot there instead.

As a constitutional Libertarian I still affirm that self governance is the ONLY thing that works. Every neighbor should have the self respect to keep his/her property up to standard and to do what is right. And if someone does start causing problems, the other neighbors should have the self respect to go over and slap the living shit out of them if necessary. Want to know why Dodge city didn't have a HOA? Because the HOA board would've been tarred, feathered and run out of town. Whenever you start forcing someone to do something under threats because YOU see fit to IMPOSE something on someone else that is where it starts to border on communism and I deal with quite enough of that from the current administration. I won't have it at home.
If you can't accept don't like the rules why did you buy there? Ignorant I can see they are, but claiming them invalid makes you look less than smart since you bought into it. People who are "constitutional libertarians" really SHOULD NOT buy into a property that is HOA governed - if you can't accept the rules don't buy there - which is exactly what I noted in the OP. I just found a family friend that is a member of the HOA of the area I was looking at, he confirmed my concerns, and I won't buy there - don't need too.
Equal enforcement is important in all laws. We have to pay taxes, but people can cross our borders with impunity. It creates conflict. I get that. His complaint about a neighbor getting to put an illegal building up is valid, but his complaint about an association that he bought into with rules he thus bought into is not. I will reiterate; a constitutional libertarian really should not buy into a property with rules governed by an HOA. It does restrict property rights and most of them can't deal with that.
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