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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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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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IIRC it's against federal law to prohibit any type of green energy.
I do not think so. But even so restrictions legally contracted before such a law was passed would be protected by the ex post facto clause of the Constitution.
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!
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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We have a home owners association. For the most part they usually leave us alone and only ask for about $100 per year. Twice in the 18 years we have lived here they have gotten into their heads that they could "improve" things by having everybody in the neighborhood use the same garbage service. When they came by and did their spiel to us about why this was such a great idea I told them in no uncertain terms that I will do business with whomever I damn well please. I don't think they like me much. :mrgreen:
I agree. But now that I am retired it is amazing the number of track pick up and landscaping trucks in the neighborhood every day. But, by 5 PM they are all gone.
Home owners associations AKA lawn Nazi's.
So you think private property rights is a product of if National Socialism. WRONG
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No not at all. Home owner associations have nothing to do with property rights...they are however the breeding grounds of petty tyrants...
You are just wrong. If I own a hundred acres and I want to sell fifty. I have a three thousand sq. foot home and I want to protect that value. Then I have every right to list a set of covenants and restrictions that buyers must follow.

Use limits have been part of property sales for hundreds of years. I have not looked it up but my guess it was part of Roman law taken to the British isles incorporated into Anglo-Saxon law from which we adopted our contract and property rights law.

Look you are perfectly free to find unrestricted land to buy. But do not complain if adjacent owners put up a shack, feed their septic tank field above your well; free range their chickens; have open hog wallow; dogs chasing your livestock... Well you get the picture.
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The covenant must not be personal in nature - it must benefit the land rather than an individual
The covenant must 'touch and concern' the land - it must affect how the land is used or the value of the land
The benefited land must be identifiable.
Your obviously one of those! It was a joke and next time I will try and make it more clear for you because your a little slow ;)
Oh! I get it. You want me to read what you mean not what you write.
Like I said...a little slow
And thin skinned.
You are right I am not as smart as you two think you are_nobody is that smart.
There is no question there can be problems. It starts with the overwhelming majority of members being too busy to participate. Then you get a power hungry individual with so so board members. We have had presidents that think the entire neighborhood belongs to them. We have had presidents that use the office to wage war against neighbors.

As for me the entire reason for an association to exist is to protect property values and ensure everyone can enjoy the peaceful use of their property.
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I did not participate in our association because of my work. Only once did they do something stupid. They had the state put in speed bumps. Just before they went in I attended the annual meeting think it was up for discussion. I had just returned from my work in the UK so I was out of the loop. I let them know how underhanded such a decision was but they had secretly got enough signatures to put them in.

Speeders were a problem but as I know now before the speed bumps the neighborhood had no liability. Any idiot should know that but the lie took. Now I take a modicum of pleasure telling everyone that plus now that we put them in if we remove them, and we can. But, if a child is hurt we have liability exposure we did not have before. That president found himself completely off the board soon after.

Then there was the president that hired an incompodent lawyer to rewrite the covenants and restriction which would automatically renew if two thirds of property owners did not sign off on a new set. Time was running out and the lawyer had not completed thr rewrite.

Then came a guy that really had an ongoing battle with his neighbor. He hired another lawyer that did a good job. The old set prohibited the old big satellite dishes but was written so even the new small ones were prohibited. Updating was a must. But this president was a nit picker and had an ongoing battle with his next door neighbor and in most cases rightly so.

Now there are covenants and restrictions that are part of the public record and attached to the deeds. Then there are by-laws which spell out how the board will operate, terms, officers, number of board members, etc. He offered some amendments at the end of his term that would extended his voting rights, added to the board from 7 to 9 when the C&R say 5 to 7 and nominated for president a lady that would have done his bidding

Now I retired four and a half years earlier. The old treasurer could not get anyone to take the job. It was a non-voting position. Finally she just dumped the records on the presidents door. After it became clear to him and everyone else he could not do the job I agreed to take it on. Well the president tried to make me his minion. Increasingly I was forced to tell him in no uncertain terms, "you can't do that."

So at his urging the lady with his urging said she was putting her name in the running for president. Now she was (is) not even a board member but a by laws fix was proposed to get around that. The nominating committee contacted me asking (telling) me they were going to nominate me. I informed them without a new treasurer or a by laws change I could not be both. I also thought there are ethical considerations.

Into the meeting we went. The departing president insisted that he still had a vote. I objected. The consensus was let's just see how it comes out. The vote was 4-4. So the new consensus was the out going president cannot vote. I offered to withdraw, "saying a 4-3 split was not good either way." I got kicked under the table while some insisted I stay in others saying I should be able to withdraw if I liked. Then the statement came let's just vote. I became President/Treasurer with a 5-2 vote.

I am not oblivious to association abuses. But they are still necessary to protect property rights and values. Take a hundred homeowners there will be 75 that think their one deviation is ok. There are restriction that can be taken to absurd levels. Like no parking on the street or on grass. Everyone has visitors where exceptions are necessary. Yet some will take a 24 hour rule and think they can just move their car and re-park.

In any case I support having covenants and restrictions are better than the two alternatives. I do not like government dictated covenants and restrictions. No C&R can destroy your property values.

I will be filing a case of failure to pay dues in magistrates court tomorrow.
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