What the heck would *you* do???

soozOctober 4, 2004

My DH and I have a little townhouse in another state. The HOA board has gone from weird to tyrannical petty despots.

Ex: New Rules & Regs...I can't park my car in my own carport as storage (gee, I PAID FOR THE TOWNHOUSE AND CARPORT, how do they expect me to drive my car and not store it there when I work out of state???) I had to "petition" to be able to park it there.

Ex: "new" Rules and Regs (which also say the Board has the right to add, change, amend, delete any Rules and Regs at any time) say that the INTERIOR of the units must be keep clean and sanitary at all times and the Board HAS THE RIGHT TO ENTER TO CHECK IT OUT. (Huh? Is it their business how our friend, who lives there, keeps house? He's really neat and clean!) Actually, I think I'd refuse entry and then tell them they are tresspassing, but still, what the heck gives them the right to do this???

Ex: All pets must be on leashes (BUT this doesn't include THEIR cats who poop in everyone's yard!!! Yes, I brought this up at a board meeting but was told "all pets" meant dogs and not their "kitties.")

Ex: any time you do something to your unit, interior or exterior, you must notify the board in writing (I put up storm doors so notified, replaced a window screen and did NOT notify, redid the bathroom floor and did NOT notify, put up a ceiling fan and did NOT notify--oooh, I'm in trouble, I guess!)

...and those examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

Anyway, these people just got voted "in" in June, and are not likely to be ousted as the other owners really don't care to take on the job. During the monthly meetings during the summer, I'm the only owner besides the Board members to attend the meetings, so these folks pretty much have carte blanche!

My townhouse is an end unit, one story so no one is above me, and the shared wall to the side is the living room shared wall as opposed to sharing a bedroom common wall. It's pretty quiet and nice except for the HOA Board.

My dilemma:

I have the option to buy a new townhouse when it's finished being built (Phase 1 & 2 are completed, Phase 3 will begin soon)--same area, BUT the new townhouse would have someone above me as well as to the side of me. I don't know if the shared wall would be a common wall with bedroom on each side, or if the shared wall would be the living area of both townhomes as it is in my current townhome. I have NO idea of the rules and regs or the CCRs of the new place. The new townhouses would be larger and have a garage as well. Would I be going from the frying pan into the fire? Who knows!

I also have the option to purchase a house, but that would put me in debt for another 20 or 30 years, and would prevent me from early retirement (if I wanted to take early retirement). On the other hand, a house wouldn't have any association or board associated with it. Also, with a house, I'd have to do all the yard work and maintenance, so that's a negative. While I don't really want to take care of a yard for a house (and could NOT afford to hire someone if I'm making housepayments, and our friend who would live there isn't exactly a spring chicken for yardwork either), I wouldn't have to answer to anyone.

I guess I'm leaning toward the new townhouse just to get away from the Board that's there now.

Any suggestions? I'm only there for vacations and summer.




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The most disturbing thing is the ability to enter your dwelling for inspection. If you are truly the owner, I don't think that is legal. If you are renting, that is another story. And even if you are renting, the owner needs to provide reasonable cause for entry (i.e., repair).

The carport thing probably came about because someone at some time may have put their vehicle up on blocks and left it there. That is not a nice thing to do to your neighbors.

If 'all pets' are required to be leashed, then you should contact the pound when you see an unleashed animal so it can be properly taken care of. Regardless of whether it is a dog or a cat. Animals need to be protected. And if you can tick off a board member in the process, you get a twofer. ;-)

And if I were you, I'd consider moving. Unless you really want to battle with these folks for any length of time. Any new dwellings you look at will require that you research what their rules and regs are.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2004 at 1:19PM
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I have been there and done that. Your board sounds like a slightly-less-twisted version of the board in my former condo building. You really have to weigh what is most important to you. Are you willing to fight these lunatics on every. single. point. until. the. end. of. time??? If so, then stay and/or buy another unit in this same complex.

If you think they'll eventually let up, DON'T! You have described an association that is either too intimidated or too apathetic to get involved. The board, as it is now, has little or no chance of changing because the other homeowners just do not care enough to get involved.

My choice in this circumstance was to get the he!! out. I made it just in time, too. Just after the sale of my unit, the association slapped everyone with a $5,000-$10,000-per-unit special assessment (much of which they pocketed). They became involved in lawsuit after lawsuit, some of which continue to this day. Who pays for that? The homeowners, of course. Payment of legal fees comes out of their association fees.

It's your decision to stay or leave. But after reading your story, I sense that in a few more months, you'll be where I was two years ago.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2004 at 3:38PM
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Thanks for the input. Seems like my best best is to move! These people are not gonna change, but I have the ability to get away from them.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2004 at 9:44PM
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Sooz ... "all pets" means ALL PETS! Report them ALL, including their poopy cats. If they meant "dogs" they shoulda wrote Dawgz!

As for the "right to enter" - I don't think any state law gives them the right to trespass. Even landlords have to give notice, and everyone else needs a warrant and a complaint.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2004 at 10:49PM
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first- research the rules and regs in phases 1 and 2...

second. start packing.

you're describing the scenario that several of my friends have been in- one decided to take over the board, but it took an enormous investment of time and energy to do it (one of the interesting thing is that the best person isn't the one who WANTS it, but the one who doesn't, but is willing to do it rather than see it be done by the corrupt or incompetent)

the rest just moved. lost thousands in the process- but the improvement in their emotional health was worth it in the long run.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 1:46PM
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Remind me never to move in to one of these Talibandos.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 8:12PM
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