Home Owners Associations Is it a Dictatorship, Government? I dont know!

February 15, 2011 by  
Filed under General, Uncategorized

We live in a fairly nice neighborhood.  We had our first home built in an upcoming part of town, and it was all good.  I knew that there would be a Home Owners Association or HOA, and that there is usually a minimal fee associated with it.  My husband is about as anti rules as anyone I know and he grumbled at the whole idea, just because that is in his nature.

The Home Owners Association‘s  job is to sort of maintain the lovely appearance of the neighborhood, and to be generally nit picky about anything that they see fit.  They also have the job of adding exorbitant amounts of money each year to their fee.  We started out paying around $200 a year and somehow we ended up at $450 and then this year due to the economy they decided to be nice and lower it to $350.  I am baffled because if you can lower it so easily “based on the economy (yeah whatever)”, then why can you not permanently lower it?  They list all sorts of miscellaneous expenses in their yearly report showing where our money is going and none of it in my opinion is all that justifiable!  I can mow my own common land strip behind my house, as long as your yard doesn’t look like Sanford and Sons, life is good.

We have received two letters in our existence here, one was for my dh’s car parked out front (we were trying to get his red sports car sold and we just received a letter about our trash cans being stored outside.  My first comment was “who the hell has time to worry about my trash cans?”  (which by the way are  stored hiding behind until i bring them in and mainly in the garage, even still, who really cares about this stuff?)  According to the letter, they weren’t singling anyone out but it was a reminder to everyone.  I would like to see how many people were reminded.  I know it had to be a “nice” neighbor who took it upon themselves to report my trash cans outside in the wrong place one day or another (we store them in the garage about 97% of the time), but you have serious issues if your life involves reporting my trash cans on an off day!

I am here to say, I am not sure of the HOA’s job.  My guess is, it’s an effort to line their pockets, so someone can sit behind a desk and write letters from tattle tailing neighbors, and charge too much for mowing grass, but I could be wrong.  I guess this is the price you pay to live in civilization, and even though I knew about the HOA before moving, I didn’t know about the fluctuating fees, and nosy neighbor clause.  My advice is to get a copy of the HOA guidelines for a neighborhood you are considering, along with several yearly projections of their estimated costs (if it’s an established neighborhood) and see if the fees have changed from year to year, so you can get an idea of how they manage things.  And, if you get the chance, have a chat with the people living there, it will give you a feel for what you are getting into.  We will see if the economy gets better, what kind of surprise fee change we will get!  The HOA=government at its finest.