Our Homeowners Association Was Worth Something This Week

by Kevin on May 2, 2008

Ronald McDonald\'s House

(Photo by natebeaty)

I’m not a huge fan of homeowners associations.

Correction, I’m not a huge fan of overly restrictive homeowners associations.

The concept makes sense. You come up with some set guidelines to make sure that no one in the neighborhood paints their house glow-in-the-dark green or keeps a flock of flamingos in the backyard. You make noise rules so that no one throws a jazz festival or runs a dog farm in the backyard. I like that, thumbs up there.

What I don’t like is that any changes you want to make to your house has to be approved. If we wanted to add a second tree to our front yard, technically, we have to wait for approval. When we got DirecTV, the guy told us it had to be mounted in a certain place on the house. When I called the association for permission, they said it had to go as far back as possible. I looked around the other houses that had been done the exact same way — close to the front, but on the side — and said okay.

I also don’t like that the association meetings are typical gossip sessions. I haven’t been to ours, but I think it’s a fairly common phenomena.

However! I will say that our homeowners association actually was worth something this week. We pay $440 per year to the association currently. A neighbor down the street let their yard just go to hell and back. They moved out, there is no “For Sale” sign out front. I would bet good money on it that the owners had a 0% down adjustable rate mortgage that they now cannot pay. Instead of trying to get rid of the house, they are just walking away. They left a huge pile of trash in the driveway — not bagged, not canned — and as I mentioned let the yard just go. The backyard in some spots was close to waist high. Seriously. I’d get lost in there.

Needless to say, it was an eye sore.

I had been meaning to call the association simply because the trash people won’t pick up trash that isn’t in a can. Even if it is laying all over someones driveway and obviously is trash. But someone beat me to the punch. Wednesday night I came home from work and there were two trucks, a trailer, and a group of five guys mowing, edging, and cleaning up the house.

So for this week, I say hooray Homeowners Association. Now if it were only free…


JB May 2, 2008 at 7:49 am

I’m interested in this since I’m buying a home this month and will be part of a homeowner’s association. To me, it’s suprising that they are so conerned with your DirectTV, but would wait that long before taking action on that house that was abandoned.

devil May 2, 2008 at 8:01 am

After being part of an HOA for ten years, I will NEVER do it again. It’s the only time American citizens are required, in their own country, to waive their constitutional rights. Even convicted criminals don’t have to do this.

Good thing your HOA is doing the right thing about your neighbor’s yard now. As more foreclosures pop up, it’s harder to keep on top of them.

Kevin May 2, 2008 at 9:10 am

@JB: Yea, I think it just depends on the association

@devil: HOA can be terrible, don’t get me wrong. I don’t enjoy being part of one, but when it prevents someone without common sense from doing something stupid, then it seems a little bit better. We’re in a good area that hasn’t had explosive growth like the rest of the country, so I’m hoping that the foreclosures are minimized. I’ve heard of some HOA or condo associations having special assessments to keep up with costs because so many people have been foreclosed on. Suck.

Mom @ Wide Open Wallet May 2, 2008 at 9:54 am

You would hate our association. We pay $1,200 a year. They maintain everyone’s front yard which is nice cause it cuts down on yard work but it stinks too cause you can’t make any changes at all to the landscaping in front of your house. We also have to have a parking sticker to park in our own driveway!! How dumb is that?! We are rebelling against that one. I would like to see them try to tow my car off my own property.

squawkfox May 2, 2008 at 10:27 am

I’m glad the HOA did something about that front lawn. Your picture is a hoot…suddenly had a craving for French’s Mustard…hmmm….

Kevin May 2, 2008 at 12:57 pm

@Mom: What?! $1,200 is absolutely insane. Parking stickers, too. No way. I’d move.

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