Home Owners Association’s are curious inventions. I don’t recall any of the subdivisions we lived in growing up having an HOA but today it is seemingly unavoidable. I do recall, however, those as friendlier environs with less sidewalk politics. But as “subdivisions” were rebranded “communities” and few (very few in some instances) amenities were built into the development, the advent of the monthly fee took hold. And while I’m certain some HOA’s are well worth the cost and hassle, I am here to share of one otherwise pleasant community plagued with a rotten HOA. That community is my own.
In the name of context, the original HOA was a commercial outfit installed by the builder. They bailed before construction was complete due to a fall-out with the builder. In their place we decided to install an owner-run triumvirate composed of a power hungry retiree, a stay at home mom, and a husband/wife combo reminisent of the Clinton whitehouse where you never really know which one is in charge.
It all started well enough. Everyone was excited about being in a new development and they mostly seemed capable and interested in serving the greater community in the beginning. Alas, this comfort was fleeting, thus allowing us to share today…
10 Reasons why my HOA is a joke!
1. They fail to follow their own rules – solicitation is against our covenants and a “no solicitation” sign is posted at our single entrance. However, this does not stop our own community leaders from advertising their “gold parties”, “stationary parties”, “Tupperware parties”, or whatever else they’re hocking at the moment.
2. A weed is more critical than safety – Twice I have received letters from the board for having weeds in my lawn at the beginning of the spring season – late March/early April in Atlanta. Ironically, we received snow in March this year and many of the eager Spring beavers lost their early plantings to the late cold front. However, this cautious starter who routinely (I must say) maintains one of the best looking yards on the block (I did landscaping in college and still take pride in a nice looking yard) is chastised by our neighborhood busy bodies. Meanwhile, cars are welcome to park incessantly on our very narrow streets blocking mailboxes and limiting garbage or delivery truck access at times.
3. The board refuses to accept input from their constituents – I was once directed to the neighborhood blog to share my thoughts and engage discussion. However, when the board wanted to change the covenants a popular discussion within their own forum was ignored even as the most vibrant discussion involved the very topic they wanted to manipulate.
4. The Board President is a first class narcissist – He actually told me that if he stepped down from his role that the neighborhood would “fall into chaos”… please Mr. Board President, don’t throw me into that briar patch!
5. The “weed letter” came several days before the first neighborhood workday of the year. In other words their philosophy is “do as we say, not as we do”. OK, but you’ve forever lost one capable volunteer for all future workdays.
6. HOA dues are more about power than budgeting. When my annual payment was 2 days late I received a nasty letter threatening legal action. When I delivered my check 1 day later, I waited as it took over 4 weeks for them to cash my check.
7. A Design Review Committee was clandestinely assembled at the Board’s direction to both reward their friends and govern changes fellow owners wanted to make to their homes and lawn. Of course changes to paint schemes, fences, and retaining walls have all been made with nary a communication to the community. Of note is that most of the most visible changes were taking place at the homes of the board members and their close friends.
8. With one exception, the board is a cowardly lot. One was always been afraid to engage me in conversation, shying away at every opportunity for even a friendly “hello”, and another will contradict himself in a single aggrandizing message then ignore altogether my attempts at communication and outreach.
9. The Board will continue to run our community sprinklers when it is raining and even as water usage restrictions are in place due to a long standing drought in the Atlanta area. The board will then deny that the sprinklers have been running even as the tale-tell water runoff is saturating the asphalt.
10. Hmm…. I promised 10 and I can only come up with 9. Perhaps the community Castro regime is not so bad after all.
And no… I’m not really bitter, more amused and delighted with each new twist in their approach to management. At the end of the day I really don’t care about these characters and their antics as they are easy enough to ignore – just as they ignore everyone else. However, it is a funny lesson or demonstration as to how, presumably, decent people can tarnish their image by taking themselves too serious.
Stop, breathe, laugh, and don’t make the same mistake as these goobers.
Photo By: Dave
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