Monday, April 11, 2005

Homeowners Commies

We are currently living in a great house under the strict rule of the Communist Homeowners Association. When we moved here 4 years ago, we were told about the association, but were so excited about the house, that we did not take their extreme power into much consideration. Over the years, we have learned our lesson and have grown ever more fearful of their omnipotence.

Did you know that most homeowners associations actually own the land your home is on? Neither did we. Last year, we were really annoyed at them, and decided not to pay our fee for 2 months. You see, the association pays to take care of all the front yards, but ours was being neglected. Our neighbors trees and bushes were being trimmed, but ours were left to sprout all over and take over the yard. Well, not paying was a huge mistake. We had been told that they would fine us $5 for not paying, but what actually happened was they put a lien on our home. Yes, you read that right! A LIEN! We were then charged an extra $400 or so to have it removed!

They also can, and will, tell you what sort of "cutsie" things you can display in your front yard. Our neighbors recently put some really nice solar lights amongst their bushes, but because they didn't ask permission before hand, they were forced to remove them. There are at least 10 other houses with the same lights, but they now can't get an OK for theirs. There are also fines for leaving your trashcan by the curb and many other absurdities.

My advice to any of you who are considering moving into a neighborhood with such an organization is this:
Is it really worth not having to mow your front yard to give up all rights to how your house looks? I didn't think so!


Anne said...

We had to mow our own lawn with our homeowners association! Never again.

They charge you money to sell your house, too. It was something like $200.

Chicka said...

I will never deal with The Association. My SIL thought it was the greatest thing. Just think! You don't have to mow. You don't have to blah-de-blah!

Yeah, and you don't actually own anything either. Feh. She actually has to GET APPROVED any color she paints the INSIDE of her house!!

Strude said...

There was a great X-Files episode about a homeowners association that was in league with some ancient demon. You broke the rules, the demon would kill you. It was funny.

JB said...

At least you get something for your HOA dues. I'm sure we get something...maybe. They don't mow our lawn or own our land. Oh, but they do dictate the only color our fences (a particular pre-approved fence) can be painted. And what did they choose? An ugly gray color that is hard to find. The businesses that carry that color know we are "forced" to buy that color so they charge a butt-load for it. The HOA also tell us if our "For Sale" signs are too close to the road. Has to be set into the yard like 5 feet I think. So nothing on the park strip. "Hey, just let us get outta here so you can affect some other poor unsuspecting home-buyers!"

3rd Times a Charm said...

That just seems so UN-AMERICAN!!! How dare they??? When I mived from WA state to AZ 4 years ago, I had no idea organizations like this existed! I did find it vaguely odd how alike different neighborhoods looked. But never thought much of it.

Bought my older home, that didn't have an HOA. And then heard all these types of horror stories.

I'm wondering if you can fight them with a lawyer. No organization should have that kind of power over your own private property!

By the way, I like your site! I'm 3T, and live in the Mesa area.