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Old 04-22-2011, 08:51 AM
 
308 posts, read 529,198 times
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Most developements in the U.S. today have an HOA. They are a legal entity with the purpose of maintaining the value and upkeep of a community. They have rules and covenants that are devised and agreed upon by members of the board which are elected through a democratic process at a prescribed time. The HOA has at least one annual meeting for all homeowners for election purposes and to update on projects, expenditures, and general discussion. Strict rules are required for HOA activities, ie. Robert's Rules of Order, etc.

Any common property issues can be brought up to a board member so that a special meeting can be set up for resolution. Any changes to rules, covenants, tc must be done through majority vote, considering proxies.

A HOA is set up for the benefit of the homeowner. Everyone that buys into a HOA should be familiar with the rules. HOAs want to keep the value of homes up so mechanics in the front driveway are normally not allowed. It is usually not acceptable to have oddly coloured blinds, or additions added to ones home without the approval of the committee.

HOAs are beneficial in most regards. There are always people that move into a community that are not happy with some restrictions. HOA boards are elected and they can be removed if members are dissatisfied. On the other hand, any home owner can run for office. They are generally good things for those that are used to city living and have no problems living in a planned community or development. City rules override HOA rules in many cases, ie. noise ordinances, etc.

I would prefer to not live in a HOA area, but they certainly have their purpose and with a diverse population, they are often needed.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:55 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
572 posts, read 1,402,671 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTfromCharlotte View Post
Just moved into a house in a subdivision with an HOA.

Never dealt with one before so I really don't know what to expect. How do they enforce rules? Do they actually have any legal authority?

I've heard nightmare stories about out of control HOA's and people taking their power a little too seriously.

Not to focus on the negative, because I know they CAN do a lot of good, but I just want to be prepared on how to handle them if something comes up. The house which I bought was a short sale and there is quite a bit of work to be done and I can imagine any number of different things triggering some sort of reaction from them.
The HOA is all the homeowners in your neighborhood including you. The HOA exists to determine and enforce the neighborhood rules which 99% of the time are common sense as some others have already explained. I too am surprised that you are addressing the existance of the HOA after you bought rather than before but you need to get a copy of the rules and follow them and you'll have no issues. If there are rules that you don't care for you can attend HOA meetings and lobby to get them changed. Your neighbors can't fine you as some have stated. Only the board has that authority and in most cases it is delegated to the property manager whom typically does not reside in the neighborhood so there isn't any "playing favorites".

Most HOA haters are people who move into subdivisions that have an HOA, then fail to follow the rules and whine when they get fined. The beautiful thing about HOA's is if you don't like them you are free to move to an area that doesn't have one.

Good luck.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Wouldn't you like to know?
9,114 posts, read 15,632,867 times
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If you have any specific questions, be active w/your HOA, ask questions civilly (they are unpaid volunteers who donate alot of their time to make the neighborhood better).....

show an interest (just like anything else, you get out of what you put into it....)

One thing I've learned/developed over the years is that if I have a complaint, I try to be part of the solution and not to whine.....That goes in alot of issues w/HOA's...
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:16 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,244,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTfromCharlotte View Post
Don't talk to me like I'm stupid.
That is awesome. There are so many times that I have had to suffer the indignity of people talking down to me, and I never really knew what to say to them. I hope you don't mind if I use this once in a while. thank you.

ETA: By the way, I would not buy a house that had an HOA, but that is just me. I can't stand people telling me what to do with my own house.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
1,969 posts, read 3,063,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
That is awesome. There are so many times that I have had to suffer the indignity of people talking down to me, and I never really knew what to say to them. I hope you don't mind if I use this once in a while. thank you.

ETA: By the way, I would not buy a house that had an HOA, but that is just me. I can't stand people telling me what to do with my own house.

20yrsinBranson
Not to mention slap a lien on your house if you don't comply with their every whim.
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 88,252,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topchief1 View Post
Not to mention slap a lien on your house if you don't comply with their every whim.
Lien's can only be "slapped" on homes or lots when rules are not complied with, not on anybody's "whim" In most HOA's the rules are VERY reasonable and nothing to be all up in arms about.

But hey, if WANT to live with people who have knee high grass in the front yard, polka dot painted exteriors, bags of garbage sky high in the driveway, cars up on blocks in the yard, you go right ahead and live in a neighborhood without an HOA. After all, somebody's got to live in those places
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:11 AM
 
1,661 posts, read 2,783,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTfromCharlotte View Post
..... Do they actually have any legal authority? ....
Legal authority comes from an easement in the deed to the property. In NC property owners can't have an HOA involuntarily imposed on them. So what happens is that when you close on the property you accept the terms any easements in the deed, and this is where you 'ceed certain property "rights" to the HOA. This easement was created when the property was subdivided. It's mostly limited to newer developments. Most older developments (> 15 years) in Charlotte don't have them. They are also mostly limited to planned communities found around the urban areas of NC.

Before buying a property you want to make sure you understand the details of the easement and the HOA rules and regulations that it will point to.


(Deed is used loosely here. NC normally uses a warranty deed which will point to a county records book where the actual easement is recorded. )
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:15 AM
 
3,115 posts, read 6,122,923 times
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Just follow the rules and you'll be fine. Most of them have simple rules that should seem obvious, like keeping your grass mowed, controlling weeds, putting the trashcan away and so on - basically keeping the exterior of your home looking decent. You may also have to get approval before painting a new exterior color or doing major outside renovations.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
1,969 posts, read 3,063,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovesMountains View Post
Lien's can only be "slapped" on homes or lots when rules are not complied with, not on anybody's "whim" In most HOA's the rules are VERY reasonable and nothing to be all up in arms about.

But hey, if WANT to live with people who have knee high grass in the front yard, polka dot painted exteriors, bags of garbage sky high in the driveway, cars up on blocks in the yard, you go right ahead and live in a neighborhood without an HOA. After all, somebody's got to live in those places
Exactly! It's an epidemic of crap homes that can only be avoided if you live in a sweet caring HOA whose only goal is to shield you from those unforunate vagrants who can't be trusted to maintain their homes on their own!

If I don't want to buy a home next to a dump, then I won't, but it's the owner of that dumps responsibilty to take care of it, and if they own the land, as long as they aren't breaking laws, they can do whatever they want. In an HOA, you can only do what the management agent allows you to do. Unless someone complains and they create a new rule so they can scare you into complying.

It's a real shame there are laws in this state that dictate new homes have to be part of an HOA, because it doesn't give you much opportunity to buy a home that is not in one when you want to live in a certain area. When you take the choice away from people, you don't have the right to tell them they don't have to do it.

If I want to own a home, I want to actually own it, not pay for it, and let someone dictate how I can own it.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,270 posts, read 88,252,124 times
Reputation: 39838
Quote:
Originally Posted by coastalgirl View Post
Just follow the rules and you'll be fine. Most of them have simple rules that should seem obvious, like keeping your grass mowed, controlling weeds, putting the trashcan away and so on - basically keeping the exterior of your home looking decent. You may also have to get approval before painting a new exterior color or doing major outside renovations.
Yeah, in the vast majority of neighborhoods with HOA's the "rules" are really very simple and not invasive at all.

Cut your grass, don't park on your lawn - common sense stuff that any normal, socially aware and conscientious person would want to live by anyway.
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