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Old 05-28-2013, 04:01 PM
 
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I was reading another thread that seemed to talk about HOA's quite a bit. While I've heard of them, I wasn't aware that they were as prevalent as this thread seemed to suggest. Growing up in a Twin Cities suburb and having never encountered one across several generations of neighborhoods, I was wondering just how prevalent HOA's are, where they are, what they do, and how do they get the authority to do that.
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:54 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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HOAs are more prevalent in some areas than others. Many jusrisdictions will mandate them if there is going to be a unified development built, especially if they're townhouses. Condos, by their nature, have a condo association to take care of the building proper.

HOA authorization is embodied in various state laws and each state has different requirements and standards.

Basically the HOA is a very local form of governance within a larger jurisdiction which covers only the development.

HOAs will typically take care of the common property of the development (landscaping for example), maintain the roadways within the development, pay for street lights. Some will incorporate amenities like a pool or tennis courts.
One condo here has a rooftop pool, the townhouse HOAs currently have few amenities like that.

Local governments like HOAs because the burden of the duties I listed earlier are off the shoulders of the government and tax revenues and placed on the HOA members.

HOA fees are all over the place, just like condo fees. HOA fees are in addition to property taxes and generally are not deductible like property taxes are.
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Baltimore
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They are typically formed by the developer of the community. Homeowners agree to the HOA when they purchase it and after a certain percentage of homes are sold, the developer will turn over the HOA control to the homeowners.

One small reason for it is to control landscaping during the selling periods so the neighbor of the model home doesn't let their grass grow out.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:20 PM
 
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HOAs are common in large cities (condos) and in the west (developments in tax-averse localities).

> and how do they get the authority to do that.

From the consent of the governed. If you buy a house in an HOA you are contractually agreeing to pay monthly fees, to follow the rules, etc.

If you are contemplating such a purchase: read, understand, and decide.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:30 PM
 
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HOA rules in California are often strict to the point of absurdity. In the one I used to live in you're not allowed to leave your garage door open for more than a few minutes, even on a hot summer day. They never gave a reason for this strange rule. If you left your garage open for more than five minutes the management would send you a letter about it and threaten you with a fine. This was in a gated community in a very safe area so theft was never an issue. Guests were not allowed to park their cars in the guest parking area after 8pm, or they would be towed. You were not allowed to put christmas lights on your home during the holidays, and a million other annoying rules. It was absolutely ridiculous, like living in a police state!
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:31 PM
 
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It's common to have HOA where there are shared space and common areas--like in condo complexes and subdivisions with amenities. That's why older SFR tracts (suburban, urban, rural) usually don't have HOAs... nothing was designed to be shared, unlike the newer development with gyms, pools, etc.

HOA is formed to make sure the funds for maintenance and repairs are collected fairly and spent as intended... and among other things.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:40 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
HOA rules in California are often strict to the point of absurdity. In the one I used to live in you're not allowed to leave your garage door open for more than a few minutes, even on a hot summer day. They never gave a reason for this strange rule. If you left your garage open for more than five minutes the management would send you a letter about it and threaten you with a fine. This was in a gated community in a very safe area so theft was never an issue. Guests were not allowed to park their cars in the guest parking area after 8pm, or they would be towed. You were not allowed to put christmas lights on your home during the holidays, and a million other annoying rules. It was absolutely ridiculous, like living in a police state!
There are some HOAs like that in Colorado, too. There is one area near us where all Christmas lights are to be DOWN by Jan. 2, no exceptions. Now it is popular here to leave one's lights up through the National Western Stock Show at the end of Jan., as the city of Denver does. No flexibility, either. If you're in the hospital, out of town, whatever, you better get someone else to take them down or on Jan. 3 you'll get a fine.

My daughter is renting a house in an HOA controlled neighborhood. They received notice of a fine for leaving the garage door up; turned out it was the next door neighbors'; the Gestapo who issue these fines misread the number on the mailbox!
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:44 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Is it just me or are most HOA czars rather short older guys? Certainly been my experience.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Baltimore
1,759 posts, read 4,422,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genjy View Post
It's common to have HOA where there are shared space and common areas--like in condo complexes and subdivisions with amenities. That's why older SFR tracts (suburban, urban, rural) usually don't have HOAs... nothing was designed to be shared, unlike the newer development with gyms, pools, etc.

HOA is formed to make sure the funds for maintenance and repairs are collected fairly and spent as intended... and among other things.
It also covers street lights, street maintenance, storm water pond maintenance, entrance signs, etc etc.
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:32 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,006,214 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
HOA rules in California are often strict to the point of absurdity. In the one I used to live in you're not allowed to leave your garage door open for more than a few minutes, even on a hot summer day. They never gave a reason for this strange rule. If you left your garage open for more than five minutes the management would send you a letter about it and threaten you with a fine. This was in a gated community in a very safe area so theft was never an issue. Guests were not allowed to park their cars in the guest parking area after 8pm, or they would be towed. You were not allowed to put christmas lights on your home during the holidays, and a million other annoying rules. It was absolutely ridiculous, like living in a police state!
This is usually the result of the kind of people who have the time and interest to become involved in "running" an HOA.

But, if one signs a legal contract, one is bound by it, regardless of how absurd or out of touch the stipulations of the contract are.

Personally, I prefer professionally managed communities to HOAs, which I've avoided like a plague.
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