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DoomsDave

Home Owner Associations - HOAs

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DoomsDave

Another topic that's more palm related kinda went off the rails, and i thought this might be a good separate topic here.

Like them or not, Home Owner Associations are an increasing fact of life in the U.S., and, I suspect in the rest of the world.

They definitely have some benefits, primarily by enforcing maintenance which might otherwise be neglected.

On the other hand, they can become too-aggressive, or, some claim, downright fascistic.

A couple other Palm Talkers took an interest in the subject in its own right, namely @NickJames and @Oviedo_z10b_lol and others, too.

Jump on in!
 

 

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NickJames

Lol, yes, I realized too late that I took that topic off the rails. 
 

I don’t mind HOAs and I think it’s unfair to characterize them all as negative ( @DoomsDave did a great job setting it up as having positives and negatives). 
 

I’ve yet to have an issue with my developer-controlled HOAs declining my palm plans. Even in my last neighborhood, I planted 3 Washingtonia with no issue (which everyone here knows will grow far taller and faster than anything else in that neighborhood). 

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RaychHasDatePalms

I am in Michigan, so it's not like my palms are outside, BUT my husband and I actively ensured when we were house-hunting that we not even look in the direction of a neighborhood with a HOA. Everyone here who we've ever talked to about them has nothing nice to say. (I haven't experienced them for myself, though.) I understand that they serve a purpose, but neither of us were willing to hear about how many cars we're allowed to have parked in the driveway or on the street, or if we'd be "allowed" to plant this or that. Enough; if we wanted to be policed like this, we'd have kept on renting. 

Are HOAs more common in places like Florida and Hawaii? 

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Silas_Sancona

HOA = Greed/ over-reaching authority over people.  Ban them all...  City/County Code enforcement and common sense, neighborly appreciation for where one lives is what should help keep a neighborhood free of things like a driveway full of un-used/broke down vehicles, trash/blight, etc.. If they -code enforcement people- don't do their job, vote them out..

I get that " You get what you sign on to" when you choose to enter such a community  but no one person  ..or  "selected group of people within a community " should be able to tell anyone something like ..Can't park X reasonable # of vehicle(s) in your own driveway, no matter how large.. What you can plant -in your own yard-, how tall x plants can be, etc.. What flag you can fly in your window, -unless obscene or divisive-.. Yes, there have been a few HOA's here that tried to tell residents in their communities they were not allowed to fly the U.S. Flag outside their own homes. In one recent case, the widow ( or mother ) of a veteran painted a small flag on her curb. The community association took her to court and charged her $$$.. There have been several other eye opening stories involving such nonsense on the local news as well..  In another case, a few residents in another community were flying a blatantly divisive symbol in their yards, -w/out a word from their HOA..

As far as " well, those neighborhoods are safer"  side of the discussion... I'm sure everyone has heard about the weird couple who did awful things to their kids.. let alone spouses/relatives that "passed away" mysteriously.. Lived in a HOA not all that far from where i'm at.. There was a shooting in another nearby "suburban lifestyle dream" kind of neighborhood about a week ago..  While the neighborhood i live in is older and not as "pretty" as some others nearby.. no crime issues here.. just a few junk collectors, though code enforcement has done a decent job of reducing such eyesores recently..

How a neighborhood "looks" speaks nothing to how "safe" it might actually be.. Some of the nicest looking can conceal some very shady neighbors..  Me myself, If i can look into my neighbors home, easily hear them talking while all are enjoying our yards,  i'm wayy too close ..and you're wayy too close to me, lol.. 

Single story home, possibly built / remodeled by me, on 1.5 - 5 acres is my goal.. Lots of space, and no busy body nonsense/ wasting money on some "idea" of how " good" people should live.. A good neighborhood is diverse like the one i grew up in/around..
 

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RedRabbit

I live in an HOA and they’ve got a reputation for being pretty strict. It’s one of the best communities around though and there are a lot of useful amenities so I don’t really mind it... I figure if I plant a few palms it’s doubtful anybody will even notice. However, there’s no way I could get away with planting dozens so I’m going to just stick with a handful that I know will do well here.

Edited by RedRabbit
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kinzyjr

I'll take full responsibility for throwing the red meat into the shark tank on the Developers who don't understand palm's requirements thread.  Like anything HOAs come with pros and cons.  For my gardening tastes, the cons were why I asked the realtor for a lot without an HOA.

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Fusca

Funny, I always thought HOA = Home Owner Appropriation!  Nothing more than organized legal extortion in places I've lived.

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DoomsDave

HOAs when they work can be okay or even beneficial. But when they don’t even lawyers get squeamish.

@NickJames ever encounter, or at least hear about, an off-the-rails HOA?

Anyone else recall specific examples?

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kinzyjr
37 minutes ago, DoomsDave said:

HOAs when they work can be okay or even beneficial. But when they don’t even lawyers get squeamish.

@NickJames ever encounter, or at least hear about, an off-the-rails HOA?

Anyone else recall specific examples?

Here was an article in the Miami Herald on the HOA issue: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article93434422.html

The Did You Know section at the end is worth reading for those interested in some of the possible legal entanglements.  I can certainly attest that most new housing here is either luxury apartments or HOA communities.

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DoomsDave

Different states appear to handle HOAs differently. Some, like CA pretty much let them do whatever they please. Others, like TX regulate them a lot more tightly, which I think is the better way to go.

There are many ways an HOA can go astray.* One is failing to act when they should. Another is failing to act at all. Another is for boards to evolve into feuding factions. Another is to run things incompetently, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes a helluva lot.

Way back when I was a law student, I clerked with a law firm in the Sherman Oaks 'hood of LA in the San Fernando Valley. We did a number of HOA cases that ran the gamut. Can't name names, alas. But cautionary tales abound.

More Dopey Verse.TM

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Oviedo_z10b_lol

Personally, I enjoy my neighborhood. my HOA isn’t very strict, but will come down should billy bob up the street try to leave a busted old car on blocks in his front yard. It’s not expensive. We’re not a gated community but we do have tennis courts and a playground. There is some nice landscaping around the entrance and medians: crotons and stuff. Plus, Since they comprise the entirety of the board members, it gives the retirees in the neighborhood a sense of purpose: to observe and report such nefarious activity as wayward mailbox paint colors or unthinkably unappealing wind chimes  

The only real issue I had was when I took down an overgrown ligustrum japonicum in the front yard, the HOA subcommittee members were insistent I replace it with another because any “canopy tree” removed must be replaced. I thought that ugly thing was a hedge parading in a tree’s cloth, but who be I to pass judgment upon another’s arboreal identity?

They let me do whatever I want with the backyard, which is where I spend most of my time any way. So palms galore back there!  
 

@DoomsDave, I doubt your palm thicket of solitude would have survived my HOA’s architectural review board hearings. Looks good to me though.

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Silas_Sancona
2 hours ago, Oviedo_z10b_lol said:

  Plus, Since they comprise the entirety of the board members, it gives the retirees in the neighborhood a sense of purpose: to observe and report such nefarious activity as wayward mailbox paint colors or unthinkably unappealing wind chimes

Sounds like a group of people that really need to get a much more productive and healthy hobby than being the " OB- street Police " lol.

I wouldn't myself  but If a neighbor chose to paint their home Hot Pink with Avocado Green Stripes.. Paint eye catching, artistic -and perhaps educational- ( even better ) murals across their  Block Wall, Craft a mailbox that looks like a defiantly closed fist, sculpted piece of driftwood, etc.. or has a Wind Chime factory hanging from their front porch.. That is their choice, if they own the home.. Not a fan? that's fine, but move along.. Even better/ more neighborly? perhaps inquire about what might peak your curiosity.. if curious.  Never know what you might learn -about your neighbor(s)- in return.. Much more important life lesson than being judgemental and hating on -Wind Chimes-..

Unless the issue was something considered serious -by city/county/state codes- I'd squirt that annoying neighbor with a hose / "accidentally" blow debris their way with the leaf blower if they stood in front of it  dictating that i needed to remove, repaint, change anything about my home.. 

Have told this story in the past but while not in an HOA, My 97yr old Grandma still deals with a neighbor like this who has even come into the yard, just to see who is at the house, dump her yard waste/ extra garbage into my grandparents bin, tell visiting relatives not to park on the street -in front of my grandparents home- ..She complains about everything, inc flowers from my grandma's yard that get blown into hers.. etc..  Lucky i'm not there atm.. Had enough of her Obsessive Compulsive nonsense before i'd moved to FL.  The other neighbors, 95% of whom have lived in that neighborhood since at least the 60s-80s ( Grandparents moved there from Hawaii after WW2 ) can't stand her as well..
 

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DoomsDave

So, @NickJames are houses in HOAs easier to sell than ones that aren't?

Have you ever had a crazy eccentric house to sell (maybe like mine)?

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Gonzer

No need to tippy-toe around the subject; HOA's suck.

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PalmatierMeg

Cape Coral as a planned city dates back to the late 50s when 400 sq. mi. of swamp land, er..... wetlands, were platted into individual 80' x 125' residential lots to be peddled to the unwashed masses in search of their retirement tropical paradise. So, for the past 60 years houses sprang up all over the place. Until the last 20 years no one heard of an HOA. But the Cape has a vigilant Code Enforcement Dept. that takes no nonsense. When we moved here, pickup trucks were outlawed. If you owned one, you had to hide it in your garage. Because, you know, only rednecks, i.e., native FL Crackers, drove pickups and Cape Coral was designed for well-to-do northern and European retirees, i.e. Yankees. That silliness changed after younger, entrepreneurial working and business folk discovered they could make a good living here.

HOAs have raised their ugly head all over Cape Coral and Ft. Myers but I still live in an area free of them. My son and daughter-in-law insisted on buying a big house on a tiny lot in Ft. Myers in a new development named "Danforth Lakes". The lakes were actually swales and drainage ditches to capture runoff during rainy season. I remember their HOA specifically prohibited any palms being planted in the neighborhood - why was never determined. They had to get permission to plant anything larger than marigolds and permission to remove any landscaping - even if it was dead. Permission to change, paint, add to, take from any part of their house visible from outside. And on and on.

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NickJames
2 hours ago, DoomsDave said:

So, @NickJames are houses in HOAs easier to sell than ones that aren't?

Have you ever had a crazy eccentric house to sell (maybe like mine)?

I think as a general rule, yes. Home values are based around similar character and stats. A neighborhood full of homes that are alike is going to sell better and have higher value than a neighborhood with a random smattering of homes with various condition states. An HOA is going to ensure this “similar character” rule is adhered to. 

I haven’t sold anything too crazy ever. The craziest thing so far was trying to recoup someone’s cost on solar panels they installed. Unfortunately, they do not appraise the way the salespeople try to make it seem in most neighborhoods because again - the similar character rule. If you’re the only one with solar panels, you’re not going to get the cost back. 

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NickJames
6 hours ago, Oviedo_z10b_lol said:

Personally, I enjoy my neighborhood. my HOA isn’t very strict, but will come down should billy bob up the street try to leave a busted old car on blocks in his front yard. It’s not expensive. We’re not a gated community but we do have tennis courts and a playground. There is some nice landscaping around the entrance and medians: crotons and stuff. Plus, Since they comprise the entirety of the board members, it gives the retirees in the neighborhood a sense of purpose: to observe and report such nefarious activity as wayward mailbox paint colors or unthinkably unappealing wind chimes  

The only real issue I had was when I took down an overgrown ligustrum japonicum in the front yard, the HOA subcommittee members were insistent I replace it with another because any “canopy tree” removed must be replaced. I thought that ugly thing was a hedge parading in a tree’s cloth, but who be I to pass judgment upon another’s arboreal identity?

They let me do whatever I want with the backyard, which is where I spend most of my time any way. So palms galore back there!  
 

@DoomsDave, I doubt your palm thicket of solitude would have survived my HOA’s architectural review board hearings. Looks good to me though.

This is basically my situation. 
 

My initial landscaping plan - which was far more extensive than what I ended up doing - was approved with no issue. They see the dollar amount and how nice it looks and there’s no issue. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE but has been the norm for me. 

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NickJames

I will be the first to admit:

no, I don’t want to live next to broken down cars or garish colors or people who don’t mow their lawn. If that makes me a “Karen” then so be it...but hence why I buy in HOAs. You agree to not do any of that when you purchase the home. But Also hence Why I sold all of my Homes for record prices. I take care of my property and expect others around me to do the same. This may not be a popular line or thinking, I’m going to duck for cover....LOL. 

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Palmarum

Some of the HOA's here in S. Florida have been/can be... extremely bad in many respects. I have had to negotiate between Palm & tropical plant enthusiasts and their 'HOA overlords' on occasion just defending on what a 'Palm Tree' is with non-plant people. This often takes place over the phone in a panic where the home-owners and plant enthusiasts have been driven to tears over the insanity.

This is just a tiny bit that extends into a world that is often fraught with corruption and megalomania. The boundaries include material too shocking to describe, even for a horror movie.

Ryan

 

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DoomsDave
16 minutes ago, NickJames said:

I will be the first to admit:

no, I don’t want to live next to broken down cars or garish colors or people who don’t mow their lawn. If that makes me a “Karen” then so be it...but hence why I buy in HOAs. You agree to not do any of that when you purchase the home. But Also hence Why I sold all of my Homes for record prices. I take care of my property and expect others around me to do the same. This may not be a popular line or thinking, I’m going to duck for cover....LOL. 

Thanks for your candor!

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waykoolplantz

i got no stinkin HOA.

Like Meg has said...some cities have restrictions designed to prevent 'trash'. Coral Gables used to prohibit trucks as well. Obviously those rules have changed as they all drive $100,000 'trucks' now

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RaychHasDatePalms

Can I just say... I thought about this thread SO hard the other day.

We just bought a new vehicle, and because of Covid and both of us looking to change jobs, we're taking a little longer to get rid of our old cars. I do NOT live someplace with an HOA, and in fact, a lot of people here let cars and other straight up crap hang out forever on their property... like longer than the entire time we've lived here. Yet.... for some reason, within 2-3 hours of our moving our old vehicles to make room for the new one in the driveway, as well as to clean out the garage, a neighbor with apparently nothing better to do actually messaged me to ask "what the plan was" for those cars--while I can guarantee you he had watched the whole process from start to finish. 

I just told him that having a few spare cars on our own property for a few weeks is not an issue, considering the circumstances of Covid making things slower/more difficult and both of us working toward new jobs,  especially since other neighbors have had cars littering their entire properties for longer than we've even known this neighborhood existed. 

(Then I asked him if he wants to buy an old Saturn because he can take his pick! ;)

Some people are just horrible toward other people, whether there's an HOA involved or not. I can only imagine, from what I have seen and heard, that HOAs are typically one of the worst things you could do to yourself. 

 

Edited by RaychHasDatePalms
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PalmatierMeg
3 hours ago, RaychHasDatePalms said:

Can I just say... I thought about this thread SO hard the other day.

We just bought a new vehicle, and because of Covid and both of us looking to change jobs, we're taking a little longer to get rid of our old cars. I do NOT live someplace with an HOA, and in fact, a lot of people here let cars and other straight up crap hang out forever on their property... like longer than the entire time we've lived here. Yet.... for some reason, within 2-3 hours of our moving our old vehicles to make room for the new one in the driveway, as well as to clean out the garage, a neighbor with apparently nothing better to do actually messaged me to ask "what the plan was" for those cars--while I can guarantee you he had watched the whole process from start to finish. 

I just told him that having a few spare cars on our own property for a few weeks is not an issue, considering the circumstances of Covid making things slower/more difficult and both of us working toward new jobs,  especially since other neighbors have had cars littering their entire properties for longer than we've even known this neighborhood existed. 

(Then I asked him if he wants to buy an old Saturn because he can take his pick! ;)

Some people are just horrible toward other people, whether there's an HOA involved or not. I can only imagine, from what I have seen and heard, that HOAs are typically one of the worst things you could do to yourself. 

 

You don't need an HOA to have obnoxious neighbors. I've had anonymous neighbors turn us in to Code Enforcement for running a "commercial nursery" because of our landscaping, because some of our pots of seedlings could be seen from the street, because we used trays to carry said pots of seedlings, because I could be seen potting up plants in the driveway, because I had a wooden potting table in front of the garage, because I was suspected of selling plants whenever someone stopped by to tour the garden. We think the perp was a North American snowbird, i.e., US or Canadian, who felt obligated to set residents of the Banana Republic of Florida straight during his 6-month tenure.

Now, of course, our property is so densely forested busy bodies have trouble seeing anything but green.

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DoomsDave
On 8/31/2020 at 2:16 PM, PalmatierMeg said:

You don't need an HOA to have obnoxious neighbors. I've had anonymous neighbors turn us in to Code Enforcement for running a "commercial nursery" because of our landscaping, because some of our pots of seedlings could be seen from the street, because we used trays to carry said pots of seedlings, because I could be seen potting up plants in the driveway, because I had a wooden potting table in front of the garage, because I was suspected of selling plants whenever someone stopped by to tour the garden. We think the perp was a North American snowbird, i.e., US or Canadian, who felt obligated to set residents of the Banana Republic of Florida straight during his 6-month tenure.

Now, of course, our property is so densely forested busy bodies have trouble seeing anything but green.

I think the burglars are afraid to burgle, heaven only knows what might be lurking back in there, among all those palm trees . . . . .

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RaychHasDatePalms
On 8/31/2020 at 5:16 PM, PalmatierMeg said:

You don't need an HOA to have obnoxious neighbors. I've had anonymous neighbors turn us in to Code Enforcement for running a "commercial nursery" because of our landscaping, because some of our pots of seedlings could be seen from the street, because we used trays to carry said pots of seedlings, because I could be seen potting up plants in the driveway, because I had a wooden potting table in front of the garage, because I was suspected of selling plants whenever someone stopped by to tour the garden. We think the perp was a North American snowbird, i.e., US or Canadian, who felt obligated to set residents of the Banana Republic of Florida straight during his 6-month tenure.

Now, of course, our property is so densely forested busy bodies have trouble seeing anything but green.

Some people seriously have way too much time on their hands. :-P 

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