Saturday, September 11, 2010

HOA violations = bane of my existence

OK, this will be a venting post, but one that many of you homeowners with Home Owners Associations (HOA) can probably relate to. (Non-homeowners, take note, and try to avoid moving into a neighborhood with a crazy HOA if and when you do purchase a home!)

Quick back story...
The beautiful town homes in our neighborhood were built in 2002.

We moved into our beautiful town home in December 2006. When we moved in, our house was in tip-top condition. Since then, we have only made it more beautiful by landscaping the once-rather-bare front yard; adding a glass, modern storm door to the front door; replacing the chandelier visible in the front entryway; power washing and re-staining our deck; adding potted plants and flowers to our deck; growing grass and an herb garden in the backyard; installing a back splash in our kitchen; and painting most of the rooms in our house. Oh, and, we're exceptionally clean in both the inside and outside of our home. No clutter, nothing that should make anyone cringe.

We've lived here almost four years in marital bliss, getting to know our neighbors, picking up neighborhood trash we see on our multiple-times-a-day dogs know, trying to be good and whatnot.

Suburban bliss. It's all sunshine and rainbows, people.

Let's bring this up to the modern day...
Then last Saturday we received in the mail our list of seven (!) HOA violations. This year our HOA decided to contract out neighborhood maintenance inspection duties to an outside auditor. We've never received any violations, and this year we got seven exceptionally specific citations for things you would likely never notice driving through our neighborhood or visiting our house. I suppose the one point of solace is that everyone else in our neighborhood got at least the same "violations" we got, and in some cases they got something worse.

We were cited for:
  • Front light fixture, tarnished (it's brass...already did this)
  • Front door hardware, tarnished (also brass)
  • Front columns, clean/wash (really? I mean, I already did this, but they were barely dirty....)
  • Front vertical trim, paint (still need to figure out what this is talking about...)
  • Front bay window panels, paint (I see two little specks that could be covered up)
  • Front gutter, clean/wash (these are about 50 feet in the air, so if these need to be cleaned [and I don't even know how you could see that they need cleaning, and there are no trees up there] we will hire a professional with some other neighbors to get a group rate)
  • Back deck, re-stain (we will NOT be doing this because we spent three days one year ago power washing and re-staining our deck using the requirements outlined by our HOA, and no one should be expected to do that every year)

Draconian HOA? You betcha!

So, I have crossed off two items so far this week, and I will not be doing one of them, so that leaves me with four to go, three that I'll do on my own and one that I'll hire someone for, if needed. These "violations" are supposed to be handled by October 16, at which point there will supposedly be another inspection and we'll supposedly be fined if we haven't complied. I say supposedly because:

1) So many people in our neighborhood, ourselves included, have never received violations.

2) Violations have never been enforced.

3) Our annual HOA meeting is next week. Matt and I have never attended, but I think we will, and a bunch of other neighbors will too. Perhaps we can reach some sort of compromise. I believe in democracy!

I will share with you all what I learn along the way as I figure out home maintenance. I've already figured out one thing about de-tarnishing brass, and that will be the subject of an immediate post.

In the meantime, have a happy, productive Saturday! For me, it's off to Home Depot.

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