Total Pageviews

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Covenant Communities

I just did a blog today for Mother Earth News about covenant communities. I hope the blog was objective and I did not allow my bias to show through. Having been involved in numerous covenant communities it is my considered opinion that if you are contemplating moving to one that you give the move serious consideration.

Colorado has passed law after law that gives associations unbridled power that is not found anywhere else in communities. Novices or those who have specific agendas then manage to get into positions where they can wield that power against their friends and neighbors. Politics within these communities make the current republican caucuses pale by comparison. Normally good and decent people suddenly become dictators over their communities not especially because they wanted to do that but because they can do that and don't have the sense not to.

In all the people I have spoken to from Florida to Wisconsin and Maine to California they all seem to have a grievance with their HOA. I don't understand why people suddenly change like they do but it certainly is not localized. So if you want to read the newest blog on HOA's go to:

I would be interested to know if anyone has a favorable experience with their HOA and actually likes their HOA.


Patricia said...

Here’s my two cents.

In my experience, HOA’s can be sometimes be a pain in the neck. However, that’s not to say that I disagree with their intended purpose which is, in my opinion, to enforce the covenants. I currently live in a suburban neighborhood with an HOA and I appreciate the fact that they are there to maintain the common grounds as well as handle covenant violations. I’ve seen some of the neighborhoods in our city without an HOA. Although those neighborhoods are subject to city codes, outside of those they can pretty much do what they want. As a result, you’ll find commercial vehicles, RV’s and boats in parked in driveways, yards and in the streets, flagpoles and giant birdhouses in front yards, all kinds of fences, crazy paint colors and landscaping nightmares and a general failure to maintain the property. Some people don’t mind that I guess, but I don’t want to live there.

That being said, I’ve also seen the dark side of the HOA game. Last summer I was harassed by my HOA for putting solar screens on my house. Why? Not because they are not allowed, but because I didn’t ask permission first. It didn’t matter that half the houses in my subdivision already had them or that the screens I purchased were top of the line. What the HOA’s objections all boiled down to was that I hadn’t asked their permission first. It was nothing more than a power play resulting in a crazy waste of time and money! In another neighborhood I once lived in, I was sent a violation notice for failing to mow my grass. Now, I’ve always been pretty good about maintaining my yard, but we were going through a rainy period in Houston. In fact, it had rained every day for the previous two weeks and I simply hadn’t been able to attend to the yard. Again, sending a violation notice under those circumstances was a stupid waste of time and money. I’d prefer that my HOA dues be being spent on worthwhile things.

Unfortunately, sometimes the wrong kind of people are in control. If you give some people a little bit of power, it goes right to their heads; all common sense goes out the window and in some cases, they become downright nasty and vindictive. Being on the HOA board does not, in my opinion, mean that you are superior to your fellow property owners, nor does it grant you dictatorial powers or the right to bend the rules as you see fit.

Robert said...

I live in Alabama. Developers here set up the covenants and restrictions for developments. In this state, they are the "law of the land" according to the state courts. If you violate them and it ends up in court, you WILL lose here.

Bruce said...

Thanks for the commentary Patricia: I agree with you about the HOA enforcing the covenants. The problem our current HOA has is that the ones breaking the covenants are the leadership. They allowed two structures to be built that are strictly prohibited. They trespass on non association property to threaten and intimidate hunting rules that that are illegal and only apply to the association. They impose a total fire ban also contrary to covenants when there is 2 feet of snow on the ground. They have the Sheriff issue citations on private roads which State Law prohibits. That is only for openers and they don't reveal financials or other legally required information, but it is not the members that violate the covenants willfully it is the leadership. They use ATV's and a hose of other violations. When a member objects they are told they are a trouble maker and not allowed to talk with the board, committees or volunteers. When a member violates the covenants it usually by accident. The leadership do it willfully and on purpose then blame it on the member wh o has the audacity to object.
When an association goes bad it seems to go really bad. One day they will regret what they are doing but for the moment they rampage and abuse the members. That is the worst HOA I have ever had the displeasure of being included in. Others had their problems but nothing like the arrogance of the current one.
I have heard worse stories from others in different area's of the country. It is not an isolated case and others are experiencing far worse from what I hear from them. Ignorant lawmakers need to pass laws to protect members not associations.

Bruce said...

You are right Robert: Those should be hard and fast laws and complied with. I wish it were so here.

Patricia said...

So we now have the worst LOA committee ever in FP? Does no one with any integrity ever run? Or, is the vote rigged? I wonder.... I wonder also if there are no legal remedies against the board members for violating their fiduciary duties. Surely, there must be.