Patterico's Pontifications

8/17/2008

No Average Pickups Allowed

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 7:20 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

WFAA-TV in Dallas reports that a Frisco, Texas, homeowners’ association has threatened to fine a homeowner for parking his new but all-too-common Ford F150 pickup in his front driveway:

Jim Greenwood said he never dreamed his HOA would have a problem with his new Ford F-150 pickup. Then he received the first of three notices threatening him with fines. “Mr. Greenwood, you’re violating a subdivision rule that prohibits pickup trucks in your driveway,” the notice reads.

Stonebriar HOA rules allow several luxury trucks on driveways, including the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Avalanche, Honda Ridgeline and Lincoln Mark LT. But most Ford, Dodge or Chevy pickups are restricted.”

The homeowners’ association defended its position:

“Bill Osborn of the HOA board said the association also prohibits boats, trailers, golf carts and RVs in driveways. “The high-end vehicles that are allowed are plush with amenities and covers on the back. It doesn’t look like a pickup,” he said. “It’s fancier.”

Mr. Greenwood appealed, claiming his Ford F-150 isn’t much different from the Lincoln Mark LT. “The response was: ‘It’s our belief that Lincoln markets to a different class of people,’ ” he said. “Furthermore, one board member told my wife that if we don’t like it, we can move.”

HOA officials said that many Stonebriar homeowners own pickups but that they abide by the rules and keep them parked in their garages.”

I have to side with the homeowner here. Never come between a man and his pickup.

— DRJ

86 Responses to “No Average Pickups Allowed”

  1. He should mount a gun-rack in the back window!

    Another Drew (688ffe)

  2. Good Lord! Whatever happened to fee simple? It’s bad enough to pay rent for your property to the government (real estate taxes) but to have to kowtow to pissant neighbors about what you park in your driveway?

    nk (3c7a86)

  3. I live in a townhouse development with a no motorcycles or boats rule. Still, some choose to ignore the rules. One dude had three of those Japanese race bikes in the lot. South Florida has a plethora of the ubiquitous white Ford pickups. Some HOAs have banned all pickups but not SUVs. I agree the trucks are aesthetically ugly.

    In the case mentioned the bozos can keep the truck in the garage. People should be able to buy what they want, but how many SUVs are purchased due to Madison avenue sales puffery and keeping up with the Jones?

    madmax333 (0c6cfc)

  4. You know … your home is how you want to live. If you want to live free, buy a freestanding house in an old neighborhood where all restrictive covenants have expired. If you want a gated community or a new development without riffraff ….

    nk (3c7a86)

  5. In the case mentioned the bozos can keep the truck in the garage. People should be able to buy what they want, but how many SUVs are purchased due to Madison avenue sales puffery and keeping up with the Jones?

    The issue that it is certain pickups that are “banned”, not all. Unless those other pickups are fined equally, I’d just ignore the “threats”. What are they gonna do, make him leave?

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  6. Does this HOA realize that they have decreased the value of all the property there? In Dallas, an F-150 is not an ugly vehicle. By any means. It’s a hell of a lot better looking than a wasteful SUV (I used to drive an SUV, but they are a silly replacement for a station wagon).

    No, a lot of Texans, especially prospective buyers in Dallas, will notice that this is a miserable place to live. HOAs are excellent ideas if they are severely limited. Keeping yards maintained and homes painted and junk off the lawn is one thing. Saying a Honda Ridgeline caters to a better breed than an F-150 is sickening and stupid.

    Coming from a Southlake man, where F-150s abound, and home values are soaring ridiculously.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  7. It’s the utter class snobbery of the commissars who run HOAs that ensure I will never live anywhere with an HOA. Besides, I’d likely depress their property value with my 3-week lawn mowing intervals and my predilection for performing much of my own automotive preventative maintenance in my own driveway (snort).

    What keeps me happy is that in the current market these HOA-ruled properties are depreciating the quickest and not because of us rednecks with our trucks but because most of the HOA commissars massively overextended themselves to buy into their dachas. Yankee frugality wins out in the end.

    Ha-ha

    [/Nelson]

    Captain Ned (0dd5e9)

  8. Buy some Lincoln trim.

    Stick it to the Ford and the HOA.

    Terry_Jim (467d2e)

  9. And a lot of people argue that if you don’t like HOA disasters, then you need to avoid them altogether.

    I think we deserve some consumer protection. HOAs should be forced to post all offenses they have cited residents for in the past 24 months, and all of their regulations, in an extremely public place. Such as the internet. Someone shiould be able to type in an MLS code and see all the HOA violations in the governing HOA in the last 2 years.

    It’s it’s just ‘cut the grass’ ‘don’t have keggers at 4 am’ etc etc, then you know it’s a good place to live. It it’s ridiculousness like this, then you can make your choice wisely.

    For far too long, customers have found it impossible to get an accurate bead on HOAs as they shop among hundreds of homes. HOAs prey on this weakness. If the truth was known, idiotic HOAs would cease to exist quickly, as home owners would get tired of depreciation.

    It’s a sorely needed reform.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  10. Personally, I’d buy a second on and leave it in the driveway 24/7.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  11. then i guess they wouldn’t welcome me, either

    Giant Bob (6d00ac)

  12. I have a friend that had the same thing happen to him. HOA said no trucks shall be parked in driveways overnight. He drove a Suburban. Went to court, HOA presented bla bla bla, Judge asked him his defense, He handed the title to the judge, it said station wagon.

    Dismissed.

    It sounds to me like snobbery, maybe he can bring invoice to court and shoe it costs as much as a approved truck.

    Vmaximus (97168a)

  13. What, they stopped having HOA elections? In many places a couple dozen proxies will get you on the HOA board, and a couple hundred pissed off folks will dump the board entirely.

    Form the F-150 Slate and have at them. Bet you they change their rule, like they probably did for some pissed off Avalanche owner (as if an Avalanche is “classy”).

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  14. The answer is to comply until you can organize an overthrow at the next election.

    Nothing is stupider than litigating against people who are hiring lawyers with other people’s money.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. I second the notion that an Avalanche is generally a lot trashier than an F-150. But it’s useless to a working man. That’s what this is about.

    Men who use their muscles to earn a living are not supposed to in this neighborhood. That’s the point. I would never want these people for neighbors.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  16. Honda Ridgeline? I don’t think that is high end. But, in any event, caveat emptor. Read before you buy. Free market. Start a subdivision that likes new American pickups.

    Johnnie (7914bb)

  17. As a F-250 owner (three times over), I’m offended that this development would let a 150 into its inner circle. My diesel, crew-cab, 8-foot bed would be horrified to learn that such low class trucks were being let in.

    As Obama has explained, we have to draw the line somewhere. In John Edwards “Two Americas”, there have to be lines… divides… separations. Po’ White Trash and their F-150s… elite Americans and their 250s. (God forbid we get into the noisy Cummins diesel ilk or the poseur GMC truck losers debate).

    Please keep the trash out of our development. We’re paying your taxes, so you have to realize we don’t need your type around here.

    redherkey (9f5961)

  18. I’m with nk on this one. Freedom includes the right to set up covenants like this, so that elitest snobs who care about such things can all voluntarily choose to live near each other. Me, I wouldn’t be caught dead living in one of those new McMansion neighborhoods, but to each his/her own.

    This is no different, in principle, then the people who buy land next to the airport, and then start complaining about the noise… or the people who move out to the country, and then complain about the smell of the farm next door. This guy was or should have been aware of the restrictions when he bought the house (if they weren’t in the public property records, then they aren’t enforceable against him), so he has no right to complain about them now.

    PatHMV (0e077d)

  19. Freedom includes the right to set up covenants like this

    You’re missing the point…

    Other owners possess trucks that sit in their driveways, and he is being targeted because it is “low class”.

    EIther the rules apply to everyone, equally, or they should be abandoned. If he was the ONLY ONE with a pickup that sis out, then sure… His problem.

    But this isn’t a case of a guy “bucking the system”, but a case of the system being unfairly applied.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  20. George Bush drives a Ford-250. I knew there was something about him I liked.

    The HOA, well within their narrow-minded elitist rights.

    Buyers should always beware.

    Dana (254946)

  21. I’d mount a high pressure sprayer with a hundred gallons of kerosene in the tank and have a the worlds largest BBQ, and then plead temorary insanity. I love my F-150 FX4 and you’ll pay if you take it. (Put a smiley face here).

    Scrapiron (d671ab)

  22. The answer is to comply until you can organize an overthrow at the next election.

    Nothing is stupider than litigating against people who are hiring lawyers with your own other people’s money.

    Comment by SPQR — 8/17/2008 @ 8:36 pm

    fixed that for you, in this case his dues are being used against him!

    chas (e36377)

  23. I used to just dread the new clients who would walk in to my office, shake my hand, and open the conversation with “we’d like you to look at this paper that we signed . . .”

    That’s sort of like going back and buying the videotape of your encounter with the Deliverance guys . . .

    bobby b (4baf73)

  24. Freedom includes the right to set up covenants like this

    — Just because you have the right to do something does not mean that it is the right thing to do.

    The reason for HOA’s is ostensibly to preserve property values. Well, I had several run-ins with my HOA over the years, but when I chose to sell in the spring of ’05 my house sold in three days and I cleared a profit in the high 5 figures. Now, there are several homeowners that never tallied a single HOA violation who can’t sell their homes for the original purchase price even after 120 days on the market. I’m not saying that keeping the neighborhood spiffy doesn’t help, just that market trends are much more important.

    Icy Truth (9e6f2a)

  25. I wonder if the CC&Rs that he signed when he bought his house clearly explain that all pickups are not created equally. If in fact they do, then he should be fined for parking the 150 in the driveway.

    PC14 (ec0516)

  26. if they weren’t in the public property records, then they aren’t enforceable against him

    I beg to differ. The HOA can add rules to further various goal(s) stated in the CC&Rs.

    What they cannot do is add covenants to the deed. I suspect that the allowed car models are in the rules, rather than the deed.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  27. Im on the board of an HOA and it boggles my mind whenever I hear stories like this. I dont have time to pay enough attention to know whether my neighbor has an “illegal” truck or not. Who the hell are these people running those HOAs?

    h0mi (d2c7b6)

  28. Home Owners Associations are just wrong. When my wife died, a lot of things in my life fell apart. I wonder what happens to men in my position who find that no matter what has gone wrong in their life, they have to mow the lawn first or clip the hedges or remeber to park the truck in the garage, or some HOA goon will come knocking on their door with a piece of legal trash in her hand.

    tyree (899a76)

  29. Tyree,

    My sympathies, and good for you for hanging in there.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  30. homi–

    Been on an HOA board too — just for a condo — and I would never have had the time for that kind of BS. But there was a guy on the board who would have been right at home with this one. Some people are just petty.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  31. I hate hearing all the legal justifications for this.

    It’s deeply immoral. Who cares if it’s legal? And really, is it legal? I think there is clearly some controversy about how powerful an HOA can be. We have basic rights that no government can take away from us, even if they have a piece of paper, and even if we sign it. Saying that only people who are classy can park their classy cars seems like a pretty insane restriction on your own property. We all know that he only signed a paper saying he would abide by the HOA, and that this rule was not on that piece of paper. I think the HOA is basically in breach of their basic purpose.

    Regardless, this is immoral. That alone is a legitimate argument.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  32. I’m a former HOA Board president. Most persistent parking violations by homeowners are due to homeowners using their garages for storage.

    That said, I agree with homi, Kevin, and others. This rule is a piece of stupid, pretentious snobbery. If the board had any sense it would repeal the rule.

    Stu707 (6e4ad5)

  33. This is just whack and I wonder what, if any underlying reasons, other than complete snobbery would necessitate such a stupid stupid rule.

    Isn’t Frisco Tx, big time Red state country? Because this does sound to me like a rule that might have some racist or anti-Mexican (legal or not) underlying aspects to it.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  34. stu, who cares if they use their garage for storage? What’s wrong with having a car on a residential street? Is it also a problem to work on your car in view of the world?

    I just think that’s strange stuff. I sincerely doubt that such policies increase the value of a home. While good landscaping and clean yards and painted homes and maintained fences do. Strange that HOAs care about car parking. I do admit that if there are tons of cars parked somewhere, that this probably detracts, but I’m talking about 5 cars… that won’t fit into a garage.

    But anyway Stu, I disagree. Most HOA parking violations could be due to HOAs that are not doing their job very well by having parking rules that are excessive. It is patently irresponsible of an HOA to expect a homeowner to inform all guests of the HOA policy on parking (and if there are many rules on it, I bet it’s tough just to keep up with the HOA).

    Perhaps a good reform would be for all HOA policies to sunset every January 1st, and for all HOA rules to be voted on individually by mail ballot (because I’ve attended a few HOA meetings, and they were almost designed to force the sane to leave with their inane leadership). Just a list of the rules, and a spot to vote yes or no on each of them. I bet that would increase the property values a lot better than most HOAs manage (though the facts seem to show that HOAs reduce value as often as not).

    Another reform is that all prospective home buyers should have easy access to a list of all citations issued by an HOA. In a way that allows them to quickly compare all the homes they want to by. Something via MLS code on the internet would be a great consumer protection from the cloud of misinformation that currently plagues home-buying.

    A free market only works when the consumer is well informed. It’s just plain tough to know how the rules are being twisted without seeing if the citations are for sensible stuff like keggers and unmowed lawns, or for sick stuff like having a hammock in your backyard. Or a nice truck.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  35. Legality aside, there is something seriously wrong and un-American with a person who thinks it is a good idea to stick their noses into other people’s business. They should be shunned and ostracized from society.

    I had a real estate agent try to tell me that some of these covenants would protect my property values. I told him I don’t consort with the type of people who think that way. They are beneath contempt. The sole advantage to covenants is that they tend to group all of the snobby pricks together.

    At least the Nazis had snazzy parades to look forward to.

    Ben Franklen (6a012a)

  36. Sounds like time to dissolve the homeowners association to me. Whatever happened to people paying for their own garbage pickup anyway?

    I have lived in several different housing developments. None have ever had a homeowners association. Is there something in the deed of the property that makes membership mandatory? I would work towards getting a vote of the homeowners to dissolve the association.

    crosspatch (f364ce)

  37. There otta be a law. Well, why not pass a consumer protection law that every real estate agent has to explain the HOA rules for a property before they show it to a prospective buyer. Pretty soon HOAs would discover they need to have really simple, easy to understand rules if they want the homes in their area to sell. If someone had explained that no F150 pickups were allowed before the owner bought the house, maybe this problem could have been avoided.

    fredras (91cdc6)

  38. There is nothing wrong with that HOA that deep fat frying wouldn’t solve.

    C. S. P. Schofield (eaaf98)

  39. It’s our belief that Lincoln markets to a different class of people,

    I thought that [insert slang term for sphincter here] was a descriptin, not a class.

    Dana R Pico (3e4784)

  40. You would not believe the power that homeowner’s associations have in Texas. I would studiously avoid those neighborhoods unless you place a high value on being a “stepford neighbor”. The associations are run by those with the highest interest in conformity. They tend to be the most active and position themselves into power, with a cadre of sycophantic supporters keeping it all “legal”. In fact, they are mini tyrants running their mini tyrannies. They have abusd the notion of control enough that the Texas legislature got nvolved a few years ago, but all that accomplished was to take off the front pages the most egregious of these power-mad mini-meglomaniacs. What these people need most is an enema. Maybe that’ll relieve the pressure.

    Chris (c9c2a3)

  41. No, the HOAAs should be forced to post plain language printouts of their laws. I bet that you’d have to read for 8 hours to find out that you can’t have a Ford pickup.

    A simple list would suffice, with page and paragraph reference to the actual HOAA rule document.

    Jack (d9cbc5)

  42. Isn’t Frisco Tx, big time Red state country? Because this does sound to me like a rule that might have some racist or anti-Mexican (legal or not) underlying aspects to it.

    No matter what the topic is, the likes of Phil and Peter can find a way to call someone racist.

    JD (75f5c3)

  43. My parents actually run their HOA in Florida. They have the same rule. Here’s the thing. If you are gonna live in a gated community, cutoff from a normal neighborhood environment, then you are going to have to deal with the rules of the community.

    If this guy has a problem with the rules, run for the HOA presidency and change the rules. This is why I am wary of moving into a gated neighborhood, you get a lot of busy-bodies butting into your life.

    JC (1079f2)

  44. I can’t tell what to think from the information. The article says the restrictions apply only to certain trucks; however I’d like to see the actual rules. It would also be interesting to know whether they’ve allowed any other F150s. My experience w/HOAs is that they begin to extrapolate from their written rules and go waaay beyond anything one might have expected, and/or they apply the written rules unevenly.
    My subdivision doesn’t allow pools(!), but the lady down the street built one and told them in no uncertain term where they could stick it. They quickly abandoned that effort at enforcement to focus on elderly people who let their grass grow a quarter inch too long.

    brobin (c07c20)

  45. Isn’t Frisco Tx, big time Red state country? Because this does sound to me like a rule that might have some racist or anti-Mexican (legal or not) underlying aspects to it.

    Right, because white Texans don’t drive pickup trucks.

    /rolls eyes

    Pablo (99243e)

  46. Don’t dis the HOA — this is democracy, people.
    Don’t require more consumer protection laws — This is the free market, people.

    cram your society full of post-modern liberal bullshit, and this is what you get. You want a perfect world, go live in disneyland or Russia. if you want to survive, than take care of yourself and mind your own f-ing business.

    “Now in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else– that’s the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas…And down here… you’re on your own.”

    jcp (f75838)

  47. It seems to me that President Bush drives a white Ford F-150 or F-250 on his ranch; guess the Homeowners’ Association would write him up, too.

    Dana R Pico (3e4784)

  48. Didn’t DRJ report in an earlier thread that the F-150 is the most popular vehicle in Texas?

    nk (3c7a86)

  49. I literally would not live anywhere with a HOA if you GAVE me the house. I bought my place where I have neighbors, not TOO close, but I can do whatever the hell I want. I’ll take the risk of the guy across the street leaving a dead car or 2 in his driveway over some unemployed nosy idiot 3 doors down with nothing better to do checking up to see if my trash is properly aligned with the curb.

    Mike (1f1aac)

  50. My HOA is trying to turn our little subdivision into a gated community. They will fail, and I will mock them.

    JD (75f5c3)

  51. and I will mock them.

    Which is, frankly, the best part of winning… :)

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  52. I love my HOA. It’s the greatest HOA I’ve ever encountered. It has no meetings, no rules, no enforcement. It exists solely for the purpose of preventing some yuppie tightwad from moving into the neighborhood and starting an HOA.

    Darkmage (6960d1)

  53. It’s fancier

    That was the reason given by one of the board members. What a hick!

    Dreadnaught (4f2403)

  54. It exists solely for the purpose of preventing some yuppie tightwad from moving into the neighborhood and starting an HOA.

    Proving once again the classic Patton rule of warfare: The best way to defend from attack is to attack first.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  55. Darkmage, where do you live?
    I think a few of us would like to move there.

    Another Drew (06d307)

  56. HOAs will kill property values. Just offend ONE of those Lincoln LT or Escalade owners and watch them ditch their house. In this market, the whole neighborhood will pay.

    The blue haired HOA police in my old neighborhood in FL wouldn’t let guests park more than six hours in front of my home.

    I busted that rule many times rather than sending friends home with too much to drink. I wonder if the HOA would be liable if someone was forced to drive after drinking because of one their inane rules?

    desertdweller (55ef6a)

  57. I remember seeing this on one of the water towers in Frisco (I was there after my mother in law died in 2000):

    Frisco, TX
    Home of the
    Fighting ‘Coons

    HOA = Progressive society

    No Thanks! Jerks would be pissed off if I had pulled up in my Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel.

    fmfnavydoc (28bce2)

  58. #34 Juan,

    Homeowners are and should be free to use the privately owned portion of the condo or town home as they will. The problem comes when they decide to use the common areas for parking their own vehicles. The common areas are not privately owned and the HOA board has the right and responsibility to determine how they will be used.

    I can’t speak for every one of the tens of thousands of HOAs in the US. How tolerant boards are of parking violations by owners depends upon the amount of visitor parking spaces available. Ideally, there should be at least two visitor spaces for each unit. Mine has one space for every two units.

    In CA state law requires the posting of signs at the entrance to the complex that give notice the streets are private property and HOA rules apply. Every visitor space must be clearly marked as such and signs warn the consequences for non-visitors of using the spaces.

    I agree with you on your proposal of sunsetting all HOA Board rules (as opposed to deed restrictions in the CC&Rs) every year. Information about HOA rules and enforcement practices is available to the discerning consumer.

    Stu707 (6e4ad5)

  59. Some of you guys truly have no idea what a foothold HOAs have gotten in state law, including Texas, to my chagrin. There is an industry group called the Community Associations Institute that has a frightening effective lobbying arm.

    Many posts above assumed that the rule in this Frisco HOA could be successfully challenged in court. Good luck! If the HOA CCRs are like practically every other set I’ve reviewed, they have a general rule against “nuisances,” and they give the board virtually unlimited power to establish detailed rules, usually without any effective input from the voting homeowners. They’re not a “government,” so you have no “civil rights,” only what your contract specifies. Most HOA by-laws disenfranchise homeowners who are “delinquent.” “Delinquency” includes having received a $25 fine for visible miniblinds that are not the approved shade of ecru, or an oil-stain on the driveway. (OK, I may be exaggerating about the ecru, but the oil-stain example is from a real case involving thousands of dollars of legal fees.)

    Know what happens when a homeowner balks? The law in Texas allows a $200/day fine plus attorney’s fees. What happens if you don’t pay? You get foreclosed. Check out hoadata.org for statistics on the number of foreclosures, the trivial fines involved, and the huge legal fees.

    One poster above had the best suggestion: comply until the next election, then get a new board in there. Which isn’t easy, since you’ll find that all your potential allies have just received $25 fines for something or other, and when they send in a check, they’ll be told it was applied to fines or legal fees and is still outstanding, so they can’t vote. I’m not making this up. The stories would turn your hair white.

    Some of you wondered where HOA boards find the time. They don’t. They hire management companies and law firms, who do find the time, because their salaries and fees are paid for by fines. It is a very big business. Hoadata.org also has statistics on the small number of law firms and management companies who dominate the field.

    I have no idea why anyone puts up with this, except that they just don’t seem to understand that it’s possible until it seems too late, and then the effort of either relocating or taking over the board seems too much. Because you can’t just take over the board once. You have to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands again. Every single year, I promise you, you’ll fight the same battle with homeowners who “just want a few simple rules enforced to keep the riffraff under control and protect property values.” Next, people are losing their homes to foreclosure over wrongly placed mailboxes, offensive flagpoles (HOAs HATE flagpoles, for some reason), non-compliant landscaping, cracks in the driveway, you name it. Management companies actually drive around collecting infractions. Why not? It’s wildly profitable.

    But I have to admit: the snobbery over the precise make of car you can leave in your driveway is a new one on me! And I thought I’d seen it all.

    A good rule before you buy: If the CCRs allow an HOA, and the HOA has the power to impose legal fees secured by a lien on your home, DON’T BUY THERE. “Secured by a lien on your home” means they can foreclose when you balk at paying the legal fees.

    Texan99 (1b9467)

  60. I used to live in Frisco, when it was a small cowtown, now it’s full of snobby HOA owners and their “class” of people.

    HOA’s are not worth it.

    baxtrice (d74ffa)

  61. Imagine that all the nosy, blue-haired busy-bodies all wanted to live together, so they would be happy spending their days poking about each other’s business, measuring distances to the curb, documenting parking habits, and all that sort of thing. Suppose all these people really believed that this would keep their property values up and so forth.

    Shouldn’t those people have a right to choose to live together, by setting up restrictive covenants and so forth? If they do that, and are clear and open about it, then why isn’t somebody moving in and complaining about the rules the same thing as somebody moving next to an airport and complaining about the noise?

    PatHMV (653160)

  62. Maybe, just maybe, it is because the homeowner is the owner of their land. My neighbor says that his allegiance to the HOA ends at the point where the HOA starts helping out with his mortgage.

    JD (75f5c3)

  63. I think it is an abomination that HoA’s can legally exist. They turn property ownership into software licensing… you don’t really own the land, you just buy the right to use it from the association. I despise the notion of them.

    Justin (747191)

  64. I hate to say it, but many of these folks are probably country club republicans. I don’t think many liberals drive SUVs unless they’re some Volvo/VW hybrid fuel-cell crap.

    JDW (ef5d4d)

  65. I know of a Toll Brothers McMansion subdivision, where, in 2000, houses were starting at $350,000, and at least one guy paid $750,000 for a place he couldn’t get the roof to stop leaking!

    Well, to get the property, Toll Brothers bought it off of this guy who lived in a 200 year old stone farmhouse, and the guy kept his house, not exactly in the middle of the subdivision, but on one of the main roads.

    This guy was an absolute pack-rat, hadn’t thrown away anything for about a decade — except when he had yard sales/storage shed sales — and took a bath once a month, whether he needed it or not. It’s possible that he owned a toothbrush, but he certainly never wore it out.

    I don’t even know if they had a HOA, but even if they did, there would have been nothing they could have done about this guy. And he wasn’t that old, so it’ll probably be a good, long time before he dies. :)

    Dana R Pico (3e4784)

  66. At the end of the day, whoever designed this particular covenant wouldn’t know a good truck if it ran over him. The Honda Ridgeline is a cheap, Japanese derivative ripped off the Chevy Avalanche. Those are not high-class trucks and, in fact, they are not even trucks. While a GM person, a Ford 150 is clearly a superior vehicle and solid symbol of everything that’s good about this country. That association needs to get their heads out of their collective, fellow-traveling asses and like my association put the attorney on those dread neighbors with the uncollected bramble piles and unsightly mailboxes.

    iowavette (dce650)

  67. You are absolutely correct DRJ.

    Oiram (983921)

  68. In reality, our covenant is good and logical while enforcement is lax except where needed. I was surprised to see that flagpoles weren’t allowed. The rule was dismantled when I mentioned that we now have five flagpoles of various sizes, mainly extra large, in a subdivision of 52 lots and 40 homes. The board expended some energy on filtering those who loved the neighborhood but really didn’t have enough resources to build to meet covenant which actually does protect value of the existing homes. People would come in with plans for the minimum square footage while placing the house almost to county easement because of the expense of the driveway while also skimping on windows and exterior finishes. All the lots are a minimum of 2.5 acres and many homeowners bought adjacent lots. How thoughtless to consider building front-load garages with stubby driveways with space sufficient to encompass a couple of baseball diamonds. The board was taken to court over dog runs and fencing to contains pets and lost both.

    iowavette (e8c0fa)

  69. We have a neighborhood association. We’re active in the sense that we keep the common areas clean, have an annual street picnic, and keep in close touch with the county regarding roadwork, traffic patterns, and other things that could directly impact the neighborhood. Otherwise, we exist to ensure no one can set up a HOA…

    MAJ Arkay (d6cb15)

  70. Manassas, Virginia guys & gals. We pretty much keep to ourselves. The downside is that there is little to no sense of community. But I’ll take the tradeoff.

    Darkmage (6960d1)

  71. I live in an eighty-year old house in a neighborhood of similar houses. There is no restrictive covenant that is still valid. Nor most of the zoning and inspection ordinances due to grandfathering. We have a great sense of community. Our kids and dogs treat the neighbors’ yards as their own and I just crossed the street to where the neighbors’ kids were selling lemonade and got a drink of whiskey from their grandfather instead.

    nk (3c7a86)

  72. I suspect that how one feels about HOAs depends very much on the state one lives in and the associated laws.

    Here in VA, it appears that HOAs mostly exist for the convenience of local governments and developers. They’re created to allow the local government to offload maintenance of roads, storm water management, etc., to a private entity, and in return, they allow the developer to build those things to a standard lower than would be required for public facilities. Once created, the association really is a necessary evil, as someone has to take care of those things.

    The question then becomes “who manages the association?” Many of them are self-managed, in which case you tend to get minimal rules and minimal enforcement of those rules, because people have better things to do. If people aren’t willing to devote the time, then you end up with professional management, with both the time and resources to butt into everyone’s lives. Even then, though, the rules are what you (the neighborhood) let them be, with some exceptions that are out of your control. (For example, the “you can’t use your garage for storage, you have to use it for parking” thing is getting more common as a covenant the developer agrees to – and you inherit – so that the govt will let them build less parking, thus more houses, thus more profit). If you don’t like the rules, work to change them. Or don’t buy there. I can’t speak for other states, but in VA you there’s a very strong requirement for the seller to deliver you a pile of info on any HOA-affected property, including all of the legal documents, the various rules, and financial info on the association. Once you get that, you have the right to back out of any contract based on the content of that information.

    SDM (05054c)


  73. If you want a gated community or a new development without riffraff …

    HOA rules are not created to keep the riffraff out. They’re created to keep them in.

    Alex (2edb43)

  74. We have on prick in our community who makes our HOA meeting interesting.

    JD (75f5c3)

  75. #64 JDW – You’re absolutely right. The people who run the hellish HOAs are just as likely to be Republican as Democrat. It’s one of those issues that won’t divide on party lines. I was very surprised to find this out.

    #68 Iowavette — What you’re describing is a properly functioning civic club. I love civic clubs. I don’t even mind CCRs: people have a right to agree ahead of time what can generally be done in their neighborhoods. CCRs were particularly important in Houston, where I lived, because Houston has no zoning. So if you don’t fancy living next to a WalMart or a high-rise, you have only your CCRs to protect you.

    The problem is HOAs, which are civic clubs on steroids. Not only can they impose ever-increasing dues on their members, with collection secured by liens on homes, but they can impose crazy levels of fines and attorney’s fees for infractions that you simply would not believe unless you read through some of the court papers. As petty as the infractions seem, they are indisputably within the HOA board’s powers to enact.

    Lots of posters took sort of the “buyer beware” approach, which seems sensible. The thing is, though, that the CCRs that are on file in the real estate records don’t provide any warning to speak of. They grant very vague powers. To make matters worse, in Texas at least, the statute expands the already great powers, such that few Texas judge feel comfortable ruling that a board has gone too far.

    And because it’s trivially easy to manipulate the community elections, it’s harder than you might think to oust a bad board and ensure it doesn’t come back. Neighborhoods that have successful fought back are few and far between. They find they have to enact what amounts to a Constitution and a Bill of Rights to prevent a bad board from taking over again. The revolutionaries get pretty demoralized when they realize they can never afford to get off the board, for fear it will go back to its old habits.

    Texan99 (aa21bc)

  76. All Home Owner associations should be outlawed. They are nothing but trouble, and not very democratic.

    Maybe it is time for me to reinstall the gun rack in the back window of my T-Bird.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  77. JD,

    We used to have a woman homeowner that livened up our HOA. She was equal parts trouble and entertainment, but I admit I was glad when she moved.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  78. In CA, if you want to buy a new home, or pretty much any home built in the last 20 years or so, you’re going to have a HOA whether you like it or not. Only older homes aren’t in HOA tracts (like mine thankfully, built in 1968). It’s one of the unintended consequences of Proposition 13, CA’s famous initiative that in 1975 limited property taxes. It’s just another layer of government for most people here, but there are horror stories.

    When you buy a home here the Seller is required by law to give you the financial statements of the HOA, minutes of its meetings and all the rules and regs before closing. Whether buyers read them is another story.

    The situation described would not raise any eyebrows in the more expensive gated communities here. The other side of snobbery is “prestige” and prestige is a BIG emotional driver for a lot of people. A “working man’s” truck in the driveway doesn’t fit the image the majority of the people in these communities want. This kind of thing really has little to do with property values, it’s the feeling of social superiority that’s important.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  79. #42 JD

    No matter what the topic is, the likes of Phil and Peter can find a way to call someone racist.

    You know JD, if this were taking place in Massachusetts or San Francisco, there is no doubt in my mind the political background of these insane petty stupid HOA people would be exploded into a major defining issue pointing to the hypocrisy of “liberuls” and owning a Ford F150 truck would be declared an American right and perhaps a “Freedom of Speech” issue. And I would agree with you, if that was the case.

    But it’s not, this behavior is coming from the heart of a Red State, Texas, nonetheless which boggles my mind, and I would bet dollars to donuts there’s some underlying reason for this moronic rule. And it would be interesting to get a demographic run down on the home owners who make up this HOA, because I don’t think this is the whole picture.

    I wonder if there’s some fear that pick up trucks (Ford F150 Pick up trucks) are going to lower the value of houses that are already tanking in the RE Market??

    Peter (e70d1c)

  80. HOA = “No Sale”

    SDN (49ba12)

  81. #78 Jayhub

    In CA, if you want to buy a new home, or pretty much any home built in the last 20 years or so, you’re going to have a HOA whether you like it or not. Only older homes aren’t in HOA tracts (like mine thankfully, built in 1968). It’s one of the unintended consequences of Proposition 13, CA’s famous initiative that in 1975 limited property taxes.

    What explains the rise in HOAs in states that have no equivalent of Prop. 13?

    Stu707 (6e4ad5)

  82. People who choose to live in an area with a HOA should expect this kind of crap. It’s a pretty common feature of those miniature totalitarian states. Places like that were invented to allow people with means to escape the consequences of our failed social engineering. Riffraff are an issue because we have a system that pays them to multiply themselves – fix that, and within a couple decades you don’t need home owners associations or gated communities.

    Reactionary (dbedd1)

  83. BTW,

    If the HOA uses the courts to enforce rules that infringe on First Amendment rights, such as flying a flag, it is considered state action. Depending on your state’s public policy on restraints on the use and enjoyment of land, it might be for other rules as well.

    nk (3c7a86)

  84. NK #83

    Good point. For Californians an excellent resource is The Condominium Blue Book. It contains the portions of the Civil, Vehicle, and other codes that bear on HOAs as well as a synopsis of court decisions interpreting those laws. It is revised annually and is available on Amazon for about $20. The California Dept. of Real Estate has information about Common Interest Developments available on its web site.

    Most HOAs are not petty tyrannies. Potential buyers should walk around the complex, talk to residents about HOA policies, and just be observant.

    Stu707 (6e4ad5)

  85. You may think you can defend yourself against an HOA in Texas by characterizing its enforcement as “state action” on the ground that it uses a public court for enforcement, but you’d be pretty disappointed. You think people haven’t tried that? Some states (like Pennsylvania, I’ve heard) have rules that impose constitutional limitations on associations that arrogate to themselves enough of the functions of government. Texas does not. In Texas the issue is treated as a private contract dispute. The court’s attitude is you should have been smarter than to sign the deed without understanding the CCRs better, and if you don’t like the HOA, you should get your neighbors to vote to change it. And indeed, short of moving out, that is your only realistic option. If there is a professional management company and an experienced law firm running your HOA, however, you will be a singularly effective grassroots organizer if you succeed in reforming it.

    As for the issue of which political party is to blame for this kind of thing, I’m telling you, you can’t tell. I’ve been involved in a huge number of these fights. There are both Democrats and Republicans screwing up on this issue. You think there aren’t silly, interfering snobs in both parties? I wish it weren’t true. The best lawyer in Houston when it comes to fighting HOAs successfully is an ACLU lawyer who is as Democrat as they come. This is a libertarian issue that crosses party lines.

    Someone on Ace of Spaces commented that HOAs are like some kind of unholy union between the Canadian Civil Rights Commission and the Mafia. That’s perfect. That absolutely nails it.

    Texan99 (870b54)

  86. Peter,

    It’s coming from the Dallas area which is not classic red state conservative. Think Harriet Miers and George W. Bush when he crossed the aisle to work with Teddy Kennedy.

    Nevertheless, HOAs everywhere have crazy rules. I’ve never seen one like this story but my HOA comes close. No vehicle is allowed to park in front of a home in my subdivision for more than 3 consecutive days, and that includes the homeowner who goes to work during the day. The theory is: You have a garage. Use it.

    DRJ (a5243f)


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