Known Johnson

November 7, 2007

Our Homeowners Association – putting the ho in HOA

Filed under: General — Tom @ 8:49 am

Okay, fine, so maybe we did get the letter from them six months ago – the one asking that we repaint our house. Everyone in our neighborhood did. You know, these seven to eight year old homes that somehow are just falling apart and so badly needs a paint jobs. Because, of course, it’s the condition of the paint that is at fault for the ills in the housing market right now. But that’s what they say – that repainting makes our neighborhood more marketable. Somehow.

I don’t remember anyone painting their houses this often when I was growing up. It seems ridiculous to me. Sure, there are a few spots that could use touching up, like any home, but repaint the whole house?! Of all the things that need to be updated, paint is the last of them that I’d consider important. Gravel would probably rank much higher. The gravel we were all forced by the HOA to buy, this pale, crappy white/yellow junk, crumbles quickly, and our yard is about at the point where we have no choice but to call in a dumptruck full of the stuff for a refresh. Well, that plan will probably go on the back burner now that we have to needlessly repaint. I was actually looking forward to new gravel – the yard will look so much better for it, the house will look so much more fresh and new, but no, paint it is.

You see, we got the threat today. That letter we got six months ago? Put away and, well, maybe not forgotten, but put in the back of our minds. We were both just sure that the six month period they gave us to repaint our houses ended sometime in November – after all, they didn’t put a hard date in the letter, but it is dated 4/18/07. So mid-October is apparently when it was supposed to have been completed by. Nevermind that there’s absolutely no record that we actually received this request from them – I know if we had an endless supply of money could fight them in court and win on this one because they can’t demand something from someone without any proof that they ever knew about it in the first place. I want to pretend that we didn’t get the letter and force their hand, but I know how vicious they can be. You really don’t want to mess with an HOA unless you’ve got a Trump-sized bank account backing you. And we don’t.

And now they’re threatening us with fines if we don’t paint – $10 to $500 a day. Paint up or pay up, that’s the choice. Isn’t that what you do with hookers? You pay them for their services, right? Except with hookers, gross as they might be in real life, you’re supposed to get a, um, “happy ending,” right? With this, we just get more bland tan paint. We already have that.



  1. Ok, first question: What’s all this talk about gravel and your yard? Like, is your whole yard graveled or something?

    Next question: How do they know you haven’t painted your house? If the repainting schedule is as ridiculous as you say, your house can’t look that bad, can it? I’d be tempted to buy one small can of paint and a roller, slap one stroke’s worth of paint on the house, and say, “There, I’ve painted the house.” Of course, if there are really bad spots here or there, I would touch those up too…but repainting the entire house seems a bit silly.

    I grew up in a relatively ghetto neighborhood. So long as you didn’t shoot anybody or cook meth in your house (using and distributing seemed to be ok), you were fine. Well, we did have the occasional old lady with too much time on her hands who would call the cops any time someone parked their car in such a way that half of one tire rested on their lawn (parking in the yard = fine), but there wasn’t some kind of official organization set up to annoy homeowners. All that to say, these HomeOwners Annoyance Associations are not something I have any experience with, other than listening to people describe how awful they are.

    Comment by Uncle Midriff — November 7, 2007 @ 9:43 am | Reply

  2. so…what would happen if you had no money to paint the place? i mean, it’s not like we’re talking about a hundred bucks here?

    i saw a bit on the tube a while back about homeowner/condo assoc. rules and basically, when it came right down to it, rules that were not safety-related could not be enforced.

    …although obviously you’ve got to spend money in court to deal with it.

    Comment by Mark Saleski — November 7, 2007 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  3. Uncle: Yep, the whole front yard is gravel. That’s a southwest thing. For whatever reason, “we” want our yards to look like the environment, not actual yards. So there’s about 10 tons of gravel up front. I’ll have to get a picture tonight – both to show the gravel and the “shocking” state of our paint.

    And, basically, you’ve both got it – we’re talking about houses, including ours, with normal seven year old paint – sure, it might be a bit faded, but it’s not like it’s peeling off and revealing raw stucco underneath or something. It’s just not as shiny as it was when we moved in. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to push the issue. It could really blow up – even if we “won” this, they could make things very, very difficult in every other way. Things they might have ignored, such as a plant out front that has been slowly recovering from the freezes last winter, might just set them off and incur a fine now because it’s unsightly. Can’t risk it. We’ll just grin and bear it, and get the hell out of there as soon as we can.

    Comment by Tom — November 7, 2007 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  4. That is completely, totally awesome. I live in Oklahoma, where we have grass yards. They suck. Especially mid-summer, when you have to mow them about twice a day* or else they look scraggly and gross. If I could afford to gravel my yard (I, for reasons which don’t need exploring at this juncture, live in a house sitting on a large portion of land, the upkeep of which is my responsibility), I would do it in a heart beat.

    *Slight exaggeration

    Comment by Uncle Midriff — November 7, 2007 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  5. 1.) I’m gonna have to see a photo of your freak gravel-yard. And, B.) This post here is all the many reasons in the world why I would never live somewhere that has a homeowners association that could boss me around.

    Comment by bekah — November 7, 2007 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  6. i agree with bekah on both counts. i could understand it if the place was falling apart but after 6-7 years? puhlease!

    Comment by marc — November 7, 2007 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

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