By on January 9, 2018

garage door HOA

Throughout the 20th century, there have been three social ideologies that looked appetizing on paper, but ultimately proved toxic in practice. I am of course talking about fascism, communism, and the homeowners association. While we’ve successfully managed to keep the former two restrained in North America, the dreaded homeowners association has persisted — borrowing heavily from the worst parts of both fascism and communism to enforce an arbitrary pettiness upon regular folks everywhere.

This month, “everywhere” just so happens to be a California neighborhood where the local HOA is forcing residents keep their garages open all day. Apparently the Auburn Greens complex in Auburn, California found out that a single resident had been caught allowing people to sleep in their garage. To ensure this never happens again, the homeowners association has mandated all residents leave their automotive bays open between the hours of 8 a.m. an 4 p.m. or receive a $200 fine.

In addition to being the worst solution to a non-problem in history — people sleeping in garages typically don’t do so during working hours —the new rule also leaves an entire neighborhood exposed to thieves. While residents are at the office, anything stored in the garage is now up for grabs.

The same goes for what’s in the house, too. After all, if a burglar doesn’t see a car in the garage or the driveway, it’s a safe assumption nobody is in the building. However, if someone were to leave their second vehicle in the garage with the door up while they were out for the day, that would also provide a car thief with adequate coverage to get in there and do what they do best. But at least no one will be sleeping in garages anymore.

“That’s an issue that they should address differently, I feel,” Fred Waidtlow, who owns one of the units in the community, told Sacramento-based KCRA 3. “If we have to have this open from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, anybody can help themselves and steal you blind. And they do it in this Auburn Greens complex,” he said.

A spokesman for the California Association of Homeowners Associations said it’s possible for an HOA to create this kind of mandate. He added that California civil code sets the laws for making rule changes, which usually require a vote of the owners or board. As unpopular as this decision appears to be within the community, there’s nothing illegal about it.

However, the HOA laws do stipulate that new rules must be considered “reasonable.” While the garage door policy seems anything but, the vague guidelines could be difficult to argue against. Residents may need to seek out court intervention to overturn this utterly ridiculous garage-door policy.

 

[Source: Jalopnik] [Image: KCRA 3]

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114 Comments on “Attention Burglars: Californian HOA Mandate Forces Residents to Keep Garage Doors Open All Day...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    So I guess living in your car is out of the question.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Most HOA’s that I am familiar with want you to keep the doors closed so others don’t have to look at the detritus of life which usually occupies one’s garage instead of an automobile (at least here in Florida).

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The police in my HOA neighborhood will actually tell you to CLOSE the door because of theft concerns. Since I have thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear (including MY boat) plus a variety of car parts in my garage this open door nonsense would not be happening at my house.

      I’ve lived in both HOA and non-HOA communities in Florida. I actually prefer the HOA version. Sure its a pain due to many rules and restrictive policies, but I am thankful my neighbor can’t paint their house purple with orange trim, or let his lawn grow into a Jurassic Park simulation, or decide to store a broken down Camaro on blocks sitting over an oil stained driveway. Its not ideal but sadly you can’t trust everyone to maintain a certain level of “nice” without some rules. I can’t wear flip flops at work either despite the fact that I find them acceptable footwear.

      • 0 avatar

        “Since I have thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear (including MY boat)…”

        *grabs pen*

        Now what’s that address again?

      • 0 avatar
        sgtjmack

        There are ways to make the unsightly junk go away without the necessity of a nanny state thug telling people to live under stupid restrictive ways.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          This even in good ol’ Bad News Va in the absence of an HOA yards have to be maintained and in order to maintain an inoperable vehicle on the property it has to be stored properly (garage or car cover and if outside the vehicle has to move under its own power IIRC) and recently I think they added a stipulation about having to prove it a project vehicle otherwise a steaming pile of junk can be considered a nuisance.

          Although you’d be out of luck on the paint though but its rare to see somebody paint their house in such a garish fashion.

          The city has a lot of tools at their disposal. Especially if the house isn’t in good order. Years ago my roommates dad hired a kid that had been given a house by his mom and as unsupervised kids with a rough background tend to do. They had several run-ins with the police and eventually another kid was murdered at the home and tired of dealing with the problem they condemned the property, kicked the residents out and seized the home and eventually sold it off at a fire sale price to somebody who restored the property and flipped it.

      • 0 avatar
        drw1926

        And how many neighbors have you had that actually painted their house purple with orange trim? I’d venture to guess about as often as you’ve been told to leave your garage door open inside of a HOA.

  • avatar

    You chose to live in a house with an HOA, you get to deal with the consequences.

    I have NEVER seen anything good come from an HOA, after representing multiple clients and dealing with their issues.

    I will no longer represent a client on a real estate matter if they plan on purchasing in an HOA – they are that egregious and overbearing.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      This is correct. You 100% get what you pay for. I’ve never figured out why people subject themselves to this sort of thing. If you have enough money to live in these sorts of communities, then you probably have enough money to live in a neighborhood that is affluent enough so that you don’t need any HOA rules. While I’m sure there are exceptions, I can’t imagine that the tradeoff is worth it.

    • 0 avatar

      An HOA maintains half my landscaping and I don’t pay into it as I am not a member.

      #benefits

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The concept of an HOA is a good one.

      But, often enough to make them really scary, they attract the very worst busybodies and obsessives in their service area. Those are the people who show up to the 6 p.m. meetings when everyone else is at work late trying not to get fired; who care enough about every last detail to actually spend their spare time doing things like writing bylaw updates and managing gardener contracts; and who will quickly take Measures if someone tries to challenge the dictatorial powers they assume the title of President gives them. If you gathered all the HOA officers in a metropolitan area in a big room, you’d have half a big room of totally insufferable people.

      And idiocy like this is the result.

      • 0 avatar
        JEFFSHADOW

        In the 1980s in Sherwood Village, an HOA neighborhood in Anaheim, California, the president of the HOA was allowed to park his RV in front of his condo. No one else was allowed to do this.
        I drove in to see my friend and parked behind his closed garage door for thirty seconds (no cell phones in 1980) and my car was towed away faster than I could get back to the driveway! The HOA kept a tow service on site under contract 24 hours a day.
        We bought a home in Helendale, CA (Silver Lakes) in 2007 and were glad to finally leave that “TOWN WITH AN HOA!”. They charged $177 per month HOA fees (probably higher now) to fine you $500 if grass grew through the black plastic, $500 if you dared walk your dog in the park (security couldn’t catch my shepherd collie and me, ever!) and $500 if you parked your RV on the wide streets. They had an RV storage lot that all the thieves knew was quite accessible…
        In 2016 we selected a McMansion in the high desert with no HOA -what a difference! The winds are intense enough that there is no street sweeping needed. I can park eighteen American vehicles here and have no problem with a roving security guard that does not like two door land yachts.

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        “A spokesman for the California Association of Homeowners Associations said…”

        Apparently these people do have gatherings. As I heard it explained recently, idiocy multiplies. If you have a committee with two people with half a brain, they don’t add up to a full brain, they multiply to 1/4 a brain.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Our HOA, like all HOAs, appears to be run by psychotic Nazis. However in the area I live it is almost impossible to find a house that doesn’t have a HOA. Not surprisingly houses and neighborhoods without HOAs tend to be much more expensive unless they are the back of beyond or a dangerous part of town.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You sure wouldn’t be doing much business in my area with that attitude as most neighborhoods newer than the late 80’s have some form of HOA.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      Amen, Ricky Spanish. I will NEVER own a property with an HOA again.

      Back in ’10, Dodd-Frank and my bull-headed HOA combined to hold me hostage in my own townhouse. Neighboring HOAs had a long-running spat over future maintenance over a culvert. Any open litigation threw the brakes on any progress. Couldn’t refinance, couldn’t rent it, and could barely sell it…even to a buyer with 80% equity! An 11th hour deal put together by the buyer’s agent got the buyer to take out a variable-rate personal loan to get the deal done. I won’t forget that lesson anytime soon.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Wow. I’ve heard of tiny minded HOAs not allowing garage doors to be open for more than X minutes (doesn’t look nice, you know) but this is quite the opposite.

  • avatar

    Most homes I know of have a much weaker door inside the garage, as the garage door is designed as the primary layer of security. That would be a primary concern for me if this were to happen.

    As well, this is some stupid garbage and goes against all sense. The enclosed garage is part of your private property, and shouldn’t be forced into the public realm by an open door policy.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      This was the first thing my wife and I did when we bought our first house… Replaced the hollow interior door to the garage with a urethane-core steel door.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Need to do so as well, how much did that run you if you don’t mind my asking?

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Cupples

        I think I have plenty of tools stored in my garage that could be used to bypass the door and bust through the wall.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Yep, I’ve never quite understood having Big Fancy Unbreakable Door when most houses have normal windows and walls that are easy enough to break through if all else fails.

          Just lock any old door and you’ve defeated the casual opportunists. Change the hollow door to a solid one and you haven’t done a thing to stop the jewel thieves/black helicopter agents.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Jewel thieves would have a very difficult time if I could harden the garage door entrance and one other entrance (think multiple locks and removal of glass or adding hardened glass). Windows are four inches wide and crank. My walls are brick and plaster, nothing short of construction equipment or an RPG is coming through.

            Men in Black will always find ways in, or just put a round through a window if need be; not much I can do about them.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Well, once you’re dealing with brick walls and hardened glass, then just watch your attic.

            My house has lots of glass, older vinyl siding that would shatter if someone hit it with a sledgehammer, and drywall that would do the same. A couple of guys with a sledgehammer and a demolition bar could break through the wall on the blind side of my house in 5 minutes. Fortunately we don’t have expensive jewels and my neighborhood is one of the safest in Seattle.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This attic is only large enough to crawl through, although noted and thanks. The side with bedrooms is two stories off the ground, although the other side is a single story because of a hill. I have a piece of surplus hardened glass to install in one entrance, but to really do things well its $$$$. I’m on the poor man’s home security program.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Yup – very much this. In fact until I moved away 3/4 time I never locked the doors to my place in Maine – casual thievery just isn’t a thing there. That would just mean you would need to replace the kicked in door or broken window too. A locked door in the typical house is security theatre right up there with the TSA.

            Florida, I lock the doors but realistically any thief is just going to walk around back where there are no neighbors and smash the sliding glass door.

            And I too have as my number one pre-req for home ownership being NO HOA.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yeah you have the door knob jigglers and then you have the window breakers.

            In my first house I came home to find a broken window in the bedroom who’s window faced the back yard. I called the police and being fall in the PNW you could see where they walked down the side of the house jumped the fence and broke the nearest window. However I had a dog and a doggy door to the garage. Apparently she didn’t hear him climb over the fence but did hear the glass break and knowing her came out barking like crazy at the stranger. You could tell he walked in and left running.

          • 0 avatar

            Was your dog an A) attack-type dog, or B) one who would investigate the noise, and then wag her tail and expect petting?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Corey, while she wasn’t a trained attack dog by any means she certainly had a tough bark, a mean growl, and would not be looking for an unaccompanied stranger to pet her. She was also not a small dog being a mix of Pitbull and Black Lab.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No the door between an attached garage and the house has had to be a fire rated door in most jurisdictions for many decades. That means a solid core or steel over a solid core just like used for exterior doors. Of course there are older homes that use an interior grade (hollow core) door and those that have replaced it not knowing the code. But as Rob pointed out many people have tools that will make quick work of the door between the house and the garage and once the roll up is closed do so out of sight.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting. My house is quite old, and it has a metal door on a spring closure for the garage – hollow-ish.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Well if you’ve got a spring loaded metal clad door either your house is quite old or someone replaced it along the way. The requirement for the spring loaded fire rated doors came in the 70’s and metal clad residential doors didn’t get popular until the 80’s or 90’s.

          My 1955 house had the same door between the garage and house as the front door, a solid core wood door with nice clear birch skins. Unfortunately the front door faces west and has no protection from the sun. So the outer skin was well toasted from the sun and someone not keeping up with maintenance on its finish so I replaced it with a modern steel clad door.

          Now of course there are commercial doors which are all steel but often hollow construction, and on an older house you never know what someone used because they had it available or thought it was superior for some reason.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          Our house came with a hollow core front entrance door. Not fun in the upper midwest winters. That got replaced in short order.

          The door between the basement and garage is steel and insulated. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      That’s the opposite in our neighborhood – the door from the house into the garage is a very heavy fire-rated solid-core door. Fortunately, ours is a non-HOA neighborhood. We have a pretty decent code enforcement department in our town, which helps keep the neighborhoods looking okay, without needing an overbearing HOA board.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    What if the homeowner wants to sleep in their own garage?

    Doesn’t it ever rain there?

    What about the wasted/increased utility bills of having an open garage door?

    Isn’t this an open invitation for rodents?

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Your reasons for closing a garage door are sound, unfortunately fascists are not motivated by logic. They are motivated by the desire to control others.

      I suggest closing your garage door for the simple reason that it’s your garage door, and when confronted by the HOA invite them inside for a cold beer and a look at your basement collection of medieval sexual torture devices.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      You are not allowed to sleep in a garage as its not a dwelling approved construction.

      I shall be going around to your house to check that your front lawn is no higher than 8.5 mm. I shall be wearing black dress shoes, bermuda shorts and white tennis socks pulled up over my knees.

      Also I will pass a resolution at the next meeting demanding a 5 o’clock curfew for people under 21 and a requirement for shirts to be tucked into underpants.

      I may not be popular, but I am RIGHT.

  • avatar
    Heino

    My in-laws were given a warning for having the wrong shade of brown on their patio door. There was also a case a few years back when a Vietnam veteran was warned about his POW/MIA flag, which was subsequently allowed after it made the media.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      The “veteran is told he can’t fly flag” story is quite common. And the local media jumps on the story portraying it as evil HOA vs poor patriotic veteran who loves his country. Ratings gold Jerry!!

      But 99% of the time the HOA rules clearly state no flags allowed. And the reason is because if you allow the US flag, then what’s to stop someone from flying a Confederate flag? Or a Nazi flag. Or whatever. So instead of having to be the decider of “good flag” and “bad flag”, HOAs just say no flags allowed, period.

      • 0 avatar
        Heino

        You have a good point, but the problem with some of the HOA rules are arbitrary. The binary logic of flags or other displays are not logical. If I want to have a display of “Corey Lewis for Sheriff” that shouldn’t be a problem. Obviously having Nazi, KKK, or other hate groups is a problem. In the end I have to admit when you have an HOA, you can expect compliance issues.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I had a neighbor who was going to be in HOA violation for buying the higher-end (but wrong) model of storm door. It mattered not that the paint matched exactly, was from the same approved storm door manufacturer and was even purchased at the suggested big box store. My neighbor became unhinged…and my blood pressure still get higher thinking about it. I told myself, “I’ve gotta get out of here!”

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I would set up a flock of plastic flamingos inside my garage. And a gnome.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This is why you don’t have HOA, but instead simply hire a “manager” and issue stock to owners who choose the manager. All actions voted on by a simple or super majority, manager simply keeps the lights on and pays the bills – not issue edicts.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The thing is that most HOA regulations can’t be changed except by a vote of the members.

      Then you got to be careful about the management company you choose. There was that recent case where the management company failed to update their proper mailing address, did not pay the taxes on the road and sidewalks and it got sold at the tax auction. Eventually the board did prevail in suing the city, but you have to wonder what happened in all of that time.

      Did the company keep billing the homeowners for the taxes. If they stopped why didn’t anyone wonder. If they did keep billing them why didn’t a single person review the yearly budget. There were planting strips that I’m guessing were maintained by someone and who was collecting and paying that.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Apparently, that HOA board is populated by those who are too retarded to hold a job.

    I was on a HOA board for 5 years. The HOA hadn’t been enabled until about half the lots were built out and most of the restrictions had been repeatedly ‘violated’ over a decade or so. The developer didn’t care. With the other like minded board members, we made sure any egregious restrictions were changed. Today, the association is responsible for maintaining, insuring and paying taxes on a 12 acre pond site and putting up nice street signs.

    It never was anything more than a marketing document for the developer. I don’t ever foresee living anywhere more restrictive. I sure would do due diligence on any HOA to avoid power-mad or dimwit boards.

  • avatar
    azmtns

    I can’t imagine HOA CC&R’s directly addressing such an issue. It is probably a case of twisting an obscure clause to make it fit a perceived problem. Regardless, homeowners need to show up at the next board meeting, force a revocation and maybe even recall some board members.
    The HOA I live in is very laissez faire and this would not happen.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I suspect you’re correct, in that it’s a little more involved than meets the eye.

      Aren’t HOA board members elected? If so, as you suggested, show up to the next board meeting and let them know this is their last term if something doesn’t change quickly. Bring a Community Officer (or whatever they’re called where you live) from your local police department to argue the detriments of keeping your garage doors open all day.

      • 0 avatar
        JEFFSHADOW

        Ok, this thread has really got me going! At the Silver Lakes HOA meetings the management would read my request card and simply deny my motion to speak. I could not understand why dogs were not allowed in a park. Check out the OTHER Silver Lake, California and you will note dogs are welcome all the time! I picked up after my dog, always. Others did not and never would. You cannot change the fact that there are stupid, uncaring people out there. So fine them and let myself and others, who are responsible, walk our dogs in the open park. For three years they would never let me speak. My dog liked to “attack” the lawn sprinklers but the security guards would try to get to us and issue a citation every time. One time we were stopped while walking through the park. I mentioned that we were walking in the park but on the paving, so it was legal. The security jerk did not know the HOA rules precisely, so he let us go our way. If you had a gang of out-of-town minority kids with their dogs all over the basketball courts you were left alone. A single white man with his dog was an open target every time. Those late night chases were quite memorable as “Kage” and I would race along the back of the park out of the spotlights’ glare, run across the street and then double back. The idiot guard would ask if I had seen anyone in the park with a dog, since by then we were walking toward the park!
        They finally opened a dog park that was never maintained anyway.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Throughout the 20th century, there have been three social ideologies that looked appetizing on paper, but ultimately proved toxic in practice. I am of course talking about fascism, communism, and the homeowners association. While we’ve successfully managed to keep the former two restrained in North America,”

    I would put feminism into third position.

    Every time when a mass shooting occurs in US, I am so sad, so sad. Because shooters kill either children or concert/movie-goers. Why don’t turn this madness on bad guys like HOA? By now, HOAs would probably afraid to make rules like this

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “This month, “everywhere” just so happens to be a California neighborhood where the local HOA is forcing residents keep their garages open all day. Apparently the Auburn Greens complex in Auburn, California found out that a single resident had been caught allowing people to sleep in their garage. To ensure this never happens again, the homeowners association has mandated all residents leave their automotive bays open between the hours of 8 a.m. an 4 p.m. or receive a $200 fine.”

    I’m sure there are contracts to back up the petty dictatorship but this feels like an issue for the local magistrate or authorities.

  • avatar
    srh

    I don’t have any girly posters, but if I lived in this HOA I guarantee you I’d plaster my garage walls with the raunchiest posters I could buy.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    One of the great things about living in Arizona is that the laws state that an HOA may not create or impose a rule, regulation or law that is mot already enforcable or illegal in the State, County or City which the house is located in.

    The HOA didn’t like hearing that from me when they tried to tell me I couldn’t do certain things to my house or in my back yard.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      That doesn’t stop them from valiantly trying to force their arbitrary nonsense rules on homeowners. My 9 month of effort to persuade a management company moron that HOA rules don’t superceded the FCC’s regulations on exterior antenna – specifically a Dish Network dish inside our back yard that had the temerity and lack of modesty to show it’s top inch over the wall – and only ended when I threatened to sue the management company and HOA board for harassment.

  • avatar
    Boff

    “Throughout the 20th century, there have been three social ideologies that looked appetizing on paper, but ultimately proved toxic in practice. I am of course talking about fascism, communism, and the homeowners association.”

    GOLD!

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    I decided to never buy into an HOA after I saw that X-Files episode.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Now the funny thing is I own two homes in neighborhoods with HOAs. In both cases there is wording that the garage door should be kept closed when not actually being used. I know that if they tried to do that I’d keep it closed until they could provide a guard that made sure the several thousand dollars of tools and equipment I keep in my garage is safe.

    Plus since most people sleep outside of the hours you are required to keep it open I don’t see how much good this will do to stop people sleeping in the garage.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I’m in a unit on the second floor over the building’s four-stall garage, with one for each unit in the building. The $hit-for-brains builder ran the pipes for my unit in an area underneath the subfloor, and over the garage; furthermore, all of the water meters are in a closet in the garage on a wall which wasn’t well-insulated, with the same problem under my subfloor, as I found out in 1999 when I had the pipe burst under my floor!

      We’ve taken steps to mitigate this problem in our buildings, but we still have occasional frozen pipes caused by cold air flooding in from open garages!

      Two of my neighbors have been guilty of leaving their garages open all the time, but fortunately they changed their tune when I assured them on separate occasions that if my pipes freeze, I will immediately take them to court! It’s a shame in this day and age that people will not follow a simple rule even after it’s been pointed out to them in a friendly, neighborly manner, repeatedly, and that threats are necessary to light fires under backsides! However, it does work! The garages are closed at all times!

      My board (of which I’ve been secretary since 2001) does a good job, and we’re generally held in good regard, except in the eyes of one owner who seems as though he was put on this Earth to cause others grief; he probably would have been bichting at the Crucifixion because they didn’t drive the nails in just so! Nothing but a petulant bully, both to our board and others; was even charged with disorderly conduct after threatening my board president and one of our contractors! (The idiot called the police once because one of his neighbors had..are you ready for this?..** spilled a little coffee on the garage floor!! **)

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yeah unfortunately there is always that one. I’m the president of a small (6 unit) Condo HOA and there is one guy who loves to make trouble and tell us how we are doing it wrong, but is completely unwilling to do anything but bitch.

        Of the 6 units there are 4 owners, I own two, a retired lady owns two, he owns the one and another owns the 6th unit who was the previous president. He came to attempt to force a recall of the president since like me he is an evil absentee owner. He figured his and the retired lady’s 2 votes meant they would have their way. You should have seen his face when I explained to him that it is not 1 vote per unit, the votes each unit gets is proportional to the percentage of total sq ft the unit has and that I had a proxy from that 4th owner. Having the far and away largest unit and one of the middle size units and that proxy meant that I there was nothing he could do.

        I can’t wait until he finds out that I’m working with that lady to purchase at least one, if not both of her units.

        Oh did I mention that it was bought by his girl friend’s father in law to give her a place to live, and then was gifted to them? (at least that is how they transferred title to avoid paying the transfer tax)

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    HOA’s are the training ground for GOP voter fraud fabulists.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    HOAs resemble corporate management in their glee to use a sledge hammer to kill an HR problem fly when a simple fly swatter would due. It’s mostly unnecessary but oh so satisfying to the one wielding the sledge hammer.

  • avatar
    Mud

    I thought Kalifornia was all about sanctuary garages…..

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    If I were a victim of this boneheaded regulation, I would try to convince my attorney that the HOA has acted to alter my garage into an open carport, functionally speaking. I would ask an appraiser to establish how much less value comes with a carport instead of a garage, and sue the HOA for at least that much.

    Taken en masse, that would come to a considerable amount. Of course, any judgement against the HOA would have to be paid by the homeowners, so they’re effectively immune.

    I’ve heard that here in Colorado, all new subdivisions must by law have HOAs. Local governments prefer to delegate responsibility for everyday maintenance and disputes to them. So in the interest of avoiding taxes to governments run by elected representatives, we pay even higher fees and submit to far harsher regs from these obscure, quasi-Democratic authorities. Good thing I prefer older homes in established, pre-HOA neighborhoods!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m reading this in sheer disbelief.

      So hey muni, do I still pay you taxes even though you don’t do anything in my statist community? Oh I do huh. Why y u tax with no representation?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      “I’ve heard that here in Colorado, all new subdivisions must by law have HOAs.”

      You might be correct, but that’s so absurd, I’d want to see evidence of such a statewide law before I give it too much credibility.

      Three minutes of googling didn’t get it for me. ;(

      • 0 avatar
        markf

        “I’ve heard that here in Colorado, all new subdivisions must by law have HOAs.”

        I don’t think this is true. I bought a house last year in a new development in Colorado Springs. No HOA, the main reason I bought the house. There is a covenant bit no HOA or enforcement mechanism.

        I think what that person may be referring to is “Metro Districts” Basically all sub-divisions (outside city limits) either join or create a new Metro District that take care of sewage, lighting, water, fire protection, stuff like that.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          It could be true, in new-built subdivisions.

          The established homes we own in Littleton, and other places throughout the Denver area, do not have an HOA.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Anything built in metro Denver since the ’90s is almost certainly going to be in a HOA community. And maybe there’s a point to that. In the town I live in, there’s only one non-HOA subdivision, and as much as I hate to admit it, it’s somewhat trashy compared to the other subdivisions around here. Quite a few unwatered, cruddy looking lawns, broken-down pickups in the driveway, faded paint, buckled-out garage doors, etc. One house in particular that’s painted the same shade of purple as Barney. And during the housing market crash, it was a foreclosure generator as well.

            Unfortunately, it’s also the only neighborhood around here that isn’t laughably overpriced.

            Maybe HOAs aren’t such a bad thing…

    • 0 avatar
      sixt5cuda

      Facts which will be lost in the discussions about the HOA doing terrible things:

      Auburn Greens is 40-year-old collection of mostly fourplex apartment buildings with “open” carports beneath the upper units. Neighborhood restrictions do not allow garage doors. Some units had roll-up doors installed long ago, so were grandfathered in.

      The HOA made an unpopular rule, because they neglected to enforce existing rules.

      Also, a 4-plex with an open air carport underneath the upper unit, looks exactly like a garage without a door. Maybe there is a court challenge possible here. When a carport has 3 walls, does it legally become a garage, even without a roll-up door? Until I looked at StreetView images of Auburn Greens, I always assumed a carport was open on 3 sides…

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I’m so glad my wife and I chose not to live in an HOA. First of all, there usually isn’t much advantage for living in one of these developments. Besides the fees, the lots are super small and you often have silly rules such as “no barbecues” (a page taken from my sister’s HOA). I can understand things like having no cars on blocks in your front yard, keeping your lawn neat and other basic expectations, but HOAs come up with the craziest stuff on a whim.

    I never did understand why so many homeowners in HOAs leave their garages open. If you’re like me, you have a big ol’ Craftsman tool cart full of all kinds of tools and a freezer full of food. Kayaks (and bikes if you have kids).

    Now I understand this weird phenomenon, and if an HOA community has a big enough issue with people sleeping in garages, why live there? Why live in an HOA home equipped with a garage if you can’t close it?

    I have a two car garage (really it’s a one car unless you are Houdini) plus a three bay shop and a beautiful home on four acres–all of which are not under the thumb of an HOA.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I just loathe cutting the grass, and have enough trouble getting my backside out of bed in the morning without having to worry about getting up 90 minutes earlier to clear ten inches of snow off the driveway before having to leave thirty minutes early due to the road conditions!

      If an HOA has a set of common sense stipulations, and is able to build an adequate reserve fund to take care of big maintenance issues like roofs, driveway sealing, etc., without having to assess for each issue, and without having exhorbitent HOA fees, that’s good! Problems arise when rules go beyond stupid, like this, or when the board is on a power trip, or when there’s not enough money around to be able to handle big needs or unexpected events without having to demand a huge check from each owner, payable upon receipt, to cover it!

      My development is a nice “starter” community — forty units in ten buildings, no pool, pond or clubhouse. We went through the “low fees, and assess for the bigger stuff” for awhile, but after a failed term with a management company whose president made the smarmiest BHPH salesman look like a saint, we finally bit the bullet, and raised our fees a little. But we’ve built up a good reserve, haven’t had to raise fees in seven years (and see no reason to do so in the future, but even if we did, it wouldn’t be a lot, no more than $10/month/unit), and hope to be able to resurface one of our two driveways with no assessment needed in a year or two. (The State of Ohio mandates a reserve fund at 10% of budgeted annual receipts, which we weren’t doing for several years; crazy thing was, THAT MANAGEMENT COMPANY was also unaware!)

  • avatar
    brn

    Good thing I have people sleep in my shed, not my garage.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    This can’t be real. Even Californians aren’t this idiotic.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I never get people who buy a house in an HOA and then 3 seconds later complain about having to follow rules that they agreed to in writing. It’s like moving next to the airport and then complaining about the noise. Granted this example is insane. But other HOA rules like cutting your grass, and not parking cars on the street are spelled out clearly in CC&Rs that every home buyer gets to see before signing on the dotted line.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I agree. Except when things get altered from the original docs you signed…or the HOA takes liberties with language interpretation. That happened to me and on several accounts. My motorcycle was deemed to be a “recreational vehicle” by the HOA. Thankfully, that item was specifically discussed with my agent at time of purchase (I was an early purchaser) and the HOA reluctantly backed down. I also lost the ability to rent my townhouse after a vote of residents removed the option. I had been told that I could overturned that legally, but I wasn’t up for that fight. (I knew it was time for me to leave when I began to plot acts of vandalism / civil disobedience in my head.)

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The trouble comes with a Rules document, which can be used for stuff which the board can do without a vote of the owners, but which can be abused.

        As to the issue of renters, the problem is that after a certain percentage of units in a development are not owner-occupied, banks won’t write paper for units in that development, or will do so at a higher interest rate. Property values also may be negatively affected.

        Why is this? Well, renters have “no skin in the game” of a development, and are more likely to ignore HOA rules and regulations, cause disturbances (noise issues, messy garage or other common areas), and generally put themselves over their neighbors — “it’s not my place, why should I give a rip?!” That’s not always the case, especially with an owner with a single unit; investors usually don’t screen tenants as thouroughly.

        • 0 avatar
          I_like_stuff

          I have several rentals myself, and I always check to see if there are any HOA restrictions on renting out houses. Usually the answer is no, but often there is a clause that allows that to be changed in certain circumstances, like if there are too many rentals. And I have no problem with that. In fact I wouldn’t want to own a rental in a ‘hood with too many rentals, LOL

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            We own a number of rentals in several locations. In most of them, ours is the only rental on the block.

            When you start getting into neighborhoods with too many rentals, the value of our property nosedives over time.

            That’s the time that you offer to sell that home to the renters at a sweet price, if they can qualify for a mortgage.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @sgeffe:

          The lending restrictions you’re talking about pertain to condo complexes, not subdivisions with single family homes.

          You can also decline condo loans for things like insufficient HOA reserves, builders still being in control of the HOA, and for having hotel features like a concierge or maids.

          Condos are a somewhat riskier form of collateral, which explains the restrictions.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Bold prediction: this rule gets quashed.

    Seriously, folks…what’s the point of getting worked up about this?

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Problems with an HOA always originate with the board that runs it. The solution is simple. At the next election, run for the board yourself. Well before then, quietly scope out your neighbors to see how many agree with you. Develop a campaign platform that caters to their desires. The board member you are trying to replace won’t notice the train coming until it’s too late for him to get off the track.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Thank goodness ISIS are out breeding Californians by a healthy margin.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    First World Problems…I live in a city…my trash is picked up weekly, the streets are plowed when it snows, a full time fire department is ready if I need them and the police are a 911 call away….and I can close my garage…or keep it opened…up to me

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “my trash is picked up weekly”

      Usually, unless there’s a strike.

      “the streets are plowed when it snows”

      Eventually, but never when you need them to be.

      “full time fire department”

      Must be nice, volunteer FDs dot most of my landscape.

      “the police are a 911 call away”

      When seconds count, police are only moments away. Assuming your muni has police, else wait an hour for the State Police.

      “I can close my garage…or keep it opened”

      Sounds like good premise for the 28th Amendment.

      From my cold, dead, clicker!

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I know a guy that was fined by his HOA because his RV was visible to people that trespassed on his property. It was NOT visible from the street.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I’m building a house in a subdivision with not one, but TWO HOAs…one for the subdivision itself, to mow common areas, maintain the ponds, etc, and a 2nd one to mow the lawns/mulch beds/remove snow up to my front door in the “lifestyle homes” part of the subdivision.

    I’m getting to an age and stage where I want things to be neat, tidy and orderly and don’t relish breaking out the Snapper and mowing every 5 days.

    I’m practicing for the retirement village we’ll land in at some point somewhere between Sarasota and Ft Myers.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      “I’m getting to an age and stage where I want things to be neat, tidy and orderly and don’t relish breaking out the Snapper and mowing every 5 days.”

      You don’t need an HOA for that. There are plenty of companies you can hire to mow your lawn and shovel your walk.


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