Not a real discussion thread...but...

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Old 07-20-14, 03:37 PM
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Not a real discussion thread...but...

I was asked to start a thread with peoples opinions Pro or Con of HOA's and their experiences with such. I posted my experience in another thread and will duplicate it here. Please keep it civil, as I know you will. I hope we have some positive examples as well.


My place in VA had "covenants"(?) and a HOA type group when I first moved in. Now, unlike most places, we had no common areas, no pool, no tennis courts, nothing like that except one little grassy curbed circle in the middle of one cul-de-sac 2 blocks away. I went to one meeting at a local church meeting room. They were asking for $10 a month in dues. When I asked "For what?", they said to pay for use of the room, donuts and coffee for the meetings, and to landscape and maintain the grassy circle.

Now this was a development of about 80 homes when completed. I said "$800 a month for that?!". Then they said "Oh, and for legal help if we have to go to court for anything." Since there would be no reason to sue the builders that I could think of, and I had title insurance, I got up and walked out.

Probably a year later as I was shingling the roof of the backyard garden shed I had built, some guy in a suit walks in my back yard and asks if I had gotten approval from the HOA. I said "I'm not a member, it meets all codes, is barely visible from the street, and exactly matches my house. If you don't like it, sue me. By the way, you are trespassing. Have a nice day." Never heard another word.

I can understand an HOA that has amenities like I mentioned above and that pay for professional services, but when they become little fiefdoms that restrict people from displaying a flag, except in "approved manners and times", or someone having a garden, or someone not mowing their lawn to the required height, then they can bite me.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ge...#ixzz383DCXPb4
 
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Old 07-20-14, 03:41 PM
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My 2:

We all live in many different societies - our county, state and city are obvious but our neighborhood is one as well. Just like any other society, one must either get involved in leadership of the society or they are obligated to silently submit to the leadership of it.
 
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Old 07-20-14, 04:56 PM
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Here we have had the homes of elderly people seized by the HOA and sold to satisfy a disputed $200 or less fee. All perfectly legal. A home they had lived in for forty or fifty years. worth $100,000+ sold for less than $10,000.

We had homeowners fined for flying the American flag in their yard.
 
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Old 07-20-14, 06:21 PM
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My area originally had an "architectural review committee" that had to pass judgement on any changes from the as built condition of the home. Funny thing, the posted address for the members of this committee were not even in Washington state. We had silly little things like "no wiring may be attached to the side of a house except in conduit" which would have made the telephone wiring and cable TV wiring on the exterior of my house (long since removed) not in compliance. I waited until several of my neighbors replaced their cedar shingled roofs with asphalt before doing mine.

Where my sister lives she at least gets some benefit from her HOA dues (about $350 a year as I recall) in that the association contracts with a landscaping company to mow the front yards of every house once a week. They also have two storm water retention ponds of fairly large size that need to be cleaned every three years and also have the security fencing maintained. On the down side (at least it would be down for me) they are prohibited from changing any of the landscaping in the front yards and any fence erected that is visible from the street MUST be made of wood.

I have a friend about 35 miles south where the association prohibits TV antennas so she is forced to connect to cable. What makes it worse for her is that she has a friend only a few miles away that receives almost all the channels she gets on cable for free via antenna.

A small city between me and my sister had, and I suspect still does, an ordinance against leaving a pick-up truck visible; it either has to be in a garage or otherwise unseen from the street. Same place would not allow motor homes or house trailers AT ALL on residential property. If on the street they could not stay there for more than 24 hours.

I have read about local veterans being prohibited from flying the US flag except during national holidays and also that their flag was too large or the pole too tall. Other areas have come down on homeowners for having too large a display at Christmas and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some places have come down on homeowners because they DIDN'T have a Christmas display.
 
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Old 07-20-14, 06:28 PM
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Not so much a HOA, but a city in California set up fines up to $500 for watering lawns, then turned around and fined one family $500 for having a brown lawn. Gotta love contradictions.

Never had the privilege of living under the hand of a HOA. I see their benefits, but I also see their iron fisted abuses as well. They seem to get power and use it for their own means. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.
 
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Old 07-20-14, 07:33 PM
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Years ago I went out to give a new customer an estimate. While not related I noticed the garage door was rotting. Didn't say anything at the time but then in the house I noticed the garage had been converted to a den. There was actually a Sheetrock wall in front of the garage door with framed openings lined up with the windows in the garage door.

Just making conversation I mentioned the rotted garage door and suggested they might want to remove the door and fill the opening with brick. Got this weird look then they explained that they actually did that when they converted the garage to a den but the HOA made them rip out the brick and put in a wood garage door. I suggested maybe they should go with metal or fiberglass next time but they said no the HOA would only allow wood garage doors.
 
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Old 07-20-14, 10:28 PM
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The way I look at it, it's my property, I decide what I do. I know for a fact HOA's are a major headache in the crazy Christmas decorator's world.

A small city between me and my sister had, and I suspect still does, an ordinance against leaving a pick-up truck visible; it either has to be in a garage or otherwise unseen from the street.
Then I'm assuming they wouldn't appreciate my street.

Other areas have come down on homeowners for having too large a display at Christmas and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some places have come down on homeowners because they DIDN'T have a Christmas display.
I have heard on the Christmas lights forums over and over again about this issue. Most people end up moving. But OTOH, a HOA requiring a Christmas display is my kind of HOA.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJixs2FoZ_Y
 
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Old 07-21-14, 12:22 AM
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... a HOA requiring a Christmas display is my kind of HOA.
Are you telling us that your ideal neighborhood is restricted to ONLY Christians?


The way I look at it, it's my property, I decide what I do.
Um, no. Almost everywhere in the entire country they have what are called zoning laws and they DO tell you what you can and cannot do with "your" property. How would you like it if I bought the property next door and then decided to build a foundry operating 24 hours a day? Or maybe I wanted to build a pig farm. Or maybe a low-income housing development complete with illicit drug manufacturing.

You have a lot to learn about living in society if you think that you can do anything just because you "own" the property.
 
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Old 07-21-14, 12:29 AM
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Are you telling us that your ideal neighborhood is restricted to ONLY Christians?
You don't have to be a Christian to put up Christmas lights.
 
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Old 07-21-14, 12:46 AM
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No, but I suspect very few non-Christians put up Christmas lights.
 
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Old 07-21-14, 03:20 AM
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But they do enjoy the paid holiday given by the employers, without question. Just sayin'
 
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Old 07-21-14, 04:00 AM
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HOAs never concerned me a whole lot because I won't live where they have one! IMO if it's your property, you should be able to do whatever you want as long as it doesn't negatively impact your neighbors.

I have painted lots of homes that were governed by HOAs some were very restrictive while others were fairly lax. I remember one customer that wanted to change the color of his house but I knew he lived in a very restricted HOA and told him he needed to check .... so he brought out the HOA handbook which clearly stated what color/brand his house must be painted. What really got my attention while skimming thru the pages was where it said the garage door must be closed at all times. It stated when you got a lawn mower [or whatever] out, the door could only be open long enough to take the mower out. Also no parking outside overnight except for guests .... and that had to be approved by the HOA in advance.

No HOAs or neighborhoods for me, I like my elbow room and freedom!!
 
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Old 07-21-14, 11:26 AM
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Its kind of like someone who moves into a home near an airport and then complains about the noise. Pretty sure you should be aware when you purchase the house that there are restrictions or not. Abide by the rules or face consequences.

Most restrictive HOA's are in your higher end neighborhoods. The restrictions are designed to help maintain the look and feel of the area which boosts property values. I live in a neighborhood with a community pool that is not mandatory to join. I sometimes wish it was mandatory as I can't seem to get my neighbor to cut his lawn, let alone pick up any trash that might blow into his ditch. Anyway, I sometimes think it is not the HOA's that are the issue, its the busy bodies who somehow always seem to get elected to serve on them that are the problem. People who seem to not have anything better to do than peer out from behind closed curtains and/or go around posting warning notices on someones front door if the garbage can was left out past 5pm.
 
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Old 07-22-14, 12:22 AM
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But they do enjoy the paid holiday given by the employers, without question.
Larry, I know that you detest labor unions and their members but almost all holidays along with rules concerning work hours and overtime hours are a direct result of the actions of unions.

Further, many times I have swapped days with a Christian so that he could spend the day/night with his family for no increase in my pay, he would simply swap with me some other day. And trust me, I am not a lone wolf in this respect as many from minority religions, or no religions, do exactly the same during Christian holidays. Also, minority religions rarely get their holy days as holidays so taking a Christian holiday pay is simply evening up the score.

Now in my case, being an atheist, I would get NO special days if I didn't get the Christian holidays...would that be fair?
 
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Old 07-22-14, 12:32 AM
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...it said the garage door must be closed at all times. It stated when you got a lawn mower [or whatever] out, the door could only be open long enough to take the mower out.
That's one of the restrictions where my sister lives and it is violated all the time. Most of these houses have a 1-1/2 car garage and of the ones I have seen they are so junked up you could never get a car inside. My sister has a Volvo S40 and even with that relatively small car it would be impossible to park a second car inside her garage even if she didn't have the (relatively) small amount of junk she has.

Her area has no sidewalks and the driveways are only about 25-30 feet long from the street to the garage door so only one car length. If you are careful it is possible to park two cars abreast but there is NO parking allowed on the street because the street is too narrow and any street parking would make it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass. Honestly, I don't understand how or why the county allowed the developer to plat such narrow streets unless some "gratuity" passed under the table.
 
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Old 07-22-14, 04:17 AM
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I'm not going to repeat my rant from previous thread, but gated communities or HOA or covanants or call them what you want, but any DIY'er would not want to be restricted by somebodies personal sense of what's right or wrong. In most of these cases one or two people "control" the board or association. Local municipalities have laws and ordinances to provide for codes and reasonable decor of one's property to keep things safe and tidy.

If you're totally incapable to do anything on your own in terms of property maintenance then perhaps these type of communities are OK, or maybe you should just rent.

Just to set the record straight...I'm not against neighborhoods sticking together to provide safety and helping each other out and applying pressure to those homeowners who do not maintain a reasonable upkeep of their property.
 
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Old 07-22-14, 04:33 AM
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Joel, I don't detest unions. I detest today's union leadership and the "gimme" attitude union employees exhibit. At their inception, unions were an absolute necessity to keep unscrupulous employers from abusing their relationship with their employees. Today, it is arguing about country club benefits, and covered walkways so the employees don't get wet going to their Lexus parking lot.

I, too, have done the swappy thing years ago with Jewish employees, and even a Couple of non-radical true-to-their-belief Muslims, so they could observe their holidays.
 
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Old 07-23-14, 03:17 AM
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Then I will offer a partial apology. Partial because I see the necessity of labor unions today for the same reasons why they were necessary 100 years ago.

The greater Seattle area WAS a strongly union area up until about twenty-thirty years ago and it has changed not because unions are "old fashioned" or "unnecessary" but because the younger generation simply doesn't understand what things were like prior to unions. History, at least the history of the labor movement isn't taught in the schools anymore but instead an attitude of total dependence on government to fix any ills of society. These younger people do not understand that what government has granted can just as easily be taken away by government.

I have not seen the things you mentioned, the union management demanding the country club benefits or the covered walkways or anything similar. I HAVE seen unions ask to RETAIN previously won benefits, especially from companies that are doing quite well and can afford to offer their upper management millions of dollars in salaries and benefits while at the same time denying even a continuation of benefits to the rank and file workers.

Nor have I seen the abuses of union management, at least at the local level, that is often mentioned by others. I am quite certain that in my top earning years I made significantly more money than the business manager of my local union. I will agree that on the surface some of the International union bosses DO seem to be cutting a rather fat hog but in almost all cases it is far, far less than the fat cat CEOs and other top management of the major corporations are taking.

I receive a modest pension, not from any beneficence of the company I worked for but because of UNION bargaining over the years. That pension plan for people still working for the company has been gutted and replaced with a 401(k) plan that is far inferior to the pension. EXCEPT, the upper management STILL has a defined benefits pension, one that exceeds anything the rank and file ever had.

I also receive medical benefits equal to when I was working (up to my 65th birthday), a so-called "Cadillac" plan and that too was a result of union negotiations over decades. I am among the last to receive such a plan, a co-worker of my age had to delay his retirement for some years because when he hired in the company had discontinued the paid retiree plan.

To be sure, there ARE unions that are trying to destroy our economy. The local one I refer to is the one demanding a $15/hr. minimum wage. Far too many people today are whining and crying how they cannot "raise a family" on minimum wage yet they have no desire whatsoever to improve their skills so they are WORTH more to their employers. I don't think that ANYONE is worth a salary of $50 million dollars a year, or even $20 million dollars a year and I don't think that someone whose skills stop at knowing which end a broom to hold is worth anything close to $15 an hour.

I could go on but I need to clean the cat box and take out the garbage.
 
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Old 07-23-14, 03:22 AM
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I think we are on the same track, as you mention bygone practices versus what is happening today. Wash your hands.
 
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Old 07-23-14, 03:33 AM
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I'm neither pro nor con union but I do lean towards non-union.
Just an anecdote. Years ago my Dad was a Teamster's truck driver delivering food around the city of Buffalo, NY. On many occasions my parents would have a dinner time discussion. My mother would eventually say that Jimmy Hoffa was a crook and should be voted out and put in prison. My Dad would get defensive and say that if it wasn't for Jimmy Hoffa our family would be a lot worse off than she seemed to think we were. That usually ended that discussion!
 
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Old 07-23-14, 03:44 AM
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Jimmy Hoffa. I'm so old I remember his predecessor, Dave Beck, who was also from the Seattle area. Beck was convicted of income tax fraud and served time at the McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary. Quite the character.


Okay, now I am going. And yes, I will wash may hands even though I wear nitrile gloves. Without the gloves I get the smell on my hands and no amount of washing gets rid of it.
 
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Old 07-23-14, 03:53 AM
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I think location plays a big part in how we view unions. Back when I was an apprentice the union came to town promising me a $1 raise [I was making $3 an hour] and the journeymen a $2 raise along with benefits, only the way it was set up, we would have to pay for the benefits ourselves. Besides the union dues there were deductions for vacation, pension and health/death insurance. All that totaled close to $1 an hour. That coupled with the fact that you could no longer do side jobs or work anywhere non union would result in a net loss of income ... it was no wonder that the union didn't fly.

My biggest bone with unions [and it's not limited to them] is where seniority outranks performance. I believe seniority should count but there is no reason for a worker that does little to make more than the guy doing the same job but with double the output.
 
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Old 07-23-14, 04:02 AM
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My biggest bone with unions [and it's not limited to them] is where seniority outranks performance. I believe seniority should count but there is no reason for a worker that does little to make more than the guy doing the same job but with double the output.
My sentiments exactly. This is perhaps one of the big problems with teacher tenure arguments. Almost all of my family members are teachers, so I have mixed feeling about teacher unions. In one sense they are getting a lot more than any other profession along with job protection. However, when your job is suppose to be teaching and instead you must baby sit and get little or no support from administration, I don't blame them for trying to get all they can.
 
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Old 07-23-14, 04:59 AM
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I'm back and yes, I DID wash my hands.

Good points being raised. My feelings on seniority are similar to my feelings on a constitutional republic (often mis-defined as democracy) form of government...it is the worst method until you consider all other methods. Seniority is the ONLY method that totally removes personalities from the equation but it IS true that it often rewards the slacker at the expense of the take-charge guy.

I remember one job where there was a man who was either number three or four on the seniority list while I was at the bottom. This man, I'll call him Jimmie because that was his name, was perhaps one of the nicest men you could ever hope to meet. He would literally give you the shirt off his back if you were freezing. Jimmie was about the least productive worker I have ever met. He would sleep on shift, probably a minimum of four hours a night, sometimes more like six. He couldn't remember how to start a particular air compressor and would often allow it to leak ten or twenty percent of the oil onto the floor. I came in one morning and he had been unable to light off the second boiler because he forgot to turn the air control down to minimum. He eventually developed a severe bunion problem and couldn't even wear a pair of regular shoes. BUT, management REFUSED to document any of these infractions and because of that he was, by review of his personnel jacket, an exemplary employee.

Another job had an older man working second shift. Bill would relieve the day shift and by four PM he had taken his shower, put on his pajamas and slippers and set up the television to watch until he was relieved at eleven PM. He was sixty-seven when he finally retired. Then there was Phil who would steal anything he could get his hands on. Somehow he was able to obtain keys for the department stores and the automotive shop. He stole tires for his cars, a rebuilt engine for his truck, paint for his house and many other items. The union never had to do a thing for any of these men because the company refused to document their transgressions.

I worked with a young man for a while, fresh out of the Navy. I won't use his name because it is rather uncommon but he was the kind of person that needed constant supervision. Unfortunately, our department tended to get very little oversight because we had such a good record of dependability. The result was that this man, not being a "self starter" had a lot of time on his hands and he often spent it accessing pornography on the company computer. Of course, porn is in the eyes of the beholder and he didn't think what he was looking at WAS porn but the computing security people most assuredly did. He was given a three-day suspension and when he came back to work after an additional week of vacation he went right back to the porn. The next day he was summarily fired and escorted off the premises.

Naturally he filed a complaint with the union and they filed a grievance with the company. At the first meeting the company presented a stack of computer usage logs several inches thick detailing the porn sites he had visited. The union rep took one look and turn to the worker and said, "Sorry, but you are fried." The union rep then told the company he was withdrawing the grievance.

Yet another place I worked, this one a governmental department, had a laborer that would routinely take the company truck to Safeway to do his grocery shopping and then deliver the groceries to his home. One time a citizen thought something fishy was going on and called the department head to complain. All this man got was an oral warning to not do it again so IF it ever became a union matter there was no paper trail noting his transgressions.

Now, this governmental subdivision had a strong Civil Service ordinance that had been in place for more than thirty years. All but a few jobs, mostly in the management ranks, were filled by use of competitive examination. BUT some fast talking people got a ballot measure going to replace the "patronage" system (it most assuredly was NOT patronage) with a system where the employees would be chosen by "merit" without ever defining what they meant by merit. Of course the general public had no idea of how the personnel system ran so they bought into the proposal hook, line and sinker. After the election several of us were sitting around the lunch table with our immediate supervisor discussing how this "merit" system was going to work. The supervisor told us that he was supposed to rate each of us on a scale of one to five and that his initial thought would be to rate us all fives. Unfortunately, his supervisor said that was not allowed and that he HAD to use all five grades. So then he said he would have to rotate the grades so each of us would be a five one quarter and then a one the next quarter and so on. Well, that sure sounded fair...NOT! I left that job in the next few weeks so I have no idea what really happened but I suspect the rating system fell by the wayside.
 
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