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Hoops and jumps

I'm more or less finished with the bathroom cabinets, although there's some touch-ups left to do where removing the painter's tape also removed paint, or the polyurethane stuck to stuff while drying. Little things. Next up for the bathrooms is painting the walls.

But the big project for the coming month or two is the back patio cover. You know how I complained that the kitchen reno was complicated? This is insane in comparison. Because it's an external upgrade, and therefore visible to the neighbors, and therefore must go through the HOA.

There's actually a special hell where those who were evil in life (like cruel, cheap landlords) have to spend eternity dealing with the red tape of getting their every move approved by the Home Owners Association. I met with the awning company in April, had them submit my plans to the management company/HOA in early May and didn't hear back from the HOA until mid-June. Then when I did, they insisted I change the paint color of the patio cover to match the house (reasonable, if irritating), AND get written permission of all the neighbors who have a view of my back patio from their home. I find that really absurd since the homes in my subdivision which *do* have back patio covers have a mish-mash of different designs and why do I even need my neighbor's "permission"--what business is it of theirs? But what.ever.

A quick stomping around the neighborhood revealed about nine homes with a view of my back patio, since I live in the middle circle of hell a giant wheel of a subdivision.

My neighborhood stroll also revealed that most of these homes have wrought-iron gates that prevent spontaneous visits from solicitors, neighbors, and you know, guests. I decided the best way to get "written permission" was to mail SASEs with a signature form to each of these neighbors along with my street address, email address, and phone number in case they wanted to contact me for any reason. In other words, don't make it at all difficult for them to sign off on the project.

A couple days after I assembled and mailed off the SASEs, I had several waiting for me on my doorstop. A few more were in the mail when I got back from D.C. One woman is a renter and emailed me the address of the company that she sends her rent to. And there's a few of the neighbors that are just plain unaccounted for. I think I can assume those home owners got the letters, read them, and ignored them. But they got them. I can also assume I communicated pretty well what I needed from my neighbors, since a good chunk of them had no problem doing what I asked. There was one idiot woman who left me a voice mail in which it was pretty clear she thought that I was under the assumption she was the HOA contact, and proceeded to give me detailed instructions about how to contact the management company (the same idiots I already went through to get my plans to the HOA).

I think I can get away with not chasing these people down to get signatures. Unless someone raises a stink during or after construction, I don't think it's a big deal I don't have written permission in hand from everyone. At least, I hope.

Anyway, these hoops and jumps have resulted in pushing this back to mid-summer, which is about the most awful time I can imagine being outside building a patio cover. It's also the time I need it the most.

I am also getting an awning for the bedroom patio door, and black-out screens for some of the key windows in the living room/library.

I am wittling the home improvements list down at a steady pace, kids, and soon it shall be fini. Next time, I'm holding out for a move-in ready place.



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
My subdivision was supposed to have an HOA, but I don't think they ever met more than once, and certainly not since I've been living here. True, if I were on the HOA board I probably would have voted against letting one of my neighbors paint his house bold olive-green and tan. But thankfully for me as well as him, it's really none of my business! ;o)
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
You live in single-family dwellings, yes? I think there is more room for flexibility in that. These are basically semi-detached condos, which means the exterior of our homes aren't our property nor our problem. My HOA fees pay for a communal landscaping service, exterior painting, etc. But the back patio is technically "inside" my property line, and if I wanted to build a raised patio deck, I wouldn't have to have it approved because it would be below the fence sight line. But the patio cover is above the sight line, and therefore fair game for busy-body neighbors.
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
My sister's house in Bakersfield, CA had an HOA which mowed the front lawn but I think they had an area near the house where they could plant their own flowers and bushes to be seen from the street.

A few years ago there was a murder at an HOA meeting here on the west side. The idiots were actually going to sell the guy's house out from under him because they didn't like the way he kept his bushes. The home owner walked in and shot at least two people on the board, killing one of them. The law has been changed to limit HOA power since then, because of it.
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC)
There's an excellent murder mystery or true crime novel in that story!
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
My head is spinning just from reading what you have to do to build a simple patio cover. Good luck with everything!
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
It was a little over the top.
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
I hear stories like this all the time about HOAs. My friend David refers to his HOA as "The People's Republic of [Name of HOA]". That's a lot of rules.
Jul. 1st, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC)
My HOA is pretty laid back, with minimal rules and regulations, and most of those are fairly reasonable. So I was quite surprised by this.

I suppose I shall have the right to complain when I actually throw my hat, or the hat of someone I like, into the ring of HOA board membership. Those guys stay in year after year because nobody runs against them.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
I think I would kill someone if I had a HOA to deal with.

Regarding the letters, what you should have done was send what is known as negative consent, ie, "I will will doing x on this date. If I don't hear from you by y date, it means you are fine with this." We use this type of letter all the time in the financial world where customers are required by law to personally let us know things.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:29 am (UTC)
I didn't do that because part of the requirements from the HOA was that I obtain written consent. Which meant I needed to have the signatures of at least some of them.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
Written consent is a ridiculous requirement.

I could never move to a community like that because most of them won't allow you to have a garden. I would hate that.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
I could easily have a garden in the rear or front patio. But I'm not a garden type.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:45 am (UTC)
I belong to a on-line gardening community and I have heard some horror stories about some HOAs not allowing it.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
I can do anything I want behind closed doors or behind the fence. Once it's visible, that's when it's a possible issue.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
That's good. I think sometimes these groups let the power go straight to their heads.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
I don't know how it is at other HOAs other than the two I've known, but they only have as much power as you give them, since they are democratically nominated and elected, and home owners are notorious for not putting their own names up for nomination.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 07:17 am (UTC)
Things like this are why I am ridiculously happy that I live in a single-family home and don't have to answer to an HOA.

Though I wouldn't mind having somebody else to mow my lawn...right now, I pay the ten-year-old across the street to do it, since all of my siblings are in summer school. That kid is like Shylock in his price-gouging.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
Things like mowing the lawn are exactly why I moved into a condo with a HOA. I don't want to be bothered with yard work. Bleh!
Jul. 3rd, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
See, this is why I have such a quandary about home ownership. On the one hand, I really can't be bothered with things like yard work and such, so in that sense, a condo would be fine with me. On the other hand, if I own a place, I feel I should be able to do whatever I want to it, so having to answer to a HOA would drive me nuts. Though I guess a HOA like yours might be okay, since all the really weird stuff I'd want to do would be inside the house where nobody could see.
Jul. 3rd, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
If you got an apartment-style condo, you'd be fine, because a HOA can't tell you what to do within your four walls, and they'd take care of everything outside it.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )