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LOR and HOA


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i looking into buying a house, and was wondering if HOA would be a problem with a big christmas display.

i know Mr. Holdman had problems, but i think that was mostly due to being a gated community

anyone else had problems? or should i stay clear of HOA?

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This topic comes up frequently and there have been some reports of problems with HOA's. Most appear to be centered around things like signs and platforms, not lights per se.

You should review the HOA docs and speak to the President as every HOA is different.

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The HOA I am in restricts holiday lighting set up to start no earlier than November 15th, and I believe only gives the first week of January for tear down..

The other fun thing is that HOA rules can change over time, and the officers and enforcement level are quite likely to change over time...

Basically it boils down to what risks are you adverse to? Are you more concerned about neighbors that might only meet city city ordinances, or are you more concerned about your rights to use your yard as you see fit? Of course, it may be tough to find newer homes without HOAs

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I would research the HOA (website) and see what their rules state. You could also contact them and see what their position is. I live in a HOA community and have no issues due to the display. I also make sure that I set up no earlier than Black friday, teardown right after the new year, and end my shows at 10 pm. This avoids complaints from the neighbors.

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Stay away from HOAs and you won't have to worry about them.

Like has been said they (rules/officers) change over time, so who knows. Your display might be fine the first year and not the second.

Then what?

I would never live in one. That is just me though.

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2nd year that my HOA has gave me money for decorating! Of course I had to put lights on the entrance for $600 bucks. It brings people in to see the lights and the property that is available in the hood! Its like advertising. I have a good HOA! It also keeps the riff raft from moving in!

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My HOA had a Christmas Decorating contest ... and I didn't even place.

I could care less, since I never did it for winning anything, or even for the attention.

Of course, my neighbor is the HOA president ... and dislikes me ... and uses
her power to make others miserable.

So when the HOA gets bad people on the board (easy to do, since no qualifications required and most people seeking those positions are power hungry cowards seeking an agenda) ... then your got bad people making decisions for you on what you can and can't do ...

You loose a lot more freedoms from the HOA than you did from the Patriot Act or any anything else the feds do. The HOA can make up rules, then put a lien on your home if you don't comply. Sound like fun?

My neighbor couldn't have a swingset from walmart, because it was "metal". THe rules stated only that "Wood is preferrable".

Another resident counldn't have a teeter totter for your young kids ... because it was "an unapproved structure".

When I initially put up my mega tree holder on the roof ... I got a letter for an unapproved improvement to my home.

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We received a letter from our HOA stating that our radio station sign needed to be removed. Ironically, the same person who sent us the violation letter also judged the lighting contest for our neighborhood (which we won).

For anyone that uses an FM transmitter to broadcast and has a sign to display the frequency, the sign is part and parcel of the decorations. The show is nothing more than flashing lights without the music. If they take away the sign they take away the decorations.

HOAs are notorious about overstepping their legal limits and ultimately they can not keep your from putting a sign up, they can dictate how the sign is displayed. Some neighborhoods will not allow any sign, including real estate, to be placed in yards; so the home owners put then in their windows inside their house where the HOA has no authority.

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Actually, the HOA may even have authority inside the windows.. Typically though, the language around signs only covers the yard. Our HOA regulates the kinds of window blinds that may be visible from the street, and excludes some window coverings (like aluminum foil and cardboard) from all windows.

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DRussell wrote:

Yes they can try to regulate finishes, but signs fall under the first amendment.



Definitely not an expert on this, but I don't think it matters -- since you voluntarily sign away your rights by moving there and signing the purchase agreement and other documents...

-Tim
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DRussell wrote:

Yes they can try to regulate finishes, but signs fall under the first amendment.



Definitely not an expert on this, but I don't think it matters -- since you voluntarily sign away your rights by moving there and signing the purchase agreement and other documents...

-Tim
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DRussell wrote:

Yes they can try to regulate finishes, but signs fall under the first amendment.


I almost would not be surprised if president on that varies by state, but in general, it is private land, not public, and when you buy in, you sign away the right to violate the HOA covenants.. Just like there are circumstances when you can sign away your 4th amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure for specific addresses..
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When you buy your home, in an area with an HOA, you are agreeing to the CC&R's (covenants, codes and regulations) ... and giving them lien power to enforce those upon you.

And since, unlike the 3 branches of government, you have the HOA board all wrapped up into 1 branch ... you lack the checks and balances that the 3 branches of government can give you.

So the moral of the story is: you are not always going to get a fair scoop ... because you have can have (bad) individuals serving all roles ... rule maker, judge, jury .... and with proxies (where they get to collect votes from the non-interested homeowners ... the majority) ... they can even use those proxies to out-vote you and stay in power. Are charges of misconduct are judged by themselves to be invalid. So if your lucky enough to get a good boards, then great ... but it only takes a few bad apples to squander the power and make your life miserable.

So if the HOA writes that you must own a Lexis, they could enforce that. They also use very vague language, to make many other things enforceable ... because it will fall under their "best judgement" clauses ...

So because my cc&rs said "wood is preferrable" ... that have choosen to enforce that as "wood-only playsets" ... so don't move into my neighborhood, unless you have $1000 to spend on a playset.

And they put limits on how large of a flag pole I can have ... 12' maximum. THere are also limits on signs, sizes, etc.

Sound like something condusive to this hobby? Not really. But if your in a good HOA, is shouldn't be a problem. But why take that chance?

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As far as holiday decorations (and some other areas) go, our HOA [2500 homes] is quite lenient from late November to early January. I've been here 12 years and don't recall anyone having an issue.

Every association is different ... different people, different management companies, different state and local statutes, and different CC&Rs for the specific property.

However, if anyone asks about moving into this community I strongly encourage them to read the documents before making a commitment to be sure there will be no unhappy surprises afterward.

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ive never had as problem with the HOA here.. ive lived in my house 5 christmases... the only comments I have gotten about the lights were letters and questions as to why there WASNT a lights display for 2008..... I live next door on either side to board members and they laugh at me for test-building arches, mega-trees, etc in the summer outside but never any negativity towards me or the display..

I always make sure that I get my displays torn down promptly after christmas and keep my home and yard clean as well...

I think a lot of HOA problems on here and PC may result from deeper issues than just christmas displays.. although gated communties tend to be a lot stricter than others....

I didnt particularly Choose to live in an HOA however I wanted a new-built house in the burbs and all communities in that type location have HOA....
-Christopher

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Rick Hughes wrote:

As far as holiday decorations (and some other areas) go, our HOA [2500 homes] is quite lenient from late November to early January. I've been here 12 years and don't recall anyone having an issue.

Every association is different ... different people, different management companies, different state and local statutes, and different CC&Rs for the specific property.

However, if anyone asks about moving into this community I strongly encourage them to read the documents before making a commitment to be sure there will be no unhappy surprises afterward.


I would not guarantee that this will prevent surprises later.. Usually the board has the ability to modify and update the CC&R, so your restrictions may evolve after you buy...

I think it was posted here several months ago, but there is a nearby development where they changed the rules on what could be parked in the driveway.. I believe it used to be no trucks at all, but when they started allowing trucks to park in the driveway, they allow Honda Ridgeline, Chevy Avalanche, the Escalade truck, and the Lincoln Mark LT, but not a King Ranch F150...
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DRussell wrote:

Yes they can try to regulate finishes, but signs fall under the first amendment.


Well.....no.

The First Amendment generally protects people only from government interference with speech. This issue has been court tested (with political signs, not tune to signs) and courts have pretty much agreed that the HOA does have the authority.

There is another side to the HOA coin. The neighbor behind me as started to accumulate cars. He has three in his backyard, two in the driveway, and three in his front yard. No tags, some with no tires. All in various forms of decay. County refuses to do anything.
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I'm not saying HOA(s) are all bad ... but you are putting yourself into a controlled situation where the HOA has the ability to run things in a quasi-democratic but not guaranteed to be fair way. If someone bad gets in charge, then look out for you rights ... they could disappear fast.

HOA(s) have way more power to control you than does federal, state or local government ... because they have a legal document signed with you personally ... and limits what you can and can't do to the CC&R's which can and do evolve over time.

I lived in Highlands Ranch, CO ... one of the biggest HOA(s) in the US, and never had a problem with them whatsoever. But now that I live out near the cows, about 20 miles out into the countryside ... we have a small HOA thats easy to control and tamper with ... and lacks mature leadership.

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Wow!

I feel fortunate to live in our HOA. They encourage people to put up lights and now have an annual Christmas light contest with first and second place prizes, Easter egg hunt, BBQ's, annual community garage sale and really do a good job of keeping up on the development.

I know it can be a pain but in the right hands it really does a lot to help keep the hood in nice shape and everyone on the same page.

I would be devastated if I had to go through what Richard did.

There are a few good ones out there but they seem to be few and far between from what I'm reading.

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