Re: Homeowner Associations
Watching out for trouble!
Date: January 14, 2013 10:56AM
It seems that the older communities built outside of the towns, burroughs, and other specially unique taxing districts may not be as strict about the condo and townhouse HOA rules. It is not that they don't bug people--they just seem to let things go until they absolutely have to bug them, or until the so-called "idle busybodies" force them.
We needed a new roof for quite awhile, due to a large tree with low branches near the house--the branches were rubbing off shingles every time the wind fronts changed to be out of the north. Also, the roof flashing was perforated by squirrels sheltering in the attic during the winters. The HOA never bugged us about the tree or the flashing or the "extra denizens" in the house, even though they seem to be adamount about enforcing the "no feeding the birds." rule.
Finally a freak derecchio-like windstorm one summer took out the tree completely. The HOA never noticed the roof until grass and little baby trees began to sprout in places up there...(We are in a 25 year old townhouse developmemt out in the once-rural areas of Loudoun County).
Then there are the neighbors--right now their back yard looks like the county dump before it gets plowed under. It usually stays like that all year around until the spring HOA "walkthroughs" of the community begin. Their front lawn looks like what it is--a storage plot for the wheelies and scooters and bikes used to keep their 24 hour a day cash only (read "Look Ma, No Taxes!)" daycare center charges occupied when the population gets too big for the small condo to hold. Here, the HOA allows such small businesses to thrive (even when the resulting noise gets to be a nuisance to the neighbors).
The HOA here will also allow overpopulation to take place in the units, despite the county laws spelling out the maximum number of persons permissible per square feet of room space! Not to worry about inspections from Social Services, fire marshal, etc, since its under the radar no one ever knows it exists...
And, every year, around graduation time, the big tree in the yard across from us gets completely swathed in toilet paper--no one has ever caught the culprits, nor did the HOA ever unclothe that tree--we just have to wait for the winds and storms to eventually strip all the TP out of it. We never found out what the annual tree-papering event was all about! Now that the tenants over there moved out, we will see if it continues this year.
I can remember one incident where the townhouse just up the street woke up to find their yard just filled with pink flamingos! They left them out there for a number of days, also--apparently the HOA was late to call them down for that if indeed they ever bothered!
Oh yes, and we have the "firecracker" issues too--on the night of 4th of July, I got home from work to find my assigned parking spot hijacked, and our neighbors had planted their family, friends and broods of kids right on our lawn, and they were setting off all their fireworks from our lawn right in front of our condo and these were landing on the dry grass and leaves in our yard. I thought of calling the LOUDOUN COUNTY SHERIFFS office to complain, but figured that they would be too busy doing the same thing to their own neighbors to bother with my problem, so I resigned myself to an observation post overlooking the yard with one hand on the phone and one on a bucket of water until the rugrats next door finally went inside to go to bed. The burned off grass in that spot still has not come back--Why ruin their lawn if they can ruin their neighbors yard and let them get fined instead for it)?
So, those of you feeling smothered by the old busybody biddies spying on you out the windows might want to wander around out here in Loudoun County and do some looking at some of these communities out here that are 25 years plus old. If you can go out beyond Leesburg away from the newer cluster communities and find a house you can pretty much do what you want except during the drought months, when there are county wide bans in effect. Fairfax is getting too built up to get away from the covenants, there is little available land left for rugged individualists to colonize! Most of the folks like you are commuting in from West Virginia or the Shenandoah mountains, where they have control over their own property.