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Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Yeah, there are tons of people that want to change/help the world and communities we live in (including myself) so over the past couple years I have become more active in community matters.

So a basic FAQ on joining a (local) board:

1) Email the president. Within a few days you'll probably be assigned a role that someone dropped out. More on that later.

For the record I serve on two boards. My HOA and the other is a local charter of certified world-wide professionals. My mother also serves on a board for the local SPCA chapter. All three are wildly different on how they handle matters and treat the board.

I will just say, when I did join the HOA board I just wanted to see how sausage was made. The stories I could tell. Been with it for around 6 months and by far it is drat complicated.

In short, volunteering for a board position (and participating actively) does present quite a bit of work. Rewarding? Depends on your personality. Prepare to get poo poo on via Nextdoor.

Rant/ask away if you have questions.

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Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



See, told you this would be boring.

I'll talk to myself because just had my HOA board meeting this past Monday. Let me preface by saying that yeah, life in the midwest isn't exactly pleasant for scenery and weather...but there are advantages with cost of living. Ain't called flyover for nothing.

Anyways, PSA, if you buy a house read the covenants and by-laws. You always read the stories on the news such as "veteran told to take flag pole down" type stuff. Fortunately mine isn't like that, we don't go out looking for stuff like that. And when I say "like that," you aren't going to get a fine if you forgot to take your trash dumpsters from the curb. But at the same time we have three sets of by-laws depending on which section you live in. But anyways, I digress.

One thing that boggles my mind the most is the amount of apathy of the general public.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Belbos Computer posted:

How does the money management work? Are there checks and balances? I live in a co-op building in New York and the fees/dues are incredibly high for the owners. Who gets to decide where all that money gets parked? You sometimes read about accounting scandals and I'm wondering how common that really is...


SubnormalityStairs posted:

HOAs usually have the perception of being a bunch of soulless rules-mongers who apply rules inconsistently and punitively fine people with fine-print infractions as a way to drive them out if they're suddenly an unwanted element and that property value trumps all other concerns. Have you had to deal with that negative perception from the residents? Outsiders? Friends and family?

Great questions from both of you.

Granted, I live in flyoverville in the midwest in suburbia so equating this to New York is probably an apples/oranges type comparison. And of course, sorry for the delay of my post.

Let me preface this by saying we are easy going on stuff...as in not looking to loving people over. If you leave your trash can out past midnight? We don't care. Unless the edge case where it's been sitting there for a week and your grass is 2 feet high around it and someone complains. Or a boat is parked in your yard. There's tons of more stories on those types. And then we bust out the by-laws on what we can do.

Addressing the financials: Man it is sort of easy to 'see' once you see it sort of thing. Hard to explain, and the reason I joined the board. I wanted to see how sausage was made so to speak because I had concerns. And yeah, depending who I meet will blast me for what the dues are. As for checks and balances we have a retired CPA on board that does them (who lives here and is treasurer). And unless you have an absolute corrupt board you bet your sweet bippy we look at funds/spending and we always have questions. And he is a tight rear end. In short, you have to have some sense on random costs, service costs, fair labor rates, reading quotes, capital expenditures, etc. before a check is written to make a motion to approve a purchase.

Yeah, boring stuff. Most of our meetings take around 2-3 hours believe it or not because there is a lot to discuss.

tl;dr Most board members on any board work their asses off. poo poo you read on the news with the pompous ones are the ones that make the headlines.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



So just to share a little bit more, we oversee 1,100 homes and around 3,000 people. A small city, so crazy stuff happens.

So what's your pick?

1) Chronic public masurbator moves back in with in his GF after serving some sort of time.
2a) Drunk people taking a poo poo next the club house.
2b) Relates to #2; we have a great pool complex and people hop the fence after hours.
3) Our old angry maintenance man gets into fisticuffs with a lovely vendor that we have a legal feud over.
4) A resident of our community that shows up an hour late to discuss problems with our golf pro and course conditions. And he didn't want to leave.

Take your pick. They are all fun.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



My Spirit Otter posted:

Is it possible to remove yourself from a home owners association? Or is this a forced membership you have no choice in and have to pay for forever, because that seems illegal and I never understood how HOAs in the US could do that.

Short answer: No. At closing when you signed the 49 pages or whatever you agreed to covenants and bylaws. And that is basically the rule of law in your newish domicle.


bird with big dick posted:

What's the best way to go about suing my HOA for failing to disapprove my neighbors landscaping plans that involve 50' view blocking pine trees? Sue just the HOA? Sue the neighbor and the HOA? Sue the individual Architectural Committee members?

A good question. As a board member, we have indemnity. Otherwise, we wouldn't take the job(s). My advice, if you have an issue with that then phone in, schedule and say "Hey, I got a problem with this horseshit going on, when is the board meeting?" Show up a little early present your case, and it will be talked about. And honestly, proper actions will be made (if your HOA voted the right people in). But to be honest, it sounds shall I say "a little under the radar" type stuff. Get involved.

Takes time, but it is a mini-congress of sorts.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Yep. We're not like that (given my previous posts) but if you don't pay your dues there will be a lien filed. As far as I know we haven't kicked anyone out.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Yeah, that's the boring stuff. Easements, water drainage, fences out on the common ground, blah blah.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



bird with big dick posted:

I know HOAs absolutely used to exist to be able to keep "those people" out (with many definitions of those people) but from what I know they now dont really have anything to do with the developer and there is literally no mechanism by which your typical HOA could disqualify anyone no matter what. They're only involved after the sale not before or during. Like hate on them all you want for being busybody assholes but i dont think theyre reviewing applications and denying all the black and gay people or whatever. And they can have some legitimate purpose because hopefully the one I'm in is going to maybe possibly stop my neighbor from decreasing the value of my property by 20,000 dollars by destroying my view with his stupid rear end trees.

Ok, sounds like we have a mess going on but at least you have an "appointment". Which is bullshit. Should have 15 minutes of public before the board closes the doors.

One caveat, how many homes do you estimate under your association?

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



DangerZoneDelux posted:

Everything is going to vary by state and location. You keep mentioning local city council but here in Texas we have a poo poo ton of land and neighborhoods exist outside of city limits. I understand the hate for HOAs but I did a year on the board to oust the idiots who weren't putting any repairs into our common areas like the pool and 4 acre park.

Led by this cool older women she found a cool half a million available to us by our municipal utility district that the previous HOA president had refused. We had to amend the by laws which required getting 75% of the home owners to agree. It was a pain but the new park was built and it's constantly used by everyone. The old boomers who did the board in the past still bitch about it on nextdoor.

Heh, a couple thoughts on a ton of posts and my boring stint on our board:

Nextdoor is hilarious. Like was said: "Car slowly driving around", "Lost dog", yada yada.

Earlier this year when I got elected (and here is the kicker, out of 1,100 homes around 10 people voted. Yes around 10.) Hell I was notified I was on the board before the election because no one else ran for a vacancy. The level of apathy is astounding.

So shortly after getting elected there was an "uprising" of sorts on Nextdoor bitching about dues, bitching about new street signs put in, bitching about everything. So we say hey (and of course we have the standard 15 minutes for the public to come in before every meeting to express their concerns) but we did a special one. Around oh I say 8-10 show up. It probably lasted over an hour hearing concerns. Funny thing was a woman from Texas complaining about people dumping their leaves in the street. More on that later.

So anyways that quelled that short-lived rebellion. I kid you not apparently they created a secret group on Discord. My wife gets more pissed off at them than me. I find it humorous.

Fast forward to a couple months ago. A resident sent an email to us which was nicely worded and had great questions. We responded in a kindly fashion with details and we think he was quite satisfied. Then we had two more that wanted to come to a board meeting. And again, everyone is free to attend in the 15 minute window. So one shows up. And he is an hour late. Bitching about the condition of the golf course (which is not included in our dues, it is a par 3 executive type course with a small club house.) He had some valid complaints, and our golf pro was at some conference which I would have liked to hear his side of the story. Haven't played it in quite some time due to a shoulder injury but it does get sketchy. Hey, for the price, it ain't bad. Anyways he gets done talking, we're done with our back and forth and thank him for his time. So what happens? He doesn't leave. So for several minutes we are looking at each other wondering what to do before he eventually leaves. That was an odd one.

More later, bored you enough.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Yeah, it is fascinating.

Sounds like yours was a tad different than mine. Well more than a tad.

Basically I joined because I had concerns and actually wanted to see how sausage is made. Long story short, we only have one worthless board member (not me ). Problem is with a lot of "abuse" a couple are thinking of stepping down with quite an amount of experience.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



So anyways we are having a second uprising brewing on Nextdoor. And I knew it was coming as soon as I did my John Hancock to approve the dues increase last month. Said increase is $20 a year.

I get it, I really do. Hell I have to pay them too.

Oh, and I apologize to the person across the pond with his litany of questions and my delay...

1) We have an executive director.
2) The board.
3) Maintenance staff.
4) Combination of mowing/snow plowing of common areas with our staff and outside contractors.
5) And other support staff. I would lump lifeguards, front office folks into this one.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Fooma posted:


For those who are curious about their associations and the Boards, remember they're all volunteers who are part kinder garden teacher, part politician, and part corporate acquisitions executive. The vast majority are just doing their best. They should always be prepared to explain what they are doing and why, you don't have to agree with the decision but at least you will understand how the decisions were made. If Boards go silent or oppose reasonable requests, then that's when you get to social media to find the bigger story.

Thank you, I sincerely appreciate your comments.

Some of the comments on social media are so filled with vitriol I just laugh. "I think they just want to feel some sort of self-importance."

Ok, step on down. Sit for 3 hours listening to quotes (which we try to find the one with most value, hence keeping your dues down), understanding various regulations in regards to storm drains and who are responsible for another hour, and then wonder what to do about some guy that took a dump next to the pool house.

Yeah, it's a blast.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



some_admin posted:

Yay HOA stuff!

Kidding. Iím on the board of our HOA (19 units, 3 are part of an affordable housing coalition), we have to take care of a 161,000 gallon storm water tank. Our HOA provides lawn service & snow removal (though not required in bylaws and covenants...)
Iím the SME/city liaison for the stormwater tank lol.

Being on the board is interesting and exasperating. When I bought this property, I had misgivings about being in an HOA. Now that Iíve been in the board for six years I can say with certainty, that my misgivings were correct.

Definitely do serve on your HOA, it is a worthwhile activity, albeit unappreciated & unpaid. watching the sausage get made has been enlightening, witnessing the speed and power of the HOA has been terrifying.

The water/drainage stuff was the big eye opener for me. The amount of futzing around between us, the city, and the county and who gets the responsibility of it is quite a learning curve. There is a ton of stuff to know and become acquainted with.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



FilthyImp posted:

They realized they hosed up and someone approved that plan without caring about the trees, I bet.

Ask to see the docs. It impacts you so you should have a right to that.

The plan should have been public at some point so it's your right to leaf through it.

This. We had a homeowner who sits on the edge of subdivision. So behind him is not an association road, just a dual lane one that gets a fair amount of traffic. Now the thing is back yard doesn't go all way the way to road (and I don't mean an easement, but common ground.) He wanted to plant trees in the common ground. He had a huge display setup, and agreed the trees would be under his care. There was also a clause included if he sold his house then the onus is on the next homeowner.

So at the very least, should have that or minutes addressing this.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



bird with big dick posted:

This isnít on common ground.

My next board meeting is this upcoming Monday. I'll raise the hypothetical (as I present your plight) question and see what the response is. I'm pretty much drat sure what it will be.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Cage Kicker posted:

What would be the best way to destroy and dismantle a HoA from within?

Pretty much impossible. It's not like some jury nullification type stuff. Even if you could "pad" the board with your pals like you were appointing the Supreme Court you'd still have issues.

Think of it this way, for something to change in our fabric, by-laws requires 75% vote of all homeowners. That poo poo ain't happening.

But if you have a small HOA there is always hope if you pound on doors and have a platform to stand on for change.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Vandall posted:

Don't get mad at your board for enforcing rules that you agreed to when you moved into the neighborhood!

This is what it basically boils down to. There is a fine line between running some Stalin-esque thing versus just let everything go.

Our main complaints are dues and then bitching about the results of said dues. Some are entirely out of our hand. Our local electric company needed to replace a ton of transformers (these are the type on the ground, big green box style). So they subcontract it. Had to tear up sections of sidewalk, they kept screwing around with it (meaning delays). Of course it was a mess, and if that poo poo was in my backyard I'd be pissed as hell too but one doesn't understand all the crap behind the scenes and what goes on for the reason for it. And sure, we bitched and moaned but the response was "weather related" or whatever. Which I can buy a lot of it, but at the end of the day we get the heat.

I'm waiting for the day someone does some totally off the wall bizarre color change to their house without running it past us. Oh boy.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Yep.

Good stuff.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Recent board duties...boy I had to cast a stressful vote on what banners we have for Spring at our main entrances. Can't wait to hear about the complaints!

But other bigger ones, drainage, plans, dicking around with the city, etc. I'm up for re-election, should be interesting insofar as a couple folks are tossing their hats in the ring but I'm just going to assume they'll get assigned to different positions and I can continue my distinguished career on the board with a couple votes. Which reminds me, next meeting this Monday.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Holy hell that is interesting and quite a mess.

Sounds like she is quite sharp, invoking the attorney to enforce covenant clauses. While tossing in "let me build a fence" to sort of bend your hand.

I hate to say it, but you have to be an rear end in a top hat when dealing with people. You give them an inch...

And how did the affordable housing get in? Was it before your time?

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



rujasu posted:

It doesn't look like you ever got to any of these, but I for one would like to hear any/all of these stories

Hah, thanks forgot about those.

About 99% of board talk (in our case) is drainage issues. Who to point the finger, is it the city or the county or us? Of course everyone else points the finger to someone else. It gets ridiculous and there are feuds. I know it isn't exciting but I can talk about drainage poo poo, fences, etc. and how it is approached.

With that said I'll talk about the chronic masturbater. Don't know a helluva lot as this was around in my first couple months, but someone lived here who got caught a few times. Then left, then moved back in with his GF. We had his rap sheet, 7 counts or whatever and is not considered a sex offender in the court of law. In short, can't do much but basically tell the life guards to deny entry to the pools which is about all we have power to do.

Actually thank you for reminding me, I'll have to ask about that fiasco again.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Welp, now voted in again with a 3 year term.

Yeehaw I guess, that's how it goes.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



I don't know actually. I have a meeting on Monday so if I remember I'll ask. It's on zoom so I'm sure it will be a circus.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



No fees to answer your question. Dues of course are pro-rated.

I was disappointed no one hacked our zoom meeting.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



some_admin posted:

Thanks Colostomy. I got the board to approve an additional $100 documentation fee, and it did not rattle the new purchase r of the $920K property. 🤷🏿‍♂️


No problemo.

And yeah, when I tell someone what it is like to serve on a HOA board..."Uh, more work than you think, and you will be loving tired of talking about water and drainage issues."

Next up is opening our golf course. Which is a small par 3 executive 9 hole course. My only addition to the board thoughts is basically don't pair up singles for social distance reasons. Which is par for the course it seems.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Yeah, will be an interesting meeting tonight. The pool, tennis courts and the golf course. Liability will probably/obviously be discussed.

Funny thing is first words out of my mouth when I was elected were "Is there indemnification for me?" If not, I'd be long gone.

Right now it is quite a balancing act among everyone.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Douchebag posted:

Never any open positions or I (and others) would!

We had a treasurer position open 2 years ago that was filled by a retired CPA.

Covenants and bylaws reign supreme. 75% vote to make a major change. It is interesting to see how the whole thing works. Like a mini DC. Sorry if it sounds like I'm rambling but there have been 1,000 emails on how we can "open" our stuff between board members.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Douchebag posted:

There will be positions open in the fall, most likely trustee positions. Iím going to run for one. My HOA needs major changes. I donít expect I can fix this dump overnight but maybe I can learn how things work and offer suggestions.

A lot of people around me want to form some community action committee to identify problems and propose solutions to the current board.

How many people are there?

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



TBH, I wouldn't expect much for $35/year.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Douchebag posted:

We have 446 units in this development, I'd say probably 20 people give a poo poo enough to want to do something to make changes, and another 30 that just like to bitch and complain about stuff on Facebook.


Yeah, good luck on getting some major vote. I was amazed by the level of apathy (in hindsight I shouldn't have been) with our residents. Yes, there are a group that will raise torches and pitchforks everytime dues are increased but that is about it. As for our board, only one I would consider is fairly worthless. In other words, once you see behind the curtain you might be surprised why decisions are made the way they are. Sometimes I think it is groupthink but for the most part they are solid decisions.

Good luck with whatever you do and happens. Just be prepared not to take anything personal. And it is a lot of work (which most people won't believe). Cripes, the number of emails flying back and forth on how to handle opening our golf course and pool complex is nuts.

And BTW, I appreciate your user name. Us Bags have to stick together.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Welp file this under fact is stranger than fiction.

Resident writes in to us complaining about golf carts (we have miles of sidewalks that we maintain, they are basically outlawed on the street, not allowed on trails...yada yada). Goes on to say that a group will drive through property with fishing rods and beer. Our lake is fairly good sized for a subdivision. A valid complaint.

Then comes the second one. We have dog poop stations with bags and such along our trails. Apparently someone stole one.

What a world.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Private Speech posted:

As an actual question are there any more open-minded HOAs, where everything I've listed above goes, that are in nice neighbourhoods and still take care of common expenses?

Ours is fairly open. We don't go "out" to look for crap. About everyone knows to take care of their property and there is always code enforcement to handle the outliers.

I lived here for ten years, I got "dinged" once for failure of operational front lawn light. I think that was in my first year of living here.

But yeah, getting dinged 5 times in a year would make my blood boil.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Private Speech posted:

I guess it's just one of those US things, like under-18 curfews, rolling coal, corporal punishment and half the people having guns.

Considering just the example given by Colostomy Bag even that seems quite unreasonable to me. It's, well, do I get fined if I replace most of my lawn with a vegetable patch? Or a bunch of mint and lavender bushes? What if I don't want any lights on there?

e: To be clear those well all things that we had in our suburban house in the UK which I shared with a bunch of working professionals. Then again that's also a bit "lol UK" because we're talking about an engineer working in a film industry, a mental health therapist, foreign university lecturer and software engineer (me) sharing a semi-detached house with two floors.

A fair point, and talking over the pond and all differences and all that...

I guess I would say in the shortest words possible that we agree with the "covenants" on basic type behavior. Which no one ever loving reads when they sign off for the mortgage papers. And to be honest, I didn't either.

I guess most of it is self-regulating. It is like a 'Stepford Wives' scenario. In short, your lawn is poo poo so fix it or be ostracized. Or wait for code enforcement.

I dunno, hard to articulate it.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



remigious posted:

Oh no, I didnít know that recycling was mostly fake nowadays Iíve also been super vigilant about separating the trash from recycling.

It basically boils down to that cardboard is the most recyclable. But you have rear end hats that toss in a greasy pizza box and ruins it.

Glass...cheaper to manufacture.

Steel...Yeah, I rinse my lids and stuff figuring it would be easy to sort it out of the other stuff.

I view it as a placebo, makes me feel better that I'm trying but I know drat well where it is all going.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Some of the stuff we have to skirt around with our attorney panel is something else, a lot of it pool related. Which of course pool season is upon us along with waiting for new CDC guidelines on 4/1.

Yeah, gotta imagine dealing with the cost of gates would be no fun. I gotta imagine a lot of times it is one of those be careful what you wish for.

Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Douchebag posted:

Oh man. Pool and landscaping. The 2 biggest issues people bitch about on a daily basis here. Our tennis courts, playground, basketball courts and pool have been shut down since last year. Even though NJ and my town have reopened parks, our board won't open the courts or playground as they wait to hear back from the attorney and insurance company. But holy poo poo people are already flipping out about the pool which wouldn't open until mid-May at the earliest anyway.

Our pool remained open on a limited basis but it was very labor intensive to keep it that way. We aren't in a super restrictive state to begin with.

But christ almighty, we had a resident who was going to go ballistic on a couple of our pool policies and threatened us in various ways if we didn't change them. She got her way based on how another association got blasted.

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Colostomy Bag
Jan 11, 2016

C-Bangin' it



Another month another board meeting.

Pool guidelines...basically no masks required outside, no special cleanings required.

Kids stealing large rocks/boulders from golf course.

Two neighbors feuding and keeps escalating.

Fun never ends.

One thing that was interesting, was the number of leins for dues is down. We were worried last year that this year might be bad with people paying their dues due to covid. We are actually higher % paid than last year, and people with leins have been paying them off because of stimulus money I'm assuming.

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