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Mr. Fall Down Terror
Jan 24, 2018

Wiggly Wayne DDS posted:

what is the organisation structure of one? is it entire voluntary, are there full-time employees for handling ad-hoc repairs and site visits? what are the hours involved? do you cover car mileage and use for business use?

is there any regulatory oversight at all, or is the board as far as any paperwork goes? any rules on board structure (#/% of factored owners/professionals/outside volunteers)? what training do the board members receive and how is this financed? how's the catering?

i can tell you about my HOA. i live in a condo complex, meaning multiple homes in a shared building with some common utilities, so an HOA makes a lot of sense regarding my housing situation. when most americans complain about HOAs they're talking about communities of single family freestanding homes where HOAs have a lot less merit and turn into pointless dictatorships

the purpose of an HOA is to act as a small scale community government. an HOA will have bylaws or a charter, collect dues from all members, and handle the responsibilities of the neighborhood in a democratic way. usually there's a yearly meeting where the board members of the HOA will talk to anyone who attends about projects, financials, take votes on community matters, etc. though there's nothing stopping you from calling up the HOA president and wanting to talk to them about anything. regarding regulatory oversight, anything goes. HOAs are not commonly subject to any specific law - some states have specific regulations for them, other states have none at all and HOAs are counted as any other non-profit corporation, aka just a group of people doing something and money is involved.

my HOA is pretty good. i pay just under $300 a month in dues. in return, i get the following:

-common maintenance of community property and structures. landscaping, tree maintenance (my complex is heavily wooded) infrastructure improvements, and the like. our parking lot got repaved, the HOA paid for that. we have a pool, the HOA pays for it. there were drainage problems and erosion due to rainwater, the HOA paid a handyman to dig it up and repair the drains. one of the old sewer lines was crumbling, the HOA talked the county into paying for the repair - it saved us $50k in construction costs. if a tree falls on the roof of my building, the HOA will pay for the replacement. the HOA also hires a for-profit community management firm which handles dues collection, interior and exterior cleaning, parking enforcement, etc

-common utilities. all water and sewer fees are paid for by the HOA from common dues. where i live water is cheap but due to decades of neglect, the county wastewater system is a mess. the county charges high fees for this, around $100 a month which is insane. the HOA pays for it. the HOA also handles trash pickup, all i have to do is throw my garbage in a dumpster and that's the end of my responsibilities. easily half my monthly dues would cover water/sewer/trash fees

-dispute resolution. there are some regulations around how you can decorate your unit but they're reasonable. my wife put a grow light for an indoor garden in our window. this is against the bylaws. it was also very bright. the HOA president shot me an email asking me if i would mind moving it, citing the bylaw. i moved it so that it was not in the window, but still visible (it's a bright purplish light). a week later i ran into her walking her dog and asked if the light situation was resolved, or if anyone was still complaining. she said yeah, the original complainant is still sending her emails about it, but since the light isn't in the window it's not violating the rules so it's not the HOA's problem anymore and complaining lady can deal with it

the board structure is all volunteers. there's a yearly community vote to see who gets to do what. they don't get a salary or any benefits, it's more like a hobby for proactive or bored people to spend their time doing something useful. HOAs can often be the lairs of petty rear end in a top hat tyrants but my board is pretty good. the president works from home and she's the kind of person who schedules 14 hours of her day for productive labor, so this kind of job is no big lift for her. the treasurer is a retired woman who spent two decades running a small bank so her dealing with the cash is more of an old lady's idle hobby. there's a couple members at large, folks who just get tasked with various projects like negotiating with the county or overseeing a refurbishment of the common laundry room.

overall there's a lot of ways HOAs can gently caress you over or turn into rotten organizations, but they're fairly transparent and small scale democracies also so just participating in the governance of your immediate neighborhood is the kind of thing middle aged adults really get off with


Mr. Fall Down Terror
Jan 24, 2018

corgski posted:

This might be a hard question to answer but I know my generation has a particular disdain for HOAs. For example, my fiancé and I are shopping for a house right now and our realtor specifically asked us if we were interested in considering any properties in an HOA. Similarly, Zillow now allows you to specifically exclude properties in HOA neighborhoods when you’re window shopping houses.

Have you noticed any drop in property values in HOA neighborhoods (relative to surrounding properties) as millennials have started buying houses?

buying a single family home in an HOA won't be a dealbreaker for many but for some it is a hard line no sell, so it's better for an agent to know if you have any strong feelings about HOAs before they start showing you properties

the vagaries of the housing market are such that it is unlikely that HOAs have any impact on property values one way or the other, except as a tool of socioeconomic exclusion (no parking vehicles in your driveway or on street effectively bans shared living houses by capping household vehicle ownership to 2-3 cars at most) and then some people feel like a neighborhood is worth more because the 'wrong' kind of people aren't living there visibly

Mr. Fall Down Terror
Jan 24, 2018

HOAs aren't inherently bad, they just become bad if they're used as an enforcement tool for petty tyrants to play dictator games with their neighbors

on the one hand, HOAs are a near ideal form of organization for shared housing. anyone who lives in a condominium needs something like an HOA to deal with common building maintenance and utilities

on the other hand, if you live in a neighborhood of detached freestanding homes with no common property, then there is no purpose at all to an HOA and it only exists for the nebulous concept of "maintaining property values"

for this reason, you don't hear much from HOAs which are well managed and deal with necessary tasks like making sure everyone who lives under the same roof chips in for roof repair. but you do hear much about HOAs which fine people for parking on the street outside their house, or hassle people for not mowing their lawns frequently enough

remigious posted:

Yeah I I have another development and need help before I do or say something dumb. We got another citation for not picking up dog waste. They said they have a video, so we asked to see it. The video is from our neighbors ring camera. It clearly shows our dog pooping and then picking it up. But why the gently caress is my neighbor spying on us and sending that poo poo to the hoa??? Should I go talk to the neighbor?

put your dispute in writing and take it along with the video to whoever enforces the fines. probably it's some property management company. talking to the neighbor won't be useful if they're the kind of dickhole who films you picking up dog poo poo then telling people you didn't

Mr. Fall Down Terror
Jan 24, 2018

tangy yet delightful posted:

Hoping to piggy back on this thread to see if anyone has experience dealing with getting a car gate installed, or having one in your HOA neighborhood?

just point out that every time someone gets something delivered, from pizza to amazon boxes, they're gonna have to get a call and buzz someone in

fantasy: we'll be so much safer now that randos can't just drive into our neighborhood
reality: within three months every food delivery joint in 10 miles has the gate code written down in their book of gate codes, and people are encouraging their guests to just follow people through the gate

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