My Homeowners Association

HOA-PoliceI got a letter from my homeowners association today.  This is what they said:

Dear Homeowner,

While driving through your community I noticed you replaced a garage panel and it is not painted to color of the other panels. Please paint this at your earliest convenience when the weather allows.  If you have any questions regarding this or any other matter please conact me at your earliest convenience.

I sat right down and wrote a reply.  This is what I wrote:

Dear Sir,

One of my garage door panels was replaced late last fall.  I realized when they installed it that it was a different color than the rest of the garage door, and that it would need to be painted as soon as the weather was warm enough to allow me to paint it.  I received your letter dated March 14, 2013 in which you stated that you noticed that one of my garage panels was replaced, and is a different color than the other panels. Your letter was the second letter I received on this issue.  I believe the first one came in December or January.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the property where I live (and of which you manage, evidently) is in the state of Indiana.  I don’t know if you are new to our state, but the climate of Indiana is such that it usually stays below 50 degrees from September through March.  The people at Lowe’s have stated that outside painting should be done when the temperature is between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. I have every intention to paint the panel as soon as the climate allows.  As I type this it is 38 degrees outside my house. The beginning of spring is four days away.  I’m sure it will be above 50 degrees soon.

In the meantime, I would appreciate it very much if you would quit harassing me about the need to fix something that conditions do not currently allow me to fix.  I have no idea why you feel the need to drive through the neighborhood looking for infractions instead of letting people live their lives in peace.  Most of us are good homeowners who try to keep our property looking nice even without the HOA insinuating itself into our lives.  I realize that there are certain people who, if left unchecked, would fail to properly maintain their property (such as leaving old vehicle transmissions in their yard, not mowing their yard, etc). Rest assured that I am not one of these.

The fact that you drive around looking for anything out of line with what you think the community should look like is one of the many reasons that I will never again purchase a home in a homeowners association.  I tried to sell my house last year, and I will be trying again in a few years.  Until that day I will toe your line and put up with your harassment.  I look forward to the day when I can purchase a house and not have someone like you standing over my shoulder telling me I need to get permission to make any changes or sending me a letter to tell me something I already know.

On behalf of harassed homeowners throughout our association,

Me.

Then I sat back and thought about it before sending.  I remembered that I never applied for permission to build my fence, remove part of my porch railing, put up a satellite dish, or make landscaping changes including planting different bushes, build garden boxes in my back yard, and place stones around my mailbox and border of my house.  All of these things were within the bounds of acceptable changes according to our HOA covenant, but technically I was supposed to fill out a permit and wait for permission for each request.  In talking with my neighbors, none of them have ever fill out a permit request, and almost all of them have fences, satellite dishes, etc. I realized that if I made the HOA mad, they might be able to force me to change these things back (or at least cause me a great deal of hassle fighting them).  Here is an article detailing HOA’s doing this very thing.  And so I changed my reply to this before I sent it:

Dear Sir,

One of my garage door panels was replaced late last fall.  I realized when they installed it that it was a different color than the rest of the garage door, and that it would need to be painted as soon as the weather was warm enough to allow me to paint it.  I received your letter dated March 14, 2013 in which you stated that you noticed that one of my garage panels was replaced, and is a different color than the other panels. Your letter was the second letter I received on this issue.  I believe the first one came in December or January.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that I will be fixing this at the earliest convenient opportunity that the weather allows.  I expect this to be sometime in April. Thank you for your attention, but rest assured that no further vigilance on your part is necessary.

As soon as I sell this house, it is my intention to never again buy a house in a homeowner’s association.  But until that day, discretion is the better part of valor.

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About Steve Picray

I have been many things, but right now I am a registered nurse attempting to pay off my debt so that, God willing, I can be a pastor again someday. I have a wife and three kids. I am a conservative Christian (of the Baptist variety). This blog is about me: the things that happen to me, the things that interest me, and the things that bother me. If you have a question, just e-mail me at spicray AT gmail DOT com. God Bless!
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6 Responses to My Homeowners Association

  1. Can you paint the panels in a checkerboard pattern – every other panel’s color matching the offending panel? If they say anything, tell them that they caused the situation by objecting to the single panel’s color, (which is a form of discrimination based on color) and you were just seeking to make the “wrong color” panel fit in according to the doctrine of “inclusion”.

    The other thing you can do is the next time the HOA admin position opens, you or your wife should run for it. If you are elected, as soon as you legally take “office” you can declare HOA Freedom Day, and if you can’t void all HOA rules, then do nothing to enforce them for the extent of your term. At the very least that would infuriate the current head, perhaps to the point of causing them to run screaming and drooling down the street with no clothes on, which would get them picked up and confined to a mental institution – where such people without doubt belong.

    Or you could bring these little Hitlers to my farm where they would instantly go berserk at the unsightly things they’d see here – the piles of cow dung dropped all over the pasture grass in non-geometric ways, the mob of chickens roaming unrestrained and at will all over the area leaving their signature little white piles of manure on the grass, the unauthorized and unpermitted nightly acapella concerts of high pitched but rhythmic singing of the wild coyotes and many such other unregulated and uncontrolled/uncontrollable expressions of the concept of FREEDOM!!!

  2. Steve Picray says:

    Yes, I know you told me before we bought this house (our first), “Don’t ever buy a house in a HOA. You were right and I was wrong. I have learned my lesson and I will never again do this.

    • Hey… did *I* bring that up? Nooooo….
      (Besides – I’m getting old and couldn’t remember if I warned you or not… )
      😀

    • Mari says:

      Too bad I didn’t (and still don’t…really, but am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog – and I’m sure my husband is loving that I’m reading almost everyone of your entries out loud) know you then because I also would’ve told you to stay away from HOA.

  3. Steve Picray says:

    Mari: My father warned me and I didn’t listen. I doubt I would have listened to you either. 🙂 Now I know.

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