Saturday, September 20, 2008

The HOA War

I mentioned earlier that I would expand upon the current issues with my Home Owner's Association (HOA).

My Man MitchThe situation started shortly after the Mitch Daniels for Governor campaign placed two campaign signs in my yard. As I opened the garage door to take the dog outside, I found the two signs lying in the driveway near the garage door. There were two possibilities: someone who didn't agree with my choice of political candidate had taken the signs down, or someone on the HOA board decided to enforce one of the covenant restrictions.

Either was possible, and neither more likely than the other, since it seems the current HOA Board doesn't spend much time enforcing the covenant restrictions. I placed the signs in the garage for a couple days while doing a little research.

I reread the covenants and toured the rest of the community. The covenant clearly states the following about signs:
No Sign of any kind shall be displayed to the public view on any lot, except that one sign of not more than six square feet may be displayed at any time for the purpose of advertising a property for sale, and except that Developer and its affiliates and designees, including the builders, may use larger signs during the sale and development of the subdivision.
This clause clearly put me in violation of the covenant restriction. It also put four other residents in violation for the display of campaign signs: one resident who also displayed a Mitch Daniels sign (which was also taken down) and three residents displaying signs for Barack Obama (which were not removed).

Having made a tour of the community and seeing the remaining Barack Obama signs, I decided to place one Mitch Daniels sign back in my yard, against a shrub in the landscaping in front of our house, exactly as one of the Obama signs was placed.

Wednesday night I returned home from work to find my replaced sign completely missing. I drove through the community and saw that all three Obama signs remained untouched. I obtained the email address of the president of our HOA from a friend who is on the HOA Board and sent her an email asking for an explanation.

In the three days that followed, we engaged in a volley of emails about the covenants, the signs that remain (and whether or not removing mine and leaving the Obama signs was politically motivated), and of the many other covenant violations that have gone unenforced (violations of fencing restrictions, yard maintenance, additional structures, debris, outside storage, and disabled vehicles, to name a few).

As of this evening when I returned home from work, the Obama sign placed in the landscape in the manner that I replaced my Mitch Daniels sign remains untouched. I will be attending the HOA meeting coming up this next week, where I will present my case before the full board and any other residents in attendance. My case that it is inappropriate to selectively enforce the covenants in such a manner as to appear that the enforcement is politically motivated. My case that it is inappropriate for anyone to sneak into my yard and steal away with the sign that was placed in my landscaping. My case that this neighborhood needs an HOA Board that is actually motivated to improve the community by enforcing the covenants as enacted, changing those that should be changed, and notifying residents about violations rather than secretly enforcing the restrictions.

If you stay tuned, I will keep you posted. If you've had any similar experiences in your area, your comments would be greatly appreciated.


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