HOAs give your soul cancer

I started to comment on Mike’s post about his tennis Nazi and decided it was enough to justify writing my own post on the matter. Unlike the fortunate Mr Maguire, I live out in the suburbs for financial and practical reasons. I could share them, but what the hell do you care? Suffice to say, this way I get to have a basement full of woodshop and a 20 minute pleasant ride to the office in the morning and money left over for food. So, to the story:

I got the joy of sitting through a HOA meeting a few weeks back since my friend and generous landlord wanted to paint some trim and replace a door. This, of course, requires paperwork and approval since it diverges from the status quo in the most minuscule way. After this ninety-minute exercise in misery, I have come to the conclusion that the hell that is an HOA board is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs
The amount of absolute cruft that’s written into HOA terms – example to follow – simply demands hiring outside assistance from one of the many companies out there that will handle policing your community for ‘offenders.’ In our case it’s Service First Management & Consulting. Like all businesses, they want to justify their continues existence and employment, so it seems they will find the most trivial of crap to report. Then the homeowner, who paid for the privilege of this abuse and continues to pay a fee, has to show up at the HOA meeting to deal with this crap. The end result if a long and painful meeting that only a real masochist or little Mussolini wanna-be would sign up to have to come to each and every month.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

At the meeting I was at I was witness to what is apparently an ongoing battle between a resident – who works as a town car driver – and the HOA. The covenant, you see, bans the parking of commercial vehicles. Apparently they’d driven him from parking on the street and into his driveway, but this still wasn’t good enough. You see, the black Lincoln has a plate that says FOR HIRE in inch-high letters. That makes it a commercial vehicle, and therefor banned.

I think Mike was actually lucky that the Tennis Nazi was in full shriek mode – it cuts to the heart of the matter. Mr Town Car was confronted with an oh-so-reasonable group of people saying, gosh, the rules are the rules and we can’t selectively enforce them. Resulting, of course, in a ten minute oh-so-cordial discussion on the matter. Mr Town Car was told that if he re-titled the vehicle so that it’s no longer a commercial vehicle he would have no continuing problem. How I managed to avoid screaming and throwing my own feces in response to this inanity is beyond my comprehension at this point.

Once this was done we followed with an even longer discussion about how the management company, who are very diligent about finding those 72 point fonts on license plates, has failed to identify and rectify the numerous dead trees and trash around the property. I am sure this disparity has nothing to do with the fact that filling out forms that generate tow income requires no further action where dealing with property issues requires, you know, doing something. There was no response on the matter from the management company’s representative, as he was unable to be there that evening. Someone in attendance asked why the rep’s assistant at the organization wasn’t there and was told that the board had indicated they didn’t want that person, since past communication issues were why they wanted to actual responsible party to come to the meeting. I would have asked how having nobody there was an improvement over someone, but I was busy restraining myself from screaming and throwing feces.

In the end, by the way, my friend/landlord got his approval for a new door, though he was told if he wanted the window in it he’d have to get the one like those already used in a few homes, where there were two 10 inch squares at the top of the door. The design with two 10 inch quarter circles at the top of the door were too divergent. The proposed light blue trim was right-out, of course. See above re: screaming, feces.

I almost said curse words that haven’t even been discovered in nature yet and I only had to go to half of one meeting. Is it any surprise these things attract the worst sort of people into their service?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


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