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mikey
10-05-2011, 02:57 AM
There is a voluntary HOA in my neighborhood. For the first 5 years that I lived here, I elected not to join. Then, two years ago, I joined so that I could gain access to the lakefront park that is available to members. The cost was $150 per year. I only took advantage of that opportunity about three times in two years, so I decided not to renew my HOA membership this year. Today, I received a letter stating "...you agreed to join ... and your joinder was filed [with the county] ... there is no mechanism for opting out ... [so] pay your dues at this time." I suppose I was naive when I joined, but I assumed that a voluntary HOA meant that you could voluntarity leave as well as join, and I feel misled. Has anyone dealt with anything like this before? I can afford the $150, but I almost want to dig my heels in just on principle.

Cupid
10-05-2011, 03:02 AM
You would have to read your Bylaws and/or Master Deed. The wording should be in there. A lot of people don't read them because it has a lot of legal jargon in there. If it's properly worded, you do have to follow or pay the consequences.

BaileyCatts
10-05-2011, 05:26 AM
I'm not saying this applies to your neighborhood, but mine is an HOA neighborhood and unfortunately I think ur screwed. :( Once you are in, they got you for life. In fact, in my neighborhood there are two fees: one HOA fee that pays for common space, groundskeeping, there's a lake so it pays for maintenance on the lake, general upkeep of wooded areas, entrance signs/landscapes, etc. I don't really mind paying that fee since its basically upkeep of the neighborhood. But I also pay a second fee for the neighborhood pool (which costs more than the yearly HOA fee) and I never use the pool. Ever. Never will either. But I have no choice to pay that because the previous homeowner had it. The rule is once a homeowner buys into the pool, all future homeowners must pay the pool fee because its now tied to "the house". :blah: To me a pool fee is something that should be optional ... u don't pay then u don't use the pool. Neighborhood and grounds upkeep I can't really argue about since I'm the one that bought a house in that neighborhood. Really wish I woulda kept looking for a non-HOA neighborhood. Live and learn. :shuffle:

BigB08822
10-05-2011, 06:27 AM
HOAs are a pain. We wish we had known before we moved in here. We vow to never do this again but unfortunately many of the best neighborhoods have them. Sometimes it is about finder the lesser of two evils and picking the best HOA you can find. We pay $400 a year. At first it was fine because it kept up all the common areas and a little pond but most importantly it included mowing our front yards. Then they said they were quickly running out of money and we had to vote to either up the payments by 50% or keep them the same but lose the cutting of our front yards. Hard to believe it still cost the same as before when mowing all the yards had to surely be the largest cost. I wonder where all that savings went to, did they suddenly begin charging a lot more to do the common areas? Anyway, it feels like a scam so next time we hope to not have to deal with an HOA or to find one that is a very small fee just to pay for mailboxes or something.

agalisgv
10-05-2011, 07:01 AM
My HOA costs $10 a year. The fee is optional each year.

:shuffle:

BigB08822
10-05-2011, 07:27 AM
What could $10 possibly cover? A semi annual newsletter? lol

agalisgv
10-05-2011, 07:35 AM
We do get a regular newsletter, but it also pays for security, haunted house for Halloween, 4th of July parade, Easter egg hunt, annual picnic, city-wide advertising for an HOA garage sale free for neighborhood residents to participate in, certain utility bills, and some other stuff I can't quite remember.

We're thrifty over here :shuffle:

vesperholly
10-05-2011, 08:07 AM
One of the things I like about my area is that there aren't many formal communities, in the sense that people have HOAs and rules, etc. There are just ... neighborhoods. My sister was looking to buy a house in Florida several years ago and commented that everything was a "private community" down there with rules about house color, landscaping, etc. Stepford neighborhoods.

I live in a condo building but I knew I'd have HOAs because they do things like mow the lawn, repave the parking lot, snow removal, cleaning/upkeep of common areas, and all the crap I'd have to do myself if I had a house. They do a pretty good job keeping stuff updated. The only batshit rule they have is that our exterior-facing window coverings must be white. I've gotten a letter about my yellow sheers twice. :blah:

The downside is they keep throwing special assessments at us instead of raising the HOA fees. Our monthly fees are $165, and this year's assessment was $200 and next year is $400 :eek: These are not $500,000 condos, and there is a decent number of retirees who are likely on fixed incomes. I'm not sure if they're trying to keep the fees down because of the real estate marketing, or because they keep underbudgeting.

Oreo
10-05-2011, 09:00 AM
I would love to pay only $400 a year!! I live in a condo in Orange County, CA, with three HOA fees. My local project is $287 a month, but that covers grounds, insurance, water and trash. A lot of the money is spend on slab leaks. A second HOA fee is $52 a month and goes to the hillside maintenance in the surrounding area, and I'm not sure what else. And then the town gets $78 every quarter, which pays for the parks (and there are quite a few).

And then there's a Mello Roos of about $500 a year, (some of that money is devoted to the library, which I have no problem with), and it's been 20 years, so that should be finished.

You get reamed living here, but then again, my utility bills are extremely low since I barely need air-conditioning or heat.

vesperholly
10-05-2011, 10:37 AM
I would love to pay only $400 a year!!

No no, that $400 is in addition to $165/mo. I pay nearly $2,000 in condo fees yearly (... omg). Housing prices (and earning potential) in Upstate NY are low.

PrincessLeppard
10-05-2011, 12:15 PM
The downside is they keep throwing special assessments at us instead of raising the HOA fees. Our monthly fees are $165, and this year's assessment was $200 and next year is $400 :eek: These are not $500,000 condos, and there is a decent number of retirees who are likely on fixed incomes. I'm not sure if they're trying to keep the fees down because of the real estate marketing, or because they keep underbudgeting.

I pay $207 a month, and it covers a lot. But the special assessment to get the sprinkler system installed? My share is $8000. :yikes:

rfisher
10-05-2011, 02:10 PM
My HOA is not an option. Every house in the subdivision pays. Mikey, your HOA bylaws should state very specifically what they can do up to putting a lien on your house. Our HOA president is annoying.

my little pony
10-05-2011, 02:40 PM
We're thrifty over here :shuffle:

where is here? the eisenhower administration?

barbk
10-05-2011, 04:18 PM
I'm impressed, agalisgv. Ours runs nearly $500 a year, but there's only six homes and we have a private street that will someday need to be replaced, so we're making sure the reserves will be in place to do that when it becomes necessary. Unfortunately, one of the homeowners has both an anxiety disorder that leads her to frequently get into fights with neighbors both in and out of the HOA in the guise of enforcing the HOA and city rules. I'm sure she has the police non-emergency number and the fire marshall's phone number on speed dial. It makes for really fun relationships with the non-HOA neighbors in the adjacent area. :(

aliceanne
10-05-2011, 04:34 PM
I live in an old inner suburb of a major city. No HOAs, but real estate taxes are quite high. I assume they cover all of the things that you are paying the HOA to do (security, maintain parks, repair streets, street lights, etc.) in addition to schools.

If you are in a condo or an HOA do you get any break on your tax assessment?