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Old 04-18-06, 09:25 AM   #1
shifrbv
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Advice Need: Problem With Homeowner's Association

I am trying to construct a fence on my property. The reason I need this fence is because my neighbor has a swingset which is located right on the property line (and there is only 20 feet between our properties) and her kids and all the kids she babysits keep coming over to my yard.

My neighbor has a small yard which is not nearly big enough for all of the kids to play in. Therefore, she does not want me to have a fence as it would restrict the area her kids can play in - ie. my yard.

My neighbor is good friends with the head of the architectural committee and I am not.

My problem, I submitted a request for the fence. Of course, the architectural committee turned me down (I believe based upon the friendship with my neighbor).

Other houses in the neighborhood have the same style and type of fence I requested with no problems.

I feel I have been singled out (because of my neighbor's friendship with the committee chair) and I feel like going ahead and doing whatever I want as other homes have what I am requesting.

I am tired of having my neighbor's kids in my yard and not being able to enjoy anything outside of my property.

I am wondering, if I go ahead and install my fence, even though I have been denied, what can the HOA do to me?

I see alot of violations in my community with respect to the covenants. My neighbor is even in violation on at least 2 items yet nothing is done.

At their last meeting, they were mulling over ideas for non-compliance (fines, legal action, etc.). They have an attorney who sits on the board. But what could be the worst that could happen? Especially when other homes have the same type of fencing I have requested. Wouldn't that look good for me in a court case?
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Old 04-18-06, 09:32 AM   #2
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Talk to an attorney. What was the reason that they denied your request?

If you can show that they've approved the same type of fencing for other home owners, I'd imagine there wouldn't even be a lawsuit. Just a threatening letter would probably do the trick.
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Old 04-18-06, 09:35 AM   #3
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Just chain a pit bull near the property line, with a beware of the dog sign. First kid to lose an arm will learn to stay away.

Other than that unpracticle idea, I got nothing ecxept the response above. Reapply with the HOA stating your fence is similar to existing fence rows. Can you plant a row of rose bushes with-out permission?
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Old 04-18-06, 09:35 AM   #4
4KRG
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The association has to give you a specific reason for your request being denied. They can't just say "denied" wihtout explaining why.

Press them for a reason. If the reason is reasonable then do or change whatever you need to in order to get them to pass it.

If they say neener neener we wont' approve just because, have them put it in writing and then put your fence up anyway.

oh and here is the obligatory - I would never live in a place that had an association blah blah worthless ramblings here blah
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Old 04-18-06, 09:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4KRG
oh and here is the obligatory - I would never live in a place that had an association blah blah worthless ramblings here blah
Me either. I freaking HATE homeowner's associations for reasons such as this.
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Old 04-18-06, 09:45 AM   #6
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Can't you shoot people if they come on your property? We can in Arizona... I say, bring 'em on...
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Old 04-18-06, 09:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4KRG
oh and here is the obligatory - I would never live in a place that had an association blah blah worthless ramblings here blah
Those of us that spout "worthless ramblings" are free to put up our fence whenever we'd like.
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Old 04-18-06, 09:50 AM   #8
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set up a bee colony in your back yard. Make extra money selling honey to your neighbors!
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Old 04-18-06, 09:51 AM   #9
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You could always sue the woman for trespassing. You wouldn't wain any more than nominal damages, but it's the principle of the matter.
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Old 04-18-06, 09:51 AM   #10
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I knew all the "anti-HOA" folks would be out in force. lol. Take pictures of approved fences, and ask them why those are approved and yours isn't. Explain to them clearly the fact that your neighbors kids play ON YOUR PROPERTY and they allowed similar fences, but won't allow yours. Claim the discrimination thing, and tell them they better reconsider, since it sounds like they are siding with the "friend" and tell them you won't let it rest. Do so, at a meeting, in front of them and the "attorney" (He is probably just on a retainer, or is assigned to them. We had an attorney too when I was on a board)
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Old 04-18-06, 10:12 AM   #11
Venusian
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just let the kids play in your yard?
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Old 04-18-06, 10:19 AM   #12
4KRG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Numanoid
Those of us that spout "worthless ramblings" are free to put up our fence whenever we'd like.
and here we go again...
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Old 04-18-06, 10:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venusian
just let the kids play in your yard?
Why should he? Maybe he cares about his lawn and garden enough that he doesn't want kids mucking it up. Maybe he just doesn't like kids. It doesn't matter. If he doesn't want kids in his yard, he shouldn't have to put up with it.
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Old 04-18-06, 10:39 AM   #14
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They should give you a reason for the denial, and should also provide for an appeal process. If it's not indicated on the denial, it should sure be somewhere in the bylaws. the appeal probably would go to the Board, and you will be able to publicly state your case. Any board that has an attorney on it will probably be smart enough to approve your fence if you can show that the same fence has been previously approved...
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Old 04-18-06, 10:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venusian
just let the kids play in your yard?
and what happens when a kid falls on the rake he left in his yard and hurts herself? I could certainly see the desire to keep them out...
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Old 04-18-06, 10:45 AM   #16
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Chrisedge has the best advice so far. Obviously, we're only hearing one side of the story here, but it sounds like you're in the right.

Worst case scenario: the HOA makes everybody tear down their fences and you become the neighborhood pariah.
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Old 04-18-06, 10:47 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groucho
Chrisedge has the best advice so far. Obviously, we're only hearing one side of the story here, but it sounds like you're in the right.
Chrisedge's advice is incomplete though. He needs to avail himself of whatever appeals process there is. While that process probably does involve appealing to the Board at a public meeting, he shouldn't just go to a meeting and start complaining about it, he needs to appeal, ie cross his t's and dot his i's.
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Old 04-18-06, 10:55 AM   #18
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"Mr. shifrbv, TEAR DOWN THIS FENCE!"
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Old 04-18-06, 11:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groucho
"Mr. shifrbv, TEAR DOWN THIS FENCE!"


Ich bin ein Suburbian!
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Old 04-18-06, 11:32 AM   #20
shifrbv
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Some good advice in here so far. I was given a reason for the denial which I guess I shoudl have stated in my original post.

I want to build a wooden, shadow-box style fence. The preferred fencing in the neighborhood is black wrought iron. The committee can approve other materials (which the covenants say wooden, shadow-box style is one of the others that can be allowed)- at their discretion. The wrought iron fence would cost me at least 6-7K to get installed. I can get a wooden fence for much cheaper. Many other homes in the neighborhood (at least 20 out of 90)have the same wooden fence as I am looking at but I was not given discretion for my fence like the other neighbors were.

Last year, the HOA was managed by an outside company. This year, the management was turned over to the neighborhood who elected their own board and committee members. Now, it seems like everything is a buddy-buddy system and nothing is being done objectively like it was with the 3rd party company before. If you turned in your project under the old management, it got approved. Now, the locals want to play God and manage like the gestapo and don't seem to want to cut anyone any slack.

I am afraid to go forward with the project after hearing that a HOA can foreclose on properties through excessive fining for violations. I read some stories on various websites of individuals losing their homes for excessive fines and the lawyers turning around and selling them for huge profits.
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Old 04-18-06, 11:43 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shifrbv
I am afraid to go forward with the project after hearing that a HOA can foreclose on properties through excessive fining for violations. I read some stories on various websites of individuals losing their homes for excessive fines and the lawyers turning around and selling them for huge profits.
Do not just go ahead with the project, APPEAL!
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Old 04-18-06, 11:47 AM   #22
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To play devil's advocate, I should state that a HOA that merely rubber stamps every request pretty much negates the point of having an HOA, no?

If you live in a community governed by an HOA, you've got to take the good with the bad. For example, there's a home near my parents (in a non-HOA neighborhood) where the owner decided to paint it bright fushia (no joke). When you buy a home in a HOA neighborhood, this is exactly the kind of thing (presumably) you want to avoid.

But these are just random thoughts, and I should note that I still side with shifrbv.
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Old 04-18-06, 11:51 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groucho
For example, there's a home near my parents (in a non-HOA neighborhood) where the owner decided to paint it bright fushia (no joke).
Oh no! An expression of individuality and non-conformity! Doing what he wants with his own property? Shun him!
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Old 04-18-06, 12:46 PM   #24
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I would call a lawyer and ask their advice. Being that there are identical fences in the neighborhood, I think a precedent has been set and you should be able to have the same fence. I wouldn't think that they could just arbitrarily decide that just because it may not be their taste or some other silly reason, they can disregard what past boards have approved.

If not, then just start playing football, hit golf balls, etc. in the neighbors yard until they get annoyed and are willing to respect the boundaries. If they still are unwilling, then look into the trespassing laws and call a cop the next time they are in your yard. The cop should then explain to them what can happen if they trespass.

Last edited by cdollaz; 04-18-06 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 04-18-06, 12:58 PM   #25
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Do you have to have all affected neighbors sign off on your request? I know in mine I would have to have neighbors approval with my application.
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