Our first complaint letter from our
Homeowner's Association. Now I feel at-home in our new
neighborhood. Don't get me wrong -- I don't share the common hatred of homeowner's
associations. While I don't like being told how to live, I honestly feel
associations improve the neighborhood.
|An interesting paradox is that while most homeowner's associations are so hate-able, it makes your neighbors more lovable. Take this complaint letter for example. The neighbors who complained are likable and friendly -- They wave and always have kind words when you see them getting their mail. You only see their good side. If they have a problem with you, they don't need to confront you -- Just call the Association and complain. The bottom line is that the relationships between neighbors are less strained, except you probably know who they are.|
Eric Newman [Address] [Address] May 30, 1997 The Board of Directors La Terraza Homeowners Association [Address] [Address] Re: Non-Compliance of Governing Documents Dear Board of Directors: I am in receipt of your letter dated May 28 and share your concern for the beauty of our community. I have made every effort to minimize the appearance of the materials as viewed from the street. Most of the materials have been used up in the ongoing backyard construction, and the remaining materials have been consolidated to the rear of the driveway. Additionally, I have recently moved three pallets of materials to my rear yard. Only piles of sand and gravel remain. I am unable to move additional material as the backyard is currently filled with 12 yards of dirt, four pallets of blocks and bricks, two pallets of cement, and of course the large planter and rear retaining wall construction. The driveway presently has sufficient room to park three vehicles, Although we only have two. Please contact me if you would like to visit my backyard and take a look. I am curious to understand your position on limiting the duration that construction may take place to only a few months. I have been working on the backyard construction 8 to 11 hours per day, every weekend, without exception since the materials were delivered. I also typically work on the backyard three weeknights each week, and have also solicited the help of contracted labor on six occasions. Is it the Board's position that backyard planning should be kept simple so that it can be completed in a few weeks? Or are shortcuts encouraged that would expedite the construction at the expense of meeting building codes and Association guidelines? Or is it simply that you discourage homeowners from performing construction in their own backyards? In light of the lengthy and ongoing new home construction in the front of the housing track, the violation of my sandpiles seems petty. For many months, new home construction has been a major disruption in our neighborhood. There are typically one or two large tractors parked on the street, at least two trash dumpsters, as well as several huge piles of lumber. The street is often completely closed due to construction, and there is considerable noise and dust. And let's not forget that fragrant outhouse placed in the street. What a delight it is to walk downwind of it. I don't think we're even in the same ballpark when discussing construction affecting our neighborhood. I have every intention of complying with Association regulations and being a good neighbor in my community. I can't imagine a homeowner working more diligently on construction than I have. Unless I hear differently from you, I will continue construction and deplete the materials in my driveway. Sincerely, [Signed] Eric Newman cc: Neighbors: [Neighbor1] [Neighbor2] [Neighbor3] cc: http://www.ericnewman.com/assn.htm
I'm really not upset about the Association's complaint letter.
The Board of Directors was just efficiently doing its job, and the weasel
neighbors, like me, just have a lot of time on our hands.
Several neighbors (with the notable exception of one) have come up to me and
applauded my letter and views.
As of August 30, all the materials on the driveway have been used up or moved to the backyard. I never heard from the Association or any Board members. The backyard turned out beautifully. HGTV contacted us and wanted to showcase it on their program.
I've received a few letters about Associations and CC&Rs since I posted this page.
I'll post some of them below.
I myself am shocked at the intrusive restrictions of many CC&Rs. One development we are looking at has a complete restriction of any type of TV antenna. But this is what I found out...
1) The FCC has ruled against any such restriction of broadcast or receive antennas for radio or television in a finding dated 10/5/96.
2) California has backed up that position with a law. Section 1376 of the California Civil Code states that any restriction for satellite dishes, placed anywhere, that are 24" or less, or hidden that are 36" or less, is revoked and unenforceable by law. Anyone trying to enforce such a restriction will by liable for up to $1000 in damages.
I would be interested to know if any other law has been written against intrusive CC&Rs.
Good luck on your sand-in-the-driveway problem!
Here's one for you. The CCR's forbid any new construction of any kind without prior approval from the board. In my case however, I have a leaky shake roof and had to replace it. Shake is no longer legal here so I chose composite. No less then 4 members of the board tried to intervene with the work. The last one had it in writing.
The don't spell out what I can use they just want to make the decision. I now have a plywood roof with no shingle, while I wait for them to make a decision. I told them they will need to make it in 48 hours.
Any other cases on this that you've heard about? I'm not sure what my next step will be. But the mortgage company and insurance company will be notified.
Okay Eric, I generally agree with your comments on the petty qualities of Associations and CC&Rs. The fact is that Associations often do make a neighborhood more desirable. Now, however, I'm faced with a Board that's actually (I feel) preventing me from leaving this desirable neighborhood.
To whit: House is for sale, we accept buyer's offer and hand over the CC&Rs which happen to say homeowners can only have two pets. Buyers have four indoor cats. Their real estate agent asks the Board for a variance, which the Board won't grant. We lose the buyers. Interesting to note: the Board realizes that there are other homeowners who are out of compliance, but they haven't enforced the CC&Rs because no one has complained. Their uneven enforcement of the CC&Rs results in our loss of sale.
We're looking for an attorney.
Stanley London Brass Sextants and Nautical Collectibles
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