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Open Letter to My Homeowner Association (HOA)

After experiencing extreme frustration with my HOA, I decided to write them a letter and give them a piece of my mind.

Sunshine's abode

Sunshine's abode

Pros and Cons of HOAs

Over the years, I've listened to many stories about the Homeowners' Associations of America. The dreaded HOA that seems to go above and beyond to pester the residents of their communities.

HOA employees are just doing their job; someone has to do it. It's our choice to live in a deed-restricted neighborhood. We could also choose not to. Their job isn't an easy one. They hear all sorts of excuses from residents who don't play by the rules.

Having an HOA is beneficial for a community. They assist with property values and resale. I've lived in communities with an HOA for almost 25 years and I appreciate their work and dedication to the area. I never had an issue with them until now. Could it be because many of the residents aren't paying their fees due to foreclosures, rentals or just because they don't want to? I don't know. I don't care to get involved with their situations.

I just don't appreciate when they seem to pester and harass residents over insignificant and frivolous things. I would like the HOA to care more about the communities wants and needs and less about the almighty dollar. Hence my letter to the HOA . . .

My Letter to the HOA

Dear HOA,

I have received so many letters from you I thought it was time I send you a letter. This is not a letter of praise. This is not a letter of gratitude. This is a letter of annoyance. This is me telling you I'm tired of being harassed. This is a Sunshine anti-fan letter.

Let me remind you, in case it has slipped your mind . . . I pay you, you don't pay me. I send you a quarterly payment to do your job. Yes, do your job. I don't pay you to harass me with silly letters. Such as making me aware that my granddaughter left her tricycle on the porch. Seriously? Do you not have better things to do?

Let me remind you one more time . . . I pay you! I don't pay you to send me a letter that I didn't edge the border of my flower bed when it was only two inches high. Really? There must be something more constructive for you to do to earn your salary. OK, I think you now realize that if it wasn't for the residents, you most likely wouldn't have a job . . . a thank you once in a while would be appreciated. I'll now mention the letters I received about a few leaves scattered on the street. Just in case you weren't aware of this, the street is actually the county's property. Surely you knew that. How about the letter for weeds? The same weeds that found their way to my yard via my neighbor's lawn. The dead spot of grass that's the size of a baseball. Oh my.

Residents supposedly break rules when they don't adhere to each covenant? I won't get into "aren't rules meant to be broken" here, but seriously . . . you must take into consideration that there are always, always two sides to every story. Just because you have the power of the HOA, please don't think that you could do no wrong. I'm here to tell you that you can. You aren't perfect. Perfection doesn't exist in the real world.

What Is a Homeowners Association?

Tale of the Letters . . .

First it was a cordial reminder letter. The next month it was a second reminder letter. Then a third letter with a threat to fine me due to not adhering to the "Covenants of the HOA."

You are going to fine me for not tending to my lawn, which I do weekly? I pamper my lawn more than I pamper myself. How dare you accuse me or threaten me of being neglectful. I consider that rude. Did you forget who pays your salary? In a nutshell, would you pay a fine for something that you know you did correctly, yet someone else didn't? I'm not passing the blame. If I was guilty as charged I would pay the fine. I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong. Do you?

I'm curious as to why you just drive by homes with your notebooks and never step out of the car. Yes, I've seen you casually coast your car from home to home jotting down notes and taking photos. Why don't you ever stop by and ring the bell to say hello? If the neighborhood has an HOA, chances are it's a safe area. Do you fear confrontations? Are you guilty of something? I consider that cowardly that you won't say hello to me. Maybe we could chat and discuss issues that I might have. Or we could just talk about the weather. I mean I do pay you, wouldn't you like to meet your boss? I am a nice person. I don't bite.

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Have you considered cutting back on letters and "going green" and doing your part to save the environment? In addition, you could stop wasting our money and go paperless. Did you ever stop and think about the trees that could be saved with the amount of letters that you mail out to residents? You are cutting off our oxygen! How about using email instead of snail mail? Wouldn't that be wiser? How about the telephone? Something for you to consider if you care anything about the environment. Also if you care anything about saving the residents some money. (Insert humor.)

For the record, I did mail you your letters back. I included the dates and times of all impending fractions of the "covenant" rules that I supposedly broke. I don't feel I had to do so; I'm an adult and I sure as heck don't think it's right that I need to be "told" when to tend to my yardwork. I sure as heck don't need to be told to clean up leaves from neighbors' trees that the rain washed to the front of my house. Do you ever take into consideration that a hardship might have been bestowed unto residents? Do you ever think that you might be too annoying? Believe it or not, we can all be annoying. No one is perfect.

You Get What You Pay For

Word on the street is that you ended a contract with the maintenance company. You put some good people out of work. Why? Because you received a cheaper deal from a company that you aren't sure if their work is up to par. Yet you saved money. Never mind that the good people who are now out of a job were residents of the community. They worked endless hours to be sure our community sparkled. And it sure did.

Since you are now saving money, does this mean our fees will be reduced? I didn't think so. That's more pocket money for you. My fees went up from $158 a quarter to $250 a quarter within 10 years. What do we get? More firework fiestas to drive our animals insane. No thank you!

I do understand you have a job to do. I just don't agree with how you perform your duties. I don't trust the HOA and I am entitled to voice my opinion. All I ask is that you do not harass. No one likes their buttons pushed. No one. It's just not the American way.

As with any group of people, anywhere there will be bad apples. These bad apples ignore the rules. They ignore the "covenant" and don't pay homeowners fees. That's unacceptable. I also think it's unacceptable when the good apples have to suffer due to the bad apples.

Some HOAs try to take advantage of the good apples by trying to siphon extra fees out of them to compensate for the bad apples. That should never be permitted. Maybe I live on a different planet than these HOAs, but if that's the case, I'll stay on my planet and you stay on yours. Never, ever try to abuse your power. Never, ever try to do wrong unto someone who is doing the right thing.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Linda Bilyeu

Feel free to vent or commend your HOA experiences...

Elwood Noble on July 18, 2020:

I have to compliment Linda Bilyeu for writing such a timely and exact letter to her HOA. I am the newly elected president of our association. I have been a board member for the past two years and I have seen how in many occasions the last president failed to fully follow the by-laws and covenants as well as other board members. Also, I had just went to visit one neighbor who complained that her next door neighbor, a board member, was harassing her for reasons that I will not say here but when I heard it I was so very bothered that I gave her my personal cell number and told her that if he approached her again to give him my name and let him know that I had taken personal care of things and for him to talk to me! Come on people! Wake up! The board is not a dictatorship that rules above everyone else! We are there for the community by the community! Our job, whether paid or not, is to do what is best for the community and not ourselves! If you cannot do that then get off of the board and let someone else with a heart and mission do the work you so failed to do!

John Myers on February 27, 2020:

I've been sent letters from the HOA's attorney to take down two bird feeders and refrain from hanging clothes to dry on my patio. I sent them a copy of the state of Florida ECO law that states that outside clothes drying is encouraged. They disregard it. I went to eight of our condo buildings and found clothes drying outside and clothes lines in the laundry rooms. I had been told that

all clothes lines had been removed from laundry rooms. Needless to say they haven't been. I have pictures of everything.

LAURA on October 18, 2019:

I PUT UP A PARTIAL CHAIN LINK FENCE AGAINST THE GREEN BELT SEVERAL YEARS AGO. NOW THAT THE BOARD HAS NEW MEMBERS THAT WANT TO ENFORCE, THEY ARE TELLING ME I HAVE TO REMOVE IT!!! NOTHING HAS BEEN SAID TO ME FOR YEARS. I PUT IT UP FOR PROTECTION CUZ I LIVE IN THE BACK OF THE DEVELOPMENT. NOW THEY WANT TO START FINING ME. I REALLY NEED HELP. I HAVE TRIED TO REASON WITH THEM. I DID A WALK AROUND THE AREA AND SEE OTHER HOMES WITH WHITE PICKET FENCES ON the common area THAT ARE NOT STANDARD. I DO NOT KNOW WHY THEY ARE SINGLING ME OUT. I DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY FOR FINES AND DO NOT WANT TO LOSE MY HOME BECAUSE OF THEM. THEY ARE VERY RUDE AND SAID THE FENCE MUST COME DOWN IMMEDIATELY. WHAT IF THEY TRY TO SUE ME. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO

William on September 30, 2019:

Those who voted that they pushed too many of their buttons, should just move, as it is apparent that they have not read their Declaration, Bylaws, and rules.

Those who recognize the benefits of an HOA are generally happy living in those communities.

Valerie on August 26, 2019:

I have lived in a dozen homes that have HOA's (ex Navy wife). Never had an issue until this one. Rancho Del Cobre in Oro Valley. My neighbors (directly next door) are passive aggressive. The husband is the head of the Architectural Committee and on the Board, and the wife is on the Board. We spent $80,000 putting in a pool, BBQ, pergola, fire-pit, etc. to have them hassle us about the gate we put up. 6 months later and three revisions to their liking and they finally approved it. It cost us $200 each time to update and they fined us $200 while working with them to resolve. A month later, we got a letter saying we violated the window covering rules. Ummmm, we put up interior wooden shutters 4 years ago when we built the house and haven't done anything since. Wasn't an issue for 4 years, but now there's an issue. Oh, and they won't tell us specifically what it is. They sent us paperwork to fill out to explain the violation, but won't tell us what the issue is. They said you need to come to the Board meeting to find out. Really? And, the kicker is the jerk who lives next door works at my company in my department. His wife used to work there but almost got fired. She left 4 years ago the week they signed on the house and has had 4 jobs since, and got fired from the last one. She hated working at the company we worked at, complained non-stop and did no work, but she wants to come back and has been applying to every job in sight. Her husband sucks up to the Director and has been passing her resume around to all the Section Managers trying to get them to hire her. Shockingly no one will because her reputation proceeds her. IMO, these people have nothing better to do with their time than to harass us. They're miserable in their life so they try and control other people behind the curtain of the HOA. They litterally drive up and down the street like HOA nazis. I almost feel sorry for them. They're so pathetic.

Jade on August 24, 2019:

Preach!

Aggravatedbig time on August 18, 2019:

HOAs of crazy all I care about is your money. Whether they get paid or not they don't do what they're supposed to do and since they want the job they need to do the job right. And stop screwing with the owners cuz you guys are getting away with too much stuff. we pay you a certain amount every month and we have to hire some of the people to do the job on top of that because you guys don't know how to do it right. Get the fuck out you're full of shit. Covered Bridge should be the new nickname call fuck you Bridge Korean

Aggravatedbig time on August 18, 2019:

Covered bridge in Lake Worth Florida is the worst place to live. The property managers the HOA Association is disgusting. They don't do what you're supposed to do the Landscaping is not maintained properly the work orders are never done when they put in to be done the board of directors steal money from the owners. There have been four times over the last 20 years that the board of directors are stolen money from the owners. They lie they cheat they made false promises they mislead you and make you believe they're telling the truth when they're not. People buying their and then when they realize they've been cheated and lied to they sell and move out. The state of Florida and condo ombudsman the Department of Professional Regulation the lieutenant governor doesn't give a fucking rip about fixing the problem. They let the HOA in the property managers getting away with lying and Theft. This is continuous this has been going on for a long time and nobody cares. Don't waste your time or your energy was going to buy rent or sell their. there was a lot of unhappy people in a covered bridge. They don't maintain the property the way they should. But yet they're spending all this money a saying what they're doing but then I join nothing. South Florida has got nothing but weirdos I wouldn't recommend anybody normal coming here

Valerie Sweet on August 06, 2019:

All I can suggest to you Homeowners if you are not happy with your HOA is to attend a meeting. Typically your HOA board are resident if your community, represented by a Property Management company.

I have served on my board the last 3 years and trust me, we don’t get paid, oh perhaps in people knocking on your door at National Dinner Hour to complain to me about something that THEY need to address the board with... like other neighbors doing things THEY find offensive, or about moles in THEIR yard that they believe is the HOA’s responsibility.

I’ve even had. Fellow resident pull a rifle on me as I’m just hitting down homes that need to replace their address lights. Seriously... follow me down the street with a gun to make sure im not scanning the area? He knows me!

I mean I typically am not aware my address light is burnt out... I’m INSIDE my home when it’s dark. It’s only a reminder. If things get too crazy, perhaps the Property Mgmt team has a wrong address.

If you didn’t want to live in a gingerbread community, you have that right. But most of us love the continuity and form of a beautiful, safe, clean neighborhood in which to live and raise our children.

Attend a meeting instead of throwing a tantrum because, well, as you stated, you ARE an adult.

Can’t Win or Lose

Patricia S on July 24, 2019:

When you buy Into an HOA you are given a set of CC&Rs

These are the RULES

Board Directors are NOT PAID, They are volunteers.