One of my neighbors came by the other day and asked that I sign a
Christmas card and chip in for a gift card for another neighbor, Mike.
It turns out that Mike is the guy who's been mowing the big right of
way around the entrance to our subdivision. I just assumed it was the
city. Nope, it's Mike, and he's been doing it for free for more than
two years. I was happy to kick in a few bucks. Thanks, Mike!
While she was here, she casually mentioned that "some of us" were
trying to set up an "unofficial HOA" that would ask people to
voluntarily donate a suggested amount to do things like decorating
around the entrance. I'm generally opposed to HOAs, so I just ignored
that and gave her some cash for Mike.
If someone asks me to help plant shrubs, I'll be glad to participate,
but I'm not going to support setting up an HOA. About what do I need to
* I assume they can't impose an HOA after the fact unless we agree. Am
* What if 75% of the homeowners agree to the HOA?
It's unlikely this will ever get past the talking stage, but if nothing
else, it's an interesting question. I'll go talk to my lawyer if it
becomes a reality.
In your opinion, what's likely to occur, and what can I do about it.
Read Phil in Mich. 's nice post in another HOA thread regarding the guts of
the judge's ruling. I suggest you to there, and follow the link in the link
to the full judge's decision. The more you understand, the better choice
you will make. I would not opt in to a HOA were it me, because right now,
you may know everyone, and five years, you may have new neighbors and people
running it that you wouldn't invite over for a dog bar mitzvah.
Phil -In-Mich. posted:
I followed your link and then followed the link to read the full decision by
Don't know about Texas, but most places a HOA is not a Government (like a
city or township), but a contract freely entered into by owners of the land
and the association. HOAs cannot force you to agree to the contract if you
own the land before the association comes into being. If the cost /
benefits ratio of the HOA is not to your liking, don't go for it. Don't
matter what the others think or say, only your local or county courts
(Judges) can force you into binding and attaching your land to a HOA against
"Vee haf our vays!"
There is such a thing as a "Special Tax District," that can be implemented
by a significant percentage of property owners. We have several in Houston
and all - so far as I know - are commercial in nature. They tax the property
owners and use the not-unsubstantial funds for district improvements. These
district improvements - and a district is very small, maybe 50 square
blocks - include distinctive street lighting, fancy-schmancy traffic
signals, stainless steel arches over the main roads, illuminated street
signs, and other visible designations of the district. There may be
not-visible expenditures (street cleaning, extra traffic cops, et al).
This construct is not an HOA and I don't think it will apply to our friend
from Arlington, TX, but the point is one CAN be impressed into an
authoritarian institution against his will.
On Fri, 19 Dec 2008 01:02:45 +0000 (UTC), "SteveBell"
I live in a "voluntary HOA" community. We have an organization that
maintains the common grounds and we all chip in but it runs as a
"corporation not for profit" (Fla article 617) and they do not have
the power of lien. We get about 75-80% participation on the $150 a
year dues. It is enough money to maintain a community park, shelter
building, boat ramp and several boat slips (for a nominal rent). That
also buys an insurance policy for the common elements.
This is the best of both worlds. We have some organized participation
of neighbors but without any power freaks since there really isn't any
power to be had.
A few people tried to look into making this a "720" lien empowered
association and it got voted down by about 70% of the residents.
Wow, buddy! I know of associations that we've done studies on that run
$1,000 A MONTH.
$150 a year is very reasonable, particularly in a state that requires
reserve studies, and that rate is pretty much locked in and documented.
If you do move to an HOA place, you don't want one where it is too
hard to raise the dues. I think until a year ago, my dues were only
100 dollars a year, and before that for many years only 80/year and
it's not enough. Because in addition to some lawnmowing, planting
flowers, plowing snow, etc. every ten or 15 years we have to repave
the roads and parking areas, for $50 or 100,000, from 110 homes. So
we should take in 10,000 a year for that, or 100 dollars a year per
home just for that.
The rules here made it very hard to raise the dues. I think they
illegally raised hem last winter when I was out of town, but I don't
complain, because the hoa needs the money more than I do. I wish they
had raised them more.
If an HOA spends too litle money, the place looks run down and people
lose thousands or 10's of thousands when they sell. Plus even before
one wants to move, other houses are worth less and poorer people buy
them, and resist raising the dues, especially if they plan to move in
5 years, or after their first or second kid is born.
No, your property dan't be encumbered after the fact without your consent or
judicial action - neither of which is likely.
Your neighbors can form a voluntary neighborhood association, raise funds and
apply those funds towards neighborhood improvements. You can't be compelled to
join or contribute.
On Fri, 19 Dec 2008 01:02:45 +0000 (UTC), "SteveBell"
What if you and the person who asks you are the only ones who show up?
Year after year? What if even the one who asks you doesn't show up
And Mike, you won't have Mike forever.
Very little. Either don't sign anything, or read very carefully what
I doubt what she has in mind has anything to do with signing anything,
or with forming an HOA that has "power". She just wants an organized
way to collect some money for n'hood beautification.
And that's probably a good thing, as long as the cost is reasonable,
and it probably would be, but they can't force you to give more than
you want, as long as you haven't signed anything that says they can.
(Oh, do you own your own streets or does the government?)
They could bind themselves, but not those who don't agree.
Don't forget, She called it unofficial. I'm sure she means no legal
contract, no binding power, like a club. You don't object to clubs do
you. Maybe like the Kiwanis club, but more selfish. They do things
for people they don't know. You'd all be doing things for your own
small group of people. (Although even the Kiwanis does things for the
town they live in, which is similar. People can quit the Kiwanis
anytime they want. And I think the dues are small and most people give
more time or money than is required. And if they can't pay the dues
they quit, but they don't move out of their home.
Who owns the land in question? Does the city not mow rights-of-way? I
would be very cool
to any agreement to do anything to land that I did not own. If Mike
mows for a few more
years, mebbe he will own it? Any agreement/contract to do anything can
lead to lawyers.
I certainly would not plant anything......the day someone hits a gas
line or a cable will be
the day appreciation is forgotten.
The city owns the land. The existing two-lane road was originally a
farm road, but there's room set aside for a median and more lanes on
our side. That's the part Mike's maintaining.
They do, but only a few times a year.
That's a good point. I don't mind if I plant some bushes and lose the
money and effort, but I'd hate to have to pay the cable company to
repair a cut line. I cut my own cable once, long ago, and they charged
almost $100 for a simple splice. Luckily I now know how to do
waterproof splices. ;-)
And if you go away on vacation, the bushes get overgrown, someone pulls
out of the subdivision
because they (didn't look or didn't see or whatever scheme one desires)
and is killed, who are
the survivors going to come after? You planted stuff on city right of
way, city gets sued, and
Better for the whole gang to call the township or city and complain.
Call it a hazard. I would not
mess with someone else's property. Period. I also have had a number of
very cordial relationships
in condo life that turned ice cold when benefits of friendship were
On Fri, 19 Dec 2008 21:28:18 +0000 (UTC), "SteveBell"
This is you, and can't be transferred to every HOA situation... never
mind, you are the OP.
Anyhow, I was also going to say that when I lived in suburban
INdianapolois, we also also lived an a main but two-lane road and the
county owned 10 or 15 feet on our side of the road to be used for
About half of the neighbors put their bushes in on their own land, so
they wouldn't be cut down later. (It also meant when they backed out
of the driveway, they could see if anyone was coming. Every driveway
had a "turnaround" but I don't think anyone used them.)
And half put the bushes in a foot from the road, on public land. We
bought the house used and the bushes were already close to the road.
I was back there a year ago, 51 years after we had bought the house,
and they still haven't widened the road!! There are more houses, but
the increased traffic is almost entirely on the main road, a half mile
to the east.
My next door neighbor hired some guy who used the wrong tool and cut
my phone line. He was going to do some shlock repair, but I did a
good job. The neighbor himself said he woudl pay for the repair and
I called the phone company and the repair was free, but it seemed they
weren't going to do as good a job as I did. I soldered the wires and
they were just going to use some jellied crimp connectors. I taped
the connection with silicon tape and they were just going to use vinyl
Doubt if you will be obligated to join but you may suffer peer pressure
to pay if one is formed. Back in old development, HOA was formed
afterwards. I refused to join but would pay for snow removal as this is
an important item here. HOA would pester me for dues which was only a
few dollars but I would not pay out of principle.
Current neighborhood, required joining association on purchase of home.
Big item, is still snow removal and I participate gladly in association.
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