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Thread: need advice dealing with my HOA

  1. #11
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    I think your letter is direct and to the point - excellent! I hope they stop harassing you. I love the convenience of my condo but hate the rules and no private yard.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  2. #12
    Hi JenJen,

    If you could afford it and the HOA would agree, perhaps you could have a slab of concrete poured where your van's ramp comes to rest in your driveway. And have it nicely landscaped so it's not a potential eyesore to the HOA. That would get you closer to your front door to help with your aching shoulders by keeping you from having to wheel all the way up your rather steep driveway.

    And that would also help protect your van from someone possibly crashing into it while it's parked in the street. Or from being vandalized by vindictive neighbors.

    Just a thought.

    Bob.
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom
    At the risk of derailing this thread, I'd like to wonder if JenJen couldn't simply withdraw from the HOA and do whatever she wanted? What legal precedent if any forces a private homeowner beholden to a separate entity like an HOA without the option to withdraw? If I had someone tell me I couldn't take steps to improve accessibility in my own home I'd tell 'em to buzz off, and enforce it with a shotgun. Good grief. It's not unreasonable to expect to keep a nice clean and neat property, but once you start getting anal-retentive about the smallest details, that's just merely infuriating and I'd tell some folks to go pound sand.
    I, too, own a house (single family unattached) in a development that is part of a homeowners association. I'd guess that over 70% of the homes in my town are subject to restrictive covenants and belong to a HOA. If you don't like it, you can choose to live in another town.

    Membership to the HOA is part of the deed restrictions on the property. You buy into the HOA when you purchase the home and the only way to leave the HOA is to sell your property.

    The HOA can set dues, fines and assessments. They have the power to place lien on your property if they don't approve the color of your home, the style of your exterior home modifications/ramps, the style of your mailbox, unauthorized trees, shrubs or type of grass, if you don't water your lawn or properly maintain your landscaping. These are more restrictive than municipal zoning ordinances. They are not obliged to "buy you out." If you do not comply, HOA can charge a fine for each day that you are out of compliance and the HOA can even foreclose on your property and eject you from your residence.
    Daniel

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by dan_nc
    I, too, own a house (single family unattached) in a development that is part of a homeowners association. I'd guess that over 70% of the homes in my town are subject to restrictive covenants and belong to a HOA. If you don't like it, you can choose to live in another town.

    Membership to the HOA is part of the deed restrictions on the property. You buy into the HOA when you purchase the home and the only way to leave the HOA is to sell your property.

    The HOA can set dues, fines and assessments. They have the power to place lien on your property if they don't approve the color of your home, the style of your exterior home modifications/ramps, the style of your mailbox, unauthorized trees, shrubs or type of grass, if you don't water your lawn or properly maintain your landscaping. These are more restrictive than municipal zoning ordinances. They are not obliged to "buy you out." If you do not comply, HOA can charge a fine for each day that you are out of compliance and the HOA can even foreclose on your property and eject you from your residence.
    Hi Dan,

    My elderly mother (78) lives in a senior's gated community. You have to be at least 50 years old to live there. You can be younger but can only stay there/visit for a maximum of 2 weeks at a time. They have a guardhouse and a little gate that lifts up to allow you to pass after the proper authorization is received or you have a pass affixed to your windshield. And she's forced to use their landscaping and pest control companies, etc. It's okay by her.

    I don't live in a such a place but there are certain rules that I have to live by here. As I suppose is true in most residential areas though I am kinda rural. The only rule that I'm familiar with here pertains to the type and heigth of fencing allowed though I'm sure there are others. But nothing like the HOA that JenJen and my mother are subject to.

    If you don't like it, you can choose to live in another town.
    Don't they take into consideration that a person may become disabled, due to no fault of their own, after they purchase their house so may need a "variance" accorded them?

    Or do you get the boot as soon as you no longer fit their pre-defined mold?

    And as far as selling a house goes. You may have bought the house when it was a seller's market and then and again, due to no fault of your own, be forced to sell it in a buyer's market or depressed real estate market like we find ourselves in now. What, you're supposed to take a possible 50% loss on your investment or totally lose your house due to fines and assessments because you can't find a buyer in time?

    I'm not doubting your facts but it doesn't seem fair to me. Especially in light of the recent "enlightenment" era brought about by the ADA and other state and local disability rights laws recently enacted around the country.

    Bob.
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by bob clark
    Don't they take into consideration that a person may become disabled, due to no fault of their own, after they purchase their house so may need a "variance" accorded them?

    Or do you get the boot as soon as you no longer fit their pre-defined mold?
    You're allowed to be disabled. You're even allowed to make home modifications. They can dictate the style and type of modifications (e.g. ramps might be required to be in the back of the home or access through the garage instead of the front and they might have to match the architecture of the community).

    You don't get the boot; I mean, you still "own" the house/townhouse/condo. But the board can choose to make it uncomfortable for you to live there and hope you choose to live elsewhere. Other boards might be very accommodating.

    There's also a wide range of HOAs in my town -- you can live in one that is more lax/less nitpicky or choose to live in one that is extremely strict and cookie-cutter. But most neighborhoods are organized into developments governed by a HOA. At least in my town, these developments exist to pay for the common areas on the grounds, so that those costs aren't passed onto the local government.
    Last edited by dan_nc; 05-21-2008 at 04:15 PM.
    Daniel

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by dan_nc
    You're allowed to be disabled.
    Hmm, I don't know whether to say "Thank the Lord" or "Damn the Lord"!

    Thanks for explaining some of the HOA rules and regulations. I've heard of such community governing bodies before but never took enough interest to learn about them. But count me out... I'm an American or more precisely, a US citizen, land of the free and all that garbage.

    Bob.
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  7. #17
    Thanks all. Dan's link gave me what I needed. I sent a final version of the letter in my OP earlier. The issue is now when my wheels and my ramp are on the same level, that incline is getting steep. Honestly, part if it could be that I'm still weak from being so sick. I'm supposed to start a few sessions of PT soon.

    Plus, when I clench for the effort to go up, I spasm backward and try to flip out of the chair. I'd like to avoid that if at all possible.

    When I park at the curb, the wheels are down about 5 inches so once the van kneels, the ramp "bridges" the curb more like a draw bridge than a ramp. That way my entry into the van is almost level and sooooo much easier than pushing upward.

    FTR, I was disabled when I bought this house. The only thing that has changed is my ability to push up my ramp.

    I sent pictures to the HOA documenting my problem. Seriously, if it comes down to it, I'll end up in Court at some point and once a judges sees the issue, I'll get the necessary accommodation. I hope this goes the easier route instead.

    So, for anyone who may need to adapt it, here's the final letter I sent to my property manager.

    Vicki,


    In an effort to be a good neighbor, I have already completed this form. Perhaps it was wrong to have done so because it created an impression that it was acceptable for the HOA to attempt to abridge the rights of people with disabilities. Nonetheless, this matter has previously been resolved with the Board.


    I will not complete this variance form again. I am NOT asking permission. I am, once again, making the HOA aware of my need for a reasonable accommodation.


    I realize that you are coming into this in the middle. However, I am not responsible if the HOA files are incomplete or unclear on this matter. I do not intend to revisit this matter every time there is a change with in the HOA or management company.


    This is a matter for you to review with the HOA's attorney regarding an understanding of the applicable Federal statutes. It is not a voting matter for the Board.


    Here are the facts:
    • I legally reside at xxx
    • I am legally disabled as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act.
    • The ADA and Fair Housing Act are Federal laws that cannot be abridged or limited by any State or local law or ordinance.
    • The Fair Housing Act specifically makes it unlawful for any person to refuse "to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford ... person(s) [with disabilities] equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling."
    • There is an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and my disability.
    • Courts have treated requests for parking spaces as requests for a reasonable accommodation and have placed the responsibility for providing the parking space on the housing provider, even if provision of an accessible or assigned parking space results in some cost to the provider. For example, courts have required a housing provider to provide an assigned space even though the housing provider had a policy of not assigning parking spaces or had a waiting list for available parking. However, housing providers may not require persons with disabilities to pay extra fees as a condition of receiving accessible parking spaces.

      Providing a parking accommodation could include creating signage, repainting markings, redistributing spaces, or creating curb cuts. This list is not exhaustive.
    • I require this reasonable accommodation to ensure my safety and continued use of my property.

    If you require, I can have my attorney provide a copy of the Fair Housing Act for your review.


    At your first convenience, I would appreciate a letter for my files stating that this issue is resolved.


    Thank you,
    My blog: Living Life at Butt Level

    Ignite Phoenix #9 - Wheelchairs and Wisdom: Living Life at Butt Level

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    Dawna Markova Author of Open Mind.

  8. #18
    The text of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

    http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing/title8.htm
    Daniel

  9. #19
    Senior Member Broknwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan_nc
    You're allowed to be disabled. You're even allowed to make home modifications. They can dictate the style and type of modifications (e.g. ramps might be required to be in the back of the home or access through the garage instead of the front and they might have to match the architecture of the community).
    Actually, if you remember the battles that Ami went through with her HOA, she learned that they CAN NOT force you to have your primary/only access through the back/side/garage for their aesthetics...She had a huge battle quite a while back but I was pretty sure she got it all straightened out....
    'Chelle
    L-1 inc 11/24/03

    "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Broknwing
    Actually, if you remember the battles that Ami went through with her HOA, she learned that they CAN NOT force you to have your primary/only access through the back/side/garage for their aesthetics...She had a huge battle quite a while back but I was pretty sure she got it all straightened out....
    IIRC, she had her lawyer draft a letter to her HOA and her particular HOA backed down.

    HOAs here in NC do have the right to regulate the look and placement of ramps. One of my neighbors had built ramps in front of their home because of their child with severe disability. The HOA forced the neighbor to take down the ramp (at cost to the homeowner) and build a new ramp inside their garage.
    Daniel

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