I finally got an in-person meeting with the HOA president and another board member. Both of them were kind, rational human beings. As it turns out, the HOA management company representative, Jake (the prick) was sending out letters without discussing them with the board. He was responding directly to complaints from people (remember Leonard?) and sending out letters on behalf of the board without their knowledge or approval. The board members didn’t even know what the letters looked like!
When I showed them the letter and the violation photo of my trash cans, they immediately said that the cans were located in a reasonable place and that the rule is unenforceable as written. Luckily, this kind of rule (it’s complicated, and I don’t want to learn enough about the different rules to explain it to you) can be changed with a simple vote of the board and it sounds like they are in agreement that it should not be written this way. What I didn’t get was anything in writing to guarantee that I won’t be fined in the future, but they said we have just changed management companies and the new representative has a “lighter touch.” They gave me their word that they would work on changing the rule. I’d like something in writing, but we’ll see where this goes.
Also, a small note on the lawn care letter: one of the board members said he too got a letter based on a photo taken between mowings! I’d be surprised if anyone interested in putting the time in to be on the HOA board would let their lawn get too bad. My wife went after Jake (the utter piece of shit) more aggressively than I did and got the warning retracted. She’s a keeper, for sure.
None of this changes my stance on HOA’s in general, and learning more about the workings of it in relation to the management company I only regret even more sending in a check every month. We have placed an inordinate amount of power in these organizations and anyone who has ever been to an HOA meeting could tell you how bad an idea that is. I’m glad that these two board members are reasonable, but that doesn’t change the absurdity of the HOA system and the fact that you are required to sign into an agreement with them for almost any new home purchase.
Here’s to another tiny victory! It felt good to put my trash cans back to where they’ve been for the last 7 years and get my patio back.
Here’s a car: