Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Ah, yes.

I am lucky enough to be part of TWO homeowner associations.  Single residence home HOA in Maui, condominium with pool, hot tub and shared clubhouse rooms in Portland.  And I'm active with both.

It is eye opening experience.  Since each HOA is totally volunteer, I think each owner should take a turn.  It has made me so appreciative of how much work is involved.  And how much drama is involved!  If a person has to do all this work for just one term ... I think life would be so much easier.  Easy to complain, not so easy to introduce a solution.

My main contribution to each is compiling a newsletter.  Monthly.  I like to make the rules and regulations kind, gentle and fun. The thesaurus is my best friend.  The Oregon one is 4-6 pages, Maui 2-4.  Because there is way more community sharing as well as socializing within the condos.  Lots of photos in the Oregon one.  I'd like our Maui neighborhoods, or at least streets to get together casually and socially to get to know each other.  

This is the condo landscape update ... my unit is way at the end of right fork of sidewalk, on the right.  My minivan back there.  I voted for GRASS (for the grandkids)(you see how influential I am!)

I'm also on committees at each homestead.  On both landscaping committees.  Interestingly, landscape is the biggest line item expense at each HOA.  We work hard to keep the costs as low as possible, while upgrading our aging grounds.

The "complaints" are different as well.  Condos share walls and ceilings.  We have a huge covered patio which is perfect for the iffy weather.  (Great for outdoor play for the grandkids in the winter rain).  We hear things like:

     1)  Can you please tell Neighbor X (below) to not run her a/c whenever we are entertaining (which is every afternoon/evening)?  It's very loud.

     2)  Send my neighbor a noise violation ... the snoring keeps me awake.

     3)  My neighbor cooks too much and I don't like the smell.

     4)  The neighbors in the next building downstairs, have not yet unpacked all their moving boxes.  They've been here for 2 months!

     5)  The baby next door cries at night.  Can you tell you tell them to take care of it?

The single family residences are not quite as crazy.  But still ...

     1)  My neighbor taped paper over his garage windows and now I can't see what they are doing in there.

     2)  Please make my neighbor repaint their house.  Grey is not a good color for a house.

     3)  My neighbor has 42 cats ... is that a reasonable number?  (OK, that was me!  And I still do not think that is a "reasonable number of domestic pets" according to our documents)

     4)  Why are you "picking" on me?  My neighbor also has a basketball hoop on the sidewalk (well, they also were sent a violation notice!)

     5)  This Board of Directors is MEAN.  No one else has ever enforced the rules.  How do we vote you out of office?

Yes.  True stories.  My favorite in Maui is "well, my neighbor said it was okay".  Or "who reads the rules?".  "Can't you make an exception for MY basketball hoop?"  

Currently we have a group from the 3rd subdivision (our HOA covers three) going door to door spreading  misinformation.  The entire Board met with about 20 people last Thursday for two and half hours.  They are all from this 3rd subdivision which, in fairness, wasn't ever convinced to follow the rules.  Mostly renters (and we can only deal with Owners) and sketchy residents in 80% of the 112 homes.  Lots of drug deals, late loud parties and even a meth house.

It will just take time .... she said hopefully ...


  1. Oh. My. Gosh!! We have noise rules and junk rules here, but I can tell, living within an HOA wouldn't be the right thing for me. I loved the complaint from the lady that could no longer see what her neighbors were doing in their garage. They probably covered their garage windows to keep Nosy Neighbor from spying! HAH.

    1. The scary thing is there are hardly ANY newer developments without an HOA. But I'm going to fight hard not to have one if I ever move. Too little power goes to some people's heads ... and if there are not objective, it just doesn't work.

  2. Every time you write about this topic I'm glad I don't live in a condo. When you choose to live in a place with common walls, you need to be more flexible. And why do people expect others there to stop doing 'normal' things that they themselves could resolve by buying a pair of noise canceling headphones?

    1. When I take a walk in the Maui neighborhood in the evening, I can hear the TV if their doors and windows are open. I keep my a/c to myself and I know my TV is loud as I take out my hearing aids in the evening. Hopefully it isn't heard outside.

      The Board has been answering email questions and things seem to be calming down. Stay tuned!

  3. What a list of complaints! My favorite is #1 for the single family residences: "My neighbor taped paper over his garage windows and now I can't see what they are doing in there." Ha! A perfectly reasonable complaint. My hat is off to you for serving. They don't know how much they need people like you. I totally get why you voted for the grass, but the new landscaping is very pretty.

    1. We have had to get restraining orders on aggressive Owners ... it is all interesting ... and more work than I was expecting. But it should slow down once all the new documents are in place.

      Yes, the new condo landscape is beautiful! The complex is huge and green and lots of trees ... so grass doesn't do so well. Although we hand watered ours each night so the boys would have a place to play ... and the dog loves sitting in the sun. There is still a large grassy area for them near the clubhouse.