Driveway To HOA Hell

guest blog by Nila Ridings

Here’s a homeowner who drives a pick-up truck and parks it at his home on his driveway.  Well actually it’s not his driveway according to his HOA.

This HOA board is dumber than a box of rocks, in my opinion.  A pick-up truck does not indicate a person operates the vehicle for commercial use!

How well I know.  One of my vehicles is a pick-up truck.  Thank goodness it has four-wheel drive.  My HOA owns my driveway, too. They are supposed to maintain it, but in ten years they have only sealed it once.  One time!  After it had cracked and fallen apart.  The worst issue I’ve had is when it dropped below the concrete floor in the garage.  I literally could not get my truck into my garage without using four-wheel drive every time!!!  In addition, every time it rained the water ran in under the garage floor and eventually into my finished basement.  The HOA made a very poor attempt to repair the driveway after I had professional contractors tell me it was not repairable. Now it has separated leaving a crack across the driveway that is 3″ deep allowing water to run under the driveway.  It has also started to drop again…back to four-wheeling into my garage I’ll go.

The HOA now claims it’s my responsibility to pay for the replacement of the driveway.  Yes, we are in another court battle because my HOA would rather spend $100,000 on a legal battle than to replace a $5,000 driveway.  As our readers know, you just can’t fix the incredible levels of stupid in an HOA!

A former board president told me that all driveways are common ground.  I asked if I had a party and needed extra parking spaces could my guests park on my neighbors’ driveways?  He said, “They sure can!”

As if we don’t already have at least a million reasons why not to buy in an HOA, this driveway issue is just more proof of it!

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

3 thoughts on “Driveway To HOA Hell

  1. Dave Russell

    I agree, these board members are dumber than a box of rocks! Lunatics with apparently nothing better to do than be truck terrorists. Will the madness ever end?

  2. WhyMeLord

    I’m a retired engineer and entrepreneur.

    Our HOA has NO qualified business management or technical knowledge. The management company has even less.

    The HOA will not accept input from the members with that experience. The result is the management company is recommending and board is approving bills, repairs and maintenance that are >3X what these services and equipment cost at full MSRP. Most ‘deals’ are approved without bids, negotiation or qualified review.

    Texas law greatly limits what HOA’s can control on xeriscaping and solar panel instillation yet the HOA still wants to control these items with the result the homeowners are hassled.

    N Texas is the bottom of tornado ally. The state has rules (engineering standards) on how the install MUST be performed. Our HOA is constantly demanding unsafe modifications as the safe rooms ‘don’t look good or safe’. Again no engineers on the board nor has the management company consulted one.

    Need I mention we have licensed P.E.s living in the neighborhood? Their input is clearly not wanted.

  3. Nila Ridings

    Your experience is one many of us have experienced. I’ve yet to meet or interact with more than a handful of board members with knowledge or common sense. It seems the intelligent and educated homeowners do not want to sit on a board with a bunch of goofballs who are drunk on their newly-acquired power. I respect that. We’ve had some good people on our HOA board a few times and they resigned in no time! One told me she tried her hardest to tolerate the stupidity but she felt she was wasting her time and they refused to listen to her.

    In 2008, I recruited two highly-skilled and knowledgeable custom homebuilders to run for the HOA board. They were not owners but the CC&Rs did not require board members to be owners. OMG! The board and their cronies threw a fit. They walked the neighborhood carrying clip boards telling lie after lie to the homeowners to scare them from voting for two licensed contractors who were second generation homebuilders with college educations and excellent reputations. Heaven forbid! We could not have these two generous skilled men volunteer their time to help these horrible HOA get off its knees. No way. No outsiders they said.

    What was their solution after they kept these gentlemen from being elected to the board? They hired a CAI property manager and his pathetic crew of unskilled workers to take over the daily operations of the HOA. For a mere $400,000 per year! Plus, cell phones, uniforms, trucks, paid holidays, paid vacations, raises, year end bonuses, and tools. The property manager did not own in the HOA either. He was an outsider and the end result of his “management” was a disaster that resulted in rotten frames on the houses being covered with new siding and a million dollar loan.

    The contractors were going to help the HOA identify the most crucial situations, help hire the contractors and negotiate the contracts, select the materials, and watch over the construction to be sure it was done correctly so it did not create further damage or have to be done again or even multiple times. All for no charge they were just going to try and save the sinking ship!

    Job security and more money is the reason for shoddy work in HOAs. The more shoddy the work the more times it has to be done. Never any warranty on the work so each time there is a charge. It’s known as the HOA cash cow. And if the property manager or the board members or both are getting kickbacks….BINGO the cash cow is producing for everybody, EXCEPT the poor suckers who are paying the monthly or annual dues. When they need bigger bucks they send out assessment letters. The cash keeps rolling in because the home is being held hostage for it.

    Welcome to HOA insanity!


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