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Homeowner's Association Question

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Old 12-14-2007, 07:05 PM   #1
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Homeowner's Association Question

OK, so we bought this house and NOWHERE did it say we HAD to join this fucking Homeowner's Assocation. A year went by, they sent us crap to pay "dues" and we ignored it. Our real estate agent told us it was NOT mandatory to join, so we didn't. We officially "live" in the subdivision, however we use a public road while the rest of it uses a private road that's unpaved. They basically want us to pay for their road paving.

We got a letter today saying that NOW we were forced to pay dues because their HOA is "mandatory" now. Can they all of a sudden say that participation is mandatory? We just want to live our lives because we don't give two SHITS what anyone else in this neighborhood does.
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:13 PM   #2
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

I've read some stuff from other websites saying that if when we joined it was "voluntary" that it cannot be ENFORCED on us to be mandatory, so I was curious if any lawyers (JoeRedskin) knew anything about Virginia property law.
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:24 PM   #3
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

Read every paper you signed when you purchased your home. If there is nothing in there about you having to join a HOA at some point, then I don't think you have anything to worry about - other than some HOA nazi taking you to court.

I have never heard anything good about a HOA.
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:34 PM   #4
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

What tuna said. Read the contract.
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:03 PM   #5
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

You need to look at the original papers filed by the developer and your deed. HOA's exist through covenants running with the land. Basically, in HOA developments, the developer included a clause in the initial sale of each home that required every purchaser to join the HOA, and that the obligation would pass to a new purchaser as a condition of sale.

Whatever you do - don't pay now, thinking you will sort it out later. That may result in a waiver of rights.
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:04 PM   #6
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

(and, yes, I'm a lawyer)

(of course, neither this post nor the one preceding it constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is created or implied by either)

(see, I told you I'm a lawyer)
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:07 PM   #7
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

yeah that's what my wife said as well, about the deed and conveying with the property...
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Old 12-15-2007, 07:01 AM   #8
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

I don't know whether you have to pay or not, but I will say this. HOA's are the biggest fucking waste of money I've ever seen. I pay $150 a month, which isn't too bad but I get absolutely NOTHING in return. They're supposed to landscape, they mow maybe 1 or 2 times per month. Supposed to do snow removal, they show up around 5 pm in the evening a day after the snow and then do a horrible job of it. Basically, my experience with the HOA has been me giving them money and them being ungrateful for it. I will never move into a house even hypothetically associated with one of these things again.
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:29 AM   #9
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

Cool, thanks for the advice guys. According to our original contract that I checked out, there was NOTHING in the covenants about being forced to join an HOA. They asked for dues the past year we've lived here and we've never paid because there's not a signature anywhere saying we wanted to join.

With all that being said, you think I'm good? I support the University lawyer at Washington and Lee. Should I just get a letter from her stating that they can't all-of-a-sudden say it's mandatory and just send it to them and let it be done? We made VERY sure when we bought the house that we didn't "have" to join anything.
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:31 AM   #10
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

Here's the exact line in the letter we got:

"Remember that the primary reason we formed this HOA was to keep outside developers from building additional homes, especially trashy ones, on our twenty-some acres of open space. Our fledgling HOA has now had the opportunity to stabilize and become a mandatory association (meaning that every one of the lot-owners must pay the prescribed annual dues)."

The part I bolded is where it's obviously implied that you WEREN'T previously required to join it.
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Old 12-15-2007, 12:52 PM   #11
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

I would tell them to F off or you're going to talk to an attorney.
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:00 PM   #12
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

Couldn't you just walk into one of their meetings and just tell them "I don't have a vested interest in being a member of your association and as such I don't want to be part of your association. If you continue to badger me, I will be left with no option but to sue you."
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:03 PM   #13
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

I would definitely question the basis of their authority to require you to join where it had been permissive before. However, this would require scrutinizing deed recordings. If it's in one of the recorded deeds, you were on constructive notice, so you may be screwed. You can contest it without an attorney, but you will need an attorney to fight it.
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:07 PM   #14
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

the homeowners ass. has no right as far as what will be built on that other land anyway. but they can keep the existing development held to a higher standard
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:59 PM   #15
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Re: Homeowner's Association Question

ex post facto


Tell them to stuff it.
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