----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Frickin' Homeowners' Association

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Frickin' Homeowners' Association

Since Greg and I have been married, we have lived in two separate condo complexes. Both times, we have run afoul of the homeowners' association. Clearly, we have issues with authority. But also, HOAs are totally lame.

In the first instance, we were reprimanded for installing satellite dishes on the fence that enclosed our back patio. The fence, according to the HOA, was community property. We took that one all the way to the FCC, but we lost. So, we built a stand just inside the fenceline and installed our satellite dishes on that. It looked exactly the same from the outside, but the dishes were no longer touching the HOA's precious "community property."

We're in a similar situation now. There is a wrought-iron railing that encloses the yard behind our condo. We're the only unit that has so much outdoor space. All the other units have little bitsy balconies or patios, but because of the way the complex was designed, we have this extra space that juts out over the carports below. Our landlord built us a little patio, and we have our barbecue and patio set out there. Occasionally, meter readers come back there because that's where the electricity meters are, but we're the only ones who really use the space. So, we bought some of that reed fencing and lined the inside of the wrought-iron fence with it so that we'd have a little more privacy. We also wanted to screen our view of the parking lot.

The screening has been up for more than a month now. Today, our landlord called and told us that the HOA says we have to take it down because it violates HOA rules. I don't know exactly what rules those are. The rules that say the HOA gets to control everything, I guess. Or maybe the rules against making anything in the condo complex a little prettier. You would think that the HOA would be more concerned with the people who dump sofas, chairs, car parts, and bookshelves into our Dumpsters out back, causing them to overflow with trash, or the people who throw their soda bottles into the pool, but no. Apparently, our reed fence is the big, pressing issue. I don't understand why other tenants get to put trellising up on their balconies for their bouganvillas and whatnot. Maybe trellising is allowed, but reeds are not.

This is why I will never buy a condo. And I'd really rather not live in any type of community that is governed by an HOA. In my experience, the people on the HOA board are nothing but small-minded bureaucrats whose only pleasure in life comes from strict adherence to the HOA rules. I can't wait until Greg and I can afford a place of our own. Unfortunately, that won't be any time in the near future.


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