Looking for “out there” HOA Rules

Category: Active adult communities

June 26, 2013. We had an unusual media request from a popular cable TV show. They are looking for “out there” rules and restrictions at active adult communities. So if you know of any that are true or researchable, we would love to hear about them. Please add them as a Comment to this Blog post. Most rules are necessary to preserve harmony where lots of people live closely together, but it will be interesting to see if we can spot some that go a bit too far. Please post your comments below.

Posted by Admin on June 26th, 2013

43 Comments »

  1. I found some bylaws at pebble creek that sound Ed ridiculous regarding where you can walk your dogs online somewhere here http://www.pebblecreekpost.com/general.cfm as well as dress code limits inches on Inseams of shorts. Here is verbiage
    Pets
    Dogs, cats and other animals must be kept on a 6-foot leash when not confined to the owner’s lot or property. It is the responsibility of each pet owner to remove any droppings from their pets immediately. This includes on private property, common areas, sidewalks, etc. Pets are not allowed on the private property of neighbors unless the pet is being carried or the neighbor permits. This includes the utility easement area that starts at the curb. You are required to have your pets licensed.
    I found this ridiculous co spidering the hot concrete of az can burn their fett if there was a little bit of grass around.

    by Nancy — June 27, 2013

  2. We love our HOA. We party with the people in our 40 units.meetings are congenial. We walk our dogs and talk daily. If you are looking for negatives I can’t provide any for you.

    by susan — June 27, 2013

  3. I have a great HOA! Costs is only $122.00 a month and they are very responsible, and we do not have any crazy laws! Our community is absolutely well maintained, and gorgeous! I love the fact that all the neighbors homes look lovely and the community club house and other amenities are kept clean and like new. It keeps my place valuable for resale!!!

    by Loralee — June 28, 2013

  4. so for those of you who love your HOA, where do you live?

    by Pat — June 28, 2013

  5. Love our HOA – we even have a Master HOA for the community and individual HOA’s for the neighborhoods within the community. The rules seem intimidating but really they are just common sense and designed to keep the community clean, safe, free of annoyances like campers & boats in driveways or on the streets, barking dogs, etc. As long as you respect your community and neighbors and HOA is basically transparent. We live in Fort Myers, FL in a 55+ community.

    by Terry — June 29, 2013

  6. I would like to know if there are safeguards for “both” sides.

    I would like to know about the dog restrictions in HOA. “barking dogs” for example. Is this for a dog that barks all day in a high rise condo or for a bark or two when someone comes to the dog of you detached house? Are they sensible or ridiculous? And if sensible does it depend on the board, will it change and are their safe guards on both sides? S

    ame with the big toys…I have witnessed situations where truck had to park at a speicified lot, but then it changes.

    by Elaine — June 29, 2013

  7. This (rather open-ended) question came in from a visitor:
    Need a community that takes a bigger dog. Can you tell me which communities might take a bigger dog?

    by Admin — June 29, 2013

  8. We agree with many of the other commenters that most rules have good purposes in keeping the peace and preserving harmony when lots of people live close together. The rules do need to be enforced by a reasonable body or things fall apart. Occasionally the rule keepers get a little zealous and that’s often when feelings get bruised.

    I will give you 2 examples that happened to me while visiting my parents at Seven Lakes Golf in Tennis Club in Fort Myers, FL some years ago.

    About 20 years ago it was springtime and hotter than blazes. I was a big jogger then and came back through the back gate after running for 45 minutes. Had my shirt off as I ran. A man in a Cadillac started honking his horn at me, stopped his car in the middle of the road and started screaming at me at the top of his voice for me to put my shirt back on. Apparently there was a rule, men had to have their shirts on in the community, and he was serious about it!

    Same community. My wife and I came for a 2 day visit with our Australian Shepherd, a very sweet dog who we always kept on a leash. A week later my mother got a letter from the unit leader of the condo telling her that our dog was oversized and he could never visit again (he weighs 60 pounds, i think the limit was 45). Unless they kidnapped him for the weighing, it was a pretty good guess. From then on he had to stay at a dog sitter.

    There are a lot of rules at most communities about dogs and pets. Weight limits, how many, breeds, leashes, where they can walk (only on sidewalks or designated areas). The Villages has a lot of rules about what color you can paint your house, front door color, yard decorations (none), plants (almost none), souped up golf carts, parking RVs, boats, trailers, etc, no commercial signs on any cars, etc

    Guests have many rules. How long they can stay, what facilities and when to be used, etc. Go to a swimming pool and take a video of the signage – the rules there are usually endless (woe be anyone wearing a diaper while swimming!). There are also many rules about how long children and people under 55 can stay in the community.

    All in all, rules are a good thing. Just try to be reasonable about them.

    by Topretirements editor — June 29, 2013

  9. hi..we plan to look at homes in South Corolina (55 plus) communities..any comments about some others have visited and/or reside..prefer somewhat coastal..not on ocean but travel distance..and tax/medical etc would be appreciated ..thanks

    by robbie — June 30, 2013

  10. I don’t mind HOA rules as long as they truly are for the betterment of the community. My husband and I looked for a retirement home for about a year; we were turned off by communities without rules because people do not have common sense, for instance: junk cars in front of home on grass or up on cinder blocks in the driveway…sometimes two cars, lawns not mowed and grass turned brown, barking dogs -loud barking doors at neighboring homes when walking up to the home we were looking at, and too many “decorative” statues on front lawns or near walkways. These kinds of things were ugly and brought down the value of all homes in the community. When we encountered barking dogs, we did not even bother going inside the home we were there to look at…just turned around and told our realtor this was not the place. It really is an imposition to neighbors to have to listen to the yipping of smaller dogs and down right barking of larger dogs; some people can deal with it-we cannot. HOAs that have some kind of rules in regard to this, have those rules because obviously barking dogs have been an annoyance. If the rules bother you, don’t live there. Through the year, the only rule that DID bother us was that children could only visit a total of 60 days out of the year. Our daughter is grown up now, so it isn’t such a big deal, but what if she came on hard times and she and her family needed a pace to stay for three or four months to get back on her feet again-especially in this economy, this is a reality? Thy would not be able to stay with us because of the 60 day rule. We steered clear of the communities with that rule.

    by DianaF — June 30, 2013

  11. the no children rule is the one I want most! I would think anything more than a two weeks vacation would be too long

    by Pat — June 30, 2013

  12. Robbie,
    My wife and I have done a lot of research about retirement and what we look for in retirement, things like medical, tax ramifacations, HOA’s, social time, weather, travel etc…For us the Bluffton area seems perfect for us for the reasons stated above..Medical care is adequate with major hospital in Savannah just 20 minutes away, they also have hospitals 3 within 5 to 10 minutes..Taxes are low in fact if you own property is is very low, plus the exemptions one who is 65 get such as no state taxes due on SS income, penisions earned from another state, disability and a large deduction for those over 65…On social time Hilton Head is 20 minutes to the east where there are so many things to do, beach, boating, golf etc..Sun City we found to be very nice with many clubs and a very very friendly place…Only down side is property can not have fence and with a greyhound we really need a fence…Hampton Lakes was a dream setting with a lot of activity and again very friendly people..Travel well Charleston is about one hour away, Mrytle Beach 2 hours away, Savannah 20 minutes away, Jacksonville with all the things to do there is only 2 + hours away…Weather is just beautiful no cold (we come from Louisville, KY)..I hope this helps…

    by Paul — June 30, 2013

  13. For everyone that loves their hoa, it would be great if you would provide the name and or website of your community unless you are trying to keep it a secret!

    by Skip — June 30, 2013

  14. There’s an interesting article in the current issue of THE WEEK that talks about mobile home/manufactured home parks as viable options for senior living. Of course, this wouldn’t be for everyone but the article does offset some of the stereotypes associated with “trailer parks.”
    What struck me, though, was the conundrum of owning your home without owning the land it stands on, which is apparently the case in many parks, and a situation I would feel very uncomfortable with. Maybe this uneasiness is because I grew up in the country where land is everything (I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a condo or even a townhouse, either).
    Anyway, here’s the article:
    http://theweek.com/article/index/246267/baby-boomers-mobile-home-paradise

    by Judith KT — June 30, 2013

  15. We got written up for one small weed growing between the garage apron and the asphalt driveway. People get written up for the color of the light sensor in the lamp post. What I would like to know is, how do we limit the boards as to what is a violation. How can the HOA rules & by-laws be rewritten to stop the gestapos from ruining quality of life in these HOA communities? I had a member of the ARC kill my plants because he didn’t know we can replace dead plants without permission. I knew that because I was also a member of the ARC. I’m about to install video surveillance to document what goes on.

    The bylaws say no pickup turcks but MY neighbor is never told to park it in his garage. He collects old appliances, filing cabinets and parks hos pickup in his driveway with the junk in plain view.

    The negatives of living in a HOA community far outweigh the positives.

    by Ed T. — June 30, 2013

  16. Judith – my mother lives in a lovely manufactured home community with all the amenities and active social scene in Florida. Yes, she rents her lot -and pays a premium because she is facing a lake and golf course. BUT, she does not pay property taxes, which are very high in Florida, she does not pay for lawn care, she does not pay additional HOA’s, she does not pay dues or anything extra for amenities, classes, etc.( she does not golf, but there IS an a fee for that.) All in all, paying the lot rent is less costly.

    by Sandy — July 1, 2013

  17. Good points, Sandy. Thanks!

    by Judith KT — July 1, 2013

  18. Hello everyone,
    I am renting for 6 months in a cohousing community in NH and encourage others to pick up Sundays Boston Globe magazine on our generation’s “still breaking all the rules”. It offers insight into how we DON’T want to live, what we take from our college dorm experiences and offer new ideas.
    Deborah

    Editor’s Note: I believe this is the link Deborah is referring to, and it is interesting:
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2013/06/29/the-retirement-commune-housing-new-direction-for-baby-boomers/VO4KkbSUMv8JmcydfuuaHJ/story.html

    by Deborah — July 1, 2013

  19. Re: large dogs question. There are two Del Webb communities that are about 5 miles apart. One allows one dog, not sure of size, the other up to three pets. Do not know size, but saw some larger dogs there. So if two different Del Webb communities in same city have different rules, I think, you would just have to check.

    Have seen labs and goldens walking around Lennar, but do not know size limit.

    by Elaine — July 1, 2013

  20. Elaine Sun City allows any type of dogs of which I have 2 Greyhounds..The problem is you need a fence for them and Sun City does not allow one..They allow I am told electric Invisible fences but that will not work with Greyhounds…Otherwise Great people, great saff, beautiful area…

    by paul schmidt — July 1, 2013

  21. Weird ‘Fence’ rule here in WestRidge Development in Conway SC. Fences must be 2 feet inside property line. Makes no sense. It just creates 4 foot corridors for trespassers. The County rule is 6 inches – which seems logical!

    by John ONeill — July 2, 2013

  22. nj active 55 had a 2 limit on garden statues.

    by judith — July 2, 2013

  23. We are looking to retire in Del. have found a nice community we like. The community is Spring Arbor in Middletown. The hoa fees seem reasonable and the have great amenities. Before buying we would like info on the hoa and its solidity. Anyone know anything about it? Can’t find anything on line.

    by Rosemary — July 2, 2013

  24. Eventually, the majority of HOA rules evolve into absurd pet peeves of those in control of the board. For instance, my former HOA enacted a dress code rule for the dining room explicitly about jeans: they couldn’t be “too faded” or “too worn” or “too short” or “too long”, and these vague limitations went on. If I wanted to remove a plant, shrub or tree from my yard I had to “ask permission” from the architectural landscape committee via a written form along with a $40 check. Of course, none of the people on this committee had the slightest amount of actual formal education or employment experience with the issue at hand. And assuming they approved my request, I had to complete and submit yet another form along with another $40 check indicating the action I was going to take (i.e., remove the item and not replace it, or remove it and then replace it with a particular item chosen from their list of options). They even went to so far as to dictate the minimum size of the chosen item. For instance, a tree had to be a minimum height upon planting. Of course, none of this made any sense to the professor of horticulture at the local university when I called to ask about some of these mandates.
    This is merely the tip of the nearly 100 page rule book for the HOA, which was in addition to the CC&Rs!
    The original intent of a HOA was to use common sense in helping residents maintain a safe, clean, well maintained community where the majority of folks could socialize, relax and enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, the moment HOAs transition to the homeowners common sense and logic are swept aside in lieu of “clique interests” often having no connection to the majority of “regular” residents.
    My advice is only move into a HOA after doing a lot of research about it, and then be prepared for stupidity to eventually run amock, not to mention the ever-increasing HOA annual dues and special assessments. Keep you check book handy at all times, your opinions to yourself, and the HOA board will love you…

    by Denny — July 2, 2013

  25. We live in Century Village in Boca Raton Fl. Property taxes are low $250 per year so I don’t see high taxes. My parents live in Crystal Pointe in Boyton Beach and their taxes are slightly higher. We have a no pets policy and it is best for us. The areas are all common so we don’t have to worry about gardening. My parents have an area for gardening, but they can opt not to use it at no extra cost to them. Our major problem is smoking in outdoor common areas. We now have rules restricting smoking at the outdoor pools.

    by Joan — July 2, 2013

  26. Paul,
    Are the greyhounds RETIRED racers? Interesting about the fences. In one of the DelWeb near me, your fence is the width of your house and can go 30′ deep.

    But I would guess that other SunCity would be different than where you live.

    by Elaine — July 2, 2013

  27. my brother bought a Winter home in a manufactured home community in florida in Oct 2012. The HOA is $500. AND you have to pay the increase on property tax if it goes up since you bought. It did, and he pays an additional $278.per year PLUS they raised the HOA 2% for 2013 and say it will increase 3% for 2014. He is sorry he bought on leased ground.

    by Sue — July 2, 2013

  28. fyi that is $500./month not per year

    by sue — July 2, 2013

  29. Many associations outlaw laundry lines and carousals. But 19 states have solar access laws forbidding the forbidding of outdoor laundry drying. Go to http://daily.sightline.org/2012/02/21/clothesline-bans-void-in-19-states/ or simpyl Google “state law + laundry lines” to see if you live in one. Time for me to go hang my clothes on my carousal behind my Century Village, West Palm Beach, condo.

    by OldNassau — July 2, 2013

  30. The more I hear about HOA rules the more I’m reminded of high school. I mean, dress codes??? I really do think that a community dedicated to freedom-loving elderly hippies would go over very well. Anyone want to go in on this enterprise with me?
    PS: Since there seems to be at least one other “Judith” on the board, I’ll be switching to Judith KT

    by Judith KT — July 3, 2013

  31. Thank you to everyone who has written. I’m a widow looking to move out of state and I’ve seen some references to the HOA.I didn’t realize how bad they really could be – I thought I left all this nonsense behind in high school with the power trips. Thanks again for the warnings.

    by Gerry S. — July 4, 2013

  32. Does anyone have any info of Sedona, Cottonwood, Canp Verde Arizona. Looks like the high temps 50’s and 60’s in the winter aren’t too bad. Is there any communities in that one should avoid? Any input out there?

    by Mark P — July 4, 2013

  33. Sedona sounds great except for the ever-present possibility of drought and fire. Beautiful, though. Just saw a documentary about the area on Hulu — gorgeous rock formations I’d love to paint or just have as a view —

    by Judith Keefer — July 5, 2013

  34. PS: I was Judith, then Judith KT and now Judith Keefer and I intend to stay Judith Keefer! Thanks to TopRetirements for all its help with my ditzy fumbling with the user name field!

    by Judith Keefer — July 5, 2013

  35. Rosemary i too have correspnded with Spring Arbor but have yet to go there. Francesca NY used to post on here she visited DE and went to a few communities in the Spring…Francesca how are you doing please let me know if you settled on a place in DE after all.

    by rubytuesday — July 6, 2013

  36. Elaine,.
    Can you tell me what del web community you live in that allows fences? I have 4 tiny dogs 4 and 5 lbs. they are never out alone and for safety and privacy I want to fence the yard. An electric fence will not be good for them, they are too small. Sun city told me they had a limit of 3 dogs but no size restriction. Seems crazy to me I can have 3 labs but not 4 tiny yorkies. Most any other rules I can live with that don’t affect pets. I was hoping to relocate from CT somewhere to SC Or NC. From what I have seen Leland, NC does not seem to have crazy HOA communities and several. Immunities are very pet friendly, even having dog parks and bag despensers on trails.

    by Claudia — July 9, 2015

  37. Judith, do you have a problem with multiple personality disorder? Just kidding. Welcome Judith Keefer; glad to have you!

    by ella — July 10, 2015

  38. Noted the comment about crazy HOA’s, and thought I’d add a note to check out for community Facebook pages if possible. They can give a good indication about the community interactions. My current HOA (mixed ages) Facebook/blog reflects the HOA fighting, community activities and news about the surrounding area, etc.

    (There are 400+ houses in my neighborhood, and can’t believe the personal stuff that people post or share on the community Facebook site without thinking that they are sharing with 400+ people). To add a bit of humor, from a Facebook posting:

    To my Non-Facebook Friends— I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles. Therefore, every day I go to the street and tell a passerby what I have eaten, how I feel, along what I have done the night before -and what I will do after. I give them pictures of my wife, my son and daughter, my dogs, and my grandchildren. I also listen to their conversations and tell them I love them. And it works! I already have 3 people following me: 2 police officers and a psychiatrist.

    by Kate — July 11, 2015

  39. Love it, Kate! Or, referring to Elaine C.’s post in the previous section, “Like (like, like).” By the way, i’ll be having toast for breakfast.

    by ella — July 11, 2015

  40. I, too, love the Facebook thing. It is so true. Do that many people really care about all of that Relatives and close friends maybe. But if you aren’t interested, don’t look….Gives an awful lot of insight about you that maybe isn’t such a good idea to make so public.

    by Carol — July 11, 2015

  41. Carol – “Don’t look” may not be a good option. However, “skip over” works really well 🙂 ! I can’t de-friend my HOA’s Facebook site, for example, since that’s where notices are posted about crimes in the area, developer activities, changes in pool hours, HOA meetings, etc. You’re right that people’s postings give a lot of insight into them that they may not actually want to make public. Sometimes the postings pull us in like watching a train wreck…can’t BELIEVE that person thinks that we all want to know X, Y and Z! Can’t believe that person doesn’t have a filter!

    If I had checked out my community’s Facebook page before buying, I would have gotten some good insights that might have pushed me to Option #2 instead.

    by Kate — July 12, 2015

  42. Claudia, I do not live in a DelWebb community, but know that the following allow fences. The Havens in Bluffton SC, Sun City Carolina Lakes (near Charlotte), Deaton Creek (GA), Falls Run and Celebrate Virginia (Fredericksburg VA area), here is one near Williamsburg, but i think that is Lennar. Most Lennar and Cresswind allow fences. However, most allow three pets max. You could always let two of your dogs out at a time. You would be amazd at how many people would notice even if they are different colors. 🙂

    One thing that i have found a good source is for a particular Del webb community is one their web site…look under helpful resources and find “ask a homeowner”. There are always questions about fences and number of pets.

    by elaine — July 12, 2015

  43. I live in a Del Webb community and in my experience the positive vastly out weigh the negative. Every property is very well maintained. No problem with neighbors who let the weeds grow, won’t cut their grass, have junk cars in their yard or paint their house a horrible color. The neighbors look out for each other, are friendly and resourceful. There are activities to keep me as busy as I want both physically and mentally. The rules keep life here peaceful, safe and organized.

    by Linda — July 13, 2015

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