We have been battling the home owners association for weeks trying to play by the rules and get our house plans approved. Here are just some of the hurdles:
- Couldn't figure out who needed to review plans (HOA website was out of date)
- Once we had a name, no one would respond
- Once someone finally responded we then got details on what they wanted... bunch more stuff
- The covenants stated that they have 30 days to respond once plans are submitted or we can assume they are approved. They literally waited until the last minute (sent at 4:19 PM 1/6, response received 4:25 on 2/5) to send a response - NOT APPROVED.
- They are asking me to add about $4000 worth of stuff to make it 'fit the neighborhood'... stone wall needs to come up to the bottom of the windows, stone wall needs to wrap around the house further, and windows need exterior header/sill or wrap.
- The real kick in the nuts was their rule that the market value of our home needed to be at least 90% of the average market value of our neighbors.... and they used the auditors website to get that.... which is years old in some cases. So basically they wanted our homes' market value to be on par with our neighbor's value in the peak of the housing boom. Fortunately it became clear that they had no idea what they wanted. Our realtor did a market analysis to prove that our home fits the neighborhood price-wise, but what eventually got us over the hump was a letter from the builder with an arbitrary number saying that our home is worth X even though we are only paying Y.
Legally these guys would be laughed out of court as there is nothing in the covenants about price, but I didn't want to go that far and waste more time.
Long story short, we're over that hump and today we finally got our letter of approval from the HOA. They also started digging today so things are finally underway.
Now that I'm on the other side of the fence I guess it's a good thing that we have an HOA review board that is going to play tough. The covenants are very weak in terms of the requirements to build, so if they can prevent someone from backing up a double-wide on to a neighboring lot, more power to them. It will only help our homes' value.