One reason to never live in a subdivision is that you won’t have to deal with a homeowners’ association.
Now before you think I’m going to share a story about my run-ins with our HOA, I’m not.
In fact, we happen to live in a small neighborhood that has an HOA, but one that doesn’t really do anything. Except, that is, complain about nobody caring that we have a HOA in the first place.
I am pretty sure few in our neighborhood are even aware of the rules.
Not so in many of the large neighborhoods in our county. And yes, I have heard stories from people I know who’ve had terrible dealings with their homeowners’ associations.
One story that really hit home was when my elderly parents received a rude letter from their HOA about some weeds in their front yard island.
My father, who at the time was not well, was mortified. He scrambled to pick weeds and right the wrong.
My mother was just plain mad. So was I.
First of all, let me set the record straight. There were hardly any weeds.
I could just imagine the Mrs. Cravitz (think "Bewitched") driving around the rather large neighborhood looking for lawns that were not perfectly groomed.
The letter was not only rude in tone, but also semi-threatening. I was glad when my parents moved from that subdivision.
In my mother’s current neighborhood, she received a letter saying her little bird bath needed to be approved.
This bird bath is so small I cannot believe anybody noticed it, much less took the time to report it.
My mother called the association and was told she needed to write a letter requesting to put the bird bath in her little island. If the HOA gods decided this was a good move, she would be notified.
Wow. Some people evidently have too much time on their hands. I can just picture the board room and all of the important members seated at the table.
They probably all had water bottles to help quench their thirst as they discussed the important matters of the day.
First on the table is stopping little old ladies from just assuming they can put bird baths in their yard. What will happen next?
She might paint her house Pepto-Bismol pink or haul out the plastic flamingos?
No, these people need to be closely monitored and supervised and the HOA is the perfect group to do that.
If you think your HOA is tough, did you hear about the one in New York? When you move in, your dog’s mouth must be swabbed for DNA.
Then, if any dog poop is found in the subdivision, the HOA will have the droppings tested to determine if the criminal canine and its owners are residents.
The message is clear — pick up the poop or pay a fine and possibly face eviction. I guess so much for love thy neighbor as thyself.
Of course, I understand that HOAs have a purpose to keep neighborhoods beautiful and tidy.
I just think somewhere in the covenants, there ought to be a section on the importance of possessing common sense and using it.
Adlen Robinson is author of "Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.