Home Owner Association Horror Stories

I currently rent a condo in a complex managed by an HOA. The complex is in a highly-desired area of San Diego, it is gated, and it is very nice. The common landscaping is fairly well-maintained (although it would be nice if the landscape people would plant grass that actually grows), and I am happy with the pest control aspect the HOA takes care of. I don't do a whole lot of dealing with the HOA since I am a renter. However I did have to deal with them about a parking issue recently. We have 3 cars and 2 spaces, so one of our cars is always parked in the common area. Apparently residents have to have a parking permit to park in the common area. We were never informed of this, and it wasn't until they stuck a note on 2 of our cars threatening to tow them that we found this out. After submitting the application for a permit twice, we finally received a call back. This was when we found out that we had to provide proof of registration for all of our cars and then we would be issued a parking permit. When asked why, we were told it was so people wouldn't store cars for other people and take up spaces. Now, none of our three cars are registered in our names (we're young and they are all registered to our parents). So a guy came over and checked our registrations, and approved us, no questions asked about why our names weren't on the registrations. So technically, for all the guy knows, I could be storing a car for my parents. I asked about the guest parking policy, since my boyfriend comes over a lot. There is no real guest policy. Guests can park wherever they want in the common areas, and, in the words of the parking guy, "they can stay as long as they want. Technically they could stay indefinitely parked in the common areas." Hmmmm. So, the HOA makes residents have a permit but guests can park indefinitely. Does anyone else see how backwards this is? Had I been smart I would have told the HOA about 2 of our cars and then pretended the third was a guest. And when I buy a new car, I will not tell the HOA. This whole policy was dreamed up by a person who is retired and has NOTHING BETTER to do than walk around peering into cars (which he readily admits he does), memorizing license plates, and creating problems where there aren't problems. This is the main issue I have come across with HOAs. It's the people who have nothing else to do or are so unsatisfied with their own lives who go around poking their noses into other people's business. The whole premise of an HOA is for residents to manage a community. I agree with this. What HOAs have turned into are obnoxious boards made up of obnoxious people who worry way too much about what other people do, with the odd person who wants to change things for the better thrown in. I will never EVER buy a home in a HOA. I will park wherever I darn well please, I will have a screen door painted purple, and I will decorate my mailbox to look like a cow. And nobody will be able to say a gosh darn thing.
— February 22, 2010 9:53 p.m.

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