1. You are viewing Orangepower as a Guest. To start new threads, reply to posts, or participate in polls or contests - you must register. Registration is free and easy. Click Here to register.

Homeowner’s Association Sues Returning Army Vet Over Backyard Swing Set

Discussion in 'World News & Politics' started by Krali, May 3, 2012.

  1. Krali

    Krali Wrangler

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    812
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    http://houston.cbslocal.com/2012/05...s-returning-army-vet-over-backyard-swing-set/
    MINEOLA, Texas (CBS Houston) — A homeowner’s association is suing a returning Army veteran for having a swing set for his kids in his backyard.
    The Spring Lake Homeowner’s Association has filed a lawsuit against Bill Fry, an Army National Guard captain who just recently returned from Afghanistan after serving overseas for a year, and his wife, Candi Fry, for not getting approval to put up the swing set.
    “The way the homeowner’s association has treated us and portrayed us to our neighbors, it has caused a fairly sizable rift,” Capt. Fry told WFAA-TV.
    Candi Fry says they got permission to build the $1,200 swing set for their children in their backyard last year, but the homeowner’s association claims that is not true.
    “They’re in the wrong only because they declined to make the proper application and submit the drawings,” homeowner’s association chairman Harold Lemmon told KLTV.
    The lawsuit states that the swing set is “not in harmony with the design and location in relation to surrounding structures and topography,” according to The Mineola Monitor.
    “Not once before or even during construction was anything mentioned that we need to submit documents for this,” Capt. Fry told the Monitor.
    Lemmon says the homeowner’s association has received several complaints from neighbors over the swing set.
    “We are sorry for the children, what has taken place in our community, but there is nothing we can do about it,” Lemmon told WFAA.
    The case is expected to be settled in court.
    -----
    1.)This is one reason I refused to buy a house in any neighborhood that has an HOA.
    2.) I don't see what his being a veteran has to do with him not filing the correct paperwork. His service should not allow him to just circumvent any rules that he deems inconvenient. Especially since no one forced him to buy a house in a neighborhood with an HOA. I cannot tell if it is the family attempting to use his service to get their way or if it is the media just trying to make a boring story more sensational.
  2. MSteph57

    A/V Subscriber MSteph57 Cowboy

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    6,011
    Location:
    Near enemy territory.
    Kind of contrasting statements in the article. If I was the HOA I would let it slide but I have common sense and junk... :D
    OSU Sig and zachya like this.
  3. Krali

    Krali Wrangler

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    812
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    LOL. HOA's and common sense are anathema to each other. =) My brother made the mistake of buying a house in an HOA area.... the stories he tells me are ridiculous. I warned him when he was shopping, as did everyone else in our immediate family but he chose not to listen. Every person I know in an HOA neighborhood has at least 1 story of the HOA running amuck.
    OSU Sig likes this.
  4. NYC Poke

    A/V Subscriber NYC Poke Sir Dr. Lawyer Esquire, Lord of East Texica

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    23,991
    I thought they passed legislation to try to rein in HOAs in Texas. One notable case provided the motivation -- a Houston HOA took over a house owned by a widow because she didn't cut her grass often enough of some crap like that. I guess they didn't.
  5. CocoCincinnati

    CocoCincinnati Cowboy

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    8,097
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Ha, me and my HOA do not get along. I pay my dues and keep to myself. I don't participate in their little reindeer games.
    OSU Sig likes this.
  6. sc5mu93

    sc5mu93 Cowboy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Messages:
    3,902
    Location:
    Plano TX
    HOAs are not a bad or a good thing. They are just a 'thing.' Just realize what you are getting into when you buy into the neighborhood. Most of the horror stories are because homeowners didn't bother to read the bylaws to which they agreed at time of purchase.

    As far as the swing set in the article, most HOAs that have issues with these, actually provide playgrounds/pools/amenities for the residents to utilize. If the family in question got written approval, this is a non-suit. My guess is they didn't follow the approval process correctly, as presented in the bylaws.
    OSU Sig and steross like this.
  7. ostater2319

    ostater2319 Wrangler

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,141
    Location:
    Houston
    Wow, I live in a neighborhood with an HOA but wouldn't think you would need approval for a swing set?!? Of course I had my pool completely installed before I ever got "approval to build" it.
  8. Krali

    Krali Wrangler

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    812
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    I dont view an organization that can take your home away without due process or fair market compensation because you paint your door the wrong shade as just a thing. The idea behind it is admirable, but the practice of them is horrid. Even the most horrible abuses of eminent domain still require the land owner to be compensated at market value. I refuse to sign my property rights away to a non governmental organization that acts as a de-facto governmental body that is not bound by consitutional restrictions.
  9. sc5mu93

    sc5mu93 Cowboy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Messages:
    3,902
    Location:
    Plano TX
    Anectdotal evidence doesn't prove the rule. As I said before, most people don't bother to read the HOA bylaws, and I think your example is probably exaggerated and hyperbole. There are plusses and minuses to HOAs. Some operate fine, others probably have issues. I think you are painting with a VERY broad brush.
  10. Cowboy2U

    Cowboy2U Cowboy

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    9,927
    Location:
    OKC
    I live is a HOA in OKC now. Weirdest deal to happen to me is I had a bedroom upstairs that faced West. The HVAC design sucked and the a/c was not able to cool that room, got to well over 90 during hot summer days. I asked about the HOA association if I could just put a window unit in...nope, can't do that because it faced the street also. How about a spot cooler...nope, still have to be vented for evaporation. They suggested I ask an "engineer" on their board what was acceptable so I made an appointment. This guy shows up and is kinda stumbling around my condo as he looks around. He almost falls down a few times. His "cure" was to knock a hole in my bedroom wall (which faced the lake), install a window unit and blow cool air through my room, down a fairly long hall and into the hot room. I finally realized this idiot was drunk. I ended up putting a central h/a unit on the roof over my entry way (which could still be seen from the street :confused:). A $5k cure that could have been fixed for about $500. I'll move after my daughter goes to college but I agree, HOAs can be very difficult to work with at times.
  11. NYC Poke

    A/V Subscriber NYC Poke Sir Dr. Lawyer Esquire, Lord of East Texica

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    23,991
    This is very well stated. I know that Houston (just to use an example) has very little in the way of zoning laws. Whenever they come up they invariably get shot down when someone says, "I don't want the government to tell me what to do with my private property!"

    What happens instead are things like HOAs (and the same thing exists for business districts) where the government isn't telling you what to do with your property, some retired accountant with too much time on his hands is. And since it's a private deal, basically a contractual matter, you don't have the recourse (due process protections, etc.) that you would if it were a government actor.
  12. NYC Poke

    A/V Subscriber NYC Poke Sir Dr. Lawyer Esquire, Lord of East Texica

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    23,991
    Some are better than others, to be sure, but there are plenty of horror stories. This isn't some isolated event.
  13. sc5mu93

    sc5mu93 Cowboy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Messages:
    3,902
    Location:
    Plano TX
    As with my comments in the Zimmerman thread, I'm sure details are left out, so that the story is a completely onsided horror story. I don't deny that there are probably some issues, but I am very skeptical when I read something like that.

    Most of the time, I think problems arise because home buyers don't know what they are buying into. No one takes time to read the bylaws prior to making the purchase, they just think "I'm in an HOA and they are here to protect MY home value." When in actuality, the HOA is to protect everyone's home value. Its give and take, and most people expect it to be more take.
  14. sc5mu93

    sc5mu93 Cowboy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Messages:
    3,902
    Location:
    Plano TX
    As an aside, I've lived in both, and I would rather deal with an organization that has written rules of conduct, rather than dealing with a neighbor who is raising urban chickens.
    OSU Sig, H2Orange, steross and 3 others like this.
  15. RxCowboy

    A/V Subscriber RxCowboy Has no Rx for his orange obsession.

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,021
    Location:
    Wishing I was in Stillwater
    So, because he's a vet he should be allowed to ignore the HOA covenant? It affects the value of the properties around him...
  16. RxCowboy

    A/V Subscriber RxCowboy Has no Rx for his orange obsession.

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,021
    Location:
    Wishing I was in Stillwater
    Baloney.
  17. RxCowboy

    A/V Subscriber RxCowboy Has no Rx for his orange obsession.

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,021
    Location:
    Wishing I was in Stillwater
    Egg-zactly.
    sc5mu93 likes this.
  18. PistolPete'sMustache

    A/V Subscriber PistolPete'sMustache Wrangler

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Messages:
    2,784
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    I guess I'm not seeing where it matters that he is an Army vet. Is it supposed to invoke sympathy that he should not have to play by the rules? HOA's are stupid, but if you sign up to live in a neighborhood full of yard nazi's, it's hard to sympathize when you get blitzkreiged. It was his choice to live there. He knew the rules. If what they are doing to him is beyond the HOA rules, then fight them. It doesn't matter to me that he is a vet. If an HOA oversteps its bounds, then they should be taken down.

    When I was looking for a house, an HOA was a non-starter. No way in hell you could get me to sign away my right to do whatever I damn well please with my property. I hate suburban McMansion neighborhoods anyways, which seem to be the newest infestation of HOAs and yard nazis. Middle class people living in homogeneous, oversized, cheaply built homes, and using HOAs, uniformity, and restrictions to make them feel higher class than what they paid for. Just my opinion I suppose.
  19. osupride97

    osupride97 Ambassador of Quan

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    6,080
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    I'd like to quote all of your comments, but I will copy just this one. You are 100% correct about the homeowner's not reading the bylaws. It is made clear when you buy a home in my neighborhood there are dues and rules to follow. Don't like it, don't buy here.

    I am the secretary/treasurer for my HOA. I live in a patio home neighborhood and we are really trying to keep the look / feel that its had for the past 30+ years. The Board is made up of several homeowners volunteering to keep our homes and neighborhood looking nice. We are not nazi's, but there are rules that must be followed.

    We actually just changed some of our bylaws because of the very thing NYCPoke brought up. Texas State legistlature recently amended many of the existing HOA policies. I, myself, thought it was a bit ridiculous that our state government wasted so much time on making sure nativity scenes are within certain measurements and flag poles are not 100 feet high, but that's government for ya.
  20. Krali

    Krali Wrangler

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    812
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Do you deny that HOAs can fine you for any number of things such as having your trash can out 15 minutes longer than they deem acceptable, not keeping your grass at the correct height, or painting the wrong color.
    I know people who have been fined for having their trash cans 3 feet away from the spot that is dictated.
    If those fines are not paid on time then the HOA can place a lien on your property and then foreclose.In some states it is actually easier for an HOA to foreclose on your property than your bank. In many states a judge is not even required. The HOA attorney places the lien on your title and then simply posts an advisement in the local paper of record. After that he is free to auction off your house. Most of the time they do this and do not push for more than the size of the lien which they have tacked on lawyers fees and filing fees and fees for having to calculate fees (seriously if you contact them for find out how much it would cost to pay off the debt they will tack on a fee.)
    -a 2001 study of foreclosures in California by Sentinel Fair Housing, a homeowner advocacy group

    The wonderful thing is that you are still on the hook for the mortgage since it wasnt the bank taking the home.

    Furthermore since they are creditors and not debt collectors they are not subject to consumer debt protection laws.

    Since they are not a governmental agency you have no real recourse since you signed the agreement when you purchased the home. You signed your rights to enjoy your property as you see fit away and you are essentially a tenant in your own home, not the owner. Not even the federal government at its most invasive has the rights to your property that your HOA has.
    orangebullet likes this.

Share This Page