Monday, July 16, 2007

Neighbors and HOAs

I am going to sound like a totally old lady because I'm complaining about noisy neighbors. But seriously...do they need to be bbq'ing in their backyard @ 11:00pm and staying out there til 2am? Let's also mention there were kids outside. I'm thinking they were about 10 yrs old and younger, and YES I know its summer so there is no school, but they should have been in bed. We usually turn the AC off at night and open windows. A little hard to do when your neighbors are about 2 feet away and you can hear every word of their conversation. Plus, Ryan was asleep and we all know not to wake Ryan! I know our boring lifestyle isn't for everyone, and not everyone's kid goes to bed early, but I think 2am is a little late to be outside and NOISY.

They bothered Ethan for a little while, but once he falls asleep he is fine. I could not fall asleep and it drove me crazy. I thought about getting up and closing all the windows and turning the AC back on. #1 - I was too lazy #2 - the AC is just as loud as they are!!!

So, we are either the "old people" or we're neurotic parents. Probably both. When we lived in Sacramento we lived on an old person street. Most of the people were retired. I loved it. Eventhough we were the youngest people, we fit in. We were quiet. Everyone watched out for everyone, it was great. Ethan and I joke that we should live in a retirement community. I guess this is what happens when two super responsible people marry eachother.

I just tend to be considerate of others around me. I don't bring my toddler to a restaurant cuz I know how its gonna go down and 99.9% of the time its not pretty. We leave our two dogs in the house when we're not home--risking all of our belongings and boy have we lost a lot of things--but we are considerate of the neighborhood and don't want them to have to hear any barking or possibly have their yards ruined by Shelby digging under the fence. Even when we are home the dogs are usually in the house. They are spoiled that way. We don't leave our trashcans out. We pick up dog poop on walks.

We are renting in a planned community with a homeowner's association (HOA). We have lived in 2 other HOAs and weren't big fans. Eventhough rule following tends to be in our nature, we have our limits. In the first HOA we were renters. It was obvious the board knew which houses were renters. We started getting complaint letters very early. The first was for an oil stain in the driveway. The oil stain was from a car that had been parked there by the previous renters. When we moved in it was covered by an oil stained carpet. We trashed it and thought the stain by itself was less tacky than an old carpet that used to be white. Our property manager took care of that. Then there were the numerous notices to "mow our front lawn." WE DIDN'T HAVE A FRONT LAWN. NOT ONE BLADE OF GRASS. NO LIE. The owner of the house lived in AZ. She moved to San Diego for a few years, then went back to AZ. Her entire landscape, front and back, was a desert motiff. Cactus, etc. I wrote the board nasty letters, cc'ing the attorney I worked for (love doing that) and told them they were harassing us just becaue we were renters. Needless to say, I was happy to leave that place.

Our next HOA was a house we owned. There was lots of drama on the board, and we tried to keep our distance. There was a rule that if you made improvements you had to get the approval of the architectual committee. Fine by me...except that when it was time to landscape our backyard, no one was gonna see it. We lived with a dirt backyard for years. We were probably the last people to do it. I can see about getting approval for the front yard. And you also had to get all neighbors adjacent to you to approve it. This was serious business. But for us, we had the landscapers coming and didn't think it was a huge deal. We were doing the same thing everyone else on the street did that had our type of yard....a small flat area w/ a slope. We put in a cement patio and walkway for the trashcans, added a small retaining wall at the bottom of the slope, and put in some sprinklers and sod. Neither of my side neighbors could see my yard without climbing the fence and looking over because they we were 3 single story houses in a row. Even the house behind us couldn't see anything. They were at the top of the slope and she would have to walk all the way to the back fence and look down.

So, we submitted our "drawings" to the committee but didn't get neighbor approval. And what happened...nothing. But I must add this, the back neighbor put in a huge (and I mean massive) white gazebo in her backyard. I could see it from every window at the back of my house. Every window...kitchen, family room, bedroom, bathroom. It really was a park size gazebo and so not appropriate and she didn't ask me for approval. And there it still sits.

So, now we don't want to live in another HOA when its time to buy, but we also don't want to live nextdoor to someone with 5 cars parked on the front lawn. Nor do we want to live next to noisy people. Or someone who keeps their dog outside all night and barks all night.

Yep...we're old and picky.

1 comment:

Judy, Rich, Molly, and Leo said...

That's the ONE thing I HATE about our neighborhood. The houses are so close to each other and while we have a large dog, we take care of him. IE-we walk him and leave him inside. I HATE the incessant barking of the neighborhood dogs because I am the one home during the day to be disturbed by it!