Homeowners ASSociation FM!

 
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:44 PM   #1
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Homeowners ASSociation FM!


We are doing a ton of work in this neighborhood where the HOA is in control of all the building and permits. so in order to build over here the homeowner is required to send in a packet with drawings and yadiyadi. Well he told us that we were all good to start the outdoor kitchen, patio cover and fireplace so we got busy and now we are about 2 days away from completion and the HOA sent a letter saying his request was denied. lol... apparently he didnt know he had to wait on an approval letter. All he knew was that he had to turn in a packet. Who knew the HOA was 3 weeks out on approving or denying stuff. I cant imagine.

Heres the problem...
We just built a stone fireplace 20 feet tall and 7 feet wide. The HOA says it cant be more than 12 feet high and 4 feet wide. However the height is to code being that its more than 10 feet away from the house and the chimney has to rise above the roof line for several reasons.. like soot on the house, carbon monxide, draft.ect. and the house is 2 story, so Im certain that wont be an issue but the width might be. BUT this is my angle im gonna spin.

The patio cover is 50 feet long, 3 tiered with the 2 sections on the sides at a 9 foot height and the center patio cover at 12 feet (which is also within code)
the center tier of the patio cover is 24 feet long and in lieu of having too many poles, we decided to use the fireplace as a supporting wall so to speak. its a little crowed over there lately with all the scaffolding and plumbers electricians masons and roofers there so Im trying to upload several pics so you can see what things look like.but i keep getting an error so just fyi, if pics upload with this message they are pics of the crap we tore down

my question is... is there a way I can use the fact that we used the fireplace as a load bearing wall for the patio cover as an excuse as to why we had to make it be 7 feet vs the maximum of 4?? im thinking wood has to be a certain distance away from anything hot right? so i couldnt butt my 2x8s up against the fire bricks..


Any ideas, excuses, loopholes that can help me get around this HOA restriction are welcome! more pics to follow
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:49 AM   #2
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


These are the unfinished sides before the fireplace... and then the fireplace
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:52 AM   #3
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


Fireplace with joist thru them
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:56 AM   #4
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


Trying to get an overview for ya
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:41 AM   #5
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


It looks nice but my money's on it coming down.
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:01 AM   #6
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


It may meet code, but if it doesn't meet the HOA aesthetics approval, start dismantling.
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:11 AM   #7
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


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Originally Posted by TimNJ View Post
It may meet code, but if it doesn't meet the HOA aesthetics approval, start dismantling.
Good point Tim... Blows me away that HO "law" that along as it doesn't violate local code/law, it basically over-rides local law/code if it went to court...

Madrina, unless you can show their CC&R's violate local code/laws, they've got you (actually your customer) over a barrel... Looks like it's viewable from the road... that's a big incentive for the HOA NOT to work with your customer, as they would be giving themselves a headache by providing an exception without consequence to the HO and any other HO who wants an exception for their project would have a big beacon to point to as justification... maybe propose a "fee" or "design tax" (that the customer can pay for starting without approval and hope you have some greenies on the board who can see the value in not wasting material), so that you can try to avoid ripping it down... would also give the HOA board some breathing room to make a different call... but you don't want to be the one to piss the HOA off so have the customer propose it...

While you can be helpful, be clear you aren't advising him what to do just making exception and don't make his problem yours... going forward, whatever happens, you might want to insist on seeing everything in writing from the board...

Last edited by KAP; 09-12-2017 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:34 AM   #8
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


Quote:
Originally Posted by madrina View Post
my question is... is there a way I can use the fact that we used the fireplace as a load bearing wall for the patio cover as an excuse as to why we had to make it be 7 feet vs the maximum of 4?? im thinking wood has to be a certain distance away from anything hot right? so i couldnt butt my 2x8s up against the fire bricks..


Any ideas, excuses, loopholes that can help me get around this HOA restriction are welcome! more pics to follow
This takes a detailed reading of the HOA's rules. If they don't define exactly what a fireplace is, you may have some wiggle room. Is it just the firebox and chimney? Could the outer ~2' on each end be considered column supports which are attached to a fireplace?

HOAs in neighborhoods like that are used to people getting a lawyer to get heir way - they shut them down and don't give in, even if it's unreasonable and totally stupid.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:06 AM   #9
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


I spent 8 years as HOA pres. I think the HO made the big mistake of not waiting for approval. It is absolutely inconceivable that any HO could think they could do anything they want and just submit a packet.
Some boards are full of people that want to make themselves important and some are full of people that just want to be a service to the HOA and take care of their neighborhood. If it is the first, he is really in trouble. I would see it as hdavis last sentence in the post above. If it is the second and they were likely to be reasonable, now you need to calm them down first.
When you buy a house in a HOA, you get the rules and agree to them before you close escrow at least in CA and UT. I can't imagine it is very different in TX.
I think the best thing is for the HO to be very apologetic and see what can be done nicely. Either way, you are going to have to charge him a lot more money since the project will be delayed or redone.
Most people that I know that are on HOA boards are primarily interested in the neighborhood looking nice and getting better. Even with that, I choose to live in a neighborhood without a HOA. It is so easy to get a bad one.

Last edited by GregB; 09-12-2017 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:19 AM   #10
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


Madrina, I hope you are ahead of the curve with payments.

If the HOA shoots this down the ho is most likely going to balk at paying you, let alone they might have to pay you to tear it down on top of that.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:27 PM   #11
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


Sounds like a problem with the home owner and the association. It's going to be difficult for him to say you didn't have the job with all that work being done.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:05 PM   #12
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


Hopefully you have a signed contract regarding the scope of work, this sounds like an issue between the homeowner and the association. All that you did was what you were told to do within the scope of your contract. sounds like the homeowner might have to pony up and pay you for your time

It doesn't matter what the codes are if the homeowners association has restrictions and regulations then that's what you need to abide by. For example the town building code might allow a huge garage however if the homeowners association does not let you have a huge garage then you have to follow the bylaws of the association even though the municipality might allow it


There is a reason why people choose to live in home owner association's. It's to prevent their neighbors from doing whatever they want

I do a lot of repair work within home owner association communities through the one general contractor that I work for. He does a lot of work for management companies. All that I can say is too many chiefs and not enough Indians in the associations. I make it very clear to the general contractor that I answer to only one person who has the authority to tell me what to do and what not to do.... there are too many people that live there that come out and say they want this or they want that or express their opinion.

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Old 09-12-2017, 03:12 PM   #13
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


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There is a reason why people choose to live in home owner association's. It's to prevent their neighbors from doing whatever they want
And many more reasons why no-one in their right mind would. Though, I understand your point. I wouldn't fit into a HOA.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:18 PM   #14
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


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It doesn't matter what the codes are if the homeowners association has restrictions and regulations then that's what you need to abide by. For example the town building code might allow a huge garage however if the homeowners association does not let you have a huge garage then you have to follow the bylaws of the association even though the municipality might allow it.
If you are hired to do xyz and you do it within code I don't see how you're supposed to know all the HOA rules and regs.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:24 PM   #15
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


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If you are hired to do xyz and you do it within code I don't see how you're supposed to know all the HOA rules and regs.
Unless the HO takes on the role of getting approvals from the HOA, it's the GC's responsibility to know that there are HOA regulations and what they need to do to comply.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:28 PM   #16
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


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If you are hired to do xyz and you do it within code I don't see how you're supposed to know all the HOA rules and regs.


You're not, but the homeowner is. The homeowners have a copy of their homeowners association bylaws and need to adhere to them


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Old 09-12-2017, 03:30 PM   #17
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


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Originally Posted by VinylHanger View Post
And many more reasons why no-one in their right mind would. Though, I understand your point. I wouldn't fit into a HOA.


I wouldn't fit in an association either. I lived with my parents briefly in one and I saw how they were. They were giving my dad grief about parking a plain (non commercial) pick up truck in the driveway


But on the flipside they prevent your neighbor from painting their house green and their windows and doors red or pink or whatever god awful color they come up with

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Old 09-12-2017, 04:08 PM   #18
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


Like GregB, I too have been on an hoa board for years - grounds chair, architectural chair, president.

Hoa car's can be more restrictive than local building code and the better local city permitting office will warn you to get permission from the hoa before proceeding. State and city. State and city law can diminish power of hoa , but you'll need a lawyer.

Objective of the ccr is to maintain or improve property values. The assumption is that is all sorts of wild improvements will be questioned by potential buyers add to what else the hoa will allow. This will diminish the number of potential buyers and supply/demand will basis prices to drop to compensate.

To get approval, you'll need to consider a couple of things:
1) property law is based on the concept that you can do what you want with what you own as long as it does not impede the ability of your neighbor to enjoy their own property , be it a next door neighbor or elsewhere in the neighborhood (can't every water into a neighbor's yard, can't have a rooster wake everyone up at 5am)
2) many of those voting on stuff like this on hoa boards don't have real estate backgrounds or have outdated information on what is considered important in the modern market

For you
- what is the impact on the neighbor and can you minimize it in some way
- have there been other similar improvements in the neighborhood that have set a precedent?
- will a design using the hoa specs be considered a cheapened design and could be considered more a liability than an improvement
- aesthetics are a personal choice, what do the voting members like?

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Old 09-12-2017, 04:16 PM   #19
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Re: Homeowners ASSociation FM!


turn in a drawing calling that a wall.

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Old 09-12-2017, 07:02 PM   #20
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turn in a drawing calling that a wall.

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I like this thinking - in fact, I'd consider blocking up the front of fireplace to get approval, then getting a permit later to put in a 3' fireplace. You'd only be using a few feet of the wall for a fireplace, (not over 4, I'm sure), so how could that be turned down?

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