What did we talk about? Below is the Edited Transcript
Don’t you put that bench there! Don’t you even think about it!
Good afternoon everybody! For those of you don’t know me my name is John Schink and I’m the founder and managing broker of Deerwood Realty here in St. Louis Missouri. I have a fascinating story today about an HOA that may have gone over the line or maybe not. It’s kind of up for you guys to decide.
I’ll say this. I think that for the record HOA’s were a good thing and over time they don’t seem to change with the times properly and they can be very very restrictive and make it a absolute living nightmare to live in these neighborhoods. The things that they were supposed to solve, the problems that they were supposed to solve seem to have just created more problems. For example in this story we have a older man that decided to put a park bench or a bench with you know two people can sit next to each other in his front yard 10 years ago and now they come after him.
He’s been in the neighborhood for 30 years you know. And as you get older you start watching what what people do versus what they really want to do, and in this case when we get to the article see if you can think about it this way. Do you think that they’re really upset about the bench in the common area? Or do you think that they’re upset that there’s some old man sitting talking to his neighbors and there’s a group there and they don’t want to see anybody standing outside or sitting outside in a group because that could be offensive to someone? Just think about it. I don’t know if it’s true. I don’t know if this man’s in the wrong or in the right. That’s why I came to the internet! You guys will figure it out for me and hopefully we’ll learn along the way.
One thing I want to say about the HOAs from a realtor perspective is as an agent in Saint Louis I kind of know where the very restrictive HOAs are going to be and then where things are going to be dictated more by the county or the municipality. So for example if you’re in Saint Louis city, for the most part you’re not going to get in trouble with HOAs. Everything is through the city or if there’s a community preservation group in certain areas that’s very active or a historical group they can cause issues with your property but for the most part keep your property, the outside, looking decent you’re never going to have a problem with the city. When you move into the county it starts to go sort of by when you built your house. So where I’m at the houses were finished in the 1960’s. Our HOAs I’d say, are wonderful. They take care of the trash and that’s it. They leave you alone, but you start moving in the later developments 80’s 90’s 2000’s the HOAs get more and more restrictive.
And, the problem I have with that is even though I can get a copy of the subdivision riders, the indentures, all that stuff, From my prospective buyers for a property don’t necessarily read those. I mean, you can say, “well, that’s their fault.” But as we’ll see in the story today this man has lived there for 30 years and all of a sudden it’s a problem. All of a sudden it’s a problem. He didn’t have any problems with the HOA before and now a new group of leaders comes in and decides to interpret rules differently, or enforce rules differently and now he’s now he’s got an issue.
So, I’m not for the abolishment of all HOAs but I do think that everyone should really, really consider what the impact of the HOA is where they live when they when they move there because you’re going to be bound by those rules. And whether or not you think they’re stupid you moved there and and you’re going to be there and it’s also very hard to change the rules in the HOA. You know even if even if something obviously makes sense they’re not going to do quickly.
So those are the things I wanted you to think about before we start with the article and I’ll post it now the headline is, neighbors rally for senior who just wants somewhere to sit.
And so I gotta do one thing. got to find it. It is right here. Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to have so long a dead space, but I just had to had to click a button. I couldn’t find it.
So neighbors rally for senior who just want somewhere to sit. HOA says to remove the bench or they will. This is out of Arizona it says to start, “there are more than 9,000 HOAs managing Arizona neighborhoods with every HOA a governing board comes a set of rules.” So right there alone 9,000 HOAs can you imagine? Then it goes on and say that you know what HOAs are supposed to….
Then we go on the story with Ted and says, “Tanya let me know about her 92 year old neighbor Ted and a bench he owns outside his front door I see him every day out on his bench with chips Tanya says and she’s a neighbor it’s been there for 10 years she said Ted visits the neighbors there it’s a social gathering place everybody who walks by here stops and talks to me Ted says veteran says his home is too small for gathering and the bench is just close enough giving his arthritis and other issues that make it difficult to walk. He received a notice from his HOA saying simply remove the your bench from the common area or will be removed by the association. Another neighbor says I think that’s rotten. What’s he going to do stand sit inside all day?”
“It’s taking his life away from him says Steve a former neighbor. Ted says that while he was on the Bethany Villa association board for 28 years the HOA did not give him a reason for removal. They told us the bench was in violation of the ccnr’s regarding items placed on any patio balcony and common area. I could always bring a chair out here he says but Tanya won’t have it. How is he going to carry a chair out? That alone can cause him to fall. The HOA says they apply the same standards to all residents.”
So in this article, this is a you know, like ask Steve. I think this is get a reporter to try and help out in a situation that’s ridiculous and so he said that they pointed out other benches and items privately owned around the complex. And then he said:
“We hope the HOA might decide to grandfather all of them and allow them since they’ve been around so long and said the HOA sent one of the owners the same removal notice Ted received. At 92 Ted says he’d rather spend his day visiting with his friends outside than watching TV all all day inside. The man deserves a place to rest and enjoy nature and eat his little snacks and say hi to people and pet puppies. Neighbors say if it was a bench safety issue they’d buy Ted a new bench but that isn’t the issue. They wonder if something has been allowed for 10 years and never been a problem why is the HOA making an issue now?”
And then there is a statement by the HOA I just wanted to highlight one part. It says, “as the dedicated board of directors and fellow residents of Bethany Villa we take great pride in applying the same standards to all residents to preserve the integrity of our community.”
So that’s that that’s the article.
I have questions
The first one is why now after 10 years?
It’s not like nobody knew that was there and as we talked about in the beginning, Is this to curb behavior? Is this to curb a behavior that’s not got anything to do with the bench but more so there’s people congregating in an area, maybe by a sidewalk, that’s causing an issue? And if that’s the case I just feel like you should be honest about it. Hey, we don’t like your your group of people sitting on the on the bench, you know, with pets and causing issues. I don’t think that’s right.
If I try to think, in my neighborhood very seldom do people sit outside in their front yard. Everyone pretty much sits in the back but if somebody did sit in the front, I mean, people walk by all the time and we stop and talk and chat and I think that’s what’s great about a neighborhood. I don’t think that’s an issue at all. So the problem I’ve consistently had with HOAs is they start out really great and then they get really, really restrictive to the point where it’s not enjoyable to live there. So that’s number one.
Number two nine thousand HOAs in Arizona. Can you imagine? There’s nine thousand. That means, let’s just assume a board is like five people in each of these places. Five and nine it’s like 45,000 people! I don’t know if my math is right. There’s a lot of people on boards that are not you know there’s oh let’s just say this. There’s probably out of those there’s probably 95 percent of those people are good people and then the 5 are your secret dictators that just want to destroy you know any sense of enjoyment and force you to do things. But I was shocked at the number 9,000.
So the letter said remove your bench from the common area or it will be removed by the association. I thought that was fun so the association is going to spend money to have this thing removed. This bench, it’s that big of an issue.
And, you know, it’s Where’s the line? Where’s the line? Is the park bench the line?
I mean to me, it’s just ridiculous. Especially if it’s been there for 10 years. But for somebody else they don’t like it, clearly. So that’s that.
And then, I do wonder, Don’t HOAs have anything else better to do than to chase after this old man? In my culture at least we’re supposed to respect our elders. I don’t know that that’s true anymore in the younger generation and that’s okay. But being 92 years old you’ve made it this far and now you’re kind of living out your years and sitting on your bench. And now you can’t do that. That’s causing problems in the neighborhood. It’s just, don’t you have anything?
Now yesterday there was a a monkey running around on the streets we didn’t talk about that. We didn’t talk about the rules in the HOA. There a couple days before we had Gobble the Turkey murdered in in broad daylight in his neighborhood and that wasn’t, there was no HOA situation there. We had a man throw dead animals on his neighbor’s property there’s no HOA problems there. But this guy Ted has a bench and it’s really really causing problems with the HOA. The bench has been there for 10 years and no one said anything about it until now. So he was 82 when he first had the bench there but now it’s an issue. And so I just don’t understand, you know? Seriously, find something better to do!
And then I thought the letter was interesting. It says, “as the dedicated board of directors” and notice that? “dedicated board of directors and fellow residents of Bethany Villa we take great pride in applying the same standards to all residents to preserve the integrity of our community.” Well, and as this article says you didn’t! Because there were these benches and things outside before and you didn’t say anything about it and now you do. And then the line that got me a bench outside someone’s house is destroying the “integrity of the community” What do you mean by that? Is that code? And I know that now nowadays we play with words: that’s our that’s our favorite game. And so I just looked up the definition of integrity and says, “firm adherence to a code of especially moral art or artistic values.”
And my question is a subdivision’s moral or artistic values are not being adhered to because of a bench?
I mean we’re gonna argue that this subdivision is an artistic endeavor? Now architecture is certainly important, certainly artistic, but suburb after suburb after suburb? I mean the architecture is not exactly groundbreaking and trailblazing. So you know, What are we doing here? I mean there’s gonna be more talk about HOAs as we go along because there’s just so fascinating. I have two other things in the in the hopper about HOAs and there’s going to be more it’s never going to end.
If you do listen to the podcast, if you do watch on YouTube you know, I just want to implore you, to warn you: Read what it says in the HOAs because what it says today, you don’t know what’s going to happen ten years from now. But these people that run these boards are serious. They are authoritarians and like in this article, they will remove your bench you know. So we’re going to pay some guy to come and remove a bench. I mean that’s the best we can do. Not neighborly, not enjoyable.
Just wanted to point it out I know I’ve run long. I’m up to nine subscribers thank you so much for subscribing. Call me three one four two seven four three nine six four with any questions. Tell me about your neighbors. Tell me about your situations. Email me at email@example.com. Thank you for watching and I’ll catch you on the next one.