I would like to address the idea of having HOA dues for neighborhoods. I really don’t understand it at all. In America we pride ourselves with this grand idea of people being free to live where they want and with who they want.  If we are, indeed, proud of this then why do we have HOA dues? We, in essence, are accepting this fee simply to live where we choose. 

People who buy houses in the neighborhoods they choose to live must also pay a fee to live there. What? We are not talking about private clubs or compounds. We are talking about nearly every neighborhood in New Braunfels and actually across the United States. My husband and I dared to question this ridiculous practice and engaged in an email exchange with the HOA headquarters. The person who responded stated that we were paying for the common areas in our neighborhood. 

As of today, there are no common areas at all in our neighborhood and there are no plans for a clubhouse, pool, park or general assembly area. We know, as we asked the builder. When we emailed our HOA contact about this, she stated that of course there were common areas. My husband then asked for a map of the neighborhood so we could find them. She attached one to her email and circled in red a Lot # that was designated as the gathering area for picnics and such. This lot turned out to be the runoff ditch to prevent neighborhood flooding! 

When we emailed back this information, our line of communication simply stopped. When confronted with this truth, our email contact suddenly disappeared. We were no longer able to get answers to our emails. They simply sent another bill for the dues. We still have not paid and do not intend to. It’s time people for us to stop these ridiculous fees to live in our neighborhoods. 

The HOA can even prevent you from selling or refinancing your home. They can put a lien on your house if you don’t pay your fees. This is blatant extortion that has been allowed to run amuck with no protests. They even have the right to enter your property. This is strange as most single-family homes are” fee simple.” 

This means that the buyer owns the home and all of the land associated with the purchase and has NO obligation to an HOA. Didn’t you already spend a great amount of money when you bought your house? Obviously, this was because you wanted to live in a certain area that suited your lifestyle, whether it be for ease of the commute to work, finding families you could be friends with or schools that you wanted your children to go to. These are all legitimate reasons for buying a house in a particular area. Why should you also pay extra fees so some corporate HOA can dictate where your trash cans sit or how high your United States flag is? 

Really it is time to speak up. You do not deserve to part with your hard-earned money simply for the privilege of living in a certain neighborhood. We can govern ourselves just fine and do not need a “Big Brother” to dictate our lives. Save your money and refuse this blatant extortion of your income. Band together and get rid of HOA. 

Kathy Miller,

New Braunfels

 

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(1) comment

Stephen Baird

Kathy,

Based on your remarks, you appear to have a legitimate concern. However, in general, HOAs are a very good thing. Most neighborhoods do have common areas that are maintained by the HOA organization. One of the key advantages of an HOA is to ensure that properties in the neighborhood are properly maintained and that architectural features added to homes such as decks, patio covers, fences, etc are in sync with the neighborhood look. Drainage issues and alleys within neighborhoods are addressed and maintained by the HOA, not the city. These things do required fees to be collected from the property owners to cover the costs.

I'm sorry that your experience has not been a good one.

Stephen

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