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Subject: upkeep of common area
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CjC


Posts:197


07/11/2019 1:01 PM  
We live in a rather large HOA and the HOA is considering purchasing part of a property within the HOA to keep as common area. Our HOA has very strict specs on the appearance of lawns, buildings etc. They will fine and lein you for not upkeeping your property at the drop of a hat.

The HOA has already stated that if they go through with the purchase, they will not be mowing the common area, but let it go natural. SOme of this is fine as we are in a wooded area. But some they said they will grow and let a farmer come and hay it. Is the HOA itself responsible for keeping the area looking like the covenants specify they must? Are they technically a memeber a well that are subject to the restrictions?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8503


07/11/2019 3:39 PM  
First off you can't "Lien" for violations. It's for UNPAID dues. So not sure how that is happening. If you let a farmer use the land for "Hay" then that may be considered a "Profit". Which you would have to figure out to handle on your books.

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8650


07/11/2019 4:25 PM  
CjC

I do not know your situation well enough, but my HOA is very tough on owners about keeping a common look but we also own some wooded 10 acres we do nothing about as in out of sight is out of mind.

I can only assume the reason your HOA wants to buy the land is to prevent someone else from doing so and building on it.Assume someone else bought it and wanted to erect a cell tower. How would you feel?

What does it look like now? Would you expect the HOA to improve the look or leave it alone?

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6606


07/11/2019 4:34 PM  
Can just the board vote to decide to buy the land? Or does it take a vote by Owners too? What do your documents, probably your CC&Rs, say about that?
CjC


Posts:197


07/12/2019 9:30 AM  
Just the board can vote to buy something, but the HOA votes to sell.
ND
(PA)

Posts:341


07/12/2019 10:14 AM  
CjC,
There are too many unknowns about your spefic situation/documents to be able to answer your question. You need to read your docs and see what they say about common area maintenance and HOA responsibilities. If this parcel would become common area (the same as all other common area), it would likely be subject to whatever your documents say is required of common area maintenance.

All that said, the purpose and goal of securing this parcel as common area and overall intended use for the area would factor largely into how it will or should be maintained (regardless of what the documents say . . . in my opinion). I assume it's a pretty large area if it's going to me left to grow for hay. Frequent maintenance of this same parcel will be expensive, and if for no real purpose/use, this may just be wasted money that HOA Membership needs to fund via increased assessments. Sounds like you Board has found a creative way to secure more property for the association (ensuring it isn't purchased by someone else for other, unknown purposes), and has found a way to "maintain" it likely for free. It's likely that in exchange for mowing it 2-3 times per year, the farmer just keeps the hay for his own use or resale. There's likely no monetary exchange, so no concern about profiting from the hay farming.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8503


07/12/2019 3:50 PM  
FYI. I used to live on a 22 acre farm. We didn't use most of the land. So my father used to "rent" the land to a farmer to raise hay. They would pay my father $300 for use of the land. Considering they were using our property and there are costs associated with that to cover. To ASSUME there wouldn't be any money exchanging hands is a bit much to me.

Also like to add that hay or other farm uses do collect a bunch of critters. The residents may demand some more pest control because of this. We actually had issues with rattle snakes taking up residence in our pond. Plus deer were quite plentiful. Almost had one run straight into me!

Would need more details to give best advice.

Former HOA President
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3330


07/14/2019 5:27 AM  
Is the HOA itself responsible for keeping the area looking like the covenants specify they must? Are they technically a memeber a well that are subject to the restrictions?




The original covenants never covered this new piece of land. So I would say no.
HOA land is not a member.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3330


07/14/2019 5:28 AM  
Its a new piece of land. So the HOA could make new specific rules regarding what needs to be done with it, new regulations, etc, etc.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3330


07/14/2019 5:35 AM  
FYI: Once this purchase is made, your own property taxes will go up as each of the units in the HOA will be the beneficiaries of this property.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1422


07/14/2019 11:53 AM  
1. It sounds like few people know the intention behind the purchase other than the HOA would like to buy a piece of land that is strategically important.

2. No, the HOA does not have to maintain an open area as if it were a lawn of a private home. Different usage. The HOA is not a member of itself.

I would say the HOA board owes the dues payers information on the purpose of the land purchase. If you have natural area and the new parcel would convert to natural area and forest (over time), it's an interesting investment w/ good forward thinking.

The cell tower example is spot-on.
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