By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
This is another crazy HOA with #StupidRules.
According to a report from ABC 13 Eyewitness News, Summerwood HOA in Houston has a rule against parking any work or commercial use vehicles in the driveway of a home.
That’s a huge deal for Joey Albritton, a very busy plumber by trade. His work van is too large to fit in the garage, but the HOA won’t allow him to park it in his driveway. Albritton now stores his truck off site overnight, and must drive to and from the storage facility every day, and every time he gets an emergency service call.
The homeowner points out that the income he earns as a plumber pays his mortgage, his taxes, and his HOA fees. He says he may have to move out to the country, just to find a home — any home — without HOA rules that prevent him from parking his work van on his own property.
Homeowner fighting HOA to keep his work van in his drivewayHOUSTON, Texas —
A northeast Houston plumber is considering moving out of his subdivision due to what he calls unfair rules from his homeowner’s association.
Joey Albritton has lived in Summerwood for two years. He’s a plumber who gets to and from jobs in a marked work vehicle.
Albritton said the HOA is now forcing him to park outside the subdivision.
“It’s frustrating to not be able to park my own vehicle in my own driveway,” he said. “Their entire argument is that work vans bring property values down in the neighborhood.”
CIA Services, Inc. manages the HOA but declined to answer our questions about the situation. An attorney responded by e-mail, “Unfortunately, the Association does not discuss or comment on individual owner matters with members of the public or the media.”
An internet search for information about Summerwood HOA results in a website hosted by CIA management services, with a few community details available to the public.
The Articles of Incorporation for Summerwood were amended in 2016. In additions to a two-thirds vote of approval by total membership of the HOA, the 2016 Amendments now require the consent of the Declarant (Developer) to amend the Articles and to dissolve the HOA, as long as the Declarant owns any property in the association.
Source for the following screenshots:
Amended Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions give the developer the right to “disapprove actions of the Board and committees as provided in the By-Laws,” even after termination of developer control.
That, dear readers, is what you call a de facto developer-controlled HOA. As long as the Declarant holds onto one property, it has veto power over rule-making or other important decisions made by the homeowner board.
And Summerwood HOA has very broad power to amend and expand restrictions and rules, as specified in its CC&Rs. If you buy a property in Summerwood, you “agree” to abide by those ever-changing restrictions and rules.
This is common language in many modern CC&Rs that establish mandatory membership associations to enforce the restrictions.
Here are the parking restrictions and rules for Summerwood HOA. It’s another one of those crazy planned communities that does not allow parking on the street — even public roads. And, of course, no commercial or recreational vehicles of any kind can be parked in the driveway. The residents must hide these away in the garage, or, if they won’t fit in the garage, they must be stored offsite.
That’s an additional cost to the resident, and a big inconvenience.
To the housing consumer who has never lived under HOA governance, this rule may seem unreasonable, and, therefore, rare.
But, I can assure you, this kind of HOA parking restriction is not unusual.
Summerwood is a neighborhood with hundreds of homes and recreational amenities that include 2 pools, a splash pad, play areas, a fitness center, and a clubhouse.
And, apparently, someone involved with Summerwood HOA firmly believes that work vans — and vehicles in general —- are unsightly eyesores.
Furthermore, if Albritton objects to the parking rule, and chooses to fight it, the HOA requires him to go through a 60-day Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, at his own expense, in hopes that someone can mediate an agreement. (See page 44 of Summerwood CC&Rs) If the HOA doesn’t still won’t budge on their rule, the homeowner can take the matter to court. However, given the langauge in Summerwood’s governing documents, a decision in his favor seems unlikely.
And that means a homeowner’s best option might be to pack up and move out. Hopefully a buyer can be found — one that owns one or two small vehicles that will fit in a 2 -car garage.
When Albritton makes the remark that the working man is being pushed to the country, he’s not kidding. It’s getting to the point, in HOA-saturated real estate markets, that anyone who wants or needs to park a work vehicle (or RV or boat) must look for a home in a rural area with larger lots and no HOA.
Clearly, there’s a huge market niche to be filled by the real estate industry and new home builders!
How about building homes for working people, and, please, skip the HOA.