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Discussion Starter #1
I saw this story on CNN today and I thought I would share. The gist is that a couple of brothers spent $40,000 to put together a massive home haunt. They didnt get approval from the HOA board before doing this and now are being closed down or forced to pay hefty fines each night.

The link to the video:

Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com

Haunter's Beware,
Handy_Haunter
 

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Mistress of Darkness
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I cannot stand HOA's and would never live in a subdivision that has one. That being said though, if the brothers knew that there was an HOA in their subdivision, (and I am assuming they did), they should have checked with them BEFORE spending all that money. Still, I hope they hold the haunt and that folks will "donate" to their cause. Their haunt looks really cool.

I bet that story garners them alot of free advertising.
 

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Looks like a nice haunt. I feel bad for them although I have to say I think they should have known better. Sounds like things were pretty invasive to the neighborhood as well. I also suspect since the report says that they did a similar house last year that someone then said something about it at that time so doubt this came as a total surprise to them.

We live in a new development, individual homes, and it's part of an HOA also. I hate HOAs. Not that we've ever had any problems with them and I can see benefits to having them, but still hate them. In our area it's hard to find newer property that isn't part of one because the city governments don't want to support parks so makes the developers build them and then make the local residents pay for them. Plus' and minus'.
 

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Unfortunately non HOA developments are hard to find here in Arizona. I would certainly fight it if mine tried to close me down, as Christmas decorations generally never need approval.

The problem here probably lies in the fact that they were going to charge for the haunt, and that would be breaking most HOA's rules that state that you can't run a home business where people are coming and going from the home. Plus, they were going to alter the gates into the development to allow people to come and go.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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I actually like HOAs. I've lived in neighborhoods without, and there is absolutely nothing you can do if a neighbor chooses to paint their house Pepto pink and keep a few rusting cars on the lawn as "decoration." Or the do-it-yourselfer that thought adding on a few rooms or converting the garage to a bedroom with scrap lumber and duct tape looked good. (all of which I've seen :eek::( )

With a strong HOA, you never have to worry about the property values being brought down by shabby or bizarre homes in the subdivision, and if you have a complaint, they handle it if you are too chicken to go talk to the neighbor (or if they are rude/mean/scary).

I know the common tendency is to hate a HOA, but they are there to protect your home and neighborhood, and if they work properly (that is the key!) that is exactly what they do.

And no I'm not a member of one, and actually have gotten some write ups over the years for lawn upkeep. ;) Which were completely justified.

~stepping off my soapbox~

As far as the OP's original subject, I have no sympathy for them. Sure, they went to a whole lot of trouble and it was probably a really cool setup, but to do a FOR MONEY haunt and disable the gates for anyone to come into that neighborhood... sorry, I think they should have thought this through more and rented a COMMERCIAL location to do their haunt. The HOA is completely right, and this could give TOT a bad name, since the neighbors in that subdivision might have been subject to hundreds of people trampling their yards, blocking their driveways and worse...
 

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Reaper
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I could never live in an HOA home/ area. People shouldn't be allowed to decide what you do with your home, but since they probably knew that before they moved in there I can't feel too bad for them. And like Dark Star said they were planning on altering the gates to let people in, that wouldn't just be their gates it would be the gates of everyone in the whole area and then it gets into the messy area of messing with group property and what have you. It's too bad they didn't set it up at a different house, it looks pretty cool.
 

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We live in an HOA community now and the hubby and I hate it! We hope to move next year and not have to deal with an HOA or paying $125 each month for HOA dues.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've lived in neighborhoods without, and there is absolutely nothing you can do if a neighbor chooses to paint their house Pepto pink and keep a few rusting cars on the lawn as "decoration."
Heh, I would definitely be one of those people that would paint my house bright orange with black trim. No HOA on earth would accept me. :D :p
 

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Super Moderator
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Step out my front door, to the left: non-HOA homes. To the right, HOA homes.

And, straight out my back yard, neighbors directly behind: HOA.

Now, come Halloween. Non-HOA: Cemeteries, walk throughs, yard haunts.

HOA: Bails of hay and a couple smiley scarecrows, and someone that had to take down a blowup. There was one person that dressed as a dummy and scared kids, though.

Come Christmas: Non-HOA: Light shows, animated deer, blowups, etc.

HOA: Everyone has THE SAME wreaths and garlands on their porch, and the eves get either color or clear C7 lights. That's it. It's kinda creepy...


I typically get several complaints during the year. From not liking me working on some decorations to claiming the haunt was a safety hazard. They have all come from HOA folks.

I didn't sign up for their rules, but each year, they try to bring in the cops to enforce their rules on me. It gets a little annoying. To a point I really wouldn't want to be in one.

I don't care if they COULD have prevented a former neighbor from building his "car port" out of used pallets and scrap tin.
 

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Heh, I would definitely be one of those people that would paint my house bright orange with black trim.

ohh I like that idea.

I will never live anywhere where other busy bodies can tell me what plants I can put in and what the "approved" colors are that I can paint my house.


I do see where they crossed the line though with charging for admission. Now it's a business and that is a big step up from decorating your own house.
 

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Gotta agree with what everyone's been saying. While I do think the haunt was highly detailed and probably very exciting, the guys were very ignorant and didn't think anything through and most likely ignored warning from people the year before. Sad to think it is going to go to waste though.

As far as HOAs, I'm mixed. I like having them because its better for the neighborhood upkeep. They regulate it to ensure the yards look (relatively) nice, decorations are put up and taken down when they should be (Christmas lights loose their excitement if you have 'em up all year), and other stuff like Frankie's Girl mentioned. Neighborhoods that don't have these take a drop in home value and general upkeep/security much quicker than those that do.

On the flip side, I think a lot of them go too far as well. We can't have a flag pole in our yard, no basketball hoops, permission before we get a pool installed. Biggest one for me would be some kind of rule against a certain breed of dog. Can't have that and favorite breed too. Another thing is that any of these regulations can be implemented or taken away on any given day.
 

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lies dead but dreaming
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The story says this is the second year they ran the haunt. It does not say whether there were problems or warnings to these guys in the previous year. (I would be surprised if they got no comments or concerns at all last year) Sounds to me like their neighbors were patient and forgiving one year and just had enough when they went for round two, without even bothering to talk to the HOA board. Some times it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission but forgiveness is not always without costs, and even nice patient folks who run HOA's have limits.

I don't care for HOA's and don't live in an area that has one. However, I can't say as I have allot of sympathy with this particular case.
 

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I didn't realize we had three versions of this thread going. Anyway as I said in one of the others...


I myself am not a fan of HOA's and as such would not chose to live in a neighborhood where one exists. But if you do chose to do so, it only makes sense that you should play by the rules. Seems that talking to the HOA ahead of time, which they no doubt knew they should, could have avoided a lot of this. Either they wouldn't have gone ot such effort, or perhaps they have approval to do so.

I hate to say it, but this strikes me a bit like buying a house next to an airport then complaining to the town about the noise.

Not that i like seeing any haunt get shut down, but I'm guessing they knew better.
 

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I don't live in one and I won't. Not going to let some "president" tell me what I can and can't do with my home. (I get compliments by passerby for my landscape.) My neighbors and I on our end of the street get along great, watch out for each other, and help out. The way things used to be, not with some mandated enforcement.

If you've watched the movie Over The Hedge, you'll know what I mean. The job I work allows me to see the dark side of this and it gets used to harass neighbors they don't like.

Count me out.
 

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HOA's are the panacea for all of local municipal governments problems. They LOVE HOA's because they aren't forced to put in infrastructure or parks or any of those other costly things that other people in the municipality probably won't use. On the other hand, HOA's act as quasi municipal governments with little control over their actions other than the possibility that those in charge will "step over the line" and either be removed or personally sued. Unfortunately, being on the board of an HOA requires no training, experience, or qualifications. If you can get a good number of people to vote you in, you're on. And that, as they say, is the problem. Too many busy-bodies who think they should control others end up on the boards of HOA's.

I'm no fan of HOA's at all. They HATE people like me. From my extravegant haunt, to my 22K Xmas lights, to my 8 car garage, to my 3 big dogs who bark, to my growing of a "meadow" on 1/3 of my property, they'd have a fines raining down on me like April Showers.

My wife and I have a vacation home that is in an HOA. As a result of them attempting to curtail legally protected speech (they actually sent us a letter saying that our comments to another member were "inappropriate") we've begun a "slap down" action. My wife, an attorney, wrote the HOA's attorney to get the board to publically apologize for their previous letter and promise to never do it again. And, as a result of their letter, we may have uncovered a serious "accounting records problem" that will either end with the resignation or gross embarassement of the entire board. This board REALLY hates me.

Craig
 

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STARK Raving Mad
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HOA's are the panacea for all of local municipal governments problems. They LOVE HOA's because they aren't forced to put in infrastructure or parks or any of those other costly things that other people in the municipality probably won't use. On the other hand, HOA's act as quasi municipal governments with little control over their actions other than the possibility that those in charge will "step over the line" and either be removed or personally sued. Unfortunately, being on the board of an HOA requires no training, experience, or qualifications. If you can get a good number of people to vote you in, you're on. And that, as they say, is the problem. Too many busy-bodies who think they should control others end up on the boards of HOA's.

I'm no fan of HOA's at all. They HATE people like me. From my extravegant haunt, to my 22K Xmas lights, to my 8 car garage, to my 3 big dogs who bark, to my growing of a "meadow" on 1/3 of my property, they'd have a fines raining down on me like April Showers.

My wife and I have a vacation home that is in an HOA. As a result of them attempting to curtail legally protected speech (they actually sent us a letter saying that our comments to another member were "inappropriate") we've begun a "slap down" action. My wife, an attorney, wrote the HOA's attorney to get the board to publically apologize for their previous letter and promise to never do it again. And, as a result of their letter, we may have uncovered a serious "accounting records problem" that will either end with the resignation or gross embarassement of the entire board. This board REALLY hates me.

Craig
You're my new hero!
 

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Good for you Craig. I've had the pleasure of representing a number of homeowners over time who have been sued by their HOAs and, after exhausting all other options, have sued their HOAs.

For a good laugh, you can read about one of my cases here: News

I've come to the conclusion that HOAs fall apart and have these problems the minute someone stops being reasonable. If folks live by the golden rule, there is never a problem...
 

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The Grim Reaper
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I love you Craig...LOL. Anyhow, these guys should have known what they were getting into and found a better location.
 

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HOA's are directly offensive to the US Constitution.

If someone chooses to live in one, they accept the rules. I cant believe they did not know that they would have troubles. Especially with keeping the gate open.

$40,000.00 ?? I think i would be checking ordinances before i got above $1000.00 bucks. Ok, so i can totally understand getting caught up in it and spending a ton of money...i think everyone on this board can relate to that, but 40k?

All that being said, I hope they are able to hold the haunt.
 
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