OT Can an HOA do not approved a color scheme in official list?

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Submitted by kiki on September 17, 2020 - 5:55pm

Hi. i have been a member for 14 years! but haven't posted in probably 7 although i always come to see Rich's reports.

I came back to post to get some opinions and have a sanity check.

I live in a gated community so I have a fun HOA to deal with. Normally I tried to follow the rules but I am in a position where HOA is testing my limits.

I need /want to paint my house. I looked at the official approved color scheme list and picked a color scheme I liked and submitted for approval.

They replied that the scheme I picked changed (although one house has that color and the official list still has the original scheme published so not sure where it changed)

In any case, they gave another scheme and say if we are ok they will advise the committee and they will provide approval. So, I agreed with the new scheme... but they still didn't approve.

They asked for a picture of the outside. We provided. They gave us the rendering of how my color scheme will look like on my house and say that that is the approved scheme but they recommended us to use an alternative scheme (totally different color) because my roof is red (warm) and the scheme I chose were cool colors – the email gave the impression I could choose. I said " I like the approved one". They still didn't approve.

This time said I needed to paint swatches on the wall so they could see how it looks. I did and still liked the approved color. I told them i wanted to be present when they look. i met the neighbor working on the board and she said is gray. i said yes, and i like it. i also painted their alternative and told her it was too green and i didnt like it. She asked what would i changed? I said nothing , i liked this approved color scheme. She left. HOA came back saying it is not approved.

Now their latest communication from the Architectural Color Specialist (the neighbor) is saying quote "the color has to be right for the particular house style" and the board is concern with selection. And gave me a totally different scheme( I wanted gray with blue accent) and they offered cream with brown accent).

We have been going back and forth for almost a month now. Is this normal? I want to comply but this seems a stretch.

I looked at the CCR and it only says Board must approve the colors. No further direction or guidelines on what bases they approved.

Again I am asking to approve a color in their approve scheme list. Before I replied to them I want to get some outside perspective, if you were in my situation would you fight back? and could i win?

Sorry for the long post.. this is how long the color picking is taking .. urghh

Submitted by Coronita on September 17, 2020 - 6:03pm.

With my old house that was also under a HOA, yes technically you were only allowed to paint your exterior with one of the color schemes in the community. And if you wanted to change your color scheme (like I wanted to), yes, you did need to submit the color scheme you wanted to the hoa board along with a letter with all your neighbors signing saying they know about your change (they don't have to agree to it, but at least they would know about the plan and could file grievances)...

That said, my HOA was really loose, and they never really enforced it. I know a bunch of houses that just ended up painting whatever the hell they wanted and no one in the neigbhorhood cared (or if they did, they didnt try to pull a Karen and give anyone a hard time)

Sounds to me you have an anal retentive neighbor that happens to also be on the hoa board. I'm sorry. What is the name of your HOA if you don't mind me asking?

Submitted by spdrun on September 17, 2020 - 6:02pm.

(1) Don't live in an HOA-infested area if you don't like dumb fuck rules

(2) See #1

Submitted by Coronita on September 17, 2020 - 6:03pm.

spdrun wrote:
(1) Don't live in an HOA-infested area if you don't like dumb fuck rules

(2) See #1

Useful advice as usual... NOT.

Submitted by spdrun on September 17, 2020 - 6:05pm.

It's quite useful -- there's no reason to have an HOA in a home that doesn't share walls or a roof with other homes. Hope whoever made the decision to be full-on fascist about something as trifling as trim colors gets COVID and ends up suffering like Boris Johnson.

Submitted by Coronita on September 17, 2020 - 6:06pm.

If you say so.

Submitted by kiki on September 17, 2020 - 6:22pm.

Coronita,
I understand that I am only allowed to paint the exterior with one of the color schemes. What I am baffled at is the fact they won't approved a color from their approved list so the question is do you think I any chance to win if i fought back.?

is B E R N A R D O P O I N T corner of Alva and RB road.

I already work full time and have 2 small kids that i have homeschool I don't want to waste my time if HOA will win regardless of how illogical they are.

thank you

Submitted by kiki on September 17, 2020 - 6:27pm.

spdrun

Even though I wanted to add (and thought of) many adjectives during this whole ordeal and I confess I laughed a little at your last comment. Reality is, I don't wish harm to anyone.

I just want world peace and common sense but I guess I am just a dreamer or a fool.

Submitted by Coronita on September 17, 2020 - 7:21pm.

kiki wrote:
Coronita,
I understand that I am only allowed to paint the exterior with one of the color schemes. What I am baffled at is the fact they won't approved a color from their approved list so the question is do you think I any chance to win if i fought back.?

is B E R N A R D O P O I N T corner of Alva and RB road.

I already work full time and have 2 small kids that i have homeschool I don't want to waste my time if HOA will win regardless of how illogical they are.

thank you

Usually I find the best way to deal with the HOA that is giving you an unnecessarily hard time is get a friend who is a lawyer to send a brief letter with their law offices letterhead to the HOA asking what the problem is. Doesn't have to be elaborate, just a few sentences You could even write it yourself and just ask your friend to send it. Then they usually shut up. I did this with my HOA one time and I also did this with an insurance company that refused to pay me liability claim. I wrote the letter, asked my then neighbor is a partner at a law firm to review it, he send it on his stationary. And poof HOA problem gone and insurance paid the claim.

If you don't have such a friend, I would check with your employer. Some large employers offer employees free legal services and consultation and even offer to do minor paperwork for free. Part of the many benefits you might havr told by HR but you probably slept through thinking it doesn't apply to you. Employees of UCSD medical have such an employee benefit as a friend of a friend was trying to dispute a ridiculously large SDGE bill that they did not rack up. So again you can draft the letter and ask them to send it.

If that also isn't an option, there are plans called "legal insurance" or something like that which for monthly subscription I thinks allows you to get such a letter written. And sometimes that's what it takes. Just a stupid piece of paper from a law firm, and then the HOA sings a different tune. Keep in mind most of the HOA board mbers are homeowners in the hood and really don't want trouble. So many of the Karen's that like to flex their powers quickly shutup once lawyers start to get involved or the appearance of lawyers will be getting involved.. Your goal is to try to appear you will go postal without spending a lot of money to actually do it. Hey, I hate it too. But it's just a game.

in life I think one probably need a few friends that are one of the following: a lawyer , a doctor, an accountant, a real estate agent, and someone really handy either techie or hands on.

that way you can sort of barter your services. I'm in the techie /handy category.

Submitted by kiki on September 17, 2020 - 7:40pm.

Coronita
This is actually great advice thank you. I do have a benefit from my employer, in fact a pay $3 extra every paychek for a little more benefits but never use them. I will give them a call.

In the country I am from I do know a lawyer, a doctor a techie and handyman. I am living in the United States for 16 years but is harder to make friends LOL. Need to start working on it.

Thank you a bunch!

Submitted by Coronita on September 18, 2020 - 12:44am.

.

Submitted by Hobie on September 18, 2020 - 5:08am.

Piggybacking on Coronita comments, use the words ' arbitrary, selective enforcement ' in your letter.

" While other homes currently are painted similarly, your decision appears to be arbitrary. By denying my color scheme it appears the ARC committee is selective in its enforcement of it's policies."

Take a look at your HOA budget, you know the thing that gets mailed every year and gets tossed the same day. Look for their legal budget line item. Usually, the budget number is vastly under estimated for any kind of legal involvement.

So as C mentioned, your legal threat carries a lot of weight.

Another tactic is to paint your colors and stall them off when they try to enforce. 1. getting bids 2. new painter quit 3. painted new wrong color 4. covid quarantine.

Get the idea!! Of course, this tactic you will have to comply to their colors however.

Submitted by Hobie on September 18, 2020 - 5:13am.

Another tactic is to get them to add your color scheme to the master list. Make friends with the crazy lady 'color specialist' or whatever and find out the process they used to determine the approved colors.

Maybe a simple letter from an architect supporting your position and including something like "it will enhance property values" would do the trick.

Options...

Submitted by Coronita on September 18, 2020 - 7:29am.

actually, if you're not white , I'd even insinuate that in the letter too.

Example:

"Is this selective enforcement happening because I'm Asian?"

Just kidding. well sort of.

I do have another story to tell you about the HOA. One time, both me and my property manager got thrown out of an HOA board meeting, shortly after the HOA Karen President said my property manager couldn't be there and turned to me and ask me something to the effect "why can't you speak for yourself, do you speak English?"

I smiled and said no thinking "I got you now , you idiot bitch. because of what you just said in front of everyone, including property management company's rep and a Vietnamese homeowner that was also there to witness it.

My property manager the next day crafted a very nice letter to the HOA's management company's rep about discrimination and lawsuit and oh boy were they nice to me for awhile. And every opportunity I could, I would bring up that incident again. When they cited my tenant for using a removable cloth drying rack outside the patio because it looked unsightly and apparently against his rules, I whipped up the CA law that said drying racks are legal now and HOA rules can't ban them, no different that satellite dishes. And I kept asking them was their illegal enforcement because I was Asian? It went on like this for a year lol...
And there was a time when they wrote my tenant up for a violation notice, and I got fed up and used the "is it because I'm Asian?" line.

But what really helped was the last letter I sent to them
"By continuing to harass me and my highly professional tenant, you are causing irrevocable damage as my tenant is considering terminating the lease. I will be holding the HOA financially responsible and if that happens, I will have no choice but to lower my income standards for leasing out my unit and opening up the possibility to tenants who can only afford my lease with a lesser amount from a Section 8 voucher. I will also consider removing my smoking restriction and consider allowing recreational use of MJ.... And since I am not a residence there, that is not of my concern."

That shut them up for awhile too.

I have an awesome property manager that will go to bat for me all the time. It's not the tenants that are usually the problem and why I need a property manager. My tenants generally are trouble free. It's usually the HOA or the neighbor that refuses to pay a shared cost that is a problem and my property manager is a great advisor on what I should do in certain situations because he isn't afraid of dealing with difficult situations.

Submitted by svelte on September 18, 2020 - 9:21am.

Most of the HOAs I have worked with have been pretty reasonable.

Kiki's sounds way over the top. As soon as they said you couldn't have an approved color scheme, I think you have them cold.

One thing you may wish to research: many HOAs have CC&Rs that state all disagreements must first go to arbitration before they go to court, and that the homeowner must pay for arbitration. I know, been there done that.

In a case that seems pretty clear-cut, I'd probably pursue that anyway and then bill the HOA for the arbitration costs when you win. :-)

Submitted by pinkflamingo on September 18, 2020 - 10:08am.

Our HOA is nuts like that. I'm sure this is the only place where you will you lose your house if you paint it the wrong shade of Beige. I cannot wait to move away from here. With that said, this maybe an interesting anecdote.

Our neighbors some years ago redid their wood siding. He had the city approval with a licensed contractor. The HOA complained that the crack(space) between each wood siding was too tight. I kid you not. To this comment, our neighbor replied, I think maybe your crack is too tight ... Then he threatened to sue the HOA for making him devalue his house. I think they left him be.

Submitted by kiki on September 18, 2020 - 8:55pm.

Thank so much for all the great advice ! I will call the legal service from work on monday and use the wording recommended.

I am from South America and although I have been blessed not to feel discriminated - I am pretty laid back so if people did I actually didn't notice/care. I work for a Asian company so ethnicity diversity is in their DNA. I have strong supporters at work that are white. But you never know, they might not like our last name.

It is crazy (and funny) the stories I am reading from you - thank you for sharing!. Is common sense that hard??

I hope I don't have to go to arbitration though. I just want to paint, i am not interested in ruining the HOA that at the end will increase the fees for everyone. I'll keep you posted on my saga.

thank you!

Submitted by Coronita on September 19, 2020 - 4:07am.

kiki wrote:
Thank so much for all the great advice ! I will call the legal service from work on monday and use the wording recommended.

I am from South America and although I have been blessed not to feel discriminated - I am pretty laid back so if people did I actually didn't notice/care. I work for a Asian company so ethnicity diversity is in their DNA. I have strong supporters at work that are white. But you never know, they might not like our last name.

It is crazy (and funny) the stories I am reading from you - thank you for sharing!. Is common sense that hard??

I hope I don't have to go to arbitration though. I just want to paint, i am not interested in ruining the HOA that at the end will increase the fees for everyone. I'll keep you posted on my saga.

thank you!

Americans are stupid and has always been. However, when our country is led by a stupid leader that tells people that perhaps drinking hand sanitizer might cure covid, and some people actually try, all that means is our American stupidity has fallen to an all time low.

Submitted by svelte on September 19, 2020 - 8:23am.

kiki wrote:

I am from South America and although I have been blessed not to feel discriminated - I am pretty laid back so if people did I actually didn't notice/care. I work for a Asian company so ethnicity diversity is in their DNA. I have strong supporters at work that are white. But you never know, they might not like our last name.

I hope I don't have to go to arbitration though. I just want to paint, i am not interested in ruining the HOA that at the end will increase the fees for everyone. I'll keep you posted on my saga.

I doubt you are being discriminated against based on your ethnicity or country of origin.

More likely the current HOA board or architectural committee probably has a few Barney Fifes and they constitute the majority at the moment. I've seen that happen and usually what happens next is at the next election, the homeowners vote them out because other homeowners have been subject to ridiculous decisions just like you.

So a passive way out is to just wait until the next election.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on September 19, 2020 - 10:43am.

svelte wrote:
kiki wrote:

I am from South America and although I have been blessed not to feel discriminated - I am pretty laid back so if people did I actually didn't notice/care. I work for a Asian company so ethnicity diversity is in their DNA. I have strong supporters at work that are white. But you never know, they might not like our last name.

I hope I don't have to go to arbitration though. I just want to paint, i am not interested in ruining the HOA that at the end will increase the fees for everyone. I'll keep you posted on my saga.

I doubt you are being discriminated against based on your ethnicity or country of origin.

More likely the current HOA board or architectural committee probably has a few Barney Fifes and they constitute the majority at the moment. I've seen that happen and usually what happens next is at the next election, the homeowners vote them out because other homeowners have been subject to ridiculous decisions just like you.

So a passive way out is to just wait until the next election.

6'3 inch handsome white injured war vet with 3 young kids and gorgeous white wife would not be treated that way.

Submitted by Coronita on September 19, 2020 - 11:40am.

svelte wrote:
kiki wrote:

I am from South America and although I have been blessed not to feel discriminated - I am pretty laid back so if people did I actually didn't notice/care. I work for a Asian company so ethnicity diversity is in their DNA. I have strong supporters at work that are white. But you never know, they might not like our last name.

I hope I don't have to go to arbitration though. I just want to paint, i am not interested in ruining the HOA that at the end will increase the fees for everyone. I'll keep you posted on my saga.

I doubt you are being discriminated against based on your ethnicity or country of origin.

More likely the current HOA board or architectural committee probably has a few Barney Fifes and they constitute the majority at the moment. I've seen that happen and usually what happens next is at the next election, the homeowners vote them out because other homeowners have been subject to ridiculous decisions just like you.

So a passive way out is to just wait until the next election.

the problem I see with HOA's many times is homeowners don't give hoot about the elections until something affects them. So if you aren't lucky , and the HOa Board singled you out for something , you could very well be on your ownnfor a long time. A lot of the rule enforcements are totally inconsistent and many of the board members themselves don't follow all the rules. Lawyer letters are great for situations like this.

I found that most of the time, anal retententive HOA Board members tend to be the stay at home Karens and Karls that have nothing better to do.

Submitted by svelte on September 19, 2020 - 4:52pm.

Coronita wrote:

the problem I see with HOA's many times is homeowners don't give hoot about the elections until something affects them. So if you aren't lucky , and the HOa Board singled you out for something , you could very well be on your own for a long time.

That is kind of the opposite situation - the board isn't full of Barney Fifes but instead people with a grudge against a particular homeowner. What I've seen happen here is that both the grudgee and grudger end up on the board and it is clash of the titans for years! So kiki...have you considered running for the board? :-)

Submitted by kiki on September 20, 2020 - 12:27am.

In my head yes. I have thought to run and bring some sense to this nonsense.
But I work 60-70 a week. I have to homeschool a kindergartener that cannot stay on a zoom for 2min and make sure that my 3rd grader is not watching you tube or Netflix while on her 8am-3pm zoom.
My husband also works crazy hours and cooks and takes care of handyman issues at home and feeds the kids. Weekends are cleaning and homework catch up.

We are blessed we have a good jobs that we could outsource our needs gardener, nanny,cleaning lady but now with covid-19 we are is full lock down. We stopped contact with anyone except essential.

I lost my wonderful father to covid in the early stages of the pandemic. We don't know where he got it. he only had fever, we did not know it was covid-19 until day 10. He did not have any preexisting condition. His fever started the day of stay at home. He went to the hospital (only with fever) in my home country to get checked due to his age. They called us the next day saying he was in icu and the following day that he was on a ventilator. 9 days and he passed. It was devastating not being able to travel. To have to tell my mom via zoom my dad died. He was 70 no heart problems, no blood pressure not even even cholesterol.

We are taking this stay home seriously so no more outsourcing of anything. We do it all. Cook, clean, teach, work.
Sorry for the long explanation but although I wish to be part of the board I just can't.
Also I so busy I don't even know my neighbors much beyond the friendly wave on my way to school or work. I usually came home late from work and weekends we used to go out. And now we don't leave the inside of the house.

Besides, I often think how selfish of me for just worrying of something as trivial as color painting when people are dying, have no jobs or kids are abused at home and cannot escape at school. I thank God for being blessed with work and health.
I miss my dad a lot though.

I still have to continue with life and house needs to be painted else a violation will come my way and I will fight until is just not worth it.
That is what I came here for some perspective and got great advice.

Submitted by svelte on September 20, 2020 - 1:29am.

Wow.

I am so sorry to hear about your dad. And I totally understand how you'd increase your precautions after that.

I've been working from home since mid March and have been able to spend much more time with my grandkids (they remote school from my house) and have the opportunity to know our house cleaners and gardeners also. We've had the same house cleaner for over 20 years and same gardener for 13. These folks get to see parts of our lives that no one else sees. Not once in all of those years have any of them raised their rates...in all those years!

Back to the colors: if there are already homes in your HOA painted the colors that you selected (and are on the approved list!), I would think there is no way they could dis-approve. How could they stop you from doing what your neighbor is already doing? That would be clear discrimination.

Again, my condolences. Peace and love.

Submitted by Coronita on September 20, 2020 - 1:40am.

I'm sorry for your loss Kiki.

Lawyer letter. I think is still best option, given that you already submitted an architecture change form.

It's too bad your neighbor is on the board and you already submitted the forms. Because in My old HOA, I know people would fill out the forms just so the neighbors would sign and approve but never submit the forms to the HOA. Afterall, no one from the Board of this HOA really does a walkthrough..And even if they did, they wouldn't remember which color scheme is suppose to be for which house provided you stayed within the set of color schemes.

Your neighbor who is on the Board sounds like a bitchy Karen.

Submitted by kiki on September 20, 2020 - 7:57am.

Svelte, Coronita. Thank you for your kind words.

The neighbors that have to sign the form (immediate front and back) did sign it. One even, one year ago, painted white that is no even on the scheme list. We signed so he can paint what he wanted. No hoa issue. Or maybe because white did match the roof warm color

Submitted by Coronita on September 20, 2020 - 8:54am.

kiki wrote:
Svelte, Coronita. Thank you for your kind words.

The neighbors that have to sign the form (immediate front and back) did sign it. One even, one year ago, painted white that is no even on the scheme list. We signed so he can paint what he wanted. No hoa issue. Or maybe because white did match the roof warm color

Interesting..So basically there are a bunch of houses that technically are out of compliance?

That (and photo evidence of it) should be included in your lawyer letter to suggest arbitrary enforcement and discrimination. In other words, if they are going to enforce you to pick a color scheme, even one in the list of approved.ones, then they better go through the neighborhood and may every house that doesn't follow any of the schemes repaint...

Also, what sort paint scheme is currently on Bitch Karen Board lady's house? Is she in compliance too? If not, I would report her house as being out of compliance.and force her to repaint. Also, what other rules is Bitchy Karen Lady out of compliance with? For example, is she parking her cars outside and using her garage for storage? If so, many HOAs specifically state that cars must be parked inside the garage unless there are more cars that parking spots inside the garage. It's a dumb rule and in my old HOA never enforced (and it doesn't apply to me because do use all spots inside my garage and have 4 other cars to park outside), but for many Americans, they don't park their cars inside.. So if she's one of them , I would report her ass too.

Submitted by Coronita on September 20, 2020 - 9:28am.

kiki wrote:
Svelte, Coronita. Thank you for your kind words.

The neighbors that have to sign the form (immediate front and back) did sign it. One even, one year ago, painted white that is no even on the scheme list. We signed so he can paint what he wanted. No hoa issue. Or maybe because white did match the roof warm color

Interesting..So basically there are a bunch of houses that technically are out of compliance?

That (and photo evidence of it) should be included in your lawyer letter to suggest arbitrary enforcement and discrimination. In other words, if they are going to enforce you to pick a color scheme, even one in the list of approved.ones, then they better go through the neighborhood and may every house that doesn't follow any of the schemes repaint...

Also, what sort paint scheme is currently on Bitchy Karen Board lady's house? Is she in compliance too? If not, I would report her house as being out of compliance.and force her to repaint.

Submitted by scaredyclassic on September 20, 2020 - 3:49pm.

Yes. Get the rules. Study them! Find all her violations!

Submitted by Coronita on September 20, 2020 - 6:30pm.

scaredyclassic wrote:
Yes. Get the rules. Study them! Find all her violations!

Oh, you don't even need to study the rules. I bet she's already out of compliance with some of these basic rules that probably exist in common HOAs but either aren't enforced or people don't know about....

My favorite one is the HOa rules that says you aren't allowed to park your car outside and use your garage.for storage. You can only park your car outside if you have more cars than spaces inside your garage.

That rule will get most American families that use their garage for storage versus parking cars, and yet it's a pretty common rule on most HOAs.

And if this want to enforce this rule on someone, wow what a pain in the ass for the the poor victim that has to clear.out their garage to park their cars... I mean,enforcing this rule, is just downright one of the most disruptive thing you could do to someone....

I never had this problem because I always have somewhere between 4-6 cars, lol.

Like I always said... Don't get mad, get even. Revenge is best served freezing cold ..

Submitted by Coronita on September 20, 2020 - 8:30pm.

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