Community rule to end woodworking? #1: The warning

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Blog entry by SergioC posted 02-11-2011 06:50 PM 3945 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Community rule to end woodworking? series Part 2: Something more to think about... »

Rant warning- this post is mostly to air out my frustration.

I live in a deed-restricted community in a Tampa, FL suburb. We have lived here for about 7 years. For those of you unfamiliar with deed-restrictions, basically you are “bound” by community guidelines when you live here. When we bought the house we were given a 150 page contract restricting everything from the type of grass you could have to the approval process to follow to change the color of your house. Unfortunately, nearly all community developments in FL are the same, some with more restrictions and some with less. Ours has never been that bad. The alleged benefit of a restricted community is it maintains order in the community and prevents things that drive down property value. The only interaction we have had in 7 years was the occasional letter letting us know that our flowerbeds had too many weeds. Whatever.

Part of the contract said something about cars needing to be parked in the garage and not the driveway if you only had 2 cars. I don’t remember exactly what it says. Now you see where this is going.

Now though, there is a bulletin saying that beginning March 1, they will begin enforcing this part of the code: “After March 1, the association’s attorney will be directed to initiate enforcement proceedings…An enforcement action of this kind typically is quite costly for homeowners…who refuse to abide by the covenants.” I know from previous research that community boards have no real legal power based on legal precedent, but that has not stopped them from taking legal action and letting courts decide. They could also fine people and then probably submit the unpaid fines for collection (just a guess). They know that most people won’t go through the effort or expense of hiring a lawyer, and they just comply. They typically put a lien on the house, or at least threaten that.

Now, obviously I’m not going to follow this new thing (new as far as I’m concerned) and the post title is to get people to read it. I would say 75% of the houses on my street park their cars in the driveway at least some of the time. Probably 50% are like me, and never park in the garage. Obviously none of the board members are woodworkers. Or parents with kids that ride bikes and have outdoor toys. Or people that have lawnmowers/weedwacker/edger/yard equipment (and don’t think that could go in a shed, ‘cuz sheds ain’t allowed either).

I’ll try to maintain this as a blog and see where this goes. I might ask for advice from any lawyerin’ LJ’s out there!

14 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2651 days

#1 posted 02-11-2011 07:00 PM

Sheds not allowed? Not nice…

I have an HOA that is a pain in the tail, but nowhere near as bad as yours…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View SergioC's profile


82 posts in 2087 days

#2 posted 02-11-2011 07:04 PM

Swingsets and dogs that bark too. Not kidding. Seven years ago we laughed about it, especially when other residents confirmed that none of it was enforced.

View Dwain's profile


371 posts in 3279 days

#3 posted 02-11-2011 07:10 PM

What is boils down to is this. You signed a contract saying you would follow the rules when you moved in. Now, I understand the frustration, I have a similar situation out here in Arizona. I would suggest one of two things. Get as many of your neighbors as possible to write letters, e mail board members, or attend meetings. Let your voices be heard. Secondly, I would suggest you try running for the board with the goal of changing this policy. Either way, it will involve some work on your part. Like I said above, you made a commitment when you moved it.

Good luck, I hope you can find a good solution that won’t cost you any money, or much time!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View toolchap's profile


150 posts in 2340 days

#4 posted 02-11-2011 07:33 PM

Wow. Some people should get meaningful lives. Imagine going to sleep all satisified because you just screwed somebody’s day and following year up. Wow….I am speechless.

View DrDirt's profile


4135 posts in 3162 days

#5 posted 02-11-2011 07:37 PM

Are you able to be on the HOA board? When we had this back east, the developer was on the board but only until the development had sold out, then the HOA would elect the resident busybody to go around with a ruler and measure your grass and write nasty letters.

Can you take over her role? Dwain is right – you signed on the dotted line.

As an aside, However I am not a lawyer – but I think that you can show that the rules that are on the books have not been enforced for the past 7 years, perhaps nullifies their effect. (Kind of like squatters rights) that if things are left unenforced for X period of time they become invalid/unenforcable.

Be great to hear from a Florida Lawyer on this.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View papadan's profile


1166 posts in 2788 days

#6 posted 02-11-2011 07:53 PM

Go to your city or county building commission and get a permit to change your garage into a family room. Build a temp. wall enclosing the garage overhead doors so a car cannot be driven in. They cannot inforce the rule if you don’t have a garage. I said temp. wall so it can be reversed if you ever decide to move. $.02

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2302 days

#7 posted 02-11-2011 08:30 PM

Interesting; I’m not a lawyer, but I’d think that your landowner rights would trump any agreement that you signed; as long as you are not in violation of any specific city bi-laws.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View superstretch's profile


1530 posts in 2113 days

#8 posted 02-11-2011 08:36 PM

Whose name is on the deed? Also, with any contractual change, I believe there’s an opt-out period (look at ISPs, cell companies, etc.).

It really burns me to read about stuff like this. I almost rented a HOA condo in college, but the rules were crazy strict. This is America. If you own land, you should be able to do whatever you want to do with it so far as it doesn’t impinge on other’s freedom to do the same. Yes, noise limits should be considered after-hours and similar guidelines should be followed, but in no way should someone say you can’t leave your car out in your driveway on your property. If someone came up to me, I’d probably sock em in the face and tell them they have until I come back out with my shotgun to get off my lawn—they’re trespassing.

You could always be like the the guy who went to war with the head of HOA in his area.. Let me look for the link and post it

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3734 days

#9 posted 02-11-2011 08:39 PM

Those type of regulations are very common. I’m very suprised that people are so quick to live in those “communities”. Guess that’s part of herd life.

View superstretch's profile


1530 posts in 2113 days

#10 posted 02-11-2011 08:49 PM

Some language, so be warned:

Guess it wasn’t an HOA person, just a nosy neighbor. Still- funny reads.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 2446 days

#11 posted 02-11-2011 10:29 PM

Amen CessnaPilotBarry as I would also not live where I could not build!!!
As far as I would be concerned is to look elsewhere and Leave the HOA alone;p Apparently they don’t value you as a client or person when they do things like this, plus it sounds like they want to force old blood out and bring new people in at higher rates so I hope the best for you and your family :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2342 days

#12 posted 02-12-2011 02:41 AM

I had a HOA in Las Vegas and that is exactly the reason I run the other way when it’s mentioned here(outside Tampa) You pay for the house that someone else tells you what you can and can’t do with it.You get people that are retired on the board that have nothing else to do and are going to set the world on fire and this is the result. I understand it eliminates people from leaving their” 57 Chevey “on concrete blocks in the street etc. but there are neighborhoods that don’t have this problem.

-- Life is good.

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 2988 days

#13 posted 02-12-2011 07:25 PM

I can’t really be sympathetic here – you signed an agreement, now you’re bound by it whether you like it or not.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View rogerw's profile


262 posts in 2109 days

#14 posted 02-13-2011 09:17 PM

couldn’t pay me to live in a deed restricted community. i’m a quite neighbor and most of the time you wouldn’t even know i exist but there is the occasional “dusting of my speakers” as i call it or running my woodworking tools out in the garage. i too live in florida and i know several people who put up with hoa’s. as for me, like i said, wouldn’t live in those communities if you gave me the house.

bottom line though, you DID sign the 150 page contract. sounds like yer s.o.l.

-- >> my shop teacher used to say "do the best at everything you make for your mom because you're going to see it for the rest of your life!" <<

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