Confessions of a Reluctant (Former) HOA President

You know the expression, don’t shoot the messenger? Well, there’s been at least one time when I was tempted to do just that. Back when I learned my ex was up to no good, if you know what I mean. My suspicions were awoken by a mom I met through my daughter’s playgroup. Luckily, by the time I confirmed she was right, she wasn’t anywhere in my vicinity.

Now I’m here to add a new expression: “Don’t shoot the HOA President.”

Lucy gets 5 Cents for listening to people's problems. Me? I get chopped liver.

That would be me. Former president of the Homeowner’s Association, to be precise.  I’m still on the board, but now I’m just a Member at LARGE, which means I don’t have to sign any checks and I don’t have to sign the minutes of our meetings. Yet, to all who live here, there is no difference.  As far as they’re concerned, I could be the Queen of Sheba of the HOA Board and they’d still come to me with their problems. To them, I am Lucy from the Peanuts Gang and the doctor is always in. Only I come free. Gratis. There’s no collecting my five cents.

But here’s the thing about board members. We are not on-site property managers. We are not landlords. We can’t make decisions without a vote from the majority of the board.  We’re nothing without each other.

So, know this, fellow homeowners:  You can come to me all you want, but I rather you didn’t. It’s not that I don’t mind listening to your grievances; it’s just that I can’t help you. I can only tell you what you probably already know, that you really need to contact the property management office.

So I am a reluctant, ex-Homeowners Association president, who three years ago, stepped up to run for the board, on the platform, “Vote for me, because we need change and no one else wants to be do it.”   And now, with one year to go on my second term, I can honestly say, enough already!

Everyone, it seems, has a bone to pick with the HOA board. There are nearly 200 units in my complex and almost half of them have put me on notice.  So when I go walking my dog these days, it seems there’s many a neighbor I need to avoid for self-preservation’s sake.

Just this past weekend, a man came to my door—pounding incessantly.  It was Sunday, and here I was, make-up free and exhausted from having stayed up all night working on my blog. I’m in my grungy sweats,  but I go to the door anyway, thinking it’s one of the kids from next door. Turns out it’s a man who wants me to know that his son’s car was parked in visitors all night and apparently was struck by another car, but the culprit did not leave a note.  He’s hoping I might be keeping track of which cars are parked where, and that I might be able to tell him the make and model of the one that was parked next to his son’s at 2 a.m. or thereabouts.  Really? I mean, really?

There’s the woman who wanted me to call an emergency meeting of the board to determine whether the HOA should pay to repair a crack in her balcony floor. There’s the neighbor who parked illegally in the fire lane and was towed, and now wants the HOA to reimburse the $300 on account, they had a good reason for parking illegally. There’s the woman who texts me to come over and clean her drains every time it rains. The curmudgeon who throws eggs at his neighbor’s home because he wants absolute silence 24/7. An elderly neighbor, who was peeved because I would not fill out her paperwork when she was refinancing her home. And so on.

Of course, there are people who abide by the rules, but somehow you rarely see them.

Being on the board is a thankless job, with no compensation whatsoever.  Even Lucy got five cents, and I bet she had times when she could say, the doctor wasn’t in. Well, I have one more year to go on my term and  I’m wondering if I should run again. Hmm…

10 thoughts on “Confessions of a Reluctant (Former) HOA President

  1. I’m sure it was horrendous and still is. Let me tell you about your crazy cousin, my sister Marissa. She was the vice president of her HOA (also my mom’s HOA) it consumed many hours of her life. What’s the crazy part? Well, she moved to a different county and she’s still on the board. Isn’t she crazy? She goes to the meetings and puts up with all the nonsense and she doesn’t live there. She claims that she does it for my mom because she still lives there but I highly doubt it. I’m convinced that she is a masochist.

  2. Si preguntas, yo creo que Si! debes seguir en esa Junta si eso te gusta y piensas que tu puedes hacer la diferencia y ayudar para que tu comunidad sea la que deseas. Admiro tu trabajo, porque de verdad, tu relato no es muy diferente al que nosotros hemos vivido en Caracas en nuestro Edificio. Dany fue el primer Presidente de la Junta de Condominio y unos meses antes de venirnos era también nuevamente el Presidente, y los cuentos son infinitos, no te pienso aburrir con lo que ya conoces y relatas, pero la verdad, es que si no existieran personas como tu en las comunidades que está dispuesta a sacrifica su tiempo, tranquilidad y paciencia, los vecindarios no serían lo que queremos. Si tienes fuerzas intentalo de nuevo, solo tu harás la diferencia!, de hecho ya tienes experiencia!.

  3. It is crazy what people expect. It’s a good thing you left that post behind. By the way, love the new template and blog look!

  4. Yes, a thankless job. So I’ll say something. “Even though I don’t live in your complex, thank you for everything you do for your community.” Someone had to say it. Too bad it wasn’t one of the ingrates who *should* say thank you to you!! 🙂

    • Thank you, Tammy! Finally, some appreciation. 😉
      But seriously, what troubles me is how hard it is to get anyone to volunteer to serve on the board. When I talk to other homeowners, I hear the same thing: “I’m too busy.” “This isn’t my priority.” And my response? Well I’m busy, too! Oh, and this should be a priority for you because what we do on the board affects your property value. It’s in your best interest to serve. Sigh. Unfortunately, few see it that way.

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