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…