It seems there is an emergency in my neighborhood, and that emergency has only one solution – MORE RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS! What is this emergency? The newer homeowners (that would include me) just don’t care about their property. They don’t keep things up, they don’t mow, they leave inoperable vehicles in the yard – all sorts of nefarious activity! Property values are dropping, and long-time residents can’t sell their homes ** just because they have ne’er-do-well neighbors**! If we don’t vote for more restrictive covenants, 10 years from now none of us will be able to sell our homes! Sure, it would be nice if people could work this stuff out between them, but we need to make more rules instead!
You might think, by the way some residents and the Board of Directors members talk, that this property neglect is rampant throughout our neighborhood. If property values are falling fast, and many people can’t sell their homes, it must be a good percentage of problems, right? At least 10 percent of the homeowners are negligent, right?
Out of 709 homes in the neighborhood, between 10 and 20 are problems that the BoD feels need to be addressed. That’s right, at least 97% of the homeowners are doing the right thing without covenants to tell them to.
Our property values are not falling – they are holding steady. Yes, I know houses are selling for the same prices they were 2 1/2 years ago. Is it possible that has more to do with the changes in our economy – at both the state and national levels – than with our lack of covenants? Is it possible that the 50 or so brand-new housing additions within a 10-mile radius has anything to do with that? (Our neighborhood was built in the early 1960s). I’m sure that because the realtor-resident that provided this information is in favor of covenants, neither of those are factors.
The Board of Directors is tired of getting complaints about neighbors not maintaining their property. They’d rather neighbors work it out between themselves. So to fix it, they are going to institute a better way for folks to avoid conflict and turn what could be a simple conversation into a legal proceeding. And by instituting covenants, we now need mandatory dues – complete with billing and collection agencies.
I understand the motivation behind covenants – but I don’t believe they work. I especially don’t believe they will work in this neighborhood. People who buy homes here do so in part because of the lack of covenants – they want to live in a place where people take care of their homes because they want to, not out of fear of liens. I love my neighborhood, and I won’t move if the covenants pass, but I fear they will detract from the community spirit that attracted me and WinkieHubby in the first place.
Yes, I am planning to run for the Board of Directors at the next election …