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Woman Files Police Report For Stolen Fence, Discovers HOA Legally Took It

Police were called for a stolen fence, but it was later discovered that the HOA legally took it.

Albuquerque, NM – When homeowner Angie Montgomery came home and found her backyard fence missing, she thought she had been the victim of a crime, and called the police.

Instead, the Albuquerque homeowner discovered that the homeowners’ association (HOA) had removed her fence without her knowledge and could legally do it, according to KOB-TV.

Montgomery has lived in the Pinon Creek Townhomes since 2004.

"I came home and it was gone," she told KOB. "How do you lose a fence? A police report was made and then I found out that it was the HOA that had taken it down."

Montgomery said she had an email as proof she had the homeowners association’s approval to put up the fence.

Despite a Sept. 26, 2014 email that approved putting up the fence, signed by Denise Pisto, the architectural committee controller, HOA President Randy Asselin ordered the fence be removed.

Asselin alleged the email was fake and that Pisto could not verify its authenticity because she had died.

Pinon Creek's president claimed the fence was a “major deviation from the integrity of the community" and it was "impossible to allow it," in an email to KOB.

Asselin use HOA fees to hire an attorney to sue Montgomery.

Montgomery settled out of court, KOB reported.

"I just want to go about my life," Montgomery said. "This has taken up a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of tears. I work hard, I serve the community, I'm an upstanding citizen and I think what is going in this community is a shame."

But the HOA president’s demands of Montgomery didn’t end with the lawsuit, KOB reported.

After the court settlement, Asselin sent a letter to Montgomery that informed her all of her trees must be cut to ground level, her stairs must be removed, a non-functioning fireplace couldn’t be higher than five feet, and any walls or barriers couldn’t exceed five feet.

An investigation by KOB revealed that Asselin’s own backyard wall was 6 feet tall, and numerous other neighbors also had fences greater than 5 feet.

Experts believe that a power problem exists in communities governed by HOAs. In order to live in the community, a homeowner must agree to abide by the associations’ rules.

Arizona State University Professor Joel Garreau said that homeowners associations generally win in court disputes because they are contract law.

"You have legally agreed to everything it is that they want to do, which is just about anything they want," Garreau told KOB. "HOAs are really shadow governments. They are a private government. When you buy a house with a homeowners' association attached to it, you sign a contract on that house and that means they can do just about anything they want."

Another HOA made the news in October for ordering the removal of signs honoring murdered police officers.

The Stevens Plantation Residential Owner's Association sent letters to residents advising them that the "Back the Blue" signs violate the community rules, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Homeowners put the signs up after the murders of Kissimmee Police Officer Matthew Baxter and Kissimmee Police Sgt. Richard 'Sam' Howard in August to show their support.

Would you live in an area controlled by an HOA? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.

No NO No NO No

5

No! If I wanted to live under communist rule I'd go to China!

6

NO F-IN WAY WHEN YOU PAY FOR A HOME AND PAY TAXES NO AND I MEAN NO ONE WILL TELL ME HOW TO DECORATE IT.

4

HELL NO! And I really, really mean it.

3

I would never consider living in a community that has a HOA contract. My land my rules. There are rules set forth by towns. Otherwise, you go by the town buildings approval. This is to ensure you do not encroach your neighbor property, safety, wet land and tax purpose.

3

I am a retired Marine. I do not think HOAs and I would get along very well.

We have enough laws and rules to live by from the federal, state, county, city/town governments, employers, etc. Why would anyone want to live in a HOA and possibly end up with some spiteful, sawed off little dictator like this Asselin guy who can make your life hell and there is nothing you can do about it. Hell no!
And even if you had a good person running it, who wants to be told what they can/can’t put up for fencing, bushes, trees, how high/low to mow your grass, what kind of mailbox you can/can’t have, whether you can put up a flag, etc. etc. etc. etc. Screw that!

These people on power trips suck. A positive, for HOAs, is that they do not wield guns or threaten violence. Not routinely. Not like the little Eichmanns.

I live in an HOA community and have chosen to be a sitting board member. I have done so predominantly to keep some 'good sense' about the process. I, and the others here are serving multiple terms, not because we like it but, as a whole, the residents are lazy and uninvolved. This creates a ripe situation for more vocal neighborhood nazis to enforce their 'vision' onto the neighborhood, so we persist term after term, in an attempt to maintain a pleasant area without undue strife. It IS incumbent upon owners to understand the rules they agree to rather than bellyache and whine about it at a later time as if one is entitled. However, boards do change membership and only an actively involved community can contain overzealous management by the vocal few who do like to exert control on their surroundings.

I would never ever live in a HOA community! They sound like they just want to show how much power they have! Very sick!

Why would anyone in their right mind live where there is an HOA ?

Oh hellll to the no!! No amount of money could get me to live in an area with a HOA.....I won't even look in an area with one. Personally, I think they should be outlawed.....they can put a lien on your property as well....I scream B.S!!

I have and I do. But my next home is HOA free. Some are good, some are ridiculously petty. I have a rental home in one that is very petty, but I have to admit the property value has soared. With a rental, I'm not there to monitor for violations like weeds in the yard, mildew on the siding, garbage can visible from the street, mailbox needing painting, and weeds in the flower beds just to name a few.

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