What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Setting Up a Vacation Home (7) - Dealing With an HOA

Depending on the location of your vacation house you may have a home owners association (HOA) or similar.  These are commonly found in retirement communities where you own the building but not the land and in seasonal trailer parks.  In both of these cases there will be rules and regulations that you must follow.  The rules and regulations are to ensure the safety of everyone in the community as well as keep the community at a certain standard while protecting your investment.  Even though you own the building there may be some things that you will not be allowed to do to it.   

We have camped at many national, provincial, state parks as well as a private park or two.  All of them have rules of conduct mainly to control noise and prevent problems such as wild life getting into garbage left around the campsite.  The key rule at any national or provincial park is if a yoggie (park ranger) can hear you off of your campsite you are being too loud.  In addition to that there are provisions that if you are too loud or your campsite is not kept clean and tidy you can be evicted from the park.  Keeping the campsite clean and tidy is actually a safety issue.  Garbage attracts skunks, raccoons, rodents (eg. chipmunks, mice)  and bears all of which can cause personal harm directly (eg. attack) or indirectly (eg. disease). 

Our current vacation home is in a gated community with an HOA.  This is an ideal set-up for our purpose.  The front gate has to be notified of any visitors, delivery persons or workers coming to our home prior to their arrival.  While some would see this as restrictive it is meant for the protection and safety of all residents here and is no different than the requirements for national, provincial and private parks where visitors must register (including telling them who you are visiting) with the office before they can enter the park.   The HOA determines the level of garden upkeep which is basically keep it neat and tidy and gardens are encouraged around each house for aesthetics.  Mulch and personal touches such as garden decorations and flowers are encouraged.  They cut and trim all the yards.  The HOA will tell you to pressure wash the exterior if it gets noticeable moss or mould growing but most here pressure wash at least annually to protect their investment so this is not a real concern.  They will say something if let garbage pile up or water when you aren't supposed to but other than that they work rather quietly in the background.  What we really like is if we decide to rent our house out there is property management team to do all the necessary checks including a credit check for any potential tenant and take care of collecting the rent as well as ensuring the tenant does no damage to our house.  The nice part is our vacation house is always being watched even when we aren't here so that gives us a nice piece of mind.

If you follow the rules of the HOA or similar there will be no problems.  We have never had a problem at any of the national, provincial, state or private parks we've stayed at.  We've also have had no problems here.  If your vacation home is not in a location where there is an HOA or park rules then the next best thing is to get to know your neighbours well.  They will keep an eye on your house while you aren't there.  If your vacation house is in cottage country where everyone closes up about the same time each fall leaving many homes in the area empty for the winter see if you can find someone in the closest town that will check your house from time to time.  

Garden Gnome