The Dutch Star in our driveway
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Dear Neighbor Who Complained About Us to the HOA

First of all, let me offer a sincere apology for parking our RV in our driveway for more than 24 hours. I actually wasn’t sure about how long it might be OK to do it, but after you complained to the HOA president I discovered a photocopied sheaf of papers in my mailbox that covered the applicable covenants. It’s now crystal clear that we are in violation. Thanks for that!

The offending RV
The offending RV, parked in our driveway

Anyway, I can understand how upsetting it is for everyone in the neighborhood to see a large RV parked in our driveway, even if it is a very nice one in excellent condition.

Of course, since our lot is at the end of the cul-de-sac and our driveway abuts the woods, no one in the neighborhood can actually see the RV except for our two or three immediate neighbors. Thank goodness it’s only fully visible to one neighbor – the folks immediately across the street – because the more of it one can see, the more troubling a sight this RV must be.

Believe it or not, I can actually understand a certain amount of concern over just what we’re doing over here in our driveway. What I can’t understand, however, is that if you were worried about why or for how long the RV would be parked in our driveway, you didn’t talk to us.

Well, actually – if I’m being perfectly honest, that’s not entirely true. I could understand a reluctance to approach us if the standoffish vibe I’ve felt from you since moving into the neighborhood isn’t just my imagination.

House across the street
House across the street, viewed from the side of our driveway. That’s the RV in the foreground.

Not sure how you figured out so quickly that I was a freak who’d moved from another planet. Apparently word got out even before day one. As I shuffled boxes out of the moving truck a dozen years ago on the most blazing hot day of summer, there you were – sheltered in the safety of your front porch rocking chairs, sipping sweet tea. Well, at least those of you right across the street. Others were kind enough to come over and introduce themselves. One neighbor even helped carry some boxes (too bad he moved away…he was the most neighborly person in the subdivision).

So yes – I suppose I can see how it would be more comfortable to complain behind our backs than to walk over and say “Hey, cool RV. You’re not going to live in that in your driveway are you?” Or maybe “Not sure if you’re aware, but we’re prohibited from parking RVs in the subdivision for more than five days.” Even “I’m planning on putting my house up for sale, and I’m worried that having your RV parked here might be a turnoff for potential buyers.”

If you’d said any of those things, we probably could have allayed some of your fears, or at least figured out what we could do about the situation without going broke(r) or being jerks to one another.

Maybe we should have come to you and your next-door neighbor when purchasing the RV looked like it was about to happen, and let you know what we were about to do. Let me just go ahead and come clean about why we didn’t bother.

Coachmen Chapparal fifth wheel
This looks like your fifth wheel, Mr. Neighbor – doesn’t it?.

First, there’s the fact that one of you parked a large Coachmen Chapparal fifth wheel on the street directly across from our house multiple times per year, for many years – often for many more days than the five officially allotted. And not even in your driveway – on the street, across from our driveway. If I’m not mistaken, that is completely prohibited according to the HOA covenants. I know those egregious violations don’t cancel out ours, but ya’d think since we never complained you wouldn’t complain.

Lastly, it’s clear you hate our guts, or something similar. I don’t think you’ve ever answered your door when I’ve knocked. We didn’t want to further upset you by attempting to converse if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

Also, we don’t like being around people who hate our guts. It’s why we got the RV. So we can just leave instead of having to worry about selling a house and moving a bunch of crap from place to place. See, the part you missed by not talking to us is that we are moving just as soon as we are able. If you’d paid us a visit you probably would have had to run up to Mike’s Package Store to buy champagne so you could properly celebrate our impending departure.

We’re not going to do anything that would further delay that departure, by the way. That’s one big reason we don’t have the RV stored somewhere. Storage lot fees, and the hassle and time suck of trying to work on it around 10-12 hour days six days a week if it’s not at the house (I know it looks gorgeous and fairly new, but our RV is actually 15 years old).

I know you know what that’s like, you who had the fifth wheel. It would take you several days, at minimum, getting it ready for a trip after pulling it out of storage. I didn’t even know the half of it then, but I could see a lot of the work you had to do.

Our former neighbor (the nice one who moved away) once mentioned your fifth wheel to me, by the way.

“You must not like that trailer parked on the street like that,” he said.

“He’s just getting it ready for a trip,” I replied. “It’ll be gone soon enough.”

“Makes it hard to turn around in the cul-de-sac,” he complained.

So, now that I recall this conversation with Mr. Nice, here’s what I think happened.

I think Mr. Nice must’ve harbored some of the same passive-aggressive tendencies you’ve displayed, Mr. Across-the-Street Neighbor, and instead of coming to you about your fifth wheel he complained to the HOA. Since you already hated our guts, you just assumed it was us. Now that we’ve purchased an RV you have finally – thank the sweet baby Jesus! – been given the opportunity to retaliate.

Sweet Baby Jesus
Sweet baby Jesus!

Did it feel good to complain? How long have you held this grudge we didn’t deserve? Man what a great release that must have been. Hope you don’t feel like too big an asshole for assuming we were passive aggressive jerks who’d complain to the HOA over relatively petty matters.

So here’s the plan, man. We are about tapped out, but hustling to make the money we need to finish the RV and prep our house for sale. If we were truly pressed to move the rig out of the neighborhood I think we would say fuck it all and do something you don’t like. We are not long for this life in suburbia, I assure you. We are on the verge of something wonderful, and on the edge about any threat to it.

Young musicians in Amsterdam
Potential renters? Whaddaya think? © Jorge Royan, via Wikimedia Commons

We might be compelled to do crazy things like rent our house to the first band of freaks that has the money. Or sell it as-is, super cheap, shitty carpet and all, so we can GTFO of Dodge. Course that’ll bring down everyone’s property values. Sorry not sorry.

I know you don’t want that. You have a nice, big house you might want to sell soon, too, now that all your kids are gone. I see how you cut your lawn in a checkerboard pattern, at 10 o’clock at night sometimes, lest it be an eighth of an inch too long. It’s evident your property is well cared for, and it’d be a shame to diminish its value because you suddenly cared about the HOA covenants when they gave you an opportunity to (you thought) retaliate.

Work with us, here, and we’ll be out of your hair soon enough. If you want neighbors that are more to your liking perhaps you can recruit someone to buy our house. If you’re unable to handpick our successors, though, I hope you’ll consider being more neighborly to them than you were to us. It’ll make everyone’s lives more pleasant.

Not as pleasant as ours will be, though, once we pull out of the neighborhood for the last time.

Sincerely,
Teresa & Brian

p.s. – Come on over if you’d like to apologize before we leave.


UPDATE/ADDENDUM [22 June 2017]: I wrote The first volley, a short post about the neighbor/HOA conflict, a month ago today – immediately after finding the HOA papers in my mailbox. You might like reading it.

9 thoughts on “Dear Neighbor Who Complained About Us to the HOA”

  1. Woah. But, what if it WASN’T them? 😳 Are you going to put print this blog and put it in their mailbox? As you already said, the brilliance of all of this is you aren’t going to have to deal with any neighbors you don’t care for in the near future. I have total asshole neighbors NEXT to me back in Florida. Not missing a day I’m not ‘parked’ next to them! They are full of negative energy. I don’t want that. People are people. I used to care more about people following the rules in our HOA too. Still do to some extent. But don’t really care if someone is temporarily parking a boat or an RV at their place. Do I want to confront the homeowner directly? Hell no! Wait, you know what? I’m not going to go on. Associations just SUCK BALLS. I hate them. Never. Again. Good luck with the rest of the process! Curious though- are you going to leave it there? Can they fine you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nah, I’m either going to go talk to them directly or not bother. But I did write this knowing they are FB friends with a couple of people I know, so it may make its way across the street that way. I’d be more polite in person, but honestly this is how I feel.

      I didn’t intentionally pick a home in an HOA community, but when I bought in 2005 the restrictions didn’t touch on anything I thought I’d ever do. As HOAs go most are not that bad. But then things changed, and I wanted to have a vegetable garden in an unapproved spot. I wanted to raise chickens (didn’t go that far…I really *don’t* want to irritate my neighbors). I did not want to pay $35/month to keep the mandated gaslight burning in my front yard. We painted the house without getting the paint colors approved, etc., etc.

      The HOA has really been a laissez-faire organization since I moved in. They let a lot of stuff slide I really didn’t care about (e.g., kids with basketball goals set up in driveways, neighbors with solar path lights), as well as a few things that weren’t good for the neighborhood. From talking to the current HOA president, he’s had to deal with some people really pushing the bounds of being good neighbors, and I think several homes going to rentals with absentee owners who don’t care how their tenants maintain them. It sounds like he’s frustrated and our RV is small potatoes.

      The way I read it, the remedy is they can tow the RV away and presumably send us the bill. As I wrote in the post, if it comes to that we will leave in the RV and sell the house for whatever, or rent it out. Everyone will lose this way.

      So you are on the road but renting your house out? I think I might’ve read that in one of your posts. I guess it’s a bit of income, but yeesh – that could be a hassle. How is it working out for you?

      Like

    1. No. Brian says “Fuck ’em.” When I suggested going over to talk to them he said something like you go ahead if you want to.

      I’m worried that we won’t be able to get out of here fast enough to please everyone. Even though everything is taking longer than I’d like, though, it is coming together.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I’ve always loved that insult. Quite underused in the U.S., I think 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Serri. I appreciate your encouragement (and your commiseration!).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man. I’ve been there. Why people are against knocking on the door and saying “Hey there neighbor! You see, I was wondering…” It would make life so much easier for everyone, unless you’re a person who lives for the dramarama of Wysteria Lane. Unfortunately I believe some people really do prefer the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t even know, Kim. I think if you don’t want to complain to the person offending you, don’t complain period unless your life’s been threatened. But then I believe this whole mess has its roots not in a legitimate complaint against us, but in the minds of two parties that have little to do with us.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Kim. I appreciate it 🙂

      Like

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