Fred Flintstone v. Steven Seagal?
On Saturday, ABC 15 out of Scottsdale, Arizona reported on a dispute Steven Seagal is having with his homeowners’ association (“HOA”). The gated community which sports multi-million dollar homes is upset about the number of workers’ vehicles parked in front of the action star’s home.
This issue seems to have been going on for quite awhile. Seagal’s attorney, Mark Goldman, commented, “They were very upset because there were numerous cars here, but there had to be cars here because the home hadn’t been lived in for two years.”
ABC 15 reported that after several emails between Attorney Goldman and the HOA’s management company, “the fight seemed to pick up steam when some Fred Flintstone-sized boulders started appearing one after another along the road in front of Seagal’s property.”
Interestingly, Goldman also stated that “The reason he moved into a gated HOA was so that he could have peace and tranquility. Instead this HOA has done nothing but act with him in an argumentative manner.”
This story provides little background information on the steps the association took to handle the parking issue. As a result, it's impossible to comment on whether the association acted in an appropriate manner. However, the story does highlight the following realities of living in an HOA:
●Everyone is required to comply with the covenants, rules and regulations and architectural guidelines of their association. An individual’s name, celebrity, social or economic status are irrelevant. Boards have a duty to enforce these requirements in a consistent and fair manner without, absent a compelling reason, giving any resident special treatment.
● Unfortunately, some folks living in HOAs believe they are special and aren’t required to comply with the requirements of their communities. They thumb their nose at managers and volunteer board members by doing things like parking their RVs in the community and making improvements without obtaining architectural approval. They don’t care that other members of their community are complying with the governing documents and the actions they take adversely affect their neighbors and property values. They also don’t care that the association is required to take action to enforce the requirements. This costs money which all of the compliant homeowners have to cover through assessment increases. The bottom line is these people care about one thing – themselves.
HOAs can and should be a great place to live! My husband and I live in an association and we like the fact that our neighbors can’t put up a car on blocks in their yard, leave garbage cans out on the curb for days at a time or clog up the culdesac by parking their RVs in it. That’s one of the biggest benefits of living in an HOA. I for one am glad to give up the right to paint my house pink in order to live in a well-maintained and hospitable community.