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Author Topic: Fined $50  (Read 55110 times)

Posts: 14491

« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 07:07:14 PM »

Unless you are willing to hire a lawyer and go to court then your only option is to negotiate with the HOA. If you continue then the fine and interest will build and build and they'll file a lean against the property. Someday when you sell you'll find out at closing that you'll be short several thousand dollars that went to the HOA.

If you get an agreement, make sure you get it in writing and file it away in case you still get a surprise when you go to sell.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 3746

« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2011, 08:23:49 PM »


sounds like the HOA is out of control, do they publish the
financials and give notice for the election of officers?

something not right with this situation.

we had similar situation in my hoa, they billed homeowner for a pool that was not
approved and filed lein, he went to court, his complaint that his due process was violated,
he won and our HOA had to pay him $350,000.  Insurance only covered $250,000 and
our rates went up to make up the difference.  He then promptly sold the house.

73 james

Posts: 442

« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2011, 03:58:46 AM »

As a ham and member of my HOA board, I have a different perspective. HOA's are a necessary evil in my opinion.  The folks who scream the loudest about the over-reaching HOA are the first ones to demand that the HOA make his/her neighbor shut up the dog, move the junk car, put up his/her garbage cans, park the company vehicle somewhere else etc.  In other words, one person's pain in the backside is another person's personal liberty.  It is a fine line indeed as not everyone in the hood thinks a vertical vhf antenna is beautiful.  In fact most don't.

Your HOA has covenants and by-laws.  Read them carefully.  I would be very surprised if they allow fines without prior notice.  In fact state law probably prohibits that, most do.  We always send out two letters before we even start collecting postage cost, legal fees, or levy fines.

Yes enforcements do sometimes seem arbitrary. But it is more of a case of selective prosecution than arbitrary. The fact that all speeders don't get stopped does not make our speeding any less of a crime.  Forget it!  You won't win that argument unless you can prove the board maliciously targeted you - you can't!

Yes the HOA can fine you, charge you legal fees, file a lien, and foreclose on your property. The foreclosure doesn't happen often as it really is of little value to the HOA other than to get rid of a perceived poor neighbor. It is financially costly to an HOA to foreclose but as others have stated, the liens on your property can sit there forever.

Get involved! You can run for the board and become a big factor in the situation. Changing covenants is very difficult usually requiring 2/3 vote of the members. Influencing decisions is not difficult at all as most folks are happy to sit on the sidelines and complain rather than effect action.  Serving on the board will give you a different perspective of things.

If the board is really as tyrannical as you state and the members of the association are really that upset with them, remove them! Your HOA board probably serves at the will of the association and there are probably provisions in your covenants that allow the homeowners to remove any or all of them or even dissolve your association completely with a 2/3 vote of the homeowners.  Lots of luck there, though!  When you start this process you will probably find that more people support, or at least will tolerate, the association.

So you want to do battle?  Most likely you will lose.  First, the fact that satellite dishes and TV antennas are up is a non-issue.  Do not even consider that in your argument. These antennas  are exempt by federal and probably state laws.  Second, as you discovered, don't try to sneak it by. Some can get away with it, others won't.  You have already seen what happens when you don't.  You are now on the radar screen and anything you do will be scrutinized.  Yes you can put up a flagpole antenna - maybe.  You can hide a wire in your gutter - maybe.  But your best bet is going to be to work with your board to try to find something that will work for you and the HOA.  Yes they are in control and that doesn't seem right, but for now, they are in control and my experience suggests that they will win.

Finally, and this is obvious, if you don't want to be burdened by covenants, don't live in a deed restricted community.  I acknowledge that these are becoming more and more difficult to find, but they can be had.  Until the laws are changed, you are bound by the covenants you sign at closing. For the most part, judges do enforce them.  You don't really want to stand in front of a judge and be asked why you 1) signed the covenants if you didn't want to abide by them,  2) elected to take action that violated the covenants after you signed them, and 3) didn't resolve the issue after you were notified of non-compliance.

Don't get me wrong, I am a very conservative person and I do not favor government intervention in our lives.  However, when hundreds of families live literally 10 feet from each other, there needs to be some consistency in the way properties are maintained.  I would love to have a simple 40' crank-up tower in my backyard but my neighbors don't see it that as such a beautiful thing, just like I don't think a 30 foot RV parked on the street in front of my neighbor's house or a backyard full of dogs and cats and a rooster or two is such a good thing.  Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder and most builders who set up these covenants do not consider external antenna structures beautiful things.  Until those imposing governmental officials we all despise step in and prohibit these things, we are all pretty much stuck with what we have.  That is of course, unless we are willing to make the changes necessary to change things.  That just takes a lot of hard work and persuasion.  These battles are being fought at the legislative level.  Seek out your state folks who are leading this charge, put your money where your mouth is, and send your elected official a $20 campaign donation and let him/her know how you feel about these things.  That's the way to remedy these situations.

Good luck with your situation.


Posts: 7718

« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2011, 06:44:07 AM »

One should chose their battles wisely. In this situation you can fight for your $50 or you can have an outdoor antenna. But you can't have both. I would pay the $50, be nice, and work with the HOA on an acceptable antenna.

Posts: 1454

« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2011, 06:59:25 AM »

As a former licensed HOA Manager for ten years, I can tell you that the previous poster that identified himself as a Board Member is just wrong. If they are engaged in selective enforcement of their rules and regulations, in Florida, that is called "latches." If an association engages in latches, it nullifies all of their rules and regulations and they have to start over. If your violation is existing during that process, it is grandfathered in and they will most likely lose in court if they fight you over it. However, you may incur some legal expenses during the process. If you feel that you were not properly notified, according to statute, prior to the $50 fine being levied, that is another issue in your favor that may force the board to immediately remove the existing fine.

The best thing for you to do is to take your camera and go around to the Board Members houses and photograph any violations. You will find some! That is why these people run for an unpaid board. So they can gain an advantage of some sort and or violate rules without repercussion. Use the date and time option on your camera and take notes of any particulars. After you have the violations documented, file complaints on the Board Members just before the next meeting. Ask them to be placed on the agenda, along with the improper fine issue. Make sure you meet the agenda deadline! Notify them in writing that you intend to tape record the meeting and make sure you do! Show up at the meeting, prosecute the violations and demand that the same action and penalties that were taken against you be taken against the Board Members. If they refuse, announce that they are engaged in latches and their rules are now null and void. Make sure you get a  copy of the minutes and that they are accurate. If not, file a complaint with the state against the Board. Give the state copies of the minutes and your tape, stating the inconsistencies in writing. That is free and lots of fun! Board Members hate state investigations because the state makes them follow the law.

This does two things. It builds a case for your argument and it puts the Board Members on notice and in their place. They now know they will be victimized and harassed like you have been by their own rules and regulations. This puts you in a very good position for negotiations and a favorable resolution!

This not legal advise! Sometime during the process you may need the advice of legal council (many give that for free in an initial interview or over the phone) and or a letter from an attorney stating the issue and that if the situation continues you intend to sue to protect your rights (that may cost you $150 as a retainer). At this point, with the economy really bad. most boards are facing financial shortages in maintenance fees and cannot risk a legal battle.  

Having said all of that, if it had been me, I would have concealed the antenna. Don't stick your finger in the eye of the beholder!
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 05:22:31 PM by KI4SDY » Logged

Posts: 442

« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2011, 05:23:35 PM »

I don't mean to be rude but this seems like jailhouse lawyer talk to me. If the guy giving the advice isn't willing to represent you and put his time and money on the line, consider the value of the advice.  I wouldn't take this case unless you were paying me by the hour regardless of the outcome.

I do live in Texas so the laws in Florida may be different. I would like to see some Florida case law where a board was successfully sued in this type of situation.  The fact of the matter is that while I am not a lawyer, I have been party to numerous arbitration hearings, several lawsuits, and numerous foreclosures.  Our association has never lost a case, mostly because we try to work with our homeowners to resolve the issues and we are very careful about those cases we escalate.  We know that we are stewards of the association and we represent the best interest of all homeowners.  I will say that once things start to escalate the legal fees pile up really quickly.

I am not saying you won't be one of the few to win, but the odds are greatly in the HOA's favor. The laws are very loosely written and interpreted by the courts.  We have had residents try to tell us we couldn't force them to paint their house because the covenants don't specifically say it has to be kept painted.  The covenants are purposely loosely written (although many explicitly talk about antennas) so that associations will have a leg up on individuals. The burden of proof clearly lies with the individual homeowner.  Most violations fall under the "Prohibition of Offensive Activities" clause and I can tell you that most (not all) judges interpret these clauses very favorably on the side of the association. Just like district attorneys selectively prosecute cases, HOA covenant enforcement has some leeway as well.  Just because every violation in the hood isn't prosecuted, does not mean all of the violations that are prosecuted are void.  That is just nonsense. The previous poster is correct that the HOA cannot outright harass a homeowner, but in this case, ordering you to take down an antenna that is not permitted and for which an ACC application was not submitted has very little chance of being judged as harassment.

I do like the idea of checking out the board members homes and bringing any issues found to light.  However, I wouldn't burn my bridges unless I was ready to swim the river.  Let me know how that works out for you.  I don't know about your neighborhood, but our board members are pretty honest people and don't want this kind of alleged double standard.  We keep our homes in pretty good shape.

My advice is to be a nice guy and a good neighbor.  Try to work with the board.  I would check into the fines issues because your covenants probably do state that fines may be levied "after proper notification."  If the board refuses to work with you, then you have to decide if you want to fight the battle.  I can assure you that the association's pockets are deeper than yours and only you can decide if you want to spend the time and money to pursue it.

It really amazes me how really really bold people are when it comes to other peoples' time and money.  You are free to take whatever advice you want, but my experience tells me you are fighting a losing battle.  Read the ARRL advice on this issue.  They have some pretty good lawyers working for them and have fought a good number of cases in court.  However, their advice at this time is to work with the authorities, put in the proper paperwork and pay whatever fees are necessary BEFORE erecting an antenna.  If the authorities say "No" then look for ways to hide an antenna in your attic.  Think about it. 

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.


Posts: 1454

« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2011, 06:59:15 PM »

Don't take advise from a Board Member. They all fall from the same narcissistic tree and none of them want Association Members getting the idea of photographing their rule violations!  Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 07:03:59 PM by KI4SDY » Logged

Posts: 325

« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2011, 08:27:06 PM »


Check the webpage below out.  Then check with an attorney to see
if this bunch of schmucks can balk and force a fine if you pursue this.

OTARD as I understand it allows a person to erect a Video Receiving
antenna (I translate this to be a television antenna) exempt from
restrictive covenants, HOA by-laws etc. If that is the case buy your-
self a 40 foot pushup Channel Master or Rohn mast. If these schmucks
hate your hidden Tarheel antenna then they will go ape$^!^ over the
pushup mast with guy wires.

For the base of the mast place about 12 inches of 3 inch PCV pipe in the
ground. Put an endcap on it. Bore a small hole in the very bottom so
water can run out. Place the end of the mast inside the PVC pipe.

Place your TV Receiving antenna on top of the mast. If you are not
interested in outside tv reception still run a length of RG-59 or RG-58
down the side of the mast so it looks legit. The tv antenna can be a
little UHF gizmo or if you are really into being obnoxious stuff one
of the 14 to 16 foot long Log Periodic tv antennas up there normally
used by those folks truly out there in the weeds. If they question you
about your choice of the LP just tell them you have a favorite station
150 miles away and it takes a monster like that to get a signal that
barely works with the new HDTV stuff.

Use W7EL's EZNEC to get an idea of the base point impedance so you
can build matching networks. Yeah it is a vertical but hey, it will be a
40 foot vertical with multiple capacity hats that should just send your
local Jack Booted Thugs into a dither whilst allowing you to communicate.
Living in Florida the biggest aggravation is going to be the flash-bang
lightning along with the spherics but hey, it is more metal up in the
air and should be a heck of a lot easier to load than the screwdriver.

Run 10 to 15 "Safety Grounds" as long as you can get them. I call them
safety grounds but you and I know they are there to keep the RF Gods
happy. Many will tell you they have to be resonant, or 1/4 wave or other such
ideas but I ran a multiband vertical back in the 70's with odd length ground

If allowed be sure to install safety lighting which also can illuminate your
work of art into the wee hours of the night.

I strongly suggest you get a lawyers interpretation on this FCC OTARD
item before doing it, but if it is legal and all they can do is pound sand
and you do not mind making them grind their teeth this just might be
the way for you to recover your pint of blood, convince them your Tarheel
antenna is the lesser of two evils and drive them back into their den were
they can snarl to their hearts content.

Best wishes


Posts: 442

« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2011, 03:19:35 AM »

There are just so many angry bitter people in the world!  No wonder there is so much distaste for these guys within and outside of Ham radio.  These must be the old farts I hear about on 80 meters.  They think they know the law but really have no clue because they are so bitter about the world around them. They don't stop to think that others might just have some rights and there just might be an alternative viewpoint on this issue. I chuckle when I hear people saying, "Go for it! Go get them bas$%#^&j!"  They will happily send others down a rabbit hole whilst they sit in their cozy 1960's wood-paneled dens whining to anyone on the air who will listen to them. They long for those good ole days of "The Greatest Generation" and complain about how everyone else and the government is sucking American values and the economy down the drain.  Yet they don't get up until noon every day and twice a month they walk to the mailbox to pick up that good ole government check.  Then they complain about how they just can't get by and by God they deserve a big SS and medicare increase. They really have no idea how government or the law work, but yet they think they will happily give their ignorant legal advice to anyone who will listen - it isn't their money after all.  HOA attorneys eat these poor angry souls for lunch every day.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Take some time to go read some case law. Take a look at the cases posted on the ARRL site and see what even those who actually won their cases had to go through in terms of time and money.

Some of the folks here would now have you believe that just because there are federal laws stating you can have an OTA or satellite receiving antenna that you can just put up any ole pile of metal you want.  Once again, they show their blind hate-tainted ignorance of the law and how it works.  Now that you have a target on your back, go right ahead and put up a 40 foot mast with a TV antenna on it.  Don't even worry about submitting a ACC application.  You have rights! Let me know how that works out for you!

You know what, some folks here are just so angry they are willing to let you martyr yourself on their behalf. Just remember their advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. This is not a forum for legal advice on PRB-1 and such.  It is a place for people to vent, nothing more.  Many of these folks speak from anger and hatred for anyone who just might have a different viewpoint then they have.  They have no experience in these issues.  Yet far more reasonable people - the ARRL and any real lawyer included - will tell you that it is not a good idea to get into a pissing contest with your HOA. But hey if you want to believe these guys who have in all likelihood never stepped foot in a courthouse except to pay their traffic fines, go right ahead.  It's your time, money, and effort. 

Or maybe, just maybe, a more reasonable approach might be to seek out those who are trying to get PRB-1 applied to HOAs under state law.  They are out there.  Get in touch with your state representative and start a petition drive in your district.  A petition with the signature of every ham in your district will get you a lot farther than trying to butt heads with your HOA lawyers. Just maybe that might be a better course of action.

I wish you well.  You have gotten some advice here from the extreme to moderate.  It might be a good idea to spend a couple of hundred bucks to talk with a REAL attorney who has actually worked with such issues before deciding what to do.

Good luck and please keep us informed.



Posts: 56

« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2011, 06:33:25 AM »

Thomas (ae5qb) and all others...

Whew... a flame war! There's really no need for anyone here to
rant and flame over this stuff...

But please allow me to set some stuff straight....

You don't really want to stand in front of a judge and be asked why you
1) signed the covenants if you didn't want to abide by them, 
2) elected to take action that violated the covenants after you signed them, and
3) didn't resolve the issue after you were notified of non-compliance.

1. They are citing me for violating the requirement that I ask for permission prior to making a "structural modification".
2. There is -no- mention in the covenants that suggests an antenna or mast is considered a "structural modification".
3. The examples given in the documents do not in any way represent an antenna mast, or antenna.
4. Other homes in the subdivision have antennas and masts mounted in very detracting and obnoxious manner.
5. Hence, there was no intentional violation; no reason to perceive a rule was in place that prohibited the item at it's location.
6. They are not citing me for the antenna mast or antenna, they are citing me for violating the requirement that I ask for
     permission prior to making a "structural modification".
7. There was -no- prior notice of non-compliance; the only notice I received, was to inform me that a fine was levied.

Please re-read my previous posts? The homeowners have not had the opportunity to
elect members to the board in over twenty years. The president refuses to notify the
association of their duties to nominate and elect, and refuses to set any protocol for
doing so. The association (homeowners) feel they have no way to remove present
board members, since they have no way to gather all the homeowners together to
inform them of their rights, and how to accomplish what they want.

Further info:  (you know there always is)

The HOA board members have been appointed by the president, and removed
by the same president at his whim.

I had been appointed to the board, and my "term" lasted three months. I spoke at
our last annual meeting to the nine homeowners that had attended, and quizzed them,
asking if they knew they were there to elect new board members. They were totally
dazed. I spoke at great length, informing them that the president refuses to send notices
to them regarding upcoming meetings, and that they are entitled to be informed
regarding these matters.

At the end of the meeting, 5 of the nine homeowners took the time to thank
the president for being their president; each stating their most serious concern:
That if he leaves as president, that the HOA will be turned to an outside entity, costing
homeowners hundreds of dollars a month in fees. I found out after that meeting, that
the rumor of that scenario was generated by the president of the HOA, and has
managed to work it's way throughout the association. My neighbor had mentioned
it quite some time ago, but I had thought it was an isolated misunderstanding.

I was removed from the board a week after the annual meeting by the president
with no prior notice of intent to remove. Our bylaws state that the homeowners have
the right to recall or remove; the board can only remove an officer from office.

Florida statutes allow a board to recall or remove, if the board elects or appoints,
unless HOA bylaws say otherwise. That is a grey area, and it would take a judge
to decide; It's not worth my time or money. In any event, a notice of intent to
recall or remove is/was required, and that requirement was disregarded.

The vice president was appointed by the president, and is not a homeowner,
he rents here. He is a good friend of the president. They both made a decision
at an earlier meeting (when I was not yet a board member) to begin fining
homeowners without sending out warnings. They felt that homeowners should
make themselves aware of the rules. I made my objections known at that meeting,
but as a visitor, my comments were fruitless.

That sir, is reality. I took great time, and money to remodel my home, and I
care about it's appearance. I have no desire to install an antenna that would
detract from my home, or my neighbor's home. A small sized vertical antenna that
is no higher than the roof, and behind trees, as compared to satellite dish antennas
mounted on the front edges of roofs, in a glaring, obtrusive, and invasive act
of advertising by the service provider, should be enough for argument against
"selective prosecution" - But of course, satellite antennas are sanctioned.

As I also added, my neighbor's home has a UHF antenna on the peak,
next to a dish. Not one word has ever been said to him about that antenna.
The neighbor thinks it might have been installed by one of the utility companies.

Yes, I might be able to prove I was singled out. But will it matter, and is it worth
the time and cash to prove it? I doubt it.

At this point, I will go with what I stated in post #12; I'm getting too old
to continue my Don Quixote quest.

And as much as I can appreciate the comments and feelings of those that
would love to see a fellow ham fight back in nasty ways, retribution carries
a hefty price. The HOA president just might find that little fact our for his
obvious act of retribution towards me.

I found out through my years of life's experience, that if you keep to the
law, you can use it as your weapon; if you try to use the law to strike back,
you will lose the ability to use it for a weapon.

Not all homeowners associations are good. In fact, most of those I've
heard about down here, are run by those with self interests, and those
that wish to have power over those around them they normally would
not have.

Managing to get on any HOA board, does not mean you can change one
thing about how they conduct their agenda. In my case, I was promptly
removed from the board, just as others before me, have been in the past.

I will kiss-ass and see if I can persuade them to agree to my antenna
in the lower, hidden spot, or find out what spot they would approve,
if any.

I am paying the $50 immediately, and asking for a receipt to insure I won't find
the charge against my deed.

I will seek a refund later. I think I have a good case for that.

And ya'know? I really think it's time for the State to have an audit of this HOA.
A simple anonymous suggestion of impropriety and possible corruption can set
off an audit, and audits are great ways to make life miserable legally.

Laws are great; you just have to understand their intent.

I doubt I'll have any update too soon, since I'll be hospitalized for a week
or more. There's no big hurry to do anything that I haven't already taken
care of with this matter. The mast and antenna are down, the fine's paid.

Please, let's not get worked up over this stuff. Figuring out how to
negotiate with pseudo-power lords is the criteria. Taking them down,
can come later, with finesse and careful, subtle attacks.

Thanks for all the input from all of you that have taken the time.
I appreciate it!

John - aa1bn

Posts: 1454

« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2011, 07:47:59 AM »

If you will send a short and specific complaint to the state about the Association Board not following the law regarding elections and the fining process, and ask them to temporarily take charge of the Association until it is run in accordance with the Florida Statutes, they will oblige and your problems will get resolved. This will cost you nothing and you will have the enjoyment of watching the rats run for cover!  Grin

I feel a resignation coming in your Association President's future!  Shocked
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 08:56:38 AM by KI4SDY » Logged

Posts: 7718

« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2011, 08:49:00 AM »

OTARD as I understand it allows a person to erect a Video Receiving
antenna (I translate this to be a television antenna) exempt from
restrictive covenants, HOA by-laws etc. If that is the case buy your-
self a 40 foot pushup Channel Master or Rohn mast.

I believe that OTARD allows an antenna sufficient to receive a television signal and no more. If a 4' mast will do the job a 40' mast is not allowed.

A small (hidden) antenna driven by an amp is one recipe for good CC&R neighborhood communications.

Posts: 325

« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2011, 09:27:53 AM »


If you read back through my postings you will find I suggested complying with
the HOA rules and paying the fine to avoid further Imperial Entanglements.
In other words suck it up and move on. However John did inquire about dealing
with the HOA schmucks. The OTARD solution was offered with the disclaimer to
consult with counsel before trying that effort. Methinks you are looking something
to complain about.



Posts: 325

« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2011, 09:56:38 AM »

Hello WX7G

I reread the OTARD sheet from the above referenced link. What caught my eye was
the following which I copy here:

(3) An antenna that is designed to receive local
television broadcast signals. Masts higher than
12 feet above the roofline may be subject to local
permitting requirements.

In addition, antennas covered by the rule may be
mounted on "masts" to reach the height needed to
receive or transmit an acceptable quality signal
(e.g. maintain line-of-sight contact with the transmitter
or view the satellite). Masts higher than 12 feet above
the roofline may be subject to local permitting
requirements for safety purposes. Further, masts that
extend beyond an exclusive use area may not be covered
by this rule.


What is a local broadcast signal? Where I live in Virginia the nearest
station is about 30 miles distant. At my NC residence the nearest
station of interest is 55 miles.

What particularly appealed to me was the statement in the OTARD sheet
which stated:

 "to reach the height needed to
receive or transmit an acceptable
quality signal (e.g. maintain line-
of-sight contact with the transmitter
or view the satellite)."

I can easily make the case for a mast of 20 to 30 feet in my situation and perhaps
upwards of 60 feet in NC due to one station of interest being a low power signal
on a low elevation tower.

As I stated earlier I would ask a lawyer first before doing it.  If  his opinion was I could
do it and he provided a path to realization then I would proceed.


Posts: 994

« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2011, 10:46:37 AM »

I wish you well.  You have gotten some advice here from the extreme to moderate. 

The only sure-fire, 100% guaranteed advice is to move to a house without deed restrictions and city/county restrictions. I went through the whole HOA/CC&Rs battle for years, and it left me depressed, angry (at myself for moving there in the first place), and without hope for a solution. The only solution that ultimately worked was to to move.

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