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Homeowner seeks advice as HOA's poor drainage system floods property: 'You likely have a different situation that's harder to solve'

"No HOA board is willingly going to adopt a liability because of a newsletter from the 80s."

"No HOA board is willingly going to adopt a liability because of a newsletter from the 80s."

Photo Credit: iStock

A Washington state resident is turning to Reddit for advice after inheriting a challenging situation with their local homeowners association.

In a post on the popular r/HOA subreddit, the Redditor explained that their grandmother purchased a rural creek-side lot in 1970, before paved roads existed in the area. However, when the HOA added a paved road in the 1980s, it caused natural spring water to flood the property, rendering it virtually impossible to build upon.

"The HOA installed a paved road in the 1980s which caused natural springwater to back up and flood my grandmother's lot, making it un-buildable," the Redditor wrote.

"They installed a couple of culverts under the road to help drain the damned up springwater, however, they haven't maintained them and they are not very functional."

The post goes on to detail how the pooled water on the opposite side of the road seeps underneath, inundating the family's land. The Redditor reached out to the HOA board but was brushed off. A formal letter requesting a resolution of the drainage problems has so far gone unanswered.

Unfortunately, disputes between eco-conscious homeowners and HOAs are not uncommon. Across the country, HOAs have prevented residents from making eco-friendly, cost-saving property upgrades, such as installing rooftop solar panels or planting native species lawns.

By stymying such sustainable progress, HOAs negatively impact both homeowners' finances and the environment.

Thankfully, positive solutions and progressive compromises usually emerge when homeowners work with their HOAs, not against them. By framing an eco-upgrade as a mutual benefit, homeowners and renters can change bylaws in the planet's favor. Unfortunately for this Redditor, though, it helps to be proactive or at least act upon problems much sooner than decades later.

Fellow Redditors chimed in with suggestions and similar experiences.

"Normally dry detention ponds only hold water for ~48 hours. If it's a retention pond and holds water in perpetuity, you likely have a different situation that's harder to solve," one commenter advised. "I think a better bet is to hire another engineer to assess the site."

Others pointed out the challenges of getting an HOA to take responsibility. "No HOA board is willingly going to adopt a liability because of a newsletter from the 80s," a user noted.

Another explained that in Washington State, "It is a higher bar to pursue neighboring land owners for diverting water to your lot generally, compared to most states."

The Redditor's next step may be to seek legal counsel to compel their HOA to address the drainage problems as allegedly promised. In the meantime, their story serves an eye-opening glimpse into the hurdles homeowners can face in making eco-friendly improvements when an HOA is involved.

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