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Bizarrely fickle HOA leaves homeowner in a lurch by rescinding approval on completed project: 'This is why people avoid HOAs'

"I don't know if he will sign or not."

Retaining wall

Photo Credit: iStock

A first-time homeowner has shared their frustration with their homeowner association (HOA) after it backtracked its approval of a retaining wall — and Reddit users are sharing their advice on how to handle the situation.

In a recent post on the r/homeowners subreddit, a user wrote a post detailing a complicated conflict with their neighbors and the HOA in their neighborhood. The user built a retention wall in their backyard.

"I had got the HOA approval last year," the user wrote in their post. "I had a signature from [both] neighbors … I got the HOA notice saying [I] did not get prior approval to build a retaining wall … and asked [me] to submit [a] new modification form."

The user received a notice from their HOA that construction needed to halt after the project was already completed. When the user asked an HOA representative what to do next, they told the user to repeat the steps of the modification request. 

Then another new problem arose: one of the user's neighbors kept ignoring their pleas to sign the updated form. 

"This neighbor has done the same retention wall project in his lot back in 2018 when I was not the owner so [the] previous owner must have given his consent," the Redditor explained. "His lot water is draining towards my storm water drainage and nothing has changed after my work. He is giving me [a] hard time by asking [for a] day or two every time I message him for the signature. I don't know if he will sign or not."

Retaining walls can be essential for maintaining a healthy, stable yard, according to Landscaping Network

For example, by flattening the inclines of a given space, retaining walls help keep soil in place and reduce harmful erosion by slowing water flow and keeping soil compact. That means the plants in your yard will be more protected during severe weather and will maintain consistent access to the nutrients they need in stable soil, according to Mutual Materials

Additionally, through terracing, retaining walls can transform the amount of functional space you have in your yard and have plentiful aesthetic advantages, as well. Separating your yard into sections with retaining walls also encourages biodiversity.

Reddit users shared their suggestions in the comment section on how the homeowner should proceed.

"Talk to your neighbor in person, with form in hand. If he doesn't sign it there, ask what his reservations are and why they have changed from last year," one user suggested.

"In the last HOA I was in, the signatures from the neighbors weren't a hard requirement. They were there to inform us when approving something that the neighbors were notified — not that they approved. You might be able to submit the form without that signature, or staple the previous form to it, and that [should] be enough for the HOA," another user wrote.

"This is why people avoid HOAs," added a third.

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