Wow! I have to show you the most amazing video that I took the other day. I was testing the afternoon light with my GoPro–you know, one of those small action video cameras that snowboarders and skydivers attach to their helmets. It is great for taking short clips around the neighborhood. I was setting it up on a stand behind Mr. Paul H’s garage and had it aimed at the garage door when this thing suddenly appeared.
I left in a hurry and called animal control. They came and picked this thing up quickly. Since it did not have a collar or tag of any kind, they took it to the Humane Society where it was placed up for adoption.
If you are looking for a pet, you can have it just by paying for the required vaccination–$428.00. That’s $28.00 for the vaccination and $400.00 for the six guys needed to hold it down. Good luck…mm
After all we have said in the previous articles, what is it we want here anyway? We want the same things that we would want anywhere else we might choose to live–a tranquil, safe, friendly lifestyle in beautiful surroundings with well-maintained homes and an orderly tenor of life. Notwithstanding rules and regulations, degrees in philosophical ideals, or even the payment of monthly dues, it is the enjoyment of life that we seek. The Trace gives us this very thing summed up in two very simple words–“Easy Living”.
The easy living referenced above is an apt description of life here in the Trace and is why the phrase is used as the subtitle of our web site. As long as we can enjoy our families, come and go as we desire, entertain friends, and do all the other things that satisfy our residential needs, we do not have to worry ourselves with regulations and by-laws. We need to know that they exist; but, we can put them out of conscious thought when we are comfortable living within their parameters.
Let me give you a concept for consideration–that the condo (the structure, the land, etc.), not the homeowner, is the one that pays the monthly dues required to be a part of the Association. Though it sounds silly at first, it is absolutely the case for all practical purposes. After all, it is the condo for which the dues are collected; it is the condo that sits there day after day weathering and requiring occasional maintenance and repair. The dues accrue to the benefit of the condo, not the homeowner. In fact, it does not matter who the homeowner is at any given time; it only matters that the dues are paid for the condo. Understandably, the homeowner must actually write the check; but, his/her participation is coincidental.
When you grasp the idea put forth in the previous paragraph, you can see that the condo is a perpetual enterprise the support of which changes as the condo is bought and sold and responsibilities are passed on from homeowner to homeowner. The needs of the condo are always there regardless of who owns it. You can now understand that one homeowner may pay dues and receive no services if the condo does not need services during his/her tenure. During the ownership of the next the condo may receive a bounty of services. It is the condition of the condo that determines the need for services–not the wishes of the homeowner.
Knowing the above, the title of this article makes more sense to the sensible reader. The dues paid accrue to the welfare of the condo, whenever that may be; the homeowner may never see the use of that money for maintenance and repair of his/her home as such needs are unpredictable. Therefore, in a sense, there are no refunds. The money will be used elsewhere for the needs of other condos in accordance with our governing documents–such is the purpose of the Association in the first place as explained in previous articles. Rest assured, however, that the majority of dues paid is used to pay for services that all receive on a regular basis–insurance and lawn care. The portion used for maintenance and repair is a fraction of the total paid.
To many the term “fair share” conjures the notion that one gets back what one contributes to an enterprise. When joining a housing association, many mistakenly believe that this meaning should apply. Such is not the case as the concept of fair share is relative to what the homeowner agrees to under the governing documents–the contract. Every homeowner gets a fair share of services since services are based on needs; but, the homeowner does not necessarily get an equal share since his/her needs are likely to be different from his/her neighbors. When joining River Oaks Trace, the homeowner agrees to pay dues for the good of the Association (his/her home included). There is no promise of any return or equity–thus “sorry, no refunds”.
The Latin epithet “E Pluribus Unum” has been used on our coinage since the Revolutionary War. The basic interpretation is “Out of many, one”. The traditionally understood meaning of the phrase was that out of many states (or colonies) emerges a single nation. However, in recent years its meaning has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions, languages, and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation—illustrating the concept of the “melting pot”.
The phrase is appropriate for any group of people that amalgamates into a separate body guided by a common set of principles. It is singularly appropriate for us here in River Oaks Trace as we have bound ourselves by a compact pursuant to certain standards of habitation and preservation. This compact is embodied by our Master Deed, Covenants, and By-laws. When a person buys a home in the Trace, he/she agrees to be bound by these articles of governance.
By becoming a member in the Association, a homeowner agrees to give up his/her property rights to a large degree in deference to what are termed the “Common elements” in the Master Deed. In exchange, the Association assumes the care and liability for the Common Elements. The purpose of having a housing association in the first place is so that the pooled resources of all are dedicated to the care of each member as needed and the community as warranted.
The Association is not a trivial concept, but is an explicit reality–that is, we are legally bound together as a functioning corporation and must abide by the governing documents. We cannot act as independent homeowners, but must act within the regulatory constraints of the Association, guided by the purview of the Board of Directors whose job it is to administer the governing documents…mm
I was reluctant to move into River Oaks Trace because, as a firm believer in property rights, I found the policies and concept to be overly restrictive. After some thought, however, it was clear that I was not irrevocably giving up my ideals; I retained the choice to sell my home at market value just as I would anywhere else. What attracted me about the Trace was the prospect of having a beautiful, orderly neighborhood of friendly folk, some of whom I already knew. Given the privilege later of serving on the Board allowed me the opportunity to help maintain the beauty and organization of our precinct.
Per the governing documents–Master Deed, By-Laws, and Covenants–the Association, the collective of members who own condominiums within the Trace, is responsible for providing certain services to those members. These services include insurance, lawn care, and the repair and maintenance of the condominiums. These services are applied to what are termed the “Common Elements”. In short, this means that the Association provides these services to everything in the Trace except the interior living space of the condominium. The interior living space, that area within the innermost walls of a condominium, is both the domain and responsibility of the homeowner; everything outside the innermost walls is the responsibility of the Association.
The above concept of the division of responsibilities has led some to view the Association as a sort of guardian or concierge, vigilant to respond to every need or desire of the homeowner. The Association, through the Board of Directors, attempts to fulfill the requirements of the governing documents; but, human fallibility and legal constraints will always interfere to prevent them from satisfying homeowners 100% of the time. The homeowner must ask of himself “Who is the primary caretaker of my home?” One only has to answer the subordinate questions, “Who lives in my home?”, “Who pays the mortgage on my home?”, and “Who has most to lose upon the deterioration of my home?”, to answer the original question; the primary caretaker of the home is….the homeowner.