Associations incite homeowners’ ire

Homeowners Associations have earned plenty of scorn for ruling over people’s paint jobs and lawn gnomes, so it may come as no surprise that a new poll shows that 69 percent of respondents found the groups “a minor annoyance” or “a major headache.”

The poll, conducted by national agency ServiceMagic, which connects property owners with contractors to perform home renovations, was born out of regular comments and complaints the firm hears from its clients, said spokesman David Lupberger. When it comes to remodeling, residents and homeowners associations often find themselves on either side of a very high picket fence.

“We are this country of cowboys [who think], ‘I should be able to do what I want,’” Lupberger said.

According to the poll, 41 percent of respondents had some kind of conflict with the board governing design in their neighborhoods; 19 percent called it “all-out war.” A full 60 percent said they would avoid buying a home if it fell under the jurisdiction of a homeowners association.

Homeowners who belong to such neighborhoods “don’t have many options, short of lawyering up,” said Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-South San Francisco, who unsuccessfully tried to create an ombudsman to field complaints about homeowner and condominium associations.

Conflict broke out in Redwood City’s Emerald Hills neighborhood last year after members of the Emerald Hills Homeowners Association approached county planners about enforcing design guidelines. More than 1,000 residents signed a petition rejecting the changes.

Homeowners associations have earned a bad and undeserved reputation, said Georgette Sarles, president of the Laurelwood Homeowners Association in San Mateo.

“I have found that when you want to do something constructive, you’re grateful to have an association — because one little voice doesn’t stand a chance,” Sarles said.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read