HOLLANDS CROSSING APEX, NC
WHEN WAS THE HOA ESTABLISHED?
WHY HAVE AN HOA?
The purpose of creating an HOA is to protect the interests of the community and to promote uniformity, appearance, and decorum of the neighborhood by insisting on - and enforcing the - adherence to the Codes, Covenants & Restrictions (CCR) agreed to prior to purchasing a home within the HOA community. As set forth in the bylaws, these CC&R’s apply to and are enforceable to any renter or sublessee as well. While many people balk at the idea of being told “what they can do with their own property”, the reality is that you agreed *before* purchasing the home in an HOA, and you knew prior to signing that you would have to abide by the CCR’s.
While CCR’s do necessarily limit certain freedoms that other home owners enjoy, the basic premise behind them is that they protect your property’s value in the long run by prohibiting others from detracting from your home value by allowing their property to become run down, blighted, or diminish your quality of life with nuisances or disorderly conduct. Consider the following examples:
CCR’s prevent your neighbor from buying a house, then becoming a slum-lord with trashy renters that have broken down cars up on blocks, old freezers on the porch, and a giant stuffed moose head above the front entry because the HOA holds them accountable even after they move out.
CCR’s prevent your neighbor from diminishing your property value and creating an eyesore by painting bizarre colors or murals of dolphins on the walls or roof, or large nude statues and windmills in the yard expertly placed by a Feng Shui practitioner.
CCR’s prevent your neighbor from running a shade-tree mechanic operation out of his home, with cars parked two deep and three wide on the front lawn, with clinking and clanking sounds coming through your walls at all hours of the morning with the occasional crank and roar of an engine.
CCR’s prevent your neighbor from putting up a 450’ tall Ham radio antenna that towers over the neighborhood, snares low flying aircraft like a giant web, and that covers his entire back yard - and most of your view as your TV goes fuzzy every time he keys up with 1500 Watt transmissions you can feel in your metal dental fillings.
ANY PARTICULAR COVENANTS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW?
Why, yes! Yes there are! Some common covenants that everyone should know about are those that generally impact everyone’s quality of life and involve being a “good neighbor”. These include, but are not limited to:
Trash cans: These should be placed out on your street the night before collection day and removed promptly from the street. They should be stored so as not to be an eyesore on your property.
Leash law: Everyone loves pets, but being a good pet owner means taking responsibility for them. Apex city ordinance 4-2 defines “restraint” and “at large” with respect to control of pets, and it is expected that all home owners will follow these common sense restrictions for the safety of pets and residents alike.
Pet waste: Walking the dog is great exercise, and a dog’s gotta “doo” what a dog’s gotta do, but allowing your pet to defecate on someone else’s property - or a common area - and then leaving that waste is extremely rude and unsanitary. Special removal bags are available at the nearby Apex PetSmart store location for just this purpose.
Fences: Not all homes in Hollands Crossing have fences, but if yours is one, you should know that the architectural standards call for you to keep them in a general state of repair, that is: the wood should be kept conditioned, free of mildew or moss, and severely warped, cracked or missing boards should be replaced. The “good neighbor” rule applies - if it is your section of fencing, then you will have frame facing towards your house, and the neighbor will have the “pretty” side.
Basketball goals: Portable basketball goals must be stored in your driveway at least 15 feet from the curb when not in use. Additionally, Apex city ordinance 4-28 limits how these may be used on public streets so as to not impede the right of way. Children playing in the streets are exposed to additional risks by passing motorists, so parents are urged to emphasize caution to children at play. For safety, the community has a playground near the large pool that is safe from passing cars.
Mildew abatement: Homes must be kept free from mildew and moss on the southern-facing exterior walls. This generally involves annual or biannual power washing. This service is typically performed in under an hour for less than $100. Homes showing obvious mildew or moss are an eyesore, and this is typically one of the top causes of HOA CC&R violation notices being received by homeowners.
Noise pollution: Everyone loves a party, but not everyone enjoys being *kept up* by a party. Apex city ordinance 4-29 defines what constitutes unwarranted noise, and lists the penalties for infractions. This is usually not a problem, but other examples include lawn mowing a little too early (or too late), using loud power tools into the wee hours of the morning, hammering, etc. Please be a good neighbor and use common sense - if your own husband or wife is likely to get irritated at the noise you’re making, it’s a good bet that your neighbor certainly is.
Boats, Trailers & RVs: Who doesn’t like a day out on the lake or dirt-bike track? The rules allow for you to bring your recreational vehicles to your home to prepare for your trip, or to perform a quick cleaning of your equipment before it is stored away, but the storage of trailers or RVs on your property is not allowed - even if “it’s just for a few days.” If it’s been parked on your property for more than 24 hours, a violation may be noted.
WHAT ARE THE HOA DUES, AND WHEN ARE THEY DUE?
Everyone has bills to pay - even the HOA. The dues that are collected from homeowners go directly towards operating a budget that is put together by the treasurer and voted on by the board of directors. Without dues, the community would quickly fall into disrepair and crumble. Dues pay for paving parking lots, maintaining the pools and common grounds, as well as maintaining property values by code enforcement. To ensure that the operating budget is adequately funded, it is critical that all homeowners pay their dues in a timely manner.
Annual HOA dues - currently set at $372 must be postmarked no later than January 31st. Additionally, a monthly payment plan is available for those who find regular, smaller payments more amenable to their family budgets.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I FAIL TO PAY MY DUES ON TIME - OR AT ALL?
Dues are very important, for all the reasons mentioned above. Failure to pay on time costs the HOA money because of the paperwork involved. There is a $25 late fee charged per month that is added to the total amount owed.
If you fail to pay your dues by the January 31st due date, a notice will be sent to you that further delinquency will incur more fees, and that you will be in danger of foreclosure if you do not remit payment immediately. Members who have been notified they are no longer in good standing for lack of paying dues may address the board and petition for clementia misericordia before pool access is cut off prior to the pool season opening. While the board will hear any plea, please bear in mind that the general policy is: no payment, no pool access. When this happens, your pool access card will be not be activated for the upcoming pool season, and you will lose your voting/proxy rights as a dues-paying member of your community if you have not paid the back dues and all current fees by the annual board meeting in November. Shortly thereafter, the board will vote on referring any mature delinquencies to the attorney’s office for the foreclosure process to begin.
Once this happens, the fate of your home is no longer in the hands of the board, and you will need to work directly with the attorney’s office - and pay any additional fees imposed by the attorney - to prevent the imminent foreclosure of your property. Barring any settlement, your home will be vacated by a representative of the attorney and a Wake County Sheriff’s deputy and you will be displaced, under legal penalty of trespass if you refuse to leave or return to the property.
HOW DO I ADD TO MY HOME OR YARD?
Let’s be honest: one of the joys - and frustrations - of property ownership is making your house into a home. That usually entails weekends spent at Home Depot or Lowe’s and blood, sweat, and tears in the yard fighting weeds and bugs. Occasionally, part of the upgrades may entail a structure, changing the cosmetic appearance of the outside, or adding a little “character” to your home - with a flag pole, a large lawn decoration, or perhaps even a tree. Where does the HOA and the CCR’s fit in with this normal desire to upgrade your property?
The basic rule is ASK FIRST!! It is not advisable to assume “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” What you do inside your home is your business, but if it can be seen from outside, then your neighbors have a say in what they have to stare at every time they go outside to enjoy their front or back yards. It is beyond the scope of this page to go into exact details about the architectural standards, but they can (and should) be read every so often to ensure general compliance and especially before attempting any construction or modification/addition to your home or yard. The standards are available for download, and any questions regarding them should be addressed to the board of directors president or the property manager - BEFORE BEGINNING WORK!
A detailed set of instructions is provided on page 3 of that document instructing homeowners how to seek approval for any and all structural changes or modifications to the appearance of the home or yard. In short, these are the steps (this is a summary, please refer to the standards):
Download the Architectural Standards and Control Specifications Document.
Complete an architectural request form and to submit to the board of directors.
Submit the completed form, along with supporting documentation and permits.
Wait for the approval process to work its course. This may take a while, depending on the job.
You have the right to appeal any decision, in writing, to the board and the property manager.
WHO MANAGES HOLLANDS CROSSING PROPERTY?
Hollands Crossing property is managed by Community Association Services, Inc. The property manager’s email can be found on the Contact page. The property manager works closely with the board of directors to ensure that dues are collected, contractors are paid, legal issues are resolved, municipal codes are followed, and CC&R’s are enforced.
IS MY FAMILY SAFE AT HOLLANDS CROSSING?
Generally speaking, yes. This is a low-crime area. Apex Police Department performs routine patrols through the community and is very responsive to calls from community members. However, as is the legal precedent in all 50 states, the police are only responsible to the community at large, and not to any individual member personally. Therefore, you are ultimately responsible for your own safety. As such, there are a number of things you can to to increase your personal security, as well as the benefit the community at large. These include, but are not limited to:
Be vigilant: The best way to avoid being a victim is to be aware of your surroundings. Do you see a vehicle you don’t recognize casing the neighborhood when most people are at work? Do you see people who you don’t recognize in places you generally don’t see anyone at unusual times? Staying aware of what constitutes “normal” on your street and then noticing when activities or people that don’t quite fit that norm form the basis for reporting “strange or unusual activity” to the police.
Know your neighbors: The easiest way to determine what is “normal” in your immediate vicinity is to get to know your neighbors! When your family and your neighbors communicate regularly, interact, perhaps even engage in social recreation, the community is tightened, and people tend to “look out for each other” to a higher degree than when neighbors are virtual strangers. Sharing common, polite conversations is a natural way to learn about the typical goings and comings of the families around you and get a sense of what seems out of place.
If in doubt, call the Police: When something (outside of your immediate home) triggers your “danger” sense, DO NOT ACT ALONE. Even if you stop a crime in progress, North Carolina citizenry have no legal power to arrest or detain, so you are putting yourself in legal jeopardy if you attempt to apprehend a suspect yourself. The police are expertly trained, sworn, and have civil immunity for their actions while discharging their duties. Let them investigate, detain suspect individuals, and determine if a crime is underway.
Secure your property: There are numerous companies that specialize in offering all sorts of products and services to keep you safe. These may or may not be a good option for you. However, the best way to avoid becoming a victim of simple burglary is to secure your property at all times. This includes such simple, common sense behaviors as:
Keep your doors and windows locked in both your home and parked vehicles.
Keep your home well lit with motion detecting flood lights.
Keep bushes and shrubs small enough that a person cannot hide from patrols behind them.
Do not leave valuables laying in plain sight through windows, such as electronic devices on your passenger seat, or laptops and jewelry through open blinds.
Do not allow uninvited strangers, peddlers, salesmen, or solicitors into your home. Step outside to discuss whatever business they have. Allowing strangers into your home gives criminals with intent to case a good idea of what you have - and what they can easily take.
Secure any Weapons: Firearms are a fact of life in the US, and North Carolina has recently made many changes to the laws regarding the possession and carry of them. It is therefore vital to secure any weapons stored at Hollands Crossing at all times, for the protection of curious children, to avoid serious criminal penalties and civil liability, and to prevent monetary loss due to theft and potential use by criminals in later violent crimes.
WHAT CAN DO TO IMPROVE MY COMMUNITY?
Aside from maintaining the appearance of your home and ensuring all members of your family maintain proper decorum while in the community, there are always opportunities to improve. The board occasionally promotes special activities or common grounds improvement days where members of the community can enjoy a social gathering or common areas are tidied up or improved. While the board has historically struggled to maintain a calendar of regular social events, if you desire to volunteer, by all means - contact the board and let them know of your desire to host events or participate in social events!