Dumpster Debates

I’m the HOA President for my neighborhood. We’re a small gated community of houses. For the most part our community is fairly low maintenance overall. Systems are already in place to take care of day to day things so that’s great. I do, however, have to take on other random issues.

On Monday I was informed about one of the houses that has been undergoing renovations for about a week filling up the 2 dumpsters for the whole community. The dumpsters are for all homes and get cleared out once a week on Wednesday. However, both were filled beyond capacity with construction trash. Because of this all the other homeowners have either not been able to throw out trash or were complicating matters by piling theirs onto the dumpsters or just leaving it next to the dumpsters.

As a contractor it is their responsibility to remove all construction trash from the site and not impose upon the homeowner or HOA. It’s even in our CC&R, but it should also be in their construction contract.

Because we are a private community, separated from the city for certain city services, we pay a company to remove our trash. However, if the dumpsters are overfilled the collectors can refuse to pick it up.They’ll still charge us for coming out, but the dumpsters are marked to show where they consider it full capacity.  Also, they will not pick up any trash left lying on the ground next to the dumpsters.

So… yesterday I was on my way to an appointment, one that had already been rescheduled from previous in the week, and I noticed the gates to the dumpster shed were wide open and we were missing an entire dumpster.

WTF? Who steals a dumpster?!

It had been appropriated by the renovation crew working on that house. I pulled my vehicle up the driveway to the home, coincidentally blocking them from moving the dumpster. I found the crew boss in the dumpster, already full of reno trash, jumping on it to help compact it. Mind you, the dumpsters had only been cleaned out 3 hours previously.

I told him to stop and that he needed to remove all items he and his crew placed in there. He was an older Korean man who tried to pretend he didn’t speak English, but I knew he was lying because he understood me perfectly. I further explained it’s his responsibility as the contractor to haul out the construction materials and that I will not have the community pay again for hauling out his trash. So he removed a small layer of trash and tried to convince me it’s not much and attempted to usher me away.

Heheh heh… No.

I’m not the kind of person who will be passive and accept this bs. I told him again to remove all the trash from the dumpster. Again he argued, and when he sees I won’t budge he removed another small layer and again tried to get me to leave the rest of the trash in the dumpster and go away.

Now he’s just pissing me off! I’m in full “Mama Bear” mode in protection of the rights of my neighborhood and our property from this jerk who’s being a cheapskate and trying to avoid paying to haul his own trash. I’m loud and again telling him to remove the ALL of the trash, even the 3 styrofoam squares he claims are not his. It’s likely, those measly few pieces he’s insisting aren’t his, really aren’t, but that’s not my point. My point is we already paid to remove 2 full dumpsters of his shit, so in my opinion he can take on a couple of styrofoam squares for fuck’s sake!


So this game begins: I yell, he pitches a fit and resists it, then relents and removes one layer and says enough and tries to get me to allow whats left in the dumpster. I yell more, he yells back, pitches another fit, resists the demand to remove his trash, then relents and removes one layer and says enough and tries to get me to allow whats left in the dumpster, again.  We went back and forth like this for almost an hour! It did kind of remind me of a little kid trying to push and push to get out of putting their toys away or clean their room.

I think this guy thought he could intimidate or stone wall me and assumed I’d back down on this issue and I just wasn’t having any of it. I had our management company on the phone while I was arguing with this man, and one of the neighbors came over to be my back up/witness and at least make sure I was ok. Most of the neighbors weren’t home from work yet.

Eventually, the guy gets his crew to remove everything but the damn styrofoam. At that point I just gave up on that issue. They pushed the dumpster back to it’s proper location, but when I tried to get them to open the lids before pushing it into the shed I was given an approximate “fuck you” in grunts and grumbles. Then the old man slammed the shed door shut, to which I yelled at him again. I was so angry about the whole process.

I stood on the main drive between the house and dumpster as my next door neighbor arrived. He was greatly disappointed to have missed watching me put them in their place. He then helped me fix the dumpster lids on the one dumpster (it needed to be pulled out completely to open the lids and then pushed back into the shed -a task I could not physically do alone) and take the rest of the trash the neighbors had just left on the ground into the other dumpster, which was now full. I was grateful for his help.

So much unnecessary stress and tension. That alone took an hour of my day, prevented me from making it to an appointment that I really needed to be at, and left me very tense for the rest of my night. I then had a list of phone calls to make to ensure this doesn’t happen again and inform the neighbor (who has not been living in the house during the renovation) of what’s been going on. You know, if that crew had just been compliant and got their own dumpster instead of being cheapskates this wouldn’t have been a problem for the whole complex and that would not have eventually fell upon my shoulders to fix.


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