Pokémon No! How to remove a Pokémon site from HOA’s common area property.
As a professional HOA management company, we are here to support our HOA and Condo community clients any way we can. Inevitably, our experienced HOA community managers are asked to resolve or assist with situations that are completely new territory for us. This time, we were recently asked to help remove a Pokémon Go site that has been causing some issues within one our HOA communities.
We recently took over management of the Hillcrest HOA located in South Austin earlier this month. It was immediately brought to our attention of an issue regarding Pokémon Go the mobile game, in both the Pool and Playground areas which are considered private HOA property. People (players) from outside the community were frequenting the area trying to earn Pokémon Go game achievements and “catch em all”. Previous attempts at removing the 2 Stops and 1 gym (game terms) had been unsuccessful, and visitors continued to take up HOA amenity area parking spaces, increase overall vehicle traffic, and leave behind trash.
The company responsible for Pokémon Go is Niantic, Inc. and had instructions on their website on how to place a request.
Niantic requires 3 things to proceed with a removal of a Pokémon Go site.
- Latitude and Longitude (optional but helpful)
- Owner verification for modification or removal on private property (non-residential)
- Images (where applicable)
When onsite, I was able to gather the coordinates for the specific locations, as well as screenshots of the locations from the game. The game is free to download on your Apple or Android device, and setup is rather quick. Below are some screenshots from the game perspective about the area in question showing the different Pokémon Go game sites.
The validation of ownership was the single requirement that took most time. We had to convince / prove to the games developers that the HOA did in fact owner and maintain the areas in question. In this particular case, the Lavendale Trail did not belong to the Hillcrest HOA, but rather is part of a separate bordering greenbelt area. The City of Austin Parks and Recreation department does not recognize this trail, so we were able to convince Niantic that Hillcrest was responsible for maintaining the trail (after numerous attempts).
The locations were listed as ‘closed’ but after a few days would re-open. We continued to send follow up emails (6 in total) with screenshots attached. Three weeks later, we were finally able to receive confirmation that all 3 Stops had been removed and that it would update soon. We checked the property location 7 days later and was happy to see all 3 Stops gone. They no longer showed as closed but had been removed entirely. Below are some screenshots from the game perspective showing the Pokémon Go elements removed from the area.
We will continue to check up on the location over the next several weeks and follow up accordingly. Now with the removal of the Stops/Gyms, players of the Pokémon Go game should not gravitate towards the HOA Pool and Playground nearly as much. Pokémon will still appear randomly, but with the decreased traffic, appearances will begin to decrease as well. The HOA board of directors was very happy to receive the information and hope that it helps alleviate the issues that Pokémon Go was causing on their HOA common area property.
Everyday is different in the HOA management world. Today we were able to help serve our HOA community by getting rid of a virtual nuisance that was causing issues in reality. Who knows what issues we will help resolve tomorrow. Only time will tell.