Maybe living in a HOA isn’t the best decision? These former residents drop some shocking rules they had to deal with. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
California’s Water Restriction Vs HOA’s Grass Policy
“We were living in SoCal at the height of the drought. There are still water restrictions in effect, placed on residents by the State of California, such as:
- Can only water your lawn on certain days and times of night (usually post six pm)
- Can’t wash your car in the driveway
- Not allowed to refill any lost water in a pool
And some others like that. Parents took care of the grass by watering what little they were allowed to, but it wasn’t a lush/bright green color anymore.
Our HOA tried imposing a fine of 125 dollars for dead grass and that it was an eyesore. I happened to be the one home that day when my mom was approached with this letter at the door. She told the woman there that she was being more of an eyesore to the property than the grass was. Also my mom sent her the proper info from the State that put the water restrictions in place.
Her reply was she didn’t care and wanted everything to look nice and proper. I offered to start watering mid-day to get a bright green lawn only if she was willing to cover any fine imposed by the State.
Never saw her again.”
New Summer Rules That Had Parents Ticked Off
“My condo association was basically run by a collective of old dictators. They made a ton of annoying, stupid rules over the years, but one, in particular, came about during summer about six years ago or so.
Notices were placed around the complex in late spring, informing all parents that their children MUST attend summer camp or otherwise go on vacation for the majority of summer. They didn’t want any kids in the complex over the summer, and if your child was found to be staying at home during the summer, then you would be fined every day that your child was not gone.
Needless to say, parents were not okay with this. There was a group of parents that barged into a condo association meeting and demanded to know what the heck this was all about. The crotchety old bats outright admitted it was because they didn’t want any children running around the property, using the pool, making a bunch of noise, and ruining things for their crotchety old bums.
The parents collectively told the association to the heck with their rule.
A few days later, there were new notices. These notices basically said that sure, your kids could stay here, but they were only permitted to use the pool on Saturday afternoon and could only play in the yard from 11 AM to 3 PM three days a week throughout the whole summer.
The parents again collectively told the association to the heck with their rule.
New notices came up, this time allowing the pool only on Saturday and Sunday and allowing outside play for the same hours every day.
The parents again collectively told the association to the heck with their rule.
No new notices came up for a while, but as summer break finally set in, everyone found out there was now a padlock on the pool gate.
Notices now claimed the pool was ‘closed for repairs.’ Repairs that never happened, but apparently took all summer long and ended the first-day school started again.”
He Was Only Trying To Help His Neighbor
“My parents’ HOA had a rule that you were NOT allowed to cut down trees without a ‘permit’ from them, at ANY time, for ANY reason.
The first winter they lived there, there was an ice storm and a tree fell onto the neighbor’s deck, taking out his entire deck and the sliding glass door that went from his kitchen to his deck. My dad went over with his chainsaw to help him cut down the tree that was now in his kitchen.
In the middle of the storm, someone from the association heard the chainsaw and came over. asking if they had a permit to cut apart the tree in my neighbor’s kitchen.
He told them to get bent. Then they tried to give him a 1K fine for ‘cutting down a tree without a permit.'”
“Our HOA enforcer or in other words, the HOA bully liked to go around with his cell phone and take random pictures of people’s property. If anyone’s front yard wasn’t as good-looking as his, then he would send notices.
My wife was out there in the spring making the front look nice when she saw the bully walk by and take a picture and walk off. After she finished, the front yard was nice looking with flowers and stuff. The next day, we got a notice stuck to our door stating we needed to redo our entire front yard with what my wife had just done.
Two years ago, while I was cleaning the living room, I let one of the dogs outside. The back gate was shut. Somehow during the time I was working in the living room, the HOA guy came by and yanked the gate open and the dog got out. Didn’t notice this until I was done and my dog was gone. I had to search the area quickly because I had to go to work in an hour. Luckily, she didn’t go very far.
How did I it was the bully? I got a notice the next day to ‘secure’ my backyard gate.
My neighbor had an open fence area since she had an end unit. She reported that she would be playing with the kids and the HOA would walk by trying to be sneaky and taking pictures with his phone.
Another thing, visitor parking was rarely enforced. When they did enforce it, they towed. Yet there were times, I saw work trucks in visitor spots overnight. I always got my parking pass from my HOA board and put the tag up for my guests. Yet one time when I came back from a late-night movie, I saw cars parked in visitors’ spots with no tags.
Like ‘What the heck dude?!'”
“This past Halloween, my wife put up a pretty sweet zombie cut out on our bedroom window. We thought it was pretty cool. We lived on the ground floor of our condo, so if you walked around the corner, and didn’t expect it, the zombie kinda startled you.
Apparently, someone was upset by the cutout, and reported us to the HOA. We got a letter in the mail that we were gonna get fined 100 bucks because it was considered ‘Scary Decoration.’
Nowhere in the HOA bylaws was there anything that mentioned ‘scary decoration’, so we ignored it.
We were close with two people on the HOA board so we asked them about it.
They said, ‘Yeah, we didn’t send that.’
There was this Karen who had always been pestering us ever since we moved in. Mostly because HER dog bit OUR dog and we told her to keep her dog on a leash, which was an HOA rule. So we assumed she was the one that reported us.
My wife decided to buy a strobe light and put it under the cutout in the window so it made the decoration even scarier but we didn’t hear any more regarding it.”
He Wasn’t Even Apart Of The HOA
“This was years ago, I lived on a property that was adjacent to a neighborhood with an HOA. The back part of my lot backed up to two homes in the HOA.
Shortly after I moved in, one of my neighbors came over and asked, ‘Why haven’t you gotten rid of the brush pile? It’s a violation of the HOA agreement.’
Mind you, it was a small pile of branches that came down in a storm a week prior and it was roughly 20 feet from any HOA property.
I told the neighbor, ‘I’m not a part of the HOA.’
The next couple of days went by and I got a letter from the HOA asking me to remove the bush pile or face potential action. Now, I was going to eventually get rid of the pile, but being the hot-blooded man I was, I now was debating it. I decided to look up my local ordinances and sure enough, as long as it was not visible from the road and my grass was below six inches, I was in the clear. And again, I was not in the HOA.
So I decided to be proactive and spend the following three weekends trimming every tree I could reach on my property with an 18′ pole saw and stacked all of the branches on the said pile. Clearly out of view from the road.
Then, two of my neighbors knocked on my door. They said they wanted to talk about my brush pile. I politely informed them that my brush pile was well within ordinance rules and I was again, not a part of their HOA. This was where it got fun.
About three weeks later, I got another letter. This time from a legal agency representing the HOA in question. Basically a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo about damaging my neighbors’ property values etc. And if I didn’t have the pile removed within their designated time frame, then they would pursue a civil suit.
Now, I’m not recommending that you do what I did. At the time I worked for a Telecom company where I did line work. In my work truck, I had four or five cans of hi-viz orange spray paint. I proceeded to paint the larger logs in my pile as much as I could so they had a beautiful orange hue.
One day, a city code enforcement officer showed up at my door and asked me about my wood pile that my neighbors had complained about.
He asked, ‘Where it’s at?’
I told him where and we walked out. He pulled out a ruler and determined quickly that my lawn was well within the requirements. Then he drove around to the road of the neighborhood in an attempt to see if the pile was visible from the road.
At this point, one of my neighbors and his wife were out observing. The code enforcement officer concluded the pile was not visible from the road and that it was far enough away from any structures to be any threat of pestilence of any kind.
Then the code enforcement nodded to me and said, ‘Have a great day. Sorry for the trouble.’
The neighbor clearly upset approached the officer and began yelling to speak with his boss.
The officer basically told him to get lost, and if he got another complaint from him or the HOA again (apparently they had been called more than once), then he would be forced to file some kind of harassment/abuse of public services.
That same neighbor moved out a little less than a year later, while the other neighbor hadn’t so much as even been outside or showed up again.
After a while, I got rid of the pile cause I was sick of looking at it.”
Five Cars, But Only Four Parking Spots
“We had five of us renting a five-bedroom house, but this house had only four parking spots; two spots in the garage and two in the driveway. We were not allowed to park on the street without a permit overnight. Well, with five cars, and only four spots, the math didn’t add up.
So we ordered a parking permit, but were denied due to ‘not being a family’. When we called to ask what that meant, the HOA stated we all needed the same last name. This of course was after we called in and asked what we needed to do to get one, which was:
1. Have all cars registered to the house (paid for that)
2. Pay the ‘application fee’
We ended up parking the fitfth car sideways behind the other cars, every single night. The HOA was only able to tow from the street, and therefore, ‘warned,’ us each night, for the entire year there, that it was a ‘problem’.”
“All Of This Was To Mess With The Patients”
“We had both a Neighborhood Association (NA) and Homeowner Association (HOA) where we lived. And the NA oversaw the HOA.
There was a fairly large park with homes on all sides of it except the western side of the park. There was a major road and then more houses and a large ‘apartment complex’.
Only this apartment complex wasn’t apartments, but it was an Elderly Home for Mental Instability Patients. Basically, an old folks’ home for mental patients abandoned by their families.
Well, the NA’s and HOA’s heads wanted the building to turn into apartments. But since the NA’s head couldn’t enforce rules for strictly their building, it was enforced in our western portion of the neighborhood.
Starting with: ‘ALL residents must register and remain active in the NA’s group page or you would be unable to participate in meetings.’
And they checked before every meeting. If a post hadn’t been made within a week of the meeting, you were turned away.
Next, you could only walk certain routes on certain sidewalks at certain times. Members of the neighborhood watch who caught you breaking these rules would come out from their homes and give you tickets. Didn’t matter if you lived in the area or not.
All of this was to mess with the patients. The idea was if they made it a living nightmare for the patients and the employees, they’d eventually get tired and leave. Well, it didn’t work. The home changed their outdoor activity times for the patients to meet this schedule, as well as changing up what patients were allowed to do outside.
Next, an anonymous tip was placed with the state that employees were, ‘beating and stealing from their patients.’ And that the building and company were unlicensed to do such work at the location. The state came in and did their investigation, in which they found nothing. But the licensing stuff all came from the city, which was left for them to handle.
The city did not want to get involved. They were ticked off when the NA and HOA started making this a big deal. The city eventually came out, did their own inspection, but found everything was 100 percent kosher, including their zoning and licensing. The NA’s head gave up, right?
Wrong. The head of both groups had a wonderful idea. He, along with two other members of the boards started breaking into for-sale homes and stealing all the copper. Then they’d turn around and forge witness statements that it was the patients. This started a whole campaign to get the place shut down.
Well, about two or three weeks before the city made their final decision, a local police officer was sitting behind the complex in question which was right across the street from my house. He caught a glimpse of someone attempting to enter one of the homes directly behind the facility. He investigated, and guess what?
He caught the head of the board and two other members of the association breaking into the home. They all confessed, with the head confessing to wanting to rid the neighborhood of the facility so he could buy the land and redevelop it. The city sued the head of the board and the NA was basically robbed of any sort of legal standing or understanding they had with the city.
Now they’re entirely powerless. It’s magical.”
A 200 Dollar Fine Over Their Trampoline?!
“When I was growing up, we lived in a neighborhood with an insane HOA. We had a trampoline with no cover on the springs, so we got a notice saying we needed to buy a cover. No problem, we bought a standard blue cover the next day. No biggie, but the following day, we got a notice with a 200 dollar fine that our trampoline pad didn’t match the trim on our house and we, therefore, had two days to remove and replace it.
We also regularly got complaints about playing in the street. Mind you, it was a very suburban neighborhood with almost zero traffic. We were ages 10-15.
Another time we received a fine for our basketball hoop’s net being too tattered (it wasn’t), and countless others. My mom made it her mission to troll the HOA as much as possible.
Eventually, the old neighbors across the street both died and the complaints/notices instantly stopped coming.
Rot in the ground, Dave and Cathy!”
“On Christmas, we had bulk pick-up trash that came every other Friday. I took my large tree cardboard box and a few other bulk items down Wednesday night. The bulk pick-up spot was also a visitor spot, and visitors couldn’t park there the day before, Thursday, or the day of pick-up.
I came out 30 minutes later and someone had picked up everything and brought it back to my front door.
I thought, ‘Okay maybe someone’s family really needed the spot for one night since come midnight, they can’t park there anyway.’
Nope. No one there. Some crazy nosy person sifted through my trash to find the shipping address and dragged all these items back, only for me to take them back three hours later after midnight.
But then, on Saturday, someone took a whole Christmas tree out of their apartment and just left it on the grass in front of the apartments. Nowhere near bulk pick-up. And it stayed there for a whole week before I emailed the HOA to come to get it. Which meant someone cared more about me following the rules and dragging my trash back, but not enough to make the neighborhood look nice by removing the tree (which was much lighter than my trash). Old people are insane.”
“The Dude Was Lying And Everyone Just Accepted It”
“My parent’s old HOA tried to tell me our mulch wasn’t the correct shade of brown. When I changed it, they said it was too light. So I changed it again, to which they said, ‘Looks black, not brown.’
So yet again, I tried changing the mulch. This time, they said it was too tan.
I was beyond over it. So to aggravate them, I found rainbow-colored mulch. I told the old hag running the HOA, either he could shut up about mulch or come remove it himself, piece by piece.
I looked at the guidelines and there wasn’t a darn rule about mulch color. Turns out there weren’t as many rules as he insisted there were. We didn’t need to stain our decks the same colors. And floral bushes weren’t banned. The dude was lying and everyone just accepted it.
So I began showing up at every meeting, questioning his authority, calling his cognitive function into question and generally being a gigantic pain in his bum.
I was 19 at the time and he was 7,000 years old. So he would get so mad that a 19-year-old woman was calling every rule into question.
My dad ran against him in the next HOA election and won. The dude got so mad he exploded in a rage about losing his authority. Even he gave himself a heart attack in the parking lot.
From there, he had to go live in a nursing home. The HOA where my parents lived had been without stupid nonsense since.”
“My parents lived in a neighborhood with strict HOA rules. However, they were one of two houses in the entire subdivision that were NOT under the HOA. But the people across the road from them were, and they were also the worst kind of neighbors.
My parents had an old SUV, like a 2000 Expedition, because they needed something to haul their five teenagers around in. Still runs just fine but is kinda ugly. They parked it on the street in front of their house most days.
Neighbors across the road had called the HOA, the city councilman, and even the police, because HOA said, ‘You’re not allowed to park on the street for more than two hours at a time.’
The HOA even tried to get the city to tow the truck as abandoned when my parents went on vacation for a long weekend. Thankfully, I was house-sitting for them and prevented that.
The HOA couldn’t do a darn thing about it, because my parents weren’t in the HOA. My mom’s next act of rebellion was going to be to paint their front door dark purple because it was not an ‘approved’ color on the HOA list.
Also, she kept her ‘Vote’ sign in the front yard forever because signs were banned by the HOA.”
“I lived in a fairly large ‘family friendly’ townhouse community. There was a community baseball field, at least it was set up like a baseball field with the fences and backstop, but essentially it was just a giant field. Further down was a playground and a fenced-in tennis court. It was meant to be used, so there were dozens of kids playing baseball, football, soccer, or whatever on it all the time. For really no reason, they decided to shut it down.
Overnight they put up signs that said, ‘Do not use’ and ‘Keep Out’.
If your kids dared to even walk across it, police would be called in minutes. We were playing tennis on the courts one day and police were called. The next day, it was locked up with a chain and combination lock. We called the HOA and were told we would have to give them proof we actually played tennis to be given the combination.
My parents and a lot of other parents got in long arguments on the phone and at the HOA meetings about why they made these ridiculous new rules. They were essentially told ‘Because we can.’
It became a war in the community against the old ladies that ran the HOA and the younger families with kids.”
First World Problems
“I had a birthday/going away party before I enlisted. It was all technically private property but a neighbor, who had some kind of first-world problem/feud with my mother, saw cars parked on the side of the street. They called the police and a tow company for ‘illegally parked vehicles.’
When the cops came, they basically apologized for interrupting the party when they realized it was private property and they couldn’t enforce city parking ordinance obit.
They said, ‘We just had to show our face.’
We understood and thanked them, offered some cake, and they left.
Anyways, at some point, we got a letter in the mail about a ‘fine’ from the HOA. My dad, who already wanted to kill the board President/ parking complainant for various other instances, including filming my minor-age brother while he was playing outside.
So he politely drove his truck onto the guy’s front lawn, walked up to the door, and very ‘un-aggressively’ knocked on the guy’s door a bunch, waving the check in his hand. Saying in a most non-threatening tone and volume that the guy could either come out and get the payment or my dad would use his F-250 to deliver the check to his living room if the tomfoolery continued. The tomfoolery did NOT continue, and the fine was forgotten.”