HOA’s have a rightfully bad rap. They might not be landlords but they can be just as controlling and petty. These poor homeowners share their HOA stories, from entitled annoyances to outright vengeance. Content edited for clarity.
“When my family moved away from my family’s ranch we went to a trailer park for a while then into an actual house we wound up in a neighborhood that had an HOA. My dad refused to sign their contract because he is a red-blooded, American, redeck. Everything was good until they tried to tell him how to manage his household. This happened in a place where you actually aren’t obligated to obey the HOA unless they have you on contract. We ticked them off because we refused to pay dues. This prompted the HOA President to do everything they could to make us decide paying the dues was easier than dealing with their nonsense.
My mom wanted a garden as we had back at the ranch, so my dad grabbed my brother and I and we went to Home Depot to get supplies. We come back and start doing the prep-work and some guy comes up and asks what we’re doing. ‘Building a garden. I’m gonna put some raised boxes up with some shelves over by the door and line the rest of the front with flowerbeds. What d’you think?’ The guy says he thinks it sounds alright and walks away, we get to work. 15 minutes later my mom comes out and says she had the HOA President on the line, dad tells her to tell the president to bug off. Next, they come over to tell him he has to have landscaping projects approved by the HOA. After a short argument, my dad reverts to his military personality and yells ‘GET OFF MY PROPERTY!’ At which point Mr. HOA chose not to press the issue.
A few more months go by, we’ve been there about a year and we’re remodeling about half the house over the summer. They have called the police on us for nothing enough times that the police are actually on our side. We were working on a bathroom and pulled the toilet out and put it by the curb with the trash. The trash collectors came and took everything but the toilet. Fair is fair, it was definitely over the weight limit. We call the city and ask how to get rid of it and basically, we have to take it to the dump ourselves. We figure we’ll get it when we take the copper and tile and get back to work.
About an hour later there’s a knock on the door. Dad opens it to none other than Mr. and Mrs. HOA. They tell us we can’t leave the toilet on the street. My dad tells them he understands, he’ll move it when we’re done working for the day. This is not good enough. They demand we move the toilet THIS INSTANT!
‘Okay’ my dad says, and then has me help him move the toilet…. and position it as the centerpiece of our yard. He told them the toilet would stay there as long as he liked. This time there was no yelling, not even a command to get off his property. Only my 6’4′ bearded, construction worker father, laughing his butt off at these two as they lost their dang minds. When they left, he made an ‘out of order’ sign for the toilet, took us for ice cream and we were done working for the day.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!! A few days later, I wake up to police sirens on the street. I get up and walk outside in my PJs to see what’s going on. And I saw a sight that brings a smile to my face to this day. The police arrested Mr. and Mrs. HOA for attempted theft of a toilet as my father, clad in dog tags, combat boots, boxers, and a bathrobe he stole from Motel 6 smokes a cig and laughs from atop his porcelain throne.”
Stupid Is As Stupid Does
“Well, here’s a three for one story.
My friend received a ‘citation’ from his HOA. Note that any notice from the HOA included a threat of fine and potential expulsion!
Even their ‘Happy Holidays’ card was rife with bureaucratic nonsense! ‘Please note, failure to remove holiday decorations by January 5th will result in a fine, and potentially expulsion from the community,’ read our Christmas card. It was nauseating.
The citation stated that, in the quarterly walk-around inspection, it was noted that my friend’s rear deck was a community eyesore, as it was faded and needed to be re-stained.
My friend went to the next association meeting to protest the citation.
He conceded that the deck was faded, but pointed out that it was completely enclosed and concealed behind his required 10-FOOT HIGH privacy fence, so it COULDN’T be a ‘community eyesore’, unless the community was standing on a ladder to invade his privacy!
An absolutely valid point! He asked management just how they saw the deck, and they admitted to using a ladder!
My friend stated that, if they wanted to press the issue with a fine or start an eviction, he would be forced to respond by notifying the police, the real estate board, and the local news. The issue was quickly dropped.
During that meeting, another issue was raised – to protect the appearance of the community, there were rules regarding the exterior colors homeowners were allowed to paint the siding, doors, windows, etc.
If owners wanted to repaint their homes, they were required to submit an application to the HOA (with an application fee), stipulating the color, location of application, etc., and wait for a ‘certificate of change’ to be issued.
The issue under consideration was a homeowner who had had a small fire that scarred his steel front door. He had repainted the door in THE ORIGINAL COLOR, but he hadn’t said ‘Mother, may I’ and paid the fee, so they wanted to fine him!
The homeowner argued these two points:
1) He hadn’t changed the color, so he didn’t need them to approve the color they obviously had approved when the door was first painted, and
2) They would have fined him IF HE HADN’T made the repair!
This stupidity actually made it to a vote, but the homeowners showed some common sense (and self-concern, in case they became the next victim of this overreach) and voted it down.”
Fair Price To Pay
“My family and I used to live in a fairly upper-middle-class neighborhood that had an HOA. The HOA seemed pretty mellow and dedicated to their original purpose and intent: maintaining property values.
As these things usually happen, a few new people got voted in, things started getting a bit more OCD and militant.My biggest pet peeve was that anyone under 18 had to be accompanied to the pool by their parent. My 17-year-old self wasn’t too fond of having to get my mom to come to bake in the sun any time I wanted to go for a swim. Nor was she.
I was on a Navy JROTC field trip to a Naval base, that I will leave unnamed for Anonymity reasons, and stumbled upon what I still regard to be one of my greatest ideas. I was in the Navy Exchange (basically Wal-Mart for Navy personnel) looking at some of their surplus stuff when I came across an ejection seat dye marker. These are those very powerful dye markers that are attached to ejection seats so that in the event of a water landing after ejection, the pilot can be found easily, floating in the middle of a huge patch of green-dyed water.
So I bought it for $8 (a bargain at any price) and took it home. One night, after the HOA instituted (unenforceable) 10 PM curfew for adolescents under 18, I took a little stroll over to the pool and tossed that bad-larry on in. Much to my delight (and nervous horror), it worked exactly as designed. The whole pool was neon green in a matter of a minute or two. Of course, I got the heck out of dodge.
The next day, as I drove past on my way home from school, I noticed that the pool was empty, but still looked very very green. In the ensuing weeks, I came to find out that the pool had to be drained (660,000 gallons of water) and a professional power-washing company had to be brought in to clean the pool basin concrete, which had absorbed the die. Then the pool had to be refilled and re-treated with all of the relevant chemicals. All told, I think it cost ~$10,000 to the HOA.
Two years later, the HOA President was busted by the IRS and arrested for embezzling $70k worth of HOA funds. He went to the big house for a couple of years.
And before anyone tears into me for wasting water, this was in the south, not California. We have more water than we want down here.”
It Hadn’t Even Been Three Hours!
“First, several years ago there was a giant ice storm in Dallas overnight. A large tree fell in my backyard around 3:00 am under the weight of the ice and knocked my fence down leading into the alley.
At 6:00 am, I had a notice on my door:
HOA rule 102.4 requires all owners to have a fence in their backyards between the yard and the alley. You are in violation of the rule and are required to attend a violation hearing at the next HOA meeting to discuss penalties and potential resolutions.’
Me: ‘What the heck?! It fell over last night!’
I called the HOA to figure out what was going on. Evidently, there was no leeway. No fence was no fence. So I sued the HOA, the president of the HOA individually, and the chief enforcement officer individually for violating several state laws. They tried to back down. I refused until the entire HOA board agreed to resign and sign a permanent injunction against ever being on our HOA again.
Second, our HOA requires us to keep our lawns trimmed. Most HOAs do. Mine takes it to a new level or used to anyway.
There was a little old lady with a golf cart the HOA had provided. EVERY SINGLE MORNING she drove around the neighborhood, stopping at every house to measure the grass. She wrote the heights in a little notebook. We weren’t allowed to have more than a 200 percent variance from low to high or we got an automatic citation. Everyone hated this woman.
Then she died from old age, about two years ago. To date, no one has agreed to become the next grass enforcement officer.”
You Do What You Need To Do
“I was living with my sister and her husband in their townhouse. One of the board members “walked the property” every day to look for infractions. She walked along the street but she also walked behind every townhouse.
The board was aware I was living there. When I bought a new car I parked my old car (1978 Datsun 280Z) in the ‘extra’ parking spaces, which were out of the way; not near the town homes. Plus, there were spaces for 15 to 20 other cars that went unused.
My brother-in-law received a letter that my car was unregistered. My car was still registered out of state and it still had a valid registration. The license plate was under a car cover so miss walk-the-property was touching my car too. My brother-in-law went to the next meeting to let them know he was going to file a police report in case whomever lifted the car cover might have also vandalized my car (it wasn’t vandalized and he wasn’t going to file a report).
A week or so later the board came up with a rule that all vehicles in ‘community’ parking spaces (not in garages) must be moved every 24 hours. Several home owners complained but the board ignored them. My brother-in-law was the only person to receive a warning letter and fine from the board.
He went to the next meeting to explain I did move my old car every day but parked it back in the same spot. He then said he would happily pay any fee when the board produced the 24-hour video that proved my vehicle had not been moved. When they said there was no video, he smiled and then offered to pay the fine if they could produce the log and people who watched the vehicle 24 hours.
Of course, they couldn’t. They insisted the rule was valid and I was guilty of not moving my vehicle. I started reversing the car when I moved it… in the same spot. Head in one day. Backed in the next. Still not good enough for them. So I moved it between two spaces; left, right, left, right. Still not good enough.
Now my brother-in-law was angry since this was clearly targeting one person. The board lawyer was also not happy with the board by this point. He didn’t say anything but his tone was not pleased.
So, every evening my brother-in-law would drive my car to the house of each board member, beep the horn several times, then move on to the next one. He did this for a week before he received a letter to stop. No fine. Just stop.
He had his lawyer reply indicating he was on a public road and making sure the board members were aware the vehicle had been moved since they had not designated anyone to monitor the vehicles or have video covering all parking spaces. He continued making the board members aware my car had been moved every day.
A week later, he got a letter saying they would waive the fine if he would stop. He replied that he would continue as long as the “unfair and targeted” rule could ever be used again. So, he continued.
Another few days went by before the board announced the rule had been repealed. They never bothered us again.”