Future homeowners, heed this warning! The homeowner’s association is filled with spiteful and unwelcoming members, and they will do everything in their power to make your life miserable. However, you too can fight back! These homeowners spilled the insane HOA rules they had to abide by, and how they claimed their revenge once and for all. Content has been edited for clarity.
“I Regret Talking To My Backstabbing Neighbor Everyday”
“A couple of years ago, I rented a nice house in an upscale neighborhood. The neighborhood had a pretty strict homeowner’s association. My landlord previously lived in the home I was renting, and I acquired the home when they moved out of the state. I believed I was a great tenant. Anywhere I had rented in the past, I have always treated the property like my own. I obeyed community bylaws and always notified my landlord if there were any issues.
I had a neighbor who lived next door to me, and I initially thought of her as a good friend. The woman was in her early forties, unmarried, had no kids, and was a teacher. She inherited her home when her mother passed away at a young age. Supposedly, she also got a huge settlement from her mom’s death, but the amount was never discussed with me.
This neighbor took very good care of her home. In fact, it was probably the nicest-looking house in the neighborhood. She had plenty of disposable income despite being a teacher. Unfortunately, she believed everyone had the same income to keep up with their homes as she did. The woman expected everyone to drop everything and fix their homes to be in the same excellent condition as hers. She was a snoopy person, and regularly complained about other houses not being up to code. I never thought anything about the other houses, as most of us were just renting. She was always nice to our faces but talked smack about everyone behind their backs every opportunity she had.
One particular summer, my wife and I were chatting with our neighbor outside.
She turned to us and said, ‘This tree in your yard has really discolored your driveway. I think you need to pressure wash it.’
I replied, ‘Yeah, you might be right. It is starting to look a bit discolored. Do you think the HOA will hound me for it?’
The neighbor retorted, ‘Probably not yet, but you need to tell your landlord’
Shortly after our conversation, I decided to e-mail my landlord.
He responded, ‘Thanks! I can get back in touch with you about fixing your driveway soon.’
I waited, but my landlord never got back to me. The driveway didn’t bother me enough, and my neighbor never said a word to me about it again. I quickly forgot about the issue.
At this time, I had just gone through multiple surgeries. I was due for another surgery coming up, and it was supposed to be my final procedure. It wasn’t necessarily a major operation, albeit a painful recovery period. Recovery included laying on my stomach, resting, and doing a whole lot of nothing. Each recovery period became a bit more painful after each surgery, so I was expecting the next recovery to be the worst one yet.
My neighbor knew about my medical issues. I believed we were close friends, and the information would be safe to share with her. I told her about the date of my last and final surgery, and she knew it wasn’t practical for me to be up and moving after surgery.
Two days after my surgery, my landlord called me.
He annoyedly said, ‘I got a citation from the HOA. The driveway absolutely needs to be pressure washed within five days of the date the citation was issued.’
The date the citation was issued was the day of my surgery. I only had three days left to clean off my driveway.
I explained, ‘I just had surgery, I really can’t be pressure washing my driveway right now.’
Thankfully, my landlord replied, ‘We can call some companies and get some estimates of how much it costs to clean the driveway. Alternatively, you can buy a pressure washer yourself, and I will reimburse you for the cost of the washer. I will even let you keep it.’
I decided to fight through my pain and pressure wash the driveway myself. My wife and I were planning on moving in the next couple of months anyway, and the pressure washer would have come in handy. I had my wife run to Home Depot and pick up a small pressure washer.
Just a few days after my surgery, I went out to my driveway in my pajamas and pressure-washed my driveway. I was in immense pain, but thankfully my driveway wasn’t extremely long. While pressure washing my driveway, I was pretty close to my neighbor’s house.
I thought to myself, ‘Hm, I bet she really isn’t as perfect as she seems. I bet the color of her siding hides dirt fairly well.’
I pressure washed a few obvious lines in her siding. It was perfectly clean already, at least in the spots I washed. Oh, how I wish I could be as perfect as you!
I regret talking to my backstabbing neighbor and not standing up to the HOA every single day.”
Car Repairs and Revenge
“A couple of years ago, I rented a house in a homeowner’s association in San Antonio. The rules this HOA put in place were some of the most ridiculous I had ever seen.
One rule they attempted to enforce stated residents weren’t allowed to perform vehicle maintenance on their property. I was always the type of person to perform my own oil changes, tune-ups, and brake repairs. I was a cheap person, and I had a hard time paying someone to do something I could do myself. The house was nice and the neighboring school was fantastic, so I decided to deal with the HOA for my daughter’s sake.
One Sunday morning, I came out of my home to head to the gym. I hopped in my Jeep and turned the key, only for my vehicle not to start. The battery had finally died. The car was about five or six years old, so it was about time for the battery to give. My wife wasn’t home, so I was stuck at the house.
I went into my garage and searched for my battery charger so I could jump-start my car. I needed to go buy a new battery, and I wasn’t going to be stuck at the house all day. It only took twenty minutes to get enough of a charge to get my car to start. I went to the store, bought a new battery, and swapped it out in the Auto Zone parking lot. It was a job well done.
Three days later, I received a letter in the mail from the HOA. It included a two hundred and fifty buck fine for ‘performing vehicle repairs’ in my own driveway. I went to the next HOA meeting to explain what happened, and I brought the receipt for my new battery for proof. The board members wouldn’t budge.
One HOA member said, ‘You should have called a tow truck and gone to the dealership to have the battery replaced. Any other civilized person would have done this.’
I responded, ‘Absolutely not. I could fix it myself, and you shouldn’t expect me to pay for a basic car repair I can do myself.’
The HOA member replied, ‘Well, we are going to have to evict you, then.’
It was time to lawyer up.
I retained an attorney who argued ‘vehicle maintenance’ was too broad of a term to be enforceable. Washing your vehicle could be considered maintenance, and therefore, a violation of the rules.
After the lawsuit, the rule was re-written and stated, ‘Washing and cleaning vehicles are allowed. Reasonable, immediately necessary, and user-level car repairs are also allowed.
The HOA never bothered me again.”
Front Door Dramatics
“I previously had a neighbor who ridiculed my family for using our own front door. The neighbor claimed every time we used the front door, the other neighbor’s dog barked and it scared her children. Somehow, it was okay if we used our garage door, though.
This was years ago, and nowadays, the same neighbor is ‘allowing’ my family to use the front door again since her children are older. Except there is one stipulation to using the front door. According to the neighbor, we are only allowed to enter and exit through the door twenty times per day. The neighbor also claimed we can only use the front door during the nighttime for emergencies only.
We also had another neighbor who asked us a ridiculous question the same day we moved in.
The neighbor pleaded, ‘Can you please stop parking your minivan backward in the driveway?’
Apparently, parking our car backward in the driveway was fine. However, the minivan was not. Our homeowner’s association didn’t even have a rule about how one parked in their own driveway.
My wife and I thought it was a silly request, so we decided to humor the neighbor. One year to the day after he moved, we started parking the van backward whenever we felt like it. The new neighbors specifically stated they didn’t care how we parked our van.
Needless to say, my wife and I have lived next door to some crazy neighbors for as long as I can remember.”
The Forbidden Foliage
“The homeowner’s association manual on the shelf in my den is at least one inch thick. The insane list of rules includes six pages of banned plants, two pages of forbidden trees, two pages of banned bushes, and two pages of banned flowers. Even better, the manual didn’t have actual pictures of the banned foliage, just names. The HOA manual was long and extremely comprehensive.
All of the driveways in my neighborhood were sixteen feet wide. At my house, I had two cars. This meant depending on how someone parked, either the driver or the passenger must step into the grass to exit the vehicle. Many of the homeowners in the neighborhood requested permission to widen their driveways, and it was usually always approved. I decided to submit a request to widen the driveway at my house by two feet on each side. Along with the request, I was required to submit a sketch of my property detailing my requested addition.
I am an engineer, so I was able to draw a detailed sketch to scale. My drawing included all of my flower beds, primarily because the driveway extension would intersect them. I submitted the request, and within a month, I received a letter granting me permission to change my driveway.
However, the letter went on to say the HOA noticed I didn’t have permission to put in the flower beds around my house. I had drawn three in the backyard, one on either side of the house, and one in the front yard running the entire width of the house. As I was reading their statement about the flower beds, I was truly terrified. The flower beds were already in my yard, and it would be painstaking work to take them out. There weren’t any forbidden flowers in my yard, but almost half of my yard now had flowers.
The letter went on to say because my flower beds were not pre-approved, I had to submit another request for the flower beds already in my yard. This left me with the possibility of someone deciding against me, and I would have to turn half my yard back into normal grass. Although, fighting was a possibility, too.
I submitted the same sketch with another modification request to put my flower beds in. Thankfully, I received permission to have the flower beds a month later.
My HOA doesn’t have a lot of rules, but the rules they do enforce are completely unnecessary.”
The Sign Spectacle
“My parents lived in a mobile home retirement community. The community board had strict rules, and they always made sure to put every rule on their own dedicated sign. It was hilarious because there were signs everywhere!
In the bathroom, there was a sign stating, ‘Use a squeegee to clear water from the sink after use.’
Another sign read, ‘Caution: Shower water may be hot.’
The funniest signs to me were, ‘Warning: Use bicycles safely,’ and ‘Caution: Yield to wheelchair users.’
And of course, there were numerous signs warning about the swimming pool capacity. The signs were simply eight by eleven pieces of paper in a plastic sleeve, taped or tied up to the wall.
My fourteen-year-old daughter and I thought the signs were ridiculous, and we always got a laugh from them. We decided to make some of our own signs to see if we could get away with it.
The first signs we made read, ‘Please walk on the sidewalk,’ and ‘Do not block the roadway.’
The signs weren’t too innocuous, and realistically, it looked like they belonged. The next time we visited my parents, the signs were still up!
My daughter and I decided to escalate the signage.
Next, we put up a sign stating, ‘Urinals in men’s restroom only,’ and ‘Caution: feces may be present in the dog park.’
Believe it or not, the signs remained up! They weren’t crazy enough, and we needed to up the ante.
We put up a sign in the dog park that said, ‘The dog park is for pet use only! People must use the restroom facilities by the pool area.’
My daughter and I hung another sign reading, ‘Restrooms are not for pet use. Pets must use the dog park near the office.’
We were able to view the signs from the pool area, so we sat back and watched the chaos unfold. First, an older couple in the dog park looked at the sign, and a rather concerned look fell over their face. They began to walk around the area looking for signs of human feces. They believe since a sign was made, there must be an issue.
My daughter and I were only guests, so we weren’t privy to the aftermath of the sign situation. It seems the community board put up a camera afterward so they could catch the ‘pet area pooper.’
Eventually, our signs were removed, though.
Because the community board manager was in Europe for a few months, my daughter and I got away with the signs for a while. When she arrived back at work, everyone in the community questioned her about what was going on. She informed them she had no idea what had happened.
A few months later, the manager put up a sign which read, ‘All signs must be approved by the park board,’ with a little stamp in the upper right-hand corner with the date.
Messing with the community management was some of the best fun my daughter and I ever had.”
“Two Hundred And Fifty Properties Received Citations”
“This incident occurred a number of years ago. At this time, there was a particularly zealous and rule-oriented person on the homeowner’s association board.
After the HOA’s annual walkthrough, two hundred and fifty properties received violation notices. The community only had four hundred properties total, so the number of violations was remarkable. In fact, it was about ten times more violations than they handed out any other year.
Needless to say, a good amount of angry homeowners attended the next board meeting. It was the most exciting board meeting I have ever attended.
The list of violations handed out to residents was long. One violation was for a field hockey net in a yard next to a home. Another violation was for a small swing attached to a homeowner’s tree. My personal favorite was the violation of spiderwebs on the ceiling of a homeowner’s porch. How this violation was written without trespassing on the homeowner’s property, I will never understand.
My home was cited for a small wooden birdhouse one of my children made at school. It was attached to our fence and was fairly unobtrusive.
Luckily, the board member who created these violations left her position in the HOA within the next month.
Afterward, the community seemed to take a more relaxed approach to maintain the neighborhood. Although, the HOA still wasn’t perfect. I still continued to receive citations for petty things, such as for patches of grass in my yard being ‘too brown.’ While looking at the photo the HOA took of my grass, I noticed the reflection of the person taking the photo through their car window. The person was wearing a brown jacket, which made my grass appear to be brown. I never said the members of our HOA were the smartest.
Another time, I received a letter citing, ‘large holes in the garage door.’ There wasn’t a single hole in my garage door, so I asked the HOA to come to my house and show me. They rescinded their citation within a week.”
“I Felt Like I Was Being Walked All Over”
“My homeowner’s association had a plethora of ridiculous rules. The first rule was all garbage must be taken out at nighttime. Immediately after the trash is picked up the next day, you had to take your cans back inside. Our trash was picked up at noon, and the HOA didn’t care if you would be at work.
Another rule the HOA had is that minors couldn’t use the pool without parent supervision. I understood this rule for small children, but this rule counted for children as old as seventeen, too. It even included lifeguards!
Our HOA also stated that residents who didn’t live in our neighborhood weren’t allowed to use our amenities. This included if you lived in the neighborhood, and brought a friend with you. My husband and his friends play tennis, but they aren’t even allowed to come to our neighborhood to play a match!
Strangely enough, the HOA also has weird demands regarding cats. They claimed cats couldn’t be outside unleashed because they were harmful to the surrounding environment. They claimed our neighborhood is a ‘bird sanctuary,’ and cats were harmful to the surrounding ecosystem.
Finally, the HOA told residents who are police officers that they weren’t allowed to park their police cruisers in their own driveways. They needed to hide the cars in the garage because the HOA wanted to make it seem like a ‘safe neighborhood.’
I could continue listing off rules forever. I truly felt like I was being walked all over by my neighborhood’s HOA.”
The Paint Color Crisis
“One time, I lived in a neighborhood with a less than desirable homeowner’s association. I found an amazing black paint color for the outside of my home, and it was produced by Farrow and Ball. Farrow and Ball was a British company and was only sold by exclusive home designers here in the United States.
I proposed the new home color the HOA, and they balked. I had two of my closest neighbors write to the HOA about how the black paint color was elegant. I took pictures of historic seventeenth-century homes in our city which were painted black. The HOA continued to be unpersuaded.
Finally, I decided to call the top three officers at the HOA to come over to my home. I had painted test boards, and I wanted to see if their opinion of the paint color had changed.
As they looked at the boards, I said, ‘This is a color by Farrow and Ball!’
One of the members questioned, ‘Who? I have never heard of them.’
I snidely responded, ‘You don’t know Farrow and Ball? How funny, I thought you considered yourself an arbiter of good, classic, taste.’
The HOA member stood silent, clearly embarrassed by her actions.
My request to paint my home was approved the next day.”
“I Will Never Live In A Neighborhood With An HOA Again”
“The homeowner’s association in my neighborhood is pathetic that nobody bothers listening to them anymore. The HOA insisted any minor changes to one’s house, whether it could be seen from the street or not, needed their approval.
If you wished to remove the grass in your backyard as per local water district jurisdiction, you needed to consult the HOA first. Did you need to replace some dead foliage in your front yard? You couldn’t do it without the HOA’s approval first, even if you were replacing the foliage with the same plant.
This past summer, I simply gave up trying to deal with the HOA. I submitted a request to replace my front screen door with a security door. I waited for months, and I didn’t hear anything back. It was a matter of my own security and safety, so I decided to do it anyway.
The HOA enforcing rules is one thing. Waiting for long periods of time to complete basic repairs on your property is another. I will never move into a neighborhood with an HOA again.”
The Egregious Grandmother
“A couple of years ago, I lived with my grandmother for a short period of time. Unfortunately, she was involved with the homeowner’s association. She would do everything in her power to create petty HOA rules which only benefited her.
The list of restrictions the HOA compiled was lengthy. Residents weren’t allowed to park their vehicles on the street. If your vehicle was leaking anything, even water, it couldn’t be in the driveway or the street. Residents were not allowed to have any type of trailer on their property, and if they did, they would be fined one thousand bucks per day. Carports weren’t allowed, and everything on a resident’s property had to be a specific color. For example, if your neighbor had a flag, your flag had to be the same.
The HOA was so bad at this time, my grandmother and other members started looking over people’s fences. Why? They were measuring the height of residents’ grass in their yards!
There were not to be any fruit or vegetable gardens, even if they were hidden out of street view. You couldn’t have an above-ground pool, nor could you have chain link fencing.
Basically, the rules were unnecessary and just made everyone’s lives miserable. The short time I lived with my grandmother and put up with the HOA was absolutely painstaking.”