Homeownership is a dream come true for many people, but dealing with HOAs? Not so much. These folks found out the hard way why justice doesn’t pay when living in an HOA.
How Stupid Can You Be?
“A couple of years ago the idiots at the HOA sent me a letter informing me to remove a dying tree in my front yard and replant a similar tree ASAP or I will be heavily fined. I have three small trees in my front yard and all three looked fine, so I called them.
I spoke to the community’s ‘manager’ and she read the notice back to me verbatim. I said I understood the letter but was unsure which tree she was speaking about. She gets mad and said she’ll schedule someone to come over and show me.
Fast forward a couple of days and I happen to be WFH. I see someone poking around my yard for a few mins. before I go out there.
Me: ‘Can I help you?’
HOA Guy: ‘Uh I’m here to inform you to remove and replace the dying tree.’
Me: ‘Okay which one is dying?’
HOA Guy: ‘That one (points to a tree w/ yellow leaves)’
Me: ‘That tree is not dying.’
HOA Guy: ‘Yes it is, the leaves are yellow and the leaves are falling off.’
Me: ‘Uh… it’s Fall, and trees do that.’
HOA Guy: ‘The other tree’s leaves are not yellow.’
Me: ‘They’ll get yellow eventually, this happens every year. It’s called flipping nature.’
HOA Guy doesn’t say another word and walks off. I never heard another word from them about the ‘dying tree’.”
It’s The Karen Police!
“Usually before work, I go on about a five-mile walk with my dog. I live in a condo, so I walk about a quarter mile up the road and walk around in a neighborhood.
About eight months ago while I’m walking, a golf cart with actual lights and sirens pulls up in front of me. This huge old lady gets out and starts yelling before I can even get my headphones out of my ears. Turns out walking dogs isn’t allowed before seven am according to the HOA. I informed her that first of all, I don’t live there, and second of all, the streets were all public, so she couldn’t really do much. She responded by threatening to call the cops and have me arrested. I just told her to do whatever she felt she had to and walked away.
This really p*ssed her off. She started following me in her golf cart with the lights and siren going. This continued for about ten minutes until the cops arrived on the scene. I stopped and talked with them for a bit and explained my side of things… In the end, I had every right to walk my dog at any time of day or night. As for her, though, they tested the siren, which exceeded noise levels for any time before 8 am. Then to top it off, she didn’t have it registered for use on public roads, and the tail lights didn’t work. As I looped back around, the golf cart was getting loaded onto a tow truck, and I just kinda laughed the whole way back to my condo.”
Hypocrites And Liars!
“So I went to visit my mum yesterday and she told me this story.
My brother (9m) likes to play with other boys on the block, they usually play soccer or bike races outside and Fortnite or FIFA 22 online, all this during the afternoons/evenings after they’re done with homework. They can be pretty loud, but they’re ages 8-12.
The neighborhood my mum lives in has something similar to an HOA (they have a representative and they have to pay fees, mostly for security and surveillance even though it’s very safe) and the rep is friends with my grandma who also lives there.
So on a Thursday, the rep calls my mom to tell her that someone complained that the kids were being too loud and it was too late for them to be alone outside, mind you it was like 7:30 pm, and they don’t have school the next day, the street is pretty illuminated and has cameras basically on every light post (also, the neighborhood is pretty much gated all around). My mum calmly told the rep to ask the person complaining to call her directly because she was actually outside speaking with the other kids’ parents as they were watching them and this is a family-friendly neighborhood.
Rep started getting defensive and said that she didn’t want to cause conflicts and make up excuses and that was that. Later on, the rep was chit-chatting with my grandma and said her nephew (who lives a few houses from my mums) was having trouble with work because ‘there’s too much noise outside,’ so mum knew that he was the one complaining.
Thing is, he’s basically fresh out of college, which means that he hosts parties from Thursday to Saturday or just blasts his stereo while drinking alone until 4-5 in the morning when he passes out wasted. Kinda hypocritical if you ask me.
Cue my mum asking the boys to play right in front of his house and yell as loud as they can. My brother’s curfew is 8 pm so he can get a good night’s sleep, but my mum (and the others’ parents) extended it to 10 pm because they didn’t have school the next day anyway. The dude never complained again, but my mum did report him every time his speaker was on after midnight. He eventually stopped except for a party here and there and all was well. The end.”
Simple ‘Ole John
“This occurred in Georgia. A family friend of ours married a man named John. He worked at a power company and invented some kind of new device that saved his company a bunch of money. The guy patented the invention and became wildly successful.
Now this guy was a simple man. He loved the great outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and all that jazz. A real do-it-yourselfer. Well, with his newfound wealth, John and his wife decided to move into a nice well-to-do neighborhood; the only catch is that it has an HOA.
Well, the first hunting season came around and ole John got lucky and bagged himself a deer. So what did John do? Well, just about what any experienced hunter would, he hung, gutted, and butchered his freshly killed deer outside on his property in the backyard on a pole.
As it turns out the yuppie neighbors didn’t like this one bit and decided to report John to the HOA. John ended up paying some fines but that wasn’t the end of it. Remember how our friend John was a simple man? Also, remembered how this guy was absolutely loaded?
Well, John was no idiot, he was a very sharp man and decided to read the fine print about this HOA. He discovered that there were no rules against butchering but there was a rule about putting artificial poles in the ground. So John worked with the HOA to plant a brand new tree in not his backyard but the FRONT YARD. He said it would increase property value and the HOA was more than happy to oblige. So John planted his tree and time moved on.
So John planted his tree. When hunting season came around the next year John bagged another deer, tied it to the tree, and proudly butchered it one lovely Sunday afternoon for all to see.”
Fight of the Flags
“So a while back I was given a UGA Bulldogs flag and a flag pole to mount it on my porch. Our Homeowners Association (HOA) restrictions say that sports team flags can only be flown on a day on which the team is playing. My intention was to only fly it on Saturdays when the football team was playing. So I put the flag up on a Saturday the Dawgs were playing but forgot to take it down until Monday. On Friday I get a letter from the HOA stating that I am in violation of the restriction and could be fined. Okay, fair enough, they are correct on this one. I then noticed that the date of observation was on Wednesday. I called and said that couldn’t be true because I took it down on Monday. Instead of admitting her mistake, she lied and said that she had seen it on Wednesday. Now I was mad.
I printed off a schedule of every sporting event the Bulldogs had in every sport, even club sports, and then proceeded to fly the flag every single day there was any kind of game, match, regatta, etc., which was almost every single day.
I then started getting letters stating I was in violation again. I would call on each one and explain that the water polo team had a match, or the rowing team had a regatta on those days. After about a month or two of this back and forth, they finally gave up.”
Fined For Their Dog Being “Too Tall”?
“Yes, I have tangled with my HOA twice. The first time they decided my blind husband could not use his large print bingo card because it was unfair ( it is not because each card has the same odds). The Fair Housing Attorney’s letter to the association, their attorney, and park management convinced them otherwise.
The second was for having a dog that was too tall. My five-year-old rescue had grown taller than the twenty-three inches allowed because he was finally being properly fed.
An HOA director threatened to come to measure my dog and my reply was I will have him squat. He then reported me to the park management for having a too-tall dog. (I have a Portuguese Podengo Medio, who looks like a greyhound mix.) This is in a park that has lots of Labrador retrievers who outweigh him by forty pounds, a standard poodle, and Golden Doodles.
The manager told him that as a widow living in the undeveloped side of the park, he needed all the protection he could get and the dog stays. It didn’t hurt that the dog was a regular visitor to the office for treats. I also had my vet willing to sign a statement that there is really no way to say how big a rescue dog would grow even at five years old. The vet had his medical records showing that I took over a twelve pound hairless dog with various infections, who was now thirty five pounds with a shiny coat of fur and in good health.
The HOA Board of Directors are volunteers and the State of Florida laws can do little to protect you from them. If you want to sue you have to hire your own attorney or get together with your neighbors to throw the bums out and lots of luck in being allowed to hold a meeting to do so.
One of my neighbors whose assets are drooping downward still insists on parading around in a string bikini. The HOA threatened to ban her until all the ladies threatened to wear burquas so nothing was ever done.
I may not like looking at your sagging, wrinkly butt cheeks and sweater puppies but I will defend your right to wear what you please so long as the important parts are covered.”
This Old Truck
“This isn’t my petty revenge story, but my grandpa’s. About 15 or more years ago my grandparents retired and moved to a gated community a couple of blocks from a decent-sized lake. Their house was near Lake Athens, Texas. My grandpa absolutely loves to get out of the house and fish, so retiring close to a lake was an absolute godsend for him. I remember going out on the lake and fishing with him multiple times growing up. He had a Tracker boat that he would tow with his old 80-ish Chevy truck.
Now just so you know, this wasn’t his daily driver. He used it strictly for towing his boat. When not in use, he would park it in a little alcove a few feet away from his driveway, surrounded by trees. Appearance-wise, this truck was not beautiful and had definitely seen better days, but it was still more than capable of taking his boat to and from the lake with no problems at all. Fast forward a few months and he receives a letter from his next-door neighbor.
It turns out, they hate seeing his old truck (despite it being pretty well covered by trees), and believe it ruins their enjoyment of looking outside their house. In the letter, they stated that they have contacted the HOA multiple times with the goal of either fining him until he sells his truck, or removing it completely from their view. My grandpa was ticked! He called his HOA to discuss the letter and it turns out, the HOA has shut down all of the neighbor’s complaints, but they are persistent and keep sending more. Now here comes the revenge.
My grandpa then asks if there would be any repercussions from chopping down a few trees on his property (the trees that oh so kept his Chevy moderately hidden from his pesky neighbors’ peeping eyes). He gets the all-clear and begins chopping away. His old, beat-up Chevy which was once covered ever so carefully by the trees, was now displayed bare in its entirety for the whole world to see. Needless to say, the grinches next door were not happy to see his truck uncensored. From what I remember, they tried to complain again before deciding to move away. You must have a pretty pathetic life if the sight of someone’s old truck is enough to make you pack up and leave.”
All This Fuss Over A Dog?
“We had a dog.
We submitted HOA plans for approval of a lovely Hunter green aluminum fence to enclose part of our backyard. The plans were approved. We began construction.
We also had a neighbor.
This neighbor was a passive-aggressive piece of work. During the 1990s, the stock market picked up, and people who never had money before decided to ‘move up in the world.’ Our neighbor was one of them.
He held a position at a non-profit, yet he bought any toy you could imagine. A boat was ‘moored’ in his dry backyard. Cars lined his driveway. He washed and waxed his John Deere riding mower weekly. He was loud and so was his family.
While his money was flowing, he joined a local failing country club. When his money flow slowed down in the 2000s, he gave up his country club membership and used his backyard, and all of the neighboring backyards, as his golf course. Ha ha. Good fun for him.
When we politely asked him if he had any objections to our installation of a fence for our dog, he claimed that he didn’t. Then, after the fence was installed, he called every neighbor but us to complain about us and vehemently oppose our fence.
We offered to landscape extensively so he would not see our fence. He objected because he would still have greater difficulty retrieving his golf balls that landed in our yard as long as our fence was there. We offered to leave the gates unlocked. He said that was not good enough unless we gave up our dog.
So, he had no problem asking his neighbor to give up a living being so he could retrieve his errant golf balls. The nerve.
We kept our dog.
The neighbor argued with the HOA board President to the point that the President told him he could do whatever he wanted when he was President.
He then started a campaign to remove the current President, installed himself, and promptly sued us to remove the fence. Using HOA money, of course.
Five years later, when the HOA was bankrupt, the lawsuit was settled.
It’s now 17 years later and the fence is still there.
The family that bought the house from us said that he knocked on the door as they were moving in to tell them they had to take down the fence.
I faxed over a copy of the time and date-stamped Court document that confirmed their rights to keep the fence. Turns out, he lost his job and became even more obnoxious when he had all day to irritate his neighbors.”
No Friends Among Neighbors
“Oh man, I used to live in a condo with a friend too, they were crazy. It was almost entirely old people, all the owners were at least. And they did everything they could to mess with us.
When I signed the papers I asked the PMC guy if I could smoke on the balcony since I was on the top floor, he said sure they don’t care as long as it’s not inside. I would go out there in the morning with my coffee or cereal or what have you, and I would go out there after dinner to browse Reddit and relax or whatever. I always used an ashtray and never flicked my butts. Yet they told him I was flicking my butts out there and yelling really loud at somebody or whatever. No idea. Had to start walking down four flights of stairs and walking to the end of the block.
They lied and said we threw parties that lasted until dawn. Even one time when I was out of town and my roommate had stopped living there 6 weeks prior (moved back in with her BF).
They fined us for an oil stain in our parking space that was there prior to our moving in. Which I also thought was weird considering that they were redoing the parking lot at the time and it was only a matter of a day or two before my space would be redone.
We could only have one vehicle registered in our parking space. Any other vehicle parked there would earn us a fine.
We could only park in our space. Even temporarily. When I moved in, in December mind you, they wouldn’t let me park in front of the building to move my stuff in. I had to park in my space and lug my stuff over the snow and ice.
Only allowed an overnight visitor 14 times per year. Not one person, any visitor. The president of the COA would walk around the block looking for unfamiliar cars (taking note of the license plates) and watch our condo. My friend flew in from another state for my birthday and stayed with me instead of in a hotel room since I had an entire extra bedroom. She saw his overnight bag, and bam fined.
There’s more I can’t think of but they drove me up a wall.”
I Park Where I Want!
“My dad bought a new truck back in the 70s that 30 years later became my first car. It was ugly as heck and beat to heck but ran okay and because of its age was exempt from emissions testing so it was legally registered and everything.
I almost always parked it in the garage when not driving it to school and back but had to park in the street for a couple of days while using the garage for other stuff. A week later my parents got a letter from the HOA saying not to park outside because the truck was unsightly and brought down the neighborhood’s value. We ignored it of course because they couldn’t legally do anything about it. We saw the HOA president drive by our house multiple times taking pictures in her fancy new Range Rover and we’d get letters any time it sat outside for more than a day.
I did what any other sane person in my situation would do and started parking in the street every day. Although most of our neighbors were rich snobs and looked down on my parents for not buying me a brand-new car, they never complained about my parking because they all hated the HOA dictator too, and knew it ticked her off. She was recently voted out of the HOA and everybody is happier.
I still have and love the truck and would never get rid of it. It has been a part of the family for longer than I have. I occasionally take it to my parent’s house to visit just for old times’ sake.”