Sometimes Home Owners’ Associations go way overboard with their duties. Residents may find themselves pulling their hair out as their unrelenting HOAs continue to poke and pry into things that just don’t matter. While some decide to bite their tongues or move away, others decide to take action. Here, people share how they sought revenge against their unbearable HOAs.
All stories have been edited for clarity.
“When I was younger we had a new neighbor move in across the street from us. They had a nine-year-old girl who had two adorable pet bunnies. I quickly became friends with her and several of the neighborhood kids would regularly come by her house to play with the bunnies.
For two years, everything was fine. No one had issues and we all lived happily in our white picket fence neighborhood.
That was before the HOA decided to strike.
Now the HOA leader lived on the other side of new neighbors. Our HOA was fairly reasonable, but the leader had a tendency to fuss about silly things.
After two years, the HOA leader got bored and decided the new neighbor’s bunnies were an issue. Why? Because deep in the HOA bylaws, it stated that residents couldn’t have any non-domesticated pets.
Even though my neighbor’s bunnies had never been left outside or hurt any of the kids, they were considered non-domesticated.
The HOA leader made a stink to the board and insisted that something be done immediately. So, the HOA sent a letter to my neighbors telling them to get rid of the bunnies ASAP or fines would start accumulating.
The new neighbor tried to go talk to the HOA leader and explained how the bunnies were his daughter’s harmless, sentimental pets.
The heartless HOA leader wanted none of it. He smirked, and told his daughter to ‘tell Bugs Bunny bye-bye.’
What the HOA leader didn’t know was that the new neighbors were only a few weeks away from moving back across the country to be closer to family.
The new neighbor could’ve just ignored the letter and he would’ve been gone before the fees could hit. But no, that would have been too easy. What did he do instead?
He drove to a friend’s property in a rural area of town, captured four wild bunnies, and set them loose in the neighborhood the day before he moved. And boy did those bunnies do what bunnies do. And where did they do it? In the HOA leader’s backyard, where he and his wife had spent years creating a bushy, flowery oasis.
Within a month or two, the bunny population doubled. A few more months went by and it tripled. Within a few months, our neighborhood was overrun with wild rabbits.
For the most part, they were harmless, stayed out of the way, and added a homey feel to our yards. For the HOA leader, the critters wreaked havoc on his beautiful yard and he spent months petitioning that the HOA eradicate them to no avail.
Twenty years later and the neighborhood is still a bunny hideaway. The HOA leader still lives there and has long given up on protecting his beautiful backyard from the bunnies. All because he wouldn’t leave a little girl’s pet bunnies alone.”
How About Now?
“Not too long ago, a friend of mine painted his house. He lives in a development that has an HOA. He admitted that he and his wife made the mistake of not reading the HOA handbook close enough so they didn’t realize they had to get the color approved by the HOA first.
On the first day of their painting project, their HOA leader stopped by to make small talk. At that time, the HOA leader knew they hadn’t gotten the color approved because he was on the three-person panel that approved the colors. However, he opted not to say anything to them.
Instead, he intentionally waited until they painted the entire house, then told them the color was not approved because there were too many other houses with similar colors in their section of the neighborhood.
So, faced with having to spend the time and money to repaint the entire house, my friend and his wife decided to get a little revenge.
They submitted the form and color swatch for a new color and were approved. Knowing the panel had to take time out of their lives to meet every time they submit a color, they decided to submit another color swatch with a form saying they changed their minds.
The next color was one they knew would never be approved.
As assumed, it was denied by the HOA panel. My friend and his wife had to submit again a color swatch and a form again. The next time, they submitted yet another color they knew would never be approved.
Again, they were denied.
They repeated this four or five times before the HOA leader contacted them and told them the first swatch they submitted was already approved and not to submit another swatch for approval because ‘they were tired of playing games.’
My friend replied by telling the HOA leader the already approved color was no longer available and they needed to submit one last swatch, which, of course, was a color that they knew would not be approved.
This time the HOA leader told my friend and his wife that if they submitted another unapprovable swatch they would be fined and billed for wasting the panel’s time.
Amused, my friend submitted another swatch that was a color he knew would never be approved and with it a photocopy of the page from the handbook covering the process of getting a color approved.
He pointed out that there was nothing in there that mentioned any limit to the number of swatches a person could submit.
This entire process went on for a few months. After eight or nine swatches were denied, the HOA leader was fuming. He showed up unannounced at their door and declared that he wasn’t leaving until they had decided on a color for the house.
My friend pointed out that the handbook said the only way for a color to be approved was with a vote from the full panel. The HOA leader called the other two people from the panel and had them come over in a huff.
Once they were all sat down, my friend and his wife shuffled through about ten different swatches of crazy colors before finally showing them one that was the light green color they wanted from the very beginning. The panel, however, didn’t catch on.
Frustrated, the panel approved it and left.
A few weeks later, the HOA leader contacted my friend and his wife to see when they were going to paint.
‘Oh, we’ve already painted the house’, my friend said. He then pointed out how the swatch that was approved was the color the house was already painted.
A week later he got an angry letter from the HOA and a bill for their time. My friend refused to pay and made plans to fight it.
A couple of weeks after that, everyone got a revised handbook in the mail with very detailed rules on how to get a color approved. My friend then called the HOA leader and told him all of this could have been avoided if he had just said something that day when he came over and talked to them as they started painting, but he decided to be a jerk, so they decided to be jerks back to him.”
I’ve Got Spirit!
“A while back I was gifted a UGA Bulldogs flag and a flag pole to display on my front porch.
Our HOA restrictions stated that sports team flags could only be flown on a day on which the team was playing. My intention was to only fly my flag on Saturdays when I knew the football team was playing. So, I put the flag up on the following Saturday the Dawgs were playing, but forgot to take it down until Monday.
On Friday, I got a letter from the HOA stating that I was in violating the rule and could be fined. I knew they are correct on this one, and wasn’t going to argue.
But then noticed that the date of observation was on Wednesday. I called and said that the letter couldn’t be true because I took it down on Monday. Instead of admitting her mistake, the HOA board member lied and said that she saw my flag up on Wednesday.
Now I was mad and wasn’t going to let it slide.
As a form of revenge, I printed off a schedule of every event the Bulldogs had in every sport, even club events, and then proceeded to fly the flag every single day there was any kind of game, match, regatta, you get the idea. My flag flew high almost every single day.
I then started getting letters stating I was in violation again. I called the HOA after each letter and explain the water polo team had a match, or the rowing team had a regatta on those days.
After about a month or two of going back and forth, the HOA finally gave up.”
“My grandpa has always been dirt poor, and never really got the chance to bring himself out of poverty. However, this didn’t stop him from slaving his whole life for one thing; Grandpa wanted to buy his own home.
Tired of being told what he could or couldn’t do with his rentals, he wanted a place of his own where he could do anything he wished to the property and not have to answer to anyone.
At age 55, my grandpa achieved home ownership and was so proud. During the first week in his house, my grandpa was introduced to the leader of the HOA, who informed him that he needed to read over the rule book or risk fines.
Grandpa rolled his eyes and dismissed the HOA leader because he wasn’t under any circumstances going to be told how to keep his land.
Within the first two months, my Grandpa got a letter complaining about his lawn being too tall, and it needed to be trimmed. This was ignored because Grandpa simply didn’t care.
Weeks later, a ‘second warning,’ found its way into my grandpa’s mailbox. Later that day, he also heard a knock on the door and discovered the HOA leader waiting for him. Grandpa didn’t even open the door.
The next morning, while my grandpa was out getting his paper, there was another red envelope in his mailbox. When he opened it, my grandpa saw he was being fined hundreds of dollars for non-compliance, and was now ordered to mow his lawn ‘or else.’
A petty bastard as he was, my grandpa read over the rule book to see how he could shut the HOA up once and for all without compromising.
Then, my grandpa went to home depot, got several huge bags of wood chips, then covered his entire lawn.
In his mind, the HOA couldn’t complain about tall grass if there isn’t grass at all!
The HOA leader complained but was powerless. There was no rule in the books against it, even though my grandpa agreed it looked like an eyesore.
After that, the HOA leader rarely ever bothered my grandpa again.”
Up To Code
“We don’t have an HOA because I insisted not to look at any property with one. However, we live in a pretentious area surrounded by neighborhoods with HOAs.
As such, we look similar to the rest of the neighborhoods, but in other neighborhoods, it looks sterile, and in ours, it looks, well, ‘lived in.’
Because we don’t have an HOA, we have a busybody neighbor that likes to target the renters on our street specifically. This neighbor never confronted others directly. Instead, she called landlords or code enforcement when she felt something was not up to standard.
Not too long ago, two renters purchased their homes from the landlord. One of the renters was a great friend of ours and the other was our neighbor across the street that we’ve always been cordial.
One of my neighbors was approached by code enforcement about her weeds being too ‘unkept.’
They didn’t know my neighbor purchased the home – so she asked the inspector what the maximum height for weeds.
They responded by stating they couldn’t be over 6″.
So, for the past year and a half, our neighbor has been trimming all the weeds in her yard to 6″ exactly. It looks absolutely terrible – worse, I’d argue, than when those tall weeds were in her yard.
One time saw her trimming her weeds with scissors and a ruler while I was pulling in my driveway. She continues to do this all out of spite.
But hey, she’s up to city code!”