Whoever thought of HOA's deserves to be homeless honestly. If living in the suburbs wasn't aggravating enough at times, having an annoying and commandeering HOA chair certainly doesn't help. From strict guidelines to blatant favoritism, you'll hear plenty of HOA horror stories from these disgruntled residents.
The Tree Guy Was Right
“When my folks moved into their home, they noticed a couple of dead trees and had someone take them down. The tree guy suggested they take down two more leaning trees that were likely to fall down if they got hit with high winds. My dad scheduled the second round of trees to come down a couple of weeks later.
In the interim, the HOA contacted my parents and said that they had unapproved work done by removing the dead trees and that they would have to get HOA approval to remove any more. My dad had the tree guy send over a report about the dangerous trees to the HOA. The HOA refused to allow my parents to take the trees down. My dad canceled the appointment with the tree guy.
Fast forward three weeks and a hurricane blows through, which isn’t unexpected since this is Florida in September. Like the tree guy predicted, both leaning trees came down and completely destroyed the neighbor’s roof. The neighbor was pretty cool about it, but his insurance tried to get my parents to pay for it, claiming they knew the trees were dangerous and didn’t have them removed. My parents sent along with the rejection letter from the HOA and told the insurance company to have a chat with them instead. I’m not sure what happened beyond that but I know my parents didn’t have to pay.”
Consider Yourself Lucky!
“I live in Florida and have the pleasure of living in an HOA neighborhood while not being a part of the HOA. Apparently, there are a total of 3 houses in my neighborhood not part of the HOA, and I was fortunate enough to have bought one of them. Ever the previous owner refused to sign into the HOA, and I have continued this tradition. The best part is getting all sorts of fines, letters, and people knocking on my door informing me of the stupid trivial violations. I just get to laugh at them while I explain I’m not a member of their stupid little club and therefore not beholden to its rules.
At one point they had my truck towed out of my driveway because of the HOA’s no truck policy. I simply called the cops and reported it stolen. It was found at a local impound lot and returned to me free of charge. The HOA ended up having to pay for the tow/impound fees and tried on several occasions to pass those on to me through fines. Finally had a lawyer write up a cease and desist letter telling them to leave me alone or I’ll press charges for the theft of my truck and harassment. That was six months ago and I think they finally figured out they have no authority to tell me squat because I haven’t heard from them since.”
The Gall Of These Crazy People
“I usually like living in HOAs and the ones I’ve lived in have been decent but my parents HOA is insane. When my dad was diagnosed with cancer and began his chemo, he became too weak to walk. My parents installed a ramp at the front door so he could get his wheelchair into the house.
Their neighbor, the HOA president, went crazy. She demanded doctors notes, appointment slips, and that my dad proves to the neighborhood that he could walk and was lying. My dad was too weak to do anything and mom is too passive so I had to step in. I threatened to lawyer up and sue her personally. She eventually backed down.
My dad passed away in April and a week after, she came banging at our door saying she saw the funeral home come and pick my dad up and that we need to take the ramp down now “that he’s finally dead.” (Her exact words.) At that point, I called the police right in front of her to report her for stalking and harassment.
I moved in with my mom and now every time this woman sees me, she runs back into her house.
On another note, she follows neighborhood kids home from school asking their names and where they live because she wants to know if “they really live there” and my neighbors and I have caught her many time looking into our backyards.”
Overkill? Or Gratifying Revenge?
“I love reading contracts and agreements so when a friend of mine told me about his HOA troubles and not letting him keep his boat behind his house I jumped on the opportunity.
After reading, sourcing, and finding a few rulings I learned that they have very little power to enforce what they can’t see from the road (which affects property value). He took my documentation to the HOA and requested that they remove his fines. They refused to say “the agreement says nag nag nag” and after a few months he finally paid a real estate lawyer $2000 to go talk circles around the HOA and they finally backed down removed his fines and allowed him to keep his boat.
Then out of pure spite and with my design, we built a 40’ tall ‘temporary’ structure, conforming to both the HOA agreement and building code to fly a flag on a further 25’ pole.
We took it down and put it back up every 3 months for a year. You could see it from almost anywhere in the neighborhood… It was a real triumph and IT WAS HIDEOUS!”
“HOA ‘lost’ paperwork for change of ownership when we bought our house. They sent us letters saying there would be a lien placed on our home if we didn’t pay the overdue amounts plus over $200 of late fees. I had to call them 3 times to even get someone on the phone who knew how to help me. Then I contacted escrow who said they had already not only sent all the paperwork but turns out we had already paid the fees. Called HOA again and they were insistent that we hadn’t paid or sent over paperwork. Called escrow again and requested they contact the HOA themselves to sort this out and HOA still insisted we owed a late fee. Started losing my mind until escrow said they would pay the late fee.
A month later we got a letter in the mail saying we were being fined for leaving our trash bins out longer than necessary. Forget that HOA.”
“Go Eff Yourself”
“I work in emergency services. I’ve had HOA board members try telling me we could idle our fire engine or park our ambulance there as if I’d know the rules.
I’m usually professional but the second time they tried to complain about the fire engine idling I responded along the lines of “Go eff yourself. I don’t care what your bylaws say. Article 300 of Michigan traffic code says I can park wherever the eff I want.”
We were there for a family with carbon monoxide poisoning and I truly didn’t give a hoot about anything else at that moment. We had crews up and down the road to treat and transport the entire family.”
When I was a kid my parents had a house in a nice cul-de-sac, but it was a working-class neighborhood. The transmission in my truck took a dive so I replaced it in our driveway.
A few days later we got a letter citing a clause stating all improvements done on the property must be done by a licensed contractor. It was a far reach but they stood by it as there was nothing in the CC&Rs against working on personal vehicles.
My dad made me pay him back for the fine but for a while afterward, I’d go put some oil or coolant under the HOA president’s cars and hope he wasting money chasing a nonexistent problem.
Never Living Here Again
“My HOA president walks around the neighborhood every day and takes pictures of any violations he finds. There is a management company that does monthly checks for violations, but that’s not enough for this old, bored, retired man.
About a month after having a baby I got a knock on the door from the HOA president, which I answer in my post-surgical feeding outfit because a palm frond hadn’t been trimmed after being down for 3 days. Then I got a written notice the next day, then I got another notice 2 days later.
The HOA maintains the roads and there’s a 15 mph speed limit. People drive pretty slow. These idiots put in 3-speed bumps on a 200 foot stretch of road! I’ve never seen anyone blast through and I regularly go on walks.
They also put up a security camera, raising our monthly dues, because one neighbor left their garage door open all day and someone took a few things. We clearly live in a dangerous area full of criminals /s
I can’t sell yet, but when I do, never living in an HOA again!”
Don’t Mess With This Guy
“It’s 6:30 AM, and my cats are going nuts, and I realize someone is in my backyard. At the time I worked as a bouncer and very frequently got the ‘I’m going to come to your house’ type threats. I live in the same HOA (albeit a huge one) as a bunch of idiot customers. My sliding door starts jiggling. I grab my sidearm and throw open the blinds. Outside, on my porch is a dumb old man. I start screaming, make him get on his knees, and call the cops.
Low and behold, he’s an inspector from my HOA, there because a neighbor reported me cutting down a half-dead tree that was about to fall on my house. Cops show up. They are actual police, but only work in the HOA, they are not happy with me, but because I said the right words on the 911 call, the county sheriffs also show up. They basically have an argument with the local cops about the fact that being an HOA inspector doesn’t allow you to come onto someone’s enclosed deck and that since I didn’t physically attack the inspector, I didn’t commit a crime.
We spend all morning going back and forth, finally, we basically agree to an “everyone goes home” agreement. HOA sends me a strongly worded letter.”
“So, when I was a kid my mom moved to a townhouse complex, which had a Strata Council, which was basically an HOA.
I often keep late hours, so I like to keep my windows blacked out so I can sleep in. So, I tin-foiled my windows, which were recessed basement windows. You could not see these windows without being on our property.
She got a notice to remove them because no window coverings are allowed unless they are white or beige. She passes this along to me.
So, I take the tinfoil down, put white paper over the windows, and then tinfoil behind that. And to further improve things, I then add a layer of black construction paper. No light is getting through, and it’s all white from the outside, which is allowed.
They then drop off a note asking what time they can come by to inspect to make sure there’s no tin foil on the inside of the window.
My mom and I had a good laugh over this and ignored the letter. They sent a follow-up, more demanding, angrier letter. We ignored that too. Eventually, they sent one threatening fine, and my mom sent one back that lied and said they had already inspected, and they needed to figure their business out.
And then she got an apology and no further hassling on this issue, because the Strata Council was full of busybodies who hated each other, and no one wanted to admit that they were out of the loop.”
0/10 Would Not Recommend
“I live in a neighborhood that has a $1 / month HOA because we have a shared drive with an area drain. That money goes to emptying the area drain every couple of years. The CC&Rs are very laid back / there are no rules so I [wrongfully] assumed that would be the experience living here.
The HOA president (the guy who schedules the area drains being emptied) is a Boomer on a power trip. He is in my business about everything. I got a new furnace and he threatened to sue me because the utility company had to use the driveway. I scheduled a specialty garbage pickup with my garbage company and he called me screaming that I put garbage out in front of my house that morning. I have a retaining wall in front of my house and he came by and yelled at me for cleaning it. The list goes on and on.
Total nightmare experience and I will never live somewhere with an HOA of any kind ever again.”
Fined Over A Lightbulb???
“My former HOA threatened to take me to court over the color of a light bulb inside of my condo. They claimed that the color of a bulb inside my unit altered the exterior appearance of the building. I’d had Philips Hue lights for probably over a year without issue. Then my neighbor left their Christmas lights up well past New Years and received a complaint about it. Next thing I knew someone complained about my Hue lights. I switched them to white. I could have won in court, but it wasn’t worth angering a bunch of petty idiots who have nothing better to do than to sit on an HOA board. Anyway, the association wanted to add a new amendment that allowed them to sue anyone over anything they deemed a “nuisance.” They brought in their lawyer for a question and answer session. I asked if the color of my neighbors’ lights could be considered a nuisance, he clarified that it had to be a bigger concern. I followed up by asking if we could claim that my neighbor had altered the exterior appearance of the building, he laughed and said no dismissively. So by that point, their lawyer had already admitted their case was unwinnable, and he’d said earlier in the meeting a big part of his job was to keep the association from taking an unwinnable case to court. So the lights were whatever color I wanted them to be from then on.
I now live in a neighborhood without an HOA. Sometimes a neighbor’s grass is a bit high and another neighbor just built a patio in the front yard and sometimes people put trash out a couple of days before the city says they can and nobody says anything; it’s wonderful.”
An Ongoing Nightmare
“My HOA had a coup where half the board resigned on the spot, same day, and the three board members that were left-handed management of our neighborhood over to some mega HOA corporation based out of LA. Before the handoff was complete, the chairman of the board fired everyone that worked for the HOA, including our incredibly talented accountant who due to his experience kept our finances so tip-top that we had a surplus of money and have never had our monthly dues raised in almost 15 years.
When we, the residents, demanded an explanation, the chairman refused by quoting an article from our HOA charter which gives the board the explicit right to manage the community however they see fit and without needed approval from the residents. He basically told us ‘I don’t owe any of you an explanation, so suck it.’
Now we are trying to overturn his decision to essentially give our neighborhood over to some lousy HOA management group that treats its residents horribly like a crummy landlord would a tenant. Oh, and the management group that we were given to is run by a man who’s only formal education is a degree in Opera. And the accountant who has been assigned to manage my neighborhood’s finances does not have a degree in finance or business. She has a degree in ballet.
It is my opinion that our board was bribed into selling us to that management firm. Our community hired a lawyer and we are in the process of reversing what our board has done. If successful, we are going to rehire everyone they terminated and change the bylaws to prevent anyone from ever being able to do this again.
So yeah… that’s my worst story and it’s still going on right now.”
An HOA So Bad She Just Packed Up And Moved
“My sister bought a house in an HOA neighborhood 3 years ago. To be fair, none of us are super familiar with HOAs since none of us had ever lived in one and my sister was told the HOA fees were just for lawn upkeep and snow removal. The realtor who showed her the house said that the HOA really didn’t get involved in anything except for doing the lawns, removing snow, and trimming weeds.
The whole experience has been an “I’ll never live in an HOA again” story for my sister. The trouble started pretty much the second she moved in there.
The first issue was the electrical not working. My dad (RIP) was a master electrician so went over there to troubleshoot and fix the issues. He was over there working on some re-wiring and one of the HOA board came up and asked him what he was doing. My dad told her he was fixing the electricity. The HOA board member had a fit about my dad having a small red toolbox out on the porch. My dad got back in her face and she went off in a huff.
The second issue was my sister planting some roses. The roses were the wrong color–only pink, white, or light peach roses were allowed. My sister had committed the cardinal sin of planting red roses! The HOA flipped out and demanded she removes them and fined her for it.
Another dumb issue was a citation for her teenage (at the time) daughter ‘loitering with a group’ on the front steps. Her daughter had been standing on the steps for a few moments talking with another girl and exchanging phone numbers.
My sister has always been a person to do what she wants so you can imagine this went over really, really poorly.
She painted her door bright blue out of anger. She rips up the notices of fines and leaves them in the HOA president’s mailbox.
She has the house on the market and has another picked out. She is supposed to hear this week if she is approved for it or not.”
No Honor Among Morons
“Oh, man. The reason I signed up on Reddit was to share my HOA story years ago. Let’s just say this, my HOA was $800 when I sold it last month. It’s due to go up to $840 in January. Went up $100 every year since 2015. I bought it for $425 monthly.
Next, I got complaints, 2-3x a week. Thin walls. The neighbor across the hall upstairs would be dropping weights, my downstairs neighbor would call to complain that it was me. I got fined $500 when I was deployed, 7000 miles away for NOISE. I sent a video showing I was not home at the exact time the noise complaint came in. This happened at least 20 times in the few years I lived there. My record was full of complaints of exact times I was either working at the hospital or deployed. Oddly the noise complaints never came in when I was home. I also had a carpet and got complaints about rolling noises.
The plumbing was wrecked. The wall is next to my condo flooded inside server times. I got called at 3 am to hire a plumber to fix it. $700 later, the plumber billed the HOA and not me. It was an HOA problem but these fools tried to blame me over and over again. They did this to me every 6 months for 5 years. Oddly, that thing kept flooding. They never figured out where it was coming from.
I got fined $250 for having a tiny glass bowl in the bbq area, not pool, bbq. No warning. Nothing. I appealed it. They called me to sit in on a board meeting. My patient had just committed suicide and I was trying to find a family member to pick up his body from the VA morgue but here I was explaining and begging the HOA to not fine me $250 for a small bowl.
The number of complaints we had against the HOA was amazing. Completely misappropriating funds, abusing their power on the regular. It’s the best thing to happen to me. To sell and get the heck out of that dump. It was an absolute nightmare. Worst decision of my life to live in that building and deal with that HOA.”
Have A Nosey HOA? Hang A Dead Feral Hog On Your Post!
“I bought a house in a development that had died. My house was built in the 70s. But a new developer came in and as houses started being built everywhere, they enacted the HOA clause and populated it with rich retired folks that just make up dumb rules. Wrote a rule that you had to put up a fence around your backyard. So I did. They didn’t like my fence so they changed the specifications for the fence.
I got irritated and had a friend give me a dead feral hog to hang on a post in my front yard. The dogs in the hood loved me.
It didn’t solve anything but since I had a dog door I would sometimes wake up with 15 dogs around my bed who came in during a storm. I was the crazy redneck, but the dogs loved me and I like them more than humans.”