It’s no secret that HOAs are the bane of neighborhoods. Often times they can get away with pushing people around, but not for the folks in these stories. These disgruntled homeowners share the times they get even with their ridiculous HOA.
Revenge of the Pink Flamingos
“I don’t live in an HOA but a friend of mine does and I helped him.
When writing the CC&Rs they failed to check the township ordinances (I live in OH, if you don’t live in a city/town/village you live in a township) and permitted several things that the township didn’t. This resulted in everyone in the HOA getting fined by the county for violating local law (they all made the assumption that the township was less strict than the HOA, which is usually true). Nobody knew why they were getting fined until I told them about the county ordinance they were violating. The HOA, even though it was their mistake, refused to reimburse everyone for the fines.
The HOA had a regulation that your holiday decorations could be a theme, submit it for approval and, if you could prove it, you could use items that they typically banned in the theme. No approval and you couldn’t do the theme you had originally picked out. This HOA banned plastic flamingos. Well, I had been to Antigua and brought back Christmas Cards that depicted Santa’s sleigh being pulled by pink flamingos. So my friend submitted the theme ‘Christmas in the Caribbean’ for approval because December, in our area, is grey and gloomy. He also listed using flamingos instead of reindeer. The HOA approved it (without reading everything) and even said ‘Really looking forward to how you depict this!’
Cue pink flamingos pulling Santa’s sleigh and plastic palm trees, in addition to Christmas lights. As well as motion-activated music, mainly ‘Christmas in the Caribbean’
They tried to fine him for the flamingos. He pulled out the Christmas card I brought back from Antigua and showed them that an artist had already depicted Santa’s sleigh with flamingos and ‘Oh, by the way, my friend brought this back from Antigua which is in the Caribbean.’
It was great watching the board members and HOA CC&R enforcement walk/drive by his house with steam coming out their ears because he followed their requirements to the letter and got their approval before he even put it up. It wasn’t his fault they didn’t read through the entire decoration proposal before approving it.”
“This wasn’t an HOA, but a new neighbor that took a city ordinance too far.
I had a classic Cadillac that I had been restoring. I had already completed all of the interior and exterior bodywork and paint. I had the engine out and was slowly rebuilding it. The car sat in my driveway beside my garage. This is about the time a new neighbor moved in across the street from me. A few days after he moved in I received a violation of the city ordinance that all vehicles on private property must be fully registered and licensed. When I called the city wondering why after more than 2 years, they were hassling me. I was told there had been a complaint. So I threw a cover over the car. A week later I got another violation. The cover wasn’t enough. I moved the car to my back yard, parked it between 2 sheds with the cover….another violation and this time there was a fine. I took it to court. I was told that the ordinance was clear. No vehicle could be parked on private property unless it was properly licensed. It was part of the blight laws. It cost me $250.
So I got even with the city and my new neighbor. I owned the lot next to my house and generally used it for family gatherings. I now decided that this would make a great place for an art exhibit. I moved the car to the front of that lot, put it on a foundation, and painted it purple, pink, and green. I said it was an art sculpture and let them take me to court. I took a pic of Cadillac Ranch in Texas as one of my exhibits that my car was a piece of art. The judge agreed and that work of ‘art’ stayed in my yard for the next eight years until I moved.”
“My family lived under the dictatorial regime of an HOA for about a year and a half…
My dad, who is into ham radios, put up a small but hardly visible antenna on the back of the house. The top of it could be seen from the front, but only just the very top. Well, the HOA president told him that he had to take it down. He told them he would (although there was nothing in the bylaws forcing him to do so).
The next day, the antenna is 15 feet taller, as my dad had raised the extension in response. The HOA president put a fine in our mailbox immediately and gave my dad a stern talking-to at our front door.
The following day, the antenna was raised up another 10 feet with an extension added in. At that point, it was clearly visible all over the neighborhood. Another fine showed up in our mailbox, and my dad had to go to another meeting. They threatened to begin eviction proceedings if he didn’t take it down immediately. He acquiesced and agreed to take it down.
The next day the antenna was still there, with my dad on the roof first thing in the morning, waving at the HOA president as he predictably came around to inspect.
In a furious huff, he went to the council, called my dad in, and told him that they would begin eviction proceedings since he was not only violating HOA rules but making a mockery of them. At that point, my dad pulled his ace card and had my uncle’s lawyer come in and explain that where we lived, HOAs could not regulate the use and transmission of ham radios and licensed operators due to their use for emergency communications and transmissions. My dad knew this all along but just decided to mess with the HOA regardless. He kept his tower, and the HOA caved in on the fines and punishments and realized they couldn’t do anything unless they wanted to take us to court and prove that what my dad had was unreasonable (which it clearly wasn’t).
It’s his favorite story to tell at parties. I still think ham radios are boring, though.”
Arrested For Walking Your Dog?
“I go into work early some days to get at least some of my work done before the idiots to show up. 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 pulled 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 7 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 ticked 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. Took maybe 20 minutes before they came back over to explain what was going to happen.
In the end, I had every right to walk my dog at any time of day or night as long as I had light when it was dark and had reflective clothing (I had both), 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.”
HOA Picks On The Wrong Rich Guy
“My mom told me a great story of the vengeance one of her clients enacted after being harassed by a tyrannical HOA. The guy is a surgeon, and very wealthy. He bought a piece of property and the HOA started really messing with him bad, ripping his trees out, fining him large sums of money for infractions that were baseless, and when he would fight them and ask for proof, they would retaliate by messing with him even more, they fined him for the paint color of the house (which was already on there when he bought the property) so he paid to have the house repainted. Then they fined him because ‘the mailbox wasn’t the right color,’ the list goes on and on. This guy even stopped coming to the property after a while and lived in another house because he couldn’t take it anymore. The pettiness and retaliation were becoming overwhelming and he was done.
The revenge: Being a pretty prestigious surgeon, and having a boatload of money, he decided to buy every piece of property that became available in the neighborhood. This plot took over a year of buying property after property in this neighborhood, he would put them in names of different businesses he owned as to not raise suspicion. The HOA didn’t even see it coming. He showed up to an HOA meeting where they were re-electing all of the board members for the year, to discuss a grievance he had about one of the many letters he had received, fining him for yet another ridiculous ‘violation.’ They basically told him to pound sand. He said something to the effect of ‘Here’s a list of all the properties I now own in this neighborhood, and that makes me the majority owner, I’m disbanding this HOA.’ They were stunned, but there was nothing they could do. He defeated them. When my mom told me this story it really gave me a justice hard-on because of the heinous HOA that we grew up with.”