Homeownership is a pretty sweet luxury these days, but living in an HOA? Not so much. And these stories are proof. Check out these homeowners who had to deal with the likes of draconian HOAs.
“It Looks Like A Shed”
“My parents built a playhouse for my younger siblings and our local HOA claimed it was a storage shed and that it was on our neighbor’s property.
My dad knew it wasn’t because he had worked with the neighbor (Let’s call him Rick) to make sure it wasn’t on his property.
Long story short, my dad and Rick went to an HOA meeting. They pulled all the stops for this, taking measurements and pictures, outlining the yards from aerial photos, they even got a surveyor to take a look. The HOA’s response was this:
‘It looks like a shed, so it needs to go away.’ My dad was EXTREMELY livid and nearly cussed out the board members.
So he went home and hatched a plan.
He convinced all the people on our block to build playhouses, or ‘sheds.’ Most people did. The HOA went absolutely crazy. But they lost because the block showed pictures of the ‘sheds’ and also managed to vote off some members a little while later.”
“Not necessarily an HOA, but a Neighborhood Association that oversaw the HOA.
There’s a fairly large park with homes on all sides of it except the western side of the park. There’s a major road with more houses and a large ‘apartment complex.’
Only this apartment complex isn’t apartments. It’s an elderly home for mental instability patients. Basically old folks home for mental patients abandoned by their families.
Well, the NA and HOA’s head wanted the building to turn into apartments. But since he couldn’t enforce rules for strictly their building, it was enforced in our western portion of the neighborhood.
Starting with: ALL residents must register and remain active in the NA’s Facebook group or you would be unable to participate in meetings. And they checked before every meeting. If a post hadn’t been made within a week of the meeting you were turned away.
Next, you could only walk certain routes on certain sidewalks at certain times. Members of the neighborhood watch who caught you breaking these rules would come out from their homes and give you tickets. Didn’t matter if you lived in the area or not.
All of this was to mess with the patients. The idea was if they made it a living nightmare for the patients and the employees, they’d eventually get tired and leave. Well, it didn’t work. The home changed their outdoor activity times for the patients to meet this schedule as well as changing up what patients were allowed to do outside.
Next, an anonymous tip was placed with the state that employees were, ‘beating, violating, and stealing from their patients.’ And that the building and company were unlicensed to do such work at the location. The state came in and did its investigation and found nothing. But the licensing stuff all came from the city, which was left for them to handle.
The city did NOT want to get involved. They were ticked off when the NA and HOA started making this a big deal. City eventually comes out, and does its own inspection, but finds everything is 100% kosher including its zoning & licensing. The NA’s out of luck now right?
Wrong. The head of both groups had a wonderful idea. He, along with two other members of the boards started breaking into for-sale homes and stealing all the copper. Then they’d turn around and forge witness statements that it was the patients. This started a whole campaign to get the place shut down.
Well, about two or three weeks before the city made its final decision, a local police officer was sitting behind the complex in question (which is right across the street from my house). He catches a glimpse of someone attempting to enter one of the homes directly behind the facility. He investigates, and guess what? He caught the head of the board and two other members of the association breaking into the home. They all confessed, with the head confessing to wanting to rid the neighborhood of the facility so he could buy the land and redevelop it. The city sues the head of the board and the NA is basically robbed of any sort of legal standing or understanding they had with the city. Now they’re entirely powerless. It’s magical.”
Now That’s Messed Up!
“Our HOA enforcer aka Bully likes to go around with his cell phone and take random pictures of people’s property. If anyone’s front yard isn’t as good-looking as his, then he would send notices. My wife was out there in the spring making the front look nice when she saw the bully walk by and take a picture and walk off. She finished and the front yard was nice looking with flowers and stuff. The next day we get a notice stuck to our door stating that we need to redo our entire front yard with what my wife just did.
Two years ago I was cleaning the living room and I moved the couches around and let one of the dogs outside while I was working. The back gate was shut. Somehow during the time I was working in the living room, the HOA guy came by and yanked the gate open and the dog got out. Didn’t notice this until I was done and my dog was gone. I had to search the area quickly because I had to go to work in an hour. Luckily she didn’t go very far. When beagles get that sent lock they go after it! How did I who it was him? Got a notice the next day to ‘secure’ my backyard gate.
My neighbor has an open fence area since she has an end unit. She reported that she would be playing with the kids and the HOA would walk by trying to be sneaky taking pictures with his phone.
Visitor Parking is rarely enforced. When they do enforce it they tow, yet there are times I see work trucks in visitor spots overnight. I always get my parking pass from my HOA board and put the tag up for my guests….yet when I come back from a late-night movie and I see cars parked in visitor’s spots with no tags I am like ‘What the heck, dude!??!’
But to be honest, I have been here for nearly 10 years and they can’t do anything to us legally.”
“The HOA Killed My Cat.”
“The story of how my HOA gave me a childhood head injury and killed my cat.
A little late but there were these lamposts all over town along the sidewalks about 6 feet high, and to replace the light bulb you had to take a pointy top off with a bolt and a nut. Well my HOA thought that was too much time so they used wire. So when I was about 3 I was playing outside and for one reason or another which I cannot remember the top fell off, onto my head. I had to get eight stitches. They said publicly that my parents were terrible parents for letting me out of their sight and it wasn’t their fault. They were getting dressed up for a party or a reunion or something, but I remember it was less than 10 minutes so it was obviously not their fault.
Another example was when they said cats had to be on leashes, and it was [county] law. For reference there were a lot of middle-aged dog owners who never had kids, so they were jealous that cats could roam free, but dogs couldn’t. So they spread the information that if you see a cat without a leash call animal control. Which my dad tried to combat on a local forum but ended up being an uphill battle.
Well one day, my cat wanted to go outside, as most cats do. So a college-aged daughter, of someone two doors down picked up my cat, who was comfortable around humans, and gave her water which she drank. Now she was given leftover tuna, and cats drink more water to help them digest it. Now, this was enough evidence that my cat was a stray and called animal control. We didn’t know and she ended up going without her medicine for about a week, which forced us to put her down. So at 9-years-old, I was already fully aware that HOAs sucked.
I hate Fairlington.”
“Old Lady Hitlers.”
“Not a homeowner, but my Condo Association is basically run by a collective of Old Lady Hitlers. They’ve made a ton of annoying, stupid rules over the years, but one, in particular, came about during summer about 6 years ago or so.
Notices were placed around the complex in late spring, informing all parents that their children MUST attend summer camp or otherwise go on vacation for the majority of summer. They didn’t want any kids in the complex over the summer, and if your child was found to be staying at home during the summer, then you would be fined every day that your child was not gone.
Needless to say, parents were not okay with this. There was a group of parents that barged into a condo association meeting and demanded to know what the heck this was all about, and the crotchety old bats outright admitted that it was because they didn’t want any children running around the property or using the pool, making a bunch of noise and ruining things for their crotchety old grinches.
The parents collectively told the association to but off.
A few days later, there were new notices. These notices basically said that sure, your kids can stay here – but they’re only permitted to use the pool on Saturday afternoon and can only play in the yard from 11 AM to 3 PM, and only three days a week, all summer.
The parents collectively told the association to bug off.
New notices came up, this time allowing the pool only on Saturday and Sunday and allowing outside play for the same hours every day.
The parents collectively told the association to bug off.
No new notices came up for a while, but as summer break finally set in, everyone found that there was now a padlock on the pool gate, and notices now claimed that the pool was ‘closed for repairs’. Repairs that never happened, but apparently took all summer long and ended the first-day school started again…”
“This was years ago, I live on a property that is adjacent to a neighborhood with an HOA, the back part of my lot backs up to two homes in the HOA. Shortly after I moved in, neighbor #1 comes over and asks why I haven’t gotten rid of the brush pile which is a violation of the HOA agreement. (Mind you it’s like a small pile of branches that came down in a storm a week prior and it’s roughly 200 feet from any HOA property, not even visible from the road) told neighbor #1 that I’m not a part of the HOA.
The next couple of days go by and I get a letter from the HOA asking me to remove the bush pile or face potential action. Now, I was going to get rid of the pile eventually. But being the hot-blooded American I am, I decided to look up my local ordinances and sure enough, as long as it’s not visible from the road and my grass is below sux inches I’m in the clear. And again I’m not in the HOA.
So I decided to be proactive and spend the following three weekends trimming every tree I could reach on my property with an 18′ pole saw and stacking all of the branches on the said pile. Clearly out of view from the road. Neighbor #1 and neighbor #2 knock on my door. Say they want to talk about my brush pile, I politely inform them that my brush pile is well within ordinance rules and I’m again not a part of their HOA.
This is where it gets fun, about three weeks later again I get another letter. This time from a legal agency representing the HOA in question. Basically a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo about damaging my neighbor’s property values etc. If I don’t have the pile removed within their designated time frame they will pursue a civil suit.
Now, I’m not recommending that you do what I did. But at the time I worked for a Telecom company where I did line work. In my work truck, I had 4 or 5 cans of hi-viz orange spray paint. I proceeded to paint the larger logs in my pile as much as I can so that they have a beautiful orange hue. One day, a city code enforcement officer shows up at my door and asks me about the wood pile that my neighbors have complained about. He asks where it’s at, I tell him where and we walk out. He pulls out a ruler and determines quickly that my lawn is well within the requirements. Drives around to the road of the neighborhood in an attempt to see if the pile is visible from the road.
At this point, neighbor #1 and his wife are out observing. The code enforcement officer concludes that the pile is not visible from the road and that it is far enough away from any structures that it is no threat of pestilence of any kind. Code enforcement nods to me and tells me to have a great day and sorry for the trouble. Neighbor #1 clearly upset approaches the officer and begins yelling to speak with his boss. Basically tells him to bug off, and if he gets another complaint from him or the HOA again (apparently they had been called more than once) that he will be forced to file some kind of harassment/abuse of public services. Neighbor #1 moved out a little less than a year later, neighbor #2 hasn’t so much as even been outside or shown up again. After a while, I got rid of the pile ’cause I was sick of looking at it.”
Endless Fines And Trouble
“Currently in my third year of homeownership. My HOA does an official walk around each spring looking for external violations. The first year I got a notice to fix a hole in the lattice under my deck. They would have had to come into my fenced backyard to see that….creepy but whatever. I had been meaning to do it anyway.
The second year I got a nastygram SECOND NOTICE (never received a first) with some vague instruction about cleaning my siding and front step as well as repainting a spot above my garage door. All of these things were in this state when I bought the house and weren’t a problem the previous year.
Since I didn’t have any idea what the paint color above the door was and was not about to go buy some for a six-square-inch patch, I put up a security light over the spot instead. I Never touched the siding since I had no idea what they were talking about. Both items were deemed fixed.
Ended up going back and forth about the stoop with the ‘community manager’ via the HOA management company that our board apparently decided is more worthy of our dues than anything for us. Apparently, they wanted me to power wash my little 3foot by 3foot stoop and step up to it. I neither own a power washer nor was I inclined to pay for a rental or for someone to come do it. So I scrubbed it a couple of times, and had several more back and forths of ‘no that’s not good enough.’ I finally got fed up when they sent me a notice to attend a hearing for the still outstanding violation or be subject to legal action. For a concrete stoop. I poured a bucket of sudsy water on it, took a pic, and emailed it with a sob story about having tried multiple times, being on a single income (both true), and not being able to take off work to attend the hearing (not true). They finally let it go.
I’m sure I’m on some blacklist now. Can’t wait to see what they will have for me this year.”
More Security, More Problems
“This happened a few years ago, but is worth sharing here, I think.
About six, maybe seven years ago the HOA started hiring security guards in the summer to keep an eye on the pool (NOT to lifeguard) because there was so much vandalism happening and parents would send (or drive up and drop off) their young kids (like under 10-years-old) with no supervision whatsoever which was against the rules (nobody under 16 which was later changed to 14 because some parents complained about it w/o a parent or other responsible adult). This was also around the time they switched the lock system for the gate from a keypad with a numerical code (because everybody was giving out the code to their best friend, their mother, their best friend’s mother, their best friend’s mother’s boyfriend’s sister’s cousin’s aunt from their mom’s second marriage, etc) to a card system where you have to flash the card in front of the lock to get it to open. They also had to install a grille above the gate itself to keep people from climbing over and they even went so far as to put a small box over the button which released the gate from the inside to keep people from entering without a card that way (which happened all the time).
So…while having a security guard to watch the gate has been a good idea, in theory, it hasn’t always worked out so well in practice.
Yell-y Guard–I think he was ex-military and he just liked to scream at everyone for the slightest infraction. He also informed my husband that the reason kids these days were such pricks was because they didn’t get whipped hard enough or often enough and that if you weren’t beating their behinds bloody when they misbehaved, you weren’t doing it right.
But It’s My FAMILY guard–insisted on bringing his family to swim when he was at work. The HOA found out and promptly fired him.
Nudist Guard–I came to the pool with my son late one afternoon and when I walked in, the first thing I saw was a deck chair with some neatly folded up clothes and a pair of men’s shoes. I thought this was kind of weird until I looked over at the baby pool and there was the guard sitting in his (now see-through because it was wet) white boxers and undershirt.
And the one that takes the cake, the guard who made two summers of my life pretty much miserable–Psychopants the Scary Clown From HECK.
I think Psychopants was from a foreign country..which one I’m not sure about. He had a super thick accent and he would routinely creep me (and other homeowners) out because the minute you stepped through the gate, he’d try to corner you between the gate and the bathroom door (which is right there when you enter) to monologue at you. He also had the strange (and creepy as heck) habit of stalking around the small parking area, staring into the cars as if he were looking for…IDK what. Something.
Several times when my son and I were there and one of us went to get a drink from the fountain, he would get VERY upset about it and try to force us to take bottled water from a cooler he brought in with him. When I’d refuse to take his water, he would rant and rave at me that the water fountain was dirty and gross (it’s not really) and that I was poisoning myself.
One night (and I wasn’t there, but I heard about it from someone who WAS there) he flew into a rage because some teenage girls were goofing around on a phone and taking pictures or videos or something. Psychopaths flew off the handle and started screaming at them and tried to take videos of them with his phone because he said they were recording him for… IDK. Reasons?
At the end of the summer party, the HOA had that summer, I went up to one of the board members because I was really sick of this guy stalking around my car like he was trying to plant something on it or looking for I don’t know what. The board member ended up chewing me out in front of everybody because the guard overheard what I’d said and decided to pout in his car for the rest of the party when he was supposed to be working.
I assumed (wrongly) at that point the idiot had been fired.
Nope..he showed up again the next summer and when I inquired as to WHY he’d been rehired after the thick stack of complaints against him (everybody I talked to who used the pool regularly hated the dude), I was told they HAD to rehire him AND the HOA was paying for him to go to therapy. Apparently, we’d triggered his PTSD or something by complaining about his super weird behavior. But because his weird behavior didn’t stop, after the second summer of homeowners putting the HOA board on blast for his nonsense, they gave up and fired him for good.”
No HOA? No Power.
“My parents live in a neighborhood with strict HOA rules. However, they are one of two houses in the entire subdivision that are NOT under the HOA! But the people across the road from them are, and they’re also the worst kind of neighbors.
My parents have an old SUV, like a 2000 Expedition, because they needed something to haul their five teenagers around in. Still runs just fine but is kinda ugly. They park it on the street in front of their house most days.
Neighbors across the road have called the HOA, the city councilman, and the police even because HOA says you’re not allowed to park on the street for more than 2 hours at a time. The HOA (via the awful neighbors) even tried to get the city to tow the truck as abandoned when my parents went on vacation for a long weekend– thankfully I was house-sitting for them (read: mooching off their food and awesome cable package) and prevented that.
The HOA can’t do a dang thing about it, because my parents aren’t in the HOA. My mom’s next act of rebellion is going to be to paint their front door dark purple because it’s not an ‘approved’ color on the HOA list. Also, she’s keeping her Vote for Beto sign in the front yard forever because signs are banned by the HOA (and also the lousy neighbors across the road have a Cruz sticker on their car).”