Hey there, homeowners and all-around mischief-makers! Get ready to laugh and shake your head in disbelief as we dive into the wild world of homeowners’ association complaints. From the unsightly menace of a rogue children’s swimming pool to the audacity of an offensively parked car, we’ve gathered jaw-dropping stories shared by homeowners who’ve had the misfortune of dealing with HOA pettiness at its finest. So, kick back and prepare to witness the petty power plays that unfold within the seemingly serene confines of neighborhood associations. All content has been edited for clarity.
The Problematic Parking Lot
“I lived with my sister and her husband in their townhouse. One of the homeowner’s association board members walked the property daily to look for infractions. She walked along the street, but she also walked behind every townhouse.
The board was aware I lived in the house. When I bought a new car, I parked my old car, a 1978 Datsun 280Z, in one of the ‘extra’ parking spaces, which were out of the way. These parking spaces weren’t anywhere near the townhomes. Plus, there were 15 to 20 unused parking spaces available for use.
Days after the HOA board member walked the property, my brother-in-law received a letter stating my car was unregistered. My car was still registered out of state, and it still had a valid registration. The license plate was under a car cover, so this meant the HOA board member was touching my car, too.
My brother-in-law went to the next HOA meeting to let them know he was going to file a police report.
He explained, ‘SOMEONE is going around messing with other people’s cars. I just want to make sure whoever is going around lifting license plate covers isn’t vandalizing cars, too!’
We knew my car wasn’t vandalized, and my BIL wasn’t going to file a report. We just wanted to see the HOA’s reaction.
A week later, the board came up with a rule about how all vehicles in ‘community’ parking spaces must be moved every 24 hours. Several homeowners complained, but the board ignored them. My BIL was the only person to receive a warning letter and fine from the board.
My BIL went to the next meeting and explained, ‘My brother-in-law moves his car in the community parking lot every day. When he comes back home, he parks his car in the same spot. I will happily pay your fee when the HOA members can manage to produce a 24-hour video proving the car hadn’t moved.’
When HOA members said there was no video, my BIL smiled and stated, ‘Well, if you can even manage to log the members who keep a 24-hour watch on the community parking lot, I’d love to see it.’
Of course, they couldn’t. The HOA insisted the rule was valid and I was guilty of not moving my vehicle. I started reversing the car when I moved it, still in the same spot. I would head in one day and back in the next. It still wasn’t good enough for them. So, I moved the car between two spaces; left, right, left, right. Still wasn’t good enough.
My BIL was angry because the HOA was targeting one person. The board lawyer was also not happy with the HOA board by this point. He didn’t say anything, but his tone was not pleased.
So, every evening, my brother-in-law would drive my car to the house of each board member, beep the horn several times, then move on to the next one. He did this for a week before he received a letter to stop. No fine. Just begged to stop.
My BIL had his lawyer reply indicating how he was on a public road and making sure the board members were aware the vehicle had been moved. Since the HOA didn’t designate anyone to monitor the vehicles or have 24-hour lot recordings, this was how my BIL made the board members aware my car had been moved every day.
A week later, he got a letter saying they would waive the fine if he would stop. He replied stating he would continue as long as the ‘unfair and targeted’ rule could ever be used again. So, he continued.
Another few days went by before the board announced the rule had been repealed. They never bothered us again.”
“It Wasn’t Worth It”
“I previously had some minor run-ins with the homeowner’s association. I opted NOT to have an oak tree in my yard, near the street, provided free by the builder. All I had to do was take care of it. However, it was my choice, and I didn’t want it. My decision started a very early rift with the HOA from the day I built the house.
There wasn’t any rolling elevation in the front yard of my house. As a result, the builder opted to put the driveway on the wrong side of the corner. This made the driveway less of a harsh climb to the garage. It ALSO made my house different than my neighbor’s, which the HOA didn’t appreciate. Although the city approved everything and nothing violated the HOA, the HOA cited ‘continuity’ as an issue with my house.
My house was the subject of more than one HOA meeting. I would get the letters in the mail. So, I finally started going to the meetings to see what the big commotion was about.
At the meeting, someone filed a complaint about how I wasn’t properly picking up after my dogs, and how everyone in the neighborhood had to look at their mess. Nobody knew I was there. So, I raised my hand like a schoolboy.
I looked around at the audience and said, ‘Hi, I’m the owner of this house. And, you know, it’s really funny. I don’t own any dogs. I don’t have any pets at all. Well, not other than a turtle occupying an aquarium. I haven’t leash-trained him yet, though.’
I thought someone would laugh, but nobody flinched. Eh, tough crowd.
I continued, ‘I have seen other homeowners walk their dogs and allow them to use my property to go to the bathroom. Worst of all, they don’t clean up their messes. I try to clean my yard, but the difficulty of picking up after multiple homeowners’ pets are not to be discounted. Maybe this meeting could benefit from a discussion about picking up after pets instead. Do you have anything better to be concerned about?’
This, of course, only angered the HOA. They started filing complaints outside of meetings so I couldn’t reply in person.
The next complaint the HOA filed was about how my air conditioner on the roof was visible from the road. The HOA agreement specifically stated how no roof-based equipment could be visible from the ground. I took this to the HOA meeting to be addressed. After all, the builder had put in the air-conditioner at the time of construction. I wasn’t responsible for its placement. The unit was not visible from in front of the house or the sides, so I was curious about where the HOA was looking. My house was two stories high, so they had to be lying.
The head of the HOA explained, ‘If you drive up the street, you can see the air conditioner plain as day. It’s a direct violation of the HOA agreement and is already settled business. Are you ready to discuss fines?’
Wait, from up the street? It was a hill. You could see the roofs of ALL the homes except for those at the highest point of the area. Including the head of the HOA’s house. If fines were to be the settled business at this point, the HOA was voting to fine nearly everyone present.
Instead, the HOA voted to eject me from the meeting. Afterward, pretty much every other family in the neighborhood realize the HOA was a complete joke. It took less than nine months for the HOA to fall apart after the last meeting.
Being a part of an HOA wasn’t worth it.”
The Ice Storm Incident
“As an attorney, I have represented HOAs on some pretty inane matters. I have also defended several homeowners. However, I have had terrible encounters with my neighborhood HOA, too.
Several years ago, there was a giant ice storm in Dallas overnight. A large tree fell in my backyard around 3 a.m. under the weight of the ice, and it knocked my fence down leading into the alley.
At 6 a.m., I had a notice on my door.
The notice read, ‘Dear homeowner, HOA rule 102.4 requires all owners to have a fence in their backyards between the yard and the alley. You are in violation of the rule and are required to attend a violation hearing at the next HOA meeting to discuss penalties and potential resolutions.’
Seriously? The tree fell over in the middle of the night in an active ice storm. What was I supposed to do? So, I called the HOA to figure out what was going on. There was no leeway. No fence was no fence.
I ended up suing the HOA, the president of the HOA individually, and the chief enforcement officer individually for violating several state laws. They tried to back down. I refused until the entire HOA board agreed to resign and sign a permanent injunction against ever being on our HOA again.
The HOA was a parasite to the neighborhood. I couldn’t tell you how happy I was when they were gone for good.”
The Splash Pool Spectacle
“This happened to a coworker of mine.
He and his family moved into their new home in July. At this time, the daily average high temperature outside was 102 degrees. Their two kids, ages 2 and 3, were miserable. So, as any great parent would, my coworker went to Walmart and picked up one of those little plastic splash pools for kids. He filled the pool up, put it on the front lawn where he could watch, and let the kids play as he continued to unload moving boxes into the house.
Only 1 hour later, the police arrived with the president of the homeowner’s association. They gave him a $100 fine for an ‘unapproved pool.’ Nope, not even kidding. On the VERY FIRST day in the neighborhood.
My coworker decided to fight the fine and take the HOA to court, but he lost. From what he told me, this level of pettiness wasn’t uncommon.
From that moment on, I decided I would never purchase a home in an HOA neighborhood.”