For those unlucky souls who live in a neighborhood with a homeowner's association, they are forced to deal with the childish antics and pettiness of the men and women who have enough time on their hands to run the operation. It usually doesn't take much to get on the HOA's bad side, but when they do, they have to do something about it.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to reveal how they finally got back the at the HOA that made their life a living nightmare. There's only so much someone can take before they decide to take action, and the people in the following stories had more than enough of the people running their HOA. It's safe to say that each of these responses were more than justified. All posts have been edited for clarity.
This HOA Didn’t Last Long
“I spent years saving up for the down payment for my first house. It was a new neighborhood, and the HOA had just been established with a retired doctor serving as the first president.
I had two flag holders on the two posts in front of my porch. I flew the Tennessee state flag and another flag that I would switch up from time to time.
One month, I decided to fly the Culpeper flag (a militia in the Revolutionary War). The HOA president came knocking at my door demanding I take it down because his wife was British and she was offended. I told him in nice words that he could get bent and so he tried to fine me. I contested it with the board and got the fine overturned.
Later on, he’d try to bust me for other things. I told him I do not want him on my property at any time and if I catch him on my plot (a good couple hundred feet from the sidewalk and surrounded by trees on the other three sides), I will call the cops. I left him a notice on his door and let the HOA board know about the notice.
I came home a week later to a fine because the lettering on my door was not standard. It included a picture up close and a signed confirmation from the president. I walked over to the HOA president’s house and got into a verbal argument with him. I called the cops and eventually took him to court, which resulted in a restraining order.
It got so messy after that, the HOA dissolved and my neighbors threw a huge party.”
She Picked The Wrong Guy To Mess With
“They had someone go around and check if the dogs are leashed, if not they call animal control to have them taken away, yet HOA has called animal control on people who have their dogs leashed. Their reason? The length of the leash was either too long or too short.
They tried to take away one guy’s dogs for that reason and that sparked a war between the HOA head and the homeowner who was a former Marine, a former police officer, and all around ‘madman.’ HOA head did not stand a chance against a retired ‘crazy’ person who had a lot of time and money and was well-liked in the neighborhood (what he did was completely not normal to the mostly conservative community, so they started calling him crazy and it kinda stuck).
Crazy guy built a pool and let everyone used it for free, making the $20/month pool the HOA set up useless. Crazy guy also held a giant all-inclusive party that had menus for everyone dietary needs. Any police officer that came to check on it left with to-go bags (they hated the head too). He also had a Halloween party, as the HOA did not allow trick or treating.
The head was ousted from the HOA after she tried to break into crazy guy’s house. She was the trophy wife of this big shot doctor and her father owned most of the land in the neighborhood. She was losing support and I don’t think she was thinking at all, just desperation and anger running her in her system when she did it. The new head mellowed out some of the rules but after this debacle, they realized that they didn’t have much in the way of authority compared to before.
The crazy guy never ran for HOA, but he did start a restaurant, sponsor a drag competition, and possibly took up karate.”
He Was Going To Show Them
“My family lived under the dictatorial regime of an HOA for about a year and a half. When we moved in, everything was fine. The rules weren’t that crazy – no cars on the lawn, or stupid ornaments, things like that.
My dad, who is into HAM radios, without consulting the HOA, 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 decided to spoil my dad’s harmless hobby by calling him into a meeting to have the high council tell him that he had to take it down. He told them he would although there was nothing in the bylaws saying he couldn’t have it.
The next day, the antenna was 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 and 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 lawyer come in and explain that where we lived, HOA’s 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.”
With Time And Money On His Side, He Put His Plan Into Action
“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, etc. 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 ton 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.”
This HOA Thought Going To Court Was The Right Path
“My parents’ HOA has a rule that you are NOT allowed to cut down trees without a ‘permit’ from them, at ANY time, for ANY reason. The first winter they lived there, there was an ice storm and a tree fell onto the neighbor’s deck, taking out his entire deck and the sliding glass door that went from his kitchen to his deck. My dad went over with his chainsaw to help him cut down the tree that was now in his kitchen, and, MID-STORM, someone from the association heard the chainsaw and came over asking if they had a permit to cut apart the tree in my neighbor’s kitchen. He told them to get bent and they tried to give him a $1,000 fine for ‘cutting down a tree without a permit.’
They can fine you, and if you don’t pay it they can take you to court AND put a lien on your property for it. The HOA tried to take him to court and he showed up at the court date, and once he told the judge what happened he sided with my neighbor (because he was a reasonable human), berated the HOA for wasting his time and then proceeded to tell them all to get out of his courtroom.”
It Helps To Read The Fine Print
“A family friend got married. He works at a power company. He ends up inventing some kind of new device which saves his company a bunch of money. He patents it and becomes very rich.
Now, this guy (let’s call him John) is a simple man, he likes to hunt, fish, and enjoy the great outdoors. John is also very much a do it yourself type of guy.
Well, John and his wife decide to use their new found wealth to move into a nice neighborhood that just so happens to have an HOA.
The first hunting season comes around, John puts in a pole to hang his freshly killed deer so he can butcher it and then he goes out and bags himself a deer.
John proceeds to butcher the deer in his backyard which the neighbor wasn’t too happy with and John got reported to the HOA. He ends up having to pay some fines, removing the stand, etc.
Well, remember when I said John was a simple man? Also, remember how he patented a new technology and made his money off that? John was no idiot, he was quite smart. So John poured over the HOA association bylaws. There were no rules against butchering deer on your property. However, you couldn’t put in an artificial pole in the ground.
So John worked with the HOA to plant a brand new tree in his front yard. He said it would increase property value and the HOA was happy to oblige.
So John planted his tree.
And come the next hunting season John tied up his catch to the tree and butchered the deer on a lovely Sunday afternoon for all to see.”
Don’t Get Mad, Get Revenge
“I was once made to resod my front lawn…in the middle of summer with average daily temperatures over 100 degrees…during one of the worst droughts on record….while the whole city was under watering restrictions. In my case, the fine for not resodding the lawn by a particular date was $100 per day until it was done.
The new lawn (which I had spent several hundred dollars on) promptly died and they tried to make me replace it again, but apparently, enough people had complained by that point that before I did they agreed not to make us replace our lawns until the water restrictions were lifted. The most infuriating part is that there were drought-resistant native grasses I could have planted that would have stayed green (or at least green-ish) during the drought, but they were not on the HOA’s ‘approved’ list.
Confession time: I had to get up early for work (3 am), so as I drove through the neighborhood, I looked for people watering their lawns in the middle of the night on violation of restrictions. Most people were just trying to avoid being hassled by the HOA, I know, so I left them alone. But when I saw members of the HOA board doing it, I reported them to the city.”
He Planned On Fixing Up The House And Selling It, Then This Happened
“My brother bought a house in an HOA area, however, he never signed up. This was a very new cookie cutter neighborhood. The neighbors and the HOA were extremely rude and nosy. He basically bought the place partially finished so he could finish it himself to create value before selling it. During this time they would spy on him, call the cops on him, and just act like petty fools, so he checked the HOA rules and found they had very strict conformity rules for the neighborhood. He decided to get revenge by doing things that added value that would cost everyone else, like putting in trees and other nice landscaping. His neighbors had no choice but to conform to what he was doing. He did something, and a few days to a week later everyone else followed suit. In the end, his landscaping and remodeling of the house increased the value of his home by a decent margin beyond the original plan.
He said that in the end everyone really hated him, and was surprised that no one marched on his home with pitchforks, but in the end, he didn’t care. He said if the HOA was smart enough they could have changed the rules at the first sign of trouble anyway.
He was so glad to sell the place and move on. He now has a large ranch home far, far away from anyone.”
This HOA Quickly Learned Why They Should Help Their Residents
“I went away for a long weekend and left after work on Thursday. Late Friday afternoon, my water heater burst (in the attic of a three-story home) and flooded my entire townhouse. When my neighbor got home from work, he saw gallons of water running from underneath my garage door. When he realized I wasn’t home, he tried to find my phone number and when he couldn’t, he called the HOA to notify me. The lady that answered said that since it was ‘after business hours (it was 5:01 at this point), the matter would have to wait until Monday.’ My wonderful neighbor ended up calling the non-emergency police line and they came and shut my water off from the street. When I got home Sunday morning, my entire house was damaged and I could see my attic from my basement. After a massive panic attack and a frantic call to my insurance company, we started the process of repairs.
The cherry on top was that I needed to have a dumpster placed in my driveway and a moving pod to remove what was left of my furniture while they began drying out the house and I got a visit from the HOA. They didn’t like how ‘unsightly’ my home had become and wanted these items removed from my driveway. I essentially told them that they could take their complaints and shove them. I got a little revenge too because I stopped paying their stupid fee since they couldn’t fine me before six months and I was moving in less than five months. I’ll never own another home with an HOA ever again.”
He Let His Rage Get The Best Of Him
“It wasn’t a terribly abnormal HOA rule, but my dad’s reaction was probably a standard deviation from the norm. Our old HOA had a policy that you can’t have brown spots on your grass. Our yard had brown spots. Particularly in a corner where neighborhood dogs would relieve themselves every morning. One day, my dad got a notice that if he didn’t cure the brown spot, the brown spot would be cured for him and he would be fined. For the next few weeks, my dad re-seeded and watered the area, but ultimately couldn’t combat the onslaught of dog urine. My dad tried to explain the situation to the HOA president/our next door neighbor (who had a dog suspiciously), but the notice stood.
One day, we were sitting in our living room and a landscaping truck pulled up. Like ninjas, they dug out the old yard and replaced with new sod. Two days later, we got a bill for the re-sodding and a fine of $200.
Now my dad was normally a moderately reasonable man, but he went straight hulk. He promptly went out to the yard, dug up the newly placed sod, calmly walked next door, and threw the sod at the window of the HOA president while screaming all sorts of obscenities I hadn’t heard till then.
The grass was later re-sodded and we were charged $400 and given two bills for re-sodding. Realizing he was defeated, we paid. We moved a year later for seemingly unrelated reasons, but I like to believe my dad’s impotent rage played some part in our decision to not buy in an HOA controlled community thereafter.”
They’re Ready To Attack When The Time Is Right
“My wife and I just bought our first house in May of this year. It’s in a decent neighborhood on the outskirts of a small town.
So I’m currently building a 20×24 garage. The slab is going to be poured next week and I hired some Amish to frame and sheath it.
One day, I found a printed a piece of paper in my mailbox without any postage. It said a fence had to white. I already hand built my fence and painted it white only because white barn paint was on sale. It also said any detached buildings have to have the same siding and the same shingles as the house.
I already bought the shingles for super cheap, since the warehouse they were in burnt down, so I got a great of a deal, but they were different than my house. Plus I didn’t want MY garage to match the ugly light brown siding of my house.
I threw the paper away before I even finished reading it all.
I’m pretty sure this letter came from the same witch that made me pay $3 for the privilege to participate in a neighborhood yard sale in which I netted a whole $3.
Here’s the kicker though. I don’t live in the HOA, so my wife and I are already planning to paint our fence rainbow patterned when we have to repaint it. Not sure what color I’m going to to the siding on my garage though. Maybe blue.”
Call And Complain Until You Get Your Way
“We live in a community where the property is owned and managed by a private company, but we have a resident’s board who votes on things like property management. Some of the things the resident’s board has voted on include increasing our parking areas (positive) and redoing the paving and landscaping between units (also positive).
We have four common areas and when we moved here, there were four playgrounds designed towards younger children. We also have a soccer field and basketball court, and a small playground geared towards older children.
The community is a mix of older residents and young families. The resident’s board is mostly the older residents because the young families don’t have time to go to these meetings. Over the summer, the resident board voted to remove two of the playgrounds and replace them with gazebos or picnic tables or some sort of gathering area. I’m not sure what the specifics are, but pretty much everyone I talked to was okay with the idea because it would be nice to have a place to gather and talk and have a coffee outside.
But then the resident’s board had another meeting and voted to remove all of the playgrounds, except for the one designed for older children. They made this decision because nobody on the resident’s board had ever used the playgrounds (because their children are grown or they’ve never had children at all). They decided to leave the big kids playground, which has two swings and a tall slide and a climbing structure, but nothing low to the ground for smaller children. They said all the children could use that, but weren’t going to add anything for the small children.
We were pretty bummed about it because we just had a baby and now she wasn’t going to have a playground nearby to play at, which was one of the reasons we moved here in the first place. But because we were too busy to go to the meetings or join the resident’s board we didn’t get a vote on it.
But the story has a happy ending. Almost all of the families with small children contacted the management company in protest. So now instead of replacing all four playgrounds with gazebos, we’re getting two gazebos and our playgrounds are all getting new equipment.”