Is there much reason for a homeowner's association? It seems like they are there simply for stay-at-home moms and grumpy retired men to come up with rules that are so asinine that police and local municipalities rarely enforce them or force the residents to pay the even more ridiculous fines levied against them.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to reveal the most ridiculous and nonsensical rules enforced by their homeowner's association. After reading through each of these stories, it's safe to say that those of us who don't live in this type of neighborhood are much better off.
Sticking It To Them
“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!
From what I understand, the entire neighborhood was planned and the HOA established, but there were two lots that weren’t included for some reason. I think the land wasn’t owned by the original developer until much later? When the developer finally acquired those last two lots, the HOA failed to vote to amend the boundaries to include them, and now it’s too late.
But the people across the street 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. It still runs. It’s fine but ugly. They park it on the street in front of their house most days.
The neighbors across the road have called the HOA, the city councilman, the police even, because the HOA says you’re not allowed to park on the street for more than two hours at a time. The HOA (via the neighbors) even tried to get the city to tow it claiming it was abandoned when my parents went on vacation for a long weekend — thankfully I was house sitting for them and prevented that. It later got to the point that my parents had to file a complaint with the USPS because the neighbors started leaving notes in their mailbox about how much they hated looking at my parents’ car.
The best part is the HOA can’t do a 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.”
So We Can’t Keep Our Children At Home?
“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 six years ago.
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 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 them.
The parents collectively told the association to get lost.
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 get lost again.
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 get lost yet again.
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 of school.”
Funny How That Worked Out
“When I was growing up, we lived in a neighborhood with an insane HOA. We had a trampoline with no cover on the springs, so we got a notice saying we needed to buy a cover. No problem, we bought a standard blue cover the next day, no biggie. The following day we got a notice with a $200 fine that our trampoline pad didn’t match the trim on our house and we, therefore, had two days to remove and replace it.
We also regularly got complaints for playing in the street (of a very suburban neighborhood with almost zero traffic, we were ages 10-15), received a fine for our basketball hoop’s net being too tattered (it wasn’t), and countless others. My mom made it her mission to troll the HOA as much as possible.
Eventually, the old neighbors across the street both died and the complaints/notices instantly stopped coming.”
Lady, I Don’t Even Live Here
“I go into work early some days to get at least some of my work done before the idiots 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 was walking a golf cart with actual lights and sirens pulled up in front of me. This huge old lady got out and started yelling before I could even get my headphones out of my ears. Turns out walking dogs wasn’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 too 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 10 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 a 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 laughed the whole way back to my condo.”
“He Got So Mad He Gave Himself A Heart Attack”
“My parents’ old HOA tried to tell me our mulch wasn’t the correct shade of brown.
First too light.
Then too dark.
Looks black, not brown.
I was beyond over it. So I found rainbow colored mulch and told the old guy running it he could shut up about mulch or come remove it himself, piece by piece because I looked at the guidelines and there wasn’t a rule about mulch color. Turns out, there weren’t as many rules as he insisted there were. We didn’t need to stain our decks the same colors. Floral bushes weren’t banned. Dude was lying and everyone just accepted it.
So I began showing up at every meeting, questioning his authority, calling his cognitive function into question and generally being a gigantic pain in his butt and bucking his nonsense at every turn. I was 19 and he was 7,000 years old and he’d get so mad at a 19-year-old woman calling every rule into question.
My dad ran against him in the next HOA election and won. Dude got so mad he exploded in a rage about losing his authority he gave himself a heart attack in the parking lot.
Had to go live in a nursing home and the HOA where my parents live has been without issue since.”
If They Can’t Get You For One Thing, They’ll Find Another
“My friend put a pool in his backyard and paid an extra $20,000 to make it 15 foot deep so he could have a high diving board.
After it was installed, the HOA said he couldn’t have a diving board because he might be able to see into the neighbor’s yard. My friend took pictures from his balcony and then took pictures from his high dive, he then took those pictures to the meeting and asked which one was from the high dive and which picture was from his HOA approved balcony.
Both viewed into the neighbor’s yard. He said if you don’t pick the right one then I keep my high dive. They chose wrong and he got to keep his high dive. He won that small battle, but he would constantly get fined for having his garage door open.”
They Went A Little Too Far With This Scheme
“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 then more houses and a large ‘apartment complex.’
Only this apartment complex doesn’t consist of apartments. It’s an elderly home for mentally unstable patients. Basically, an old folks home for mental patients abandoned by their families.
Well, the Neighborhood Association and HOA’s head wanted the building to turn into apartments. So he had a plan…
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, assaulting, and stealing from their patients.’ And that the building and company was unlicensed to do such work at the location. The state came in and did their 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 mad when the NA and HOA started making this a big deal. City eventually comes out, does their own inspection, but find everything is 100% kosher including their zoning and licensing. The NA’s out of options 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 three weeks before the city made their final decision, a local police officer was sitting behind the complex in question (which is right across the street from my house). He caught a glimpse of someone attempting to enter one of the homes directly behind the facility. He investigated, 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 sued the head of the board and the NA was basically robbed of any sort of legal standing or understanding they had with the city. Now they’re entirely powerless. It’s magical.”
That Put An End To That Rule
“I was living in Southern California at the height of the drought. There were water restrictions in effect, placed on residents by the State of California, so we could only water our lawn on certain days and times of night (usually past 6 pm), we couldn’t wash our car in the driveway, and we were not allowed to refill any lost water in a pool.
My parents took care of the grass by watering what little they were allowed to, but it wasn’t a lush/bright green color anymore. The HOA tried imposing a fine of $125 for dead grass. I happened to be the one home that day when my mom was approached with this letter at the door. She told the woman there that she was being more of an eyesore to the property than the grass was, also sent her the proper info from the State that put the water restrictions in place.
Her reply was that she didn’t care and wanted everything to look nice and proper. I offered to start watering mid-day to get a bright green lawn only if she was willing to cover any fine imposed by the State.
Never saw her again.”
They’re More Than Tired Of The Neighborhood Bully
“Our HOA enforcer 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, he sends 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.
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 scent 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. Though super freaking creepy, it’s not illegal and the cops won’t do anything.”
The American Nightmare
“I’m a Canadian immigrant and fly a Canadian flag around our major holidays.
I got a letter in the mail from the HOA threatening a fine if I didn’t take it down. Nevermind the Confederate flag my neighbor has down the block.
So, I attend a meeting and ask the HOA Members if any of them have any issues with me flying my flag, and they all said no except for one of the board members, who was a past her prime stay at home mom with a bad reputation for being a busybody.
So, the flag went back up and I received no complaints but saw the board member walking past and giving me dirty looks. It all came to a head when I opened my mailbox one day and found the flag cut into pieces and a note with the word ‘TRUMP’ written on it in red sharpie.
Despite the fact that I had security camera footage (I run a small recording studio out of my house), she denied having anything to do with it. I posted the video of her stealing my flag, ripping it up and leaving the note to the HOA Facebook page.
She was fired from the position shortly after, so I say I won that argument.”
The Rules Apply To Everyone Except For The Board
“Well, currently they are trying to go after me for bushes in my front yard, saying that I can’t have a ‘fence’ in my front yard and I must remove the bushes. There’s a lady with an actual picket fence in her front yard that she is allowed to keep, but my bushes that were planted by the previous owner about 10 years ago or more have to be removed…
Oh also they put a lien on someone’s house for having a boat in the driveway, meanwhile, someone on the board has had a pop-up camper in their driveway for months, not even a single notice was given.
In a meeting, one of my close friends that’s on the board asked point blank, ‘We are giving a notice to the guy with the boat, has she gotten a notice for her camper?’ They stumbled on their words for a few minutes before saying well no not yet. Oh sure they are.
I’m so fed up that I’ve been going around the neighborhood looking for citations. I have pictures of the camper (popped up, not even folded down I might add), I think the president’s house color is a shade or two off from what’s in the book, also tons and tons of people have bushes.”
So They Just Make Up Rules Now?
“This past Halloween, my wife put up a pretty sweet zombie cut out on our bedroom window, we thought it was pretty cool. We live on the ground floor of our condo, so if you walk around the corner, and don’t expect it, the zombie kinda startles you. Apparently, someone was upset by the cutout, and we got a letter in the mail that we were going to get fined $100 because it is considered ‘Scary Decoration.’
Nowhere in the HOA bylaws was there anything that mentioned scary decoration, so we ignored it. We’re close with two people on the HOA board, so we asked them about it and they were like, ‘Yeah, we didn’t send that.’ There’s this old of a woman who has always been pestering us ever since we moved in because HER dog bit OUR dog and we told her to keep her dog on a leash, so we assumed she was the one that reported us.
My wife decided to buy a strobe light and put it under the cutout in the window so it made the decoration even more ‘scary,’ but we didn’t hear any more regarding it.”
The Grass Is Always Greener…
“I received some nasty messages because my grass was too tall. I hadn’t cut it in two weeks due to being gone on a trip and poor weather. Okay, not a big deal, so I cut my grass.
A week later, I got dinged for having grass that was too tall. Now I’m confused, how much shorter do you want my grass. I contacted the HOA and asked what was going on and they said my grass was over two feet tall. There was green space beside my property that belonged to the HOA that they had neglected to cut since I moved in. It turns out it was their own problem in the first place.”
That Sounds Like A Constitutional Violation
“We weren’t allowed to hold any outdoor parties, and we were also not allowed to make any disparaging remarks about the HOA board or their decisions.
We just ignored the party rule after my lawyer assured me that it was unenforceable and to refuse to pay any fines levied. And since the rule about making comments was a first amendment case, I went to the board meetings and chewed them out. They would still go ‘that is NOT allowed here’ and ‘point of order, point of order.’ I dared them to fine me a dollar and we would find out. They never did. They threatened to call the cops. I told them to call their wives and request a clean pair of pants and underwear.
My actions didn’t win me any favors, but I didn’t care. They fined me $1,200 over a period of several years, so who knows what it’s up to now with additional penalties and interest as this was over 20 years ago.”
It Just Wasn’t Worth It
“I briefly rented a condo with some friends. The landlord told us that there was an HOA, but didn’t tell us about all their crazy rules.
We got fined $60 for leaving a snow shovel on our front steps overnight. We weren’t allowed to keep anything on our front steps or lawn.
We also got fined $80 for putting our trash on the curb at 7 pm the day before garbage day. Turns out that 8 pm was the earliest we were allowed to put it out.
We all broke that lease and went our separate ways after a few months of living there. The fines and constant threatening phone calls weren’t worth it.”