No doubt, the HOA (homeowner association) seems terrible to experience, but yet very entertaining to read! Here are some of our top HOA stories this year. Content has been edited for clarity.
"My very first place in college that I didn’t rent was a townhouse condo. It was a typical cookie-cutter, three-storied, four to a section, little cut out of suburbia for beginners. I lived near the back of the development. This meant driving by the front units every day to get to and from work and school.
Our HOA board president, 'Sandra,' lived across the street from our HOA treasurer, 'Zoey.' Sandra was in her thirties, ran an illegal daycare out of her home, and I hated driving by her house after three o'clock or on weekends because her two elementary-aged kids would hide behind parked cars and run in front of your vehicle screaming, 'Slow down!'
I got really scared after this happened a few times and only drove five miles-per-hour through there and the little spawns kept doing it. I spoke with their mom about how unsafe jumping in front of cars was. I was only going five miles per hour because I was terrified and they were basically harassing me and our neighbors weekly. Sandra said her kids were being neighborhood monitors and I should be thankful for their diligence.
A week later at seven o'clock at night, after most of the residents were home, I pulled in after working my retail job after class. I noticed a tow truck. Then two. Then three. They were towing everyone in the neighborhood. I parked in my garage and ran upstairs to tell my roommates to move their cars from the street parking. They ran out and everyone who parked on the street was getting towed. There were two of my neighbors fighting with the tow drivers because they had always parked there. It was a parking area, it was in our homeowner's booklet. We whipped it out and the tow truck drivers said they were just following the orders of Sandra and they left when the police showed up. Sandra put up home-printed paper signs and signed a contract with the tow company in the middle of the day without telling anyone. The cops advised all residents it would be effective the following day, but the homemade signs Sandra made were not legal and there were no posted 'no parking' signs. The very same night, she was out in the street with a red bucket of paint painting the curb red. She had the tow company post their tow signs and no parking signs the next afternoon. Goodbye street parking. Now anyone who didn’t fit in the garage had to park three blocks away, outside the condo units.
The next straw was when one day, four large Evergreen trees were cut down from a communal park in the development. The treasurer, Zoey, found out Sandra had paid her 'sideman,' who was also an arborist, over eight thousand dollars of HOA money to cut the trees down. Without any discussion or approval from the HOA board. Zoey flipped out and let everyone know what happened to the trees and how Sandra drained our HOA money away at the next meeting. We were planning for a community co-op garden.
After the six o’clock meeting, I guess someone else on the board called Sandra to let her know that she was going to be removed from the HOA president seat due to the unapproved expenses, towing issue, and more. Well at about eight o'clock, I heard screaming. Like, blood-curdling screams from a woman, 'Help! Call the police!'
It was Zoey. She was outside of her condo screaming. Sandra came over, punched seventy-year-old Zoey in the face, pulled her out of her home, locked her out, and was then threatening to harm Zoey's disabled and bedridden elderly husband who was upstairs. Zoey was hysterical. I was on the phone with the police and about five neighbors were also outside on the phone with the police while Zoey screamed every curse word in the book through her own front door at our crazy ex-HOA president.
Sandra was arrested that night for assault and holding someone hostage. Since Sandra was a single parent, her kids were taken away by relatives about an hour after CPS showed up. I hate to say this, but Karma always wins. Zoey had this gnarly black eye and huge scratches on her chest where I guess Sandra clawed her shirt and pulled her into the haymaker.
I only lived there for fourteen months and moved due to the escalating issues with the HOA."
"Every Spring, there is an inspection. Every year, my wife and I receive a long list of repairs that are required, and every year the list includes things that have nothing to do with our property.
According to the HOA, we had missing fence post caps. I pointed out we had none missing. A re-inspection was done and the lady pointed out the missing caps. I pointed out it was my neighbor’s fence.
We had a damaged back door light. That was interesting as we didn’t have a back door light. Again, that was on a neighbor’s house.
There was a bare patch on the front lawn because a tree had been removed the week before. We were advised to wait for the area to settle, and seeding grass in June is usually not productive.
We were sent a letter that warned us not to let our dog defecate on HOA property. We don’t have a dog, I’m allergic to a lot of pet fur, and my wife was mauled by a dog as a child and is quite scared by them.
We had a hosepipe left in a visible place overnight. Someone had to be wearing night-vision goggles to see that one.
We had a damaged window screen at the rear of the house on a ground floor window. We had a six-foot fence. To see it, you would have to come into our backyard. We asked how they saw it and never got a reply. The back gate was bolted after that one.
There were missing fence panels. Nope, we asked for a reinspection which was done without me being there. The missing panels were confirmed. I photographed my fence, sent it to the HOA, and asked them to point out the missing panels. They must have realized they were caught in their lies because they didn't respond back.
A couple of years ago, a storm really tore up our house. We lost half the siding on the end of the house and we immediately informed our insurance company. Our neighbor’s son worked for a home improvement company and was a great help. He got a tarpaulin fitted over the damaged area the next day. The insurance company came by and approved everything. I spent a whole day walking the area behind our house picking up the debris and stacking it in our backyard.
The storm did a lot of damage to Virginia and a lot of other Eastern states. Labor and materials were in short supply but the neighbor’s son’s company took on the repair project. Two weeks after the storm, the HOA sent us a letter and asked if we were aware that my house was missing some siding. Really? No kidding. Half the side was missing and there was a massive tarpaulin covering it that flapped in the wind. We were given fourteen days to make the repairs.
The company doing the repairs, who were great throughout, laughed and wrote to the HOA. They explained how bad the situation was on a countrywide scale and the HOA graciously gave us a seven-day extension.
We missed the deadline, so the HOA told us to find a different contractor. I phoned five. First of all, the costs doubled. Second, they were all busy and were forecasting at least six months before the work could be done.
I sent the quotes to the HOA and insurance company, who confirmed that the storm was one of the worst in recorded history and that contractors and materials were in short supply and in high demand. The HOA didn’t care, I was then told that we had a month to get the work done or they would get it done for me and bill me for the work.
Obviously, it didn't get done so the HOA sent a contractor. He looked at the damage, looked at my quotes, and confirmed that I had done everything possible to get the work done and that he couldn't do it for six months. I thanked him for his time.
My contractor got a cancellation and was able to get started early. It took three days and looked fantastic when it was finished. By using my neighbor's son’s company. I even made a couple of thousand dollars back on the deal. Was the HOA pleased? Of course not.
I received a letter that building materials had been left on my driveway. Of course, they had. Virginia State law said that you couldn't just replace siding on one side of a house, we have to do it all. A three-sided townhouse has a lot of siding, guttering, and all the other stuff.
There had been contractor’s vehicles parked outside my house. Again, no kidding. I couldn’t afford self-fitting siding. Scaffolding had been left up overnight. The pettiness went on.
A couple of weeks later, I got a letter telling me my house needed painting. I pointed out that the siding was two weeks old and was the approved color for our house then asked why on earth it needed repainting. No response.
If I ever buy another house, it will be somewhere without an HOA."
"I rented a home in an HOA. My landlord handed me a sixty-three-page booklet of rules and told me if I ever couldn't sleep, to read through them. Since then I think I have read two pages.
I had been emailed twice about a trashcan left out one whole hour past the allotted time. Somehow they were able to see the trashcan, but not the huge house number painted in black on the side, which was clearly not my house number.
What really had me shaking my head was when the HOA sent everyone a notice that someone had been stealing the toilet paper out of the pool bathroom.
The pool bathroom is one single, unisex stall that holds one roll of toilet paper.
The notice was quite lengthy and spaned two pages going into detail of the investigations they had performed in order to try and determine who the toilet paper thief was. Worse, the HOA explained, it also seemed that the same person or a second perpetrator was cleaning the shower and the bathroom.
Knowing that the HOA was using the one-ply, school version of toilet paper, I figured the person must be pretty desperate to be stealing it one roll a day.
I was tempted to just buy a big family pack and donate it, then I read the rest of the notice. They legit were going to install security cameras at the pool and electronic key fobs, so they could track who went in and out of the pool just to catch the toilet paper thief.
They were really going to pay the cost of cameras and an electronic key system for a ten-cent roll of toilet paper. Again, it was only ten-cent toilet paper. I don't think it even made a dent in the HOA budget to buy more cheap ol' toilet paper.
My neighbor and I laughed about the whole situation. It turned into a running joke at my work, with my landlord, all my friends, and family. The story got so big that the HOA became known around the country.
My neighbor swears that one of the HOA people was stealing it so they could get cameras in so they could peep on neighbors coming and going from the pool. That sounded plausible because the alternative was just too ridiculous."
"I actually helped a customer stand up to their nasty HOA and win. I worked as a team supervisor for DirecTV at this time. Most of my duties were administrative, but if anyone on my team had an escalated call (supervisor requested), then those were my job too. One of my agents got a call, and from what he told me, the customer needed someone with more authority than a front-line service rep. So I took the call and the guy was frantic and asking me for help. He had been going through rounds with his HOA over the placement of his satellite dish. As it turned out, due to various obstructions, the only way his dish could be installed and maintain a quality signal was to be was pole-mounted.
So it was on a pole in his side yard, instead of on the roof or the side of the house. The HOA had deemed that a violation and fined him. They then threatened further proceedings against him when he refused to pay. There was something about violation of the HOA covenant agreement or some such nonsense like that. They had shown up that day to further the issue, and he decided to call us and see if there was anything we could do. Oh yes, there was.
I asked if I could speak to the HOA rep that was in his home, and he was more than pleased to let me handle it. After introducing myself and whatnot, I informed the HOA rep it was a violation of federal law to deny the homeowner the placement of their dish if that was the only place it could be installed to get a high-quality signal. The HOA rep instantly started trying to tell me what's what, when I just rattled off, 'Over the Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD),' of the Telecommunications Act in 1996.
I told him, 'It is the OTARD Rule. It's a part of the act I just named that explicitly forbids the restriction of placement of a signal reception device if that is the only feasible installation option. In short, you can't make him remove it, and if you force it, he has options.'
I couldn't literally say, 'He can take you to court,' since I'm not one of the corporate lawyers, but the point was made clear enough. He just handed the phone back to my customer and left the house.
The customer was so freaking excited and said, 'You have no idea how much of a hassle this has been, fighting with them over this for months! Thank you so much!'
It was a victory for the little guy. Forget HOAs and their power-tripping little sycophants. But this sort of thing should not have even been an issue in the first place. Let's set aside for a moment that, in my experience, most HOAs are just glorified power-mad schemes designed to squeeze as much as they can from you while enforcing draconian rules. Pretend they're in the right to make such demands of a homeowner and their satellite dish placement. Even then, this shouldn't have been an issue since it's incumbent upon them, as people enforcing contracts and the rules within them, to be aware of the laws as they pertain to the infraction being sanctioned. In other words, know your stuff before you open your mouth to someone. Especially so before you open your mouth to someone who likely has good reason to know more about it than you do.
That's what incenses me so much about stuff like this. They were most likely banking on the notion that the average homeowner wouldn't know about the OTARD rule or other specifics of some Telco Act passed by Congress years ago. They were banking on that and expecting to profit from it, and they do it because it works. The average homeowner thinks they've now broken the rules of the contract, and that their stability could be on the line due to the threats of fines, or worse. So now they've been stressed, swindled, and lost their entertainment. It's infuriating. This wasn't an isolated incident, it came up often enough that it was part of our training to deal with it."
"Okay, so my best friend, who I'll call 'Sam', grew up in suburban Arizona. His family owned their home and rarely had problems with their HOA, other than it being generally fascist. It all started with some cardboard boxes. Sam and his sister, at the ripe age of around six or seven, wanted to make a fort in their front yard. Their dad, being the great guy he was, helped them build a makeshift cardboard box fort for them to play in. Being kids, they played in the fort for a couple of hours and proceeded to get distracted elsewhere. Not a day later, they received posted notices on the door and phone calls informing them they need to clean the 'unsightly' garbage out of their yard or be faced with fines. It wasn't a huge deal, but it left the family a bit jaded towards their HOA.
Fast forward a handful of years later. Sam's dad decided he wanted to paint the house. Now if you don't know, most HOAs have strict rules on the color and send templates for you to pick off of. He said the templates ranged from tan to slightly different tan. Sam's dad found a color he liked that was more of a greenish tan and decided to go ahead and paint the whole house that way. The HOA proceeded to have a meltdown because he painted their house outside of the allowed color spectrum. Over a color? In all honesty, a greenish tan sounds way better than their options. I mean, tan or a slightly different tan? This community must look depressing.
Sam's dad said, 'No way! it's basically the same color,' and he refused to repaint his entire house another color.
So the HOA hired a contractor to come down with a paint color tester and posted notices on their door, with a detailed analysis of how his color is yucca tan and didn't t fit the spectrum, and if they didn't repaint by the end of the month, they would be fined.
Instead of folding, Sam's mom found out when the next meeting was and discovered a few things she didn't like. First off, the same ol' dude had been president of the HOA for way too long, and there was some shady stuff going on in terms of contracting. Enough was enough, so she walked around the neighborhood the next few weeks 'campaigning' and ran for president of the HOA. She won by a landslide.
It was the largest turnout for an HOA meeting since its inception. Apparently, everyone was also sick and tired of the HOA's nonsense, but they hadn't bothered to find a solution.
So Sam's mom was elected president and discovered the previous regime was doing the old 'hookup my son-in-law' by contracting the old president's son-in-law's company and paying him stupid amounts of money to water a small patch of land. She quickly ended all that nonsense. Rather than change any rules, Sam's mom just decided to refuse to enforce any of them. Sam's mom went on for years as president. Recently she decided she was tired of it and didn't show up to the election and someone else got elected. Now the new guy is trying to enforce the old rules, but everyone is so used to the freedom that there is a massive war going on."
"We had some minor run-ins with the HOA. We had opted not to have an oak tree in our yard, near the street. It was offered to us for free by the builder and all we had to do was take care of it. That started a very early rift with the HOA from the day we built the house. We didn’t have any rolling elevation to the front yard. The builder opted to put the driveway on the wrong side of the corner, rather than make a tough climb for the driveway. Although the city approved everything and technically nothing violated the HOA, the HOA cited continuity as an issue with our house. We didn't fit in.
Our house was the subject of more than one HOA meeting. We never attended so we would only get the letter with a fine. So I finally started going. I decided to see what the big hubbub was about.
Someone filed a complaint that we were not properly picking up after our dogs in the corner lot that everyone had to walk past. No one knew I was there. So I raised my hand like a schoolboy.
I identified myself as the owner of the lot on the corner and said we had no pets other than turtles and they occupied an aquarium. I mentioned that I hadn’t trained them for the leash yet and no one laughed.
Without identifying anyone, though I looked at them in turn while glancing about at others present, I said, 'Other homeowners like to walk their dogs past our property and allow their dogs to use our property as a make-shift restroom. They never pick up after them. I do pick up the poop left by other homeowners’ pets on our property as often as I can. However, the difficulty of picking up after multiple homeowners’ pets should not be discounted. Especially since some people allowed the long leashes so that their dogs could use any part of our yard they choose. Perhaps a discussion on picking up after pets leaving leftovers in other people’s yards would be more beneficial to the time and efforts of the HOA.'
That, of course, upset the HOA. They started filing complaints outside of meetings so that I couldn’t reply to them. Wow! Basically just bullying this poor homeowner for not taking their nonsense. What else was there to complain about?
The final one did in the HOA, and it pretty much started tearing apart the HOA.
The HOA filed a complaint that my air conditioner on the roof was visible from the road. The HOA agreement specifically stated that no roof-based equipment should be visible from the ground. I took that to the HOA meeting to be addressed. After all, the builder had put in the air-conditioner at the time of construction and it was not a modification we had applied. It was not visible from in front of the house or the sides. I was curious where they were looking from since the house was two stories high.
The head of the HOA said that if you drove up the street that you could see the air-conditioner plain as day. That is a direct violation of the HOA agreement and we should immediately move on to fines because it was settled business.
I responded, 'Whoa, driving up the street? You can see all the homes except for those at the highest point of the area, including your house. Therefore you are in violation as well. So are all of your neighbors. So if fines are settled business, we're voting to fine nearly everyone present.'
Instead, the HOA voted to eject me from the meeting and the HOA for being a troublemaker. They said they would contact the builder as to what to do with a property owner outside of the HOA.
I told them the builder went out of business the previous year, so good luck with that. After that everyone else wondered why they were part of an HOA anymore as well. It took less than nine months for the HOA to fall apart."
"I bought a townhouse in an HOA when I was nineteen. I had issues with the HOA from the get-go.
Moving day came and like most college-aged people, I had a bunch of friends with pickup trucks help me move. We were polite and waited until after nine o'clock in the morning on a weekday to start moving. At about eleven o'clock, my sister and I had stayed behind while our friends went to get the last load so we could start organizing the disaster of boxes and do some cleaning before the big furniture arrived. She is a year younger and we both are still 20 years later mistaken for much younger than we are. We had the stereo playing not excessively loud but enough that we could hear it throughout the two-story empty townhouse.
All of a sudden, there was frantic pounding on the front door. I thought it was one of the guys helping us move or something so I rushed to open the door only to find a creepy old man in slacks and a tank top with his belly hanging out, standing on my front steps. I asked him if there was a problem or if I could help him with something. He demanded to talk to my parents. As I mentioned before, I bought the townhouse by myself. My parents had nothing to do with it. I had a great job and a small trust fund and a townhouse seemed like a great investment.
My sister happened to come down the stairs with her phone in her hand. Our dad had called to ask if he could bring us lunch and see the new place. The creepy guy, who I later found out was the HOA president, demanded again loudly to speak to our parents. My sister handed him the phone.
He proceeded to berate my father for us being loud and disrespectful so early in the morning, playing loud music, and having a 'teenage' party at 'my father's' house when we should be in school. My dad had a very big laugh and after he stopped laughing, he suggested the gentleman ask to see the mortgage agreement as the house was mine, and any issues he had would best be directed to me the homeowner. Needless to say, the HOA president was furious."
"The condo I bought had been sitting empty for almost eighteen months and the HOA president's son was trying to purchase it. I was either quicker when I made the offer or had a better credit score or something. He voiced his complaints to me.
I responded politely that we had not started moving until after nine o'clock and that any music we had on was no louder than it was at that very moment. I had read through the HOA handbook to make sure there weren’t so-called quiet hours and ensured we were well outside of them. He was not happy and spent the better part of the next year attempting to make my life miserable.
He tried to fine me for a broken window that was broken by his grandson throwing a tennis ball against it. I was upstairs and watched him do it from an upstairs window. My neighbors on either side had also witnessed it. My homeowner's insurance was going to cover it but because it happened around five o'clock on the Saturday of a three-day weekend, it was Tuesday before they could get it replaced. The fine was issued at nine o'clock on Tuesday morning. The window was fixed before noon.
I was harassed because I was remodeling the townhouse on the inside. I made sure nothing I was doing needed HOA approval according to their handbook and according to the nosy neighbor across the courtyard, I must be doing something illegal to pay for it. I also had more male visitors than she thought was proper. I have four older brothers and my boyfriend at the time was in the military and would sometimes bring friends home with him on leave.
The HOA president went as far as to call the police and tell them that I was running a 'house of ill repute' out of my home. Imagine the officer's surprise when they came to the door to find me, my twin sister, three brothers, my boyfriend, and three or four of his Marine friends having dinner and playing Trivial Pursuit.
When I bought the townhouse, I was the youngest homeowner, but within about nine months of me moving in, several others were purchased by young families. We 'younger folks' eventually filed suit against the HOA and forced them to allow it to be run by a management company instead of the good old boys club.
After the changes, it was a great little community to live in and I made a fantastic profit when I sold the house. With one exception, however, I have refused to live in an HOA of any sort since."
I’m glad there were improvements for the younger families. People, mostly the older ones, need to understand what used to work back in the day, will not always work, especially in this new day in age. Change is necessary.
"My mother-in-law was fighting stage four ovarian cancer a few years ago. She had no desire to take down our Christmas lights. We were constantly visiting the hospital, and it was very touch and go. I also had a child under one-year-old I was raised then. Obviously, it was a very emotional time.
This HOA compliance officer constantly would stop at our house at all hours of the day. We had security cameras, so finally after reviewing the footage, we called the guard shack to see what the emergency was. We were told Christmas had been over for three weeks, and we needed to have our lights down before the end of the month, or he would fine us 25 dollars a day for the first week, then 50 dollars each day after that. We explained the situation, and the guy said how it wasn't his problem, so we needed to take the lights down. My wife exploded on this HOA monster.
She went to the next board meeting and let loose on the board and general manager. It turns out that wasn’t even an HOA policy. The guy worked for the security company that was hired to work the main entrance guard shack, and he would get a bonus if he would patrol and hand out fines for HOA violations.
This loser would just drive around and make up his own rules and fines, and by the next meeting, he was fired. A new security company was hired when the contract was up in the summer. Everything worked out in the end thankfully. That guy fired, and my mother-in-law has been cancer-free for over a year."
That compliance officer was all kinds of wrong, I'm glad he was fired because people already pay a butt load of fees living in an HOA, they don’t need more to pay for whacky fines and violations.
"I lived in a master-planned community of a thousand homes in South West Florida.
A few days after a hurricane, I had a knock on the door with two older gentlemen that told me that they were from the HOA.
They said, 'You have four cracked shingles. You need to replace those right away.'
I told them that I had not seen the cracked tiles and I asked for them to show them to me, as I would have them fixed.
The HOA members proceeded to retrieve a twenty-foot ladder, went between my house and my neighbor’s, and climbed to the top.
They said, 'The four tiles are right up here. Would you like to climb up here and see?
I responded, 'No thank you, and I will not be having them fixed. They are not in the view of anyone. Also, if I catch you putting up a ladder on my house again I will call the police and file a complaint against you. Why do you have a ladder out here anyway? Are you peeping on my neighbor?'
My neighbor was an attractive, single woman.
The HOA members retorted, 'We will be talking to the attorney and filing against you.'
My wife and I actually had a very good attorney who told them they could not fine me for something that no one could see and that they were not allowed to put ladders on other people’s houses. It ruined their day."
I'm glad he was put in his place for one doing the most over four cracked shingles that can't even be seen and two for a potential creep.