They call it the land of the free, but that may not be the case if you live in an HOA. These homeowners share the craziest run-ins they’ve had with their resident neighborhood HOAs.
Not Black Enough
“I had just moved into my house a few months prior when I got a letter threatening to be fined $200 stating that my mailbox wasn’t black. I thought surely they had the wrong house because my mailbox was in fact black. So I contacted them and they gave a run around arguing that it wasn’t.
I told them to come to look and of course, they said it was on me to prove to them it was black. So I snapped a photo and emailed it to them. I hear nothing back for well over a month, then get another letter giving me a ‘courtesy’ week extension before I’m fined.
I’m livid at this point, so contact the HOA again asking for an explanation as to what exactly the problem is. I’m finally told that ‘neighbors’ felt my mailbox was rather worn and needed to be painted or replaced. So basically it wasn’t black enough for them. So I painted it.
Now for the part that set me over the edge…After a few months or so I learned that the HOA will replace a mailbox, as it’s covered under our terms. So I called them asking about why they threatened to fine me when they were the ones that should replace it if not to standard. They stated it was because they had no open work orders for my mailbox and that it was my responsibility to notify them if it needed maintenance, not theirs…”
Prudes At The Pool
“My mom had an HOA that was a bunch of a-holes.
The average age of the HOA was about 60 years old. At the time, I was 16. We had a community pool and my mom got HOA violation letters because I wore a bikini to a swimming pool. Odd I thought.
So I wore a one-piece. Another letter saying the bathing suit was risque…they dropped it when my mom told them it was our high school swim team uniform and to please explain how it was provocative.
Next summer they had new rules that made it basically impossible for any kids to enjoy the pool. It soon became an old folks’ pool. Long story short, police did an undercover sting, and half the HOA were arrested for using it as a launching platform with their swingers club.
They were arrested for lewd and lascivious actions in a swimming pool.
Karma was nice that year. The pool rules were rescinded and we got to use the pool again
As I got older, I learned a valuable lesson: never to buy a home that has an HOA. I never had an HOA and I never intend to. Most of the time it’s run by old people with a superiority complex issue.
No, the police did not do a sting because they heard about spouse swapping. Sorry, if I miscommunicated that. The police busted several of them at the pool doing lewd things BECAUSE of the spouse swapping. The pool was just one meetup. Other places were in private (I suppose…since the pool one was the only place busted).
They didn’t ban the teenagers from the pool the following year but they made the rules so tough we couldn’t go. One rule was no more than four teens in the pool at any one time …it was a big pool. And all teens must be accompanied by a guardian..an actual parent or legal guardian).
Our next-door neighbor was one of the guys busted (not his wife…I guess his wife was with another guy somewhere else I dont know). But I do remember one of my girlfriends always yelling in our front yard ‘is that the guy’s house who got busted in the swimming pool?’
That HOA ‘officer’ was a retired Florida police officer and was one of the biggest influences on pushing the teens out.”
That Grill Is Gonna Have Problems
“When we rented, the HOA would report to our property manager and then the property manager would call us to let us know what we’d done wrong. We were reported for so many things that had nothing to do with us.
We got a call that we can’t have a grill on our front porch. We didn’t even own a grill. We got told that we are only permitted one car parked on the street. Our other two cars need to be parked in the garage. We only owned one car at that time. We got a call that neighbors were complaining that our dogs were barking all hours of the night. We didn’t have dogs (this house didn’t even have a yard). The weirdest is when our property manager calls and says, ‘You need to move the doormat that you have leaning against your house.’ Husband goes outside and finds a doormat leaning against the neighbor’s house. But whoever reported it–wouldn’t it have been easier to just knock on the door and say something?? The entire three years we lived in this house–the neighbors across the street used their porch as storage.
As homeowners (in a different neighborhood) we were written up for not taking Christmas lights down in a timely manner. It was mid-January and we’d been gone for my grandpa’s funeral. So, we took them down right away as soon as we got the write-up (no warnings–as is procedure–just straight to ‘here’s a write-up, you need to go before the board where they’ll decide if you have to pay a fine.’) I alerted them lights were removed. They got back to me saying we didn’t remove all decorations. I had a snowman on the door that says ‘Let it Snow’ and snowflakes in the window. Winter decorations–not Christmas. They were super snotty about it until I pointed out they’d broken their own procedure by not giving us warnings and that we felt targeted. They dropped it.
A year and a half ago we redid our landscaping. The landscaper had pavers sitting in the front of the house, so it was obvious something was up. We got a letter in the mail telling us to cease and desist as we hadn’t gotten HOA approval to landscape our backyard. The letter included a photo. The angle of the photo clearly showed that whoever had taken it had gone into our backyard to take it. They are not allowed to do that. I emailed them, pointing this out. They dropped it.
Not necessarily horror stories, but shows what a pain in the butt an HOA can be.”
Don’t Touch His Trash!
“We live in an HOA neighborhood and had a neighbor trying to sell his house a few years ago. I kept my trash cans by my garage (they aren’t ratty looking or stinky, they looked brand new) and noticed when I’d come home, they were gone.
After looking around, I found them behind the fence on my lawn. This happened three times in a week, so after that, I got ticked and thought someone was messing with me.
I go to the hardware store and get the largest chain and padlock I could find, and started chaining them to the post on my front porch. My neighbor is outside and I say ‘Hey Craig, you wouldn’t happen to know what keeps happening to my trash cans?’
Apparently, he scoured the HOA rule book and found out they are required to be out of sight except on trash day. He thought my trash cans being visible is why he was having a hard time selling his insanely overpriced house in a lousy market and was moving them himself. Never talked to me, never got a notice from the HOA.
I chewed him out and told him he’s a freaking child and should know better than to repeatedly come on to my property and mess with my stuff without my knowledge, at over 40-years-old. Trash cans or not, it’s my stuff, property, land, fence, and lawn.”
Red Neck vs. The HOA
“When my family moved away from my family’s ranch we went to a trailer park for a while then into an actual house we wound up in a neighborhood that had an HOA. My dad refused to sign their contract because he is red-blooded, American, Red Neck. Everything was good until they tried to tell him how to manage his household. This happened in a place where you actually aren’t obligated to obey the HOA unless they have you on contract. We ticked them off because we refused to pay dues. This prompted the HOA President to do everything they could to make us decide paying the dues was easier than dealing with their nonsense.
They told him that we couldn’t keep our cars in our driveway, they had to be in the garage. The problem is, we had my dad’s car, mom’s car, my car, and the work truck but only a two car garage. But my father is a patient and accommodating man. So we moved our cars to the street. They tried to get onto him for that, so we parked in the front yard. They then tried to come at him with the contract and tell him to sell 2 of the vehicles. His response: ‘I ain’t signed nothing! Get the heck off my property!’ And thus the war between the HOA and House Playpen began.
My mom wanted a garden as we had back at the ranch, so my dad grabbed my brother and me and we went to home depot to get supplies. We come back and start doing the prep-work and some guy comes up and asks what we’re doing. ‘Building a garden. I’m gonna put some raised boxes up with some shelves over by the door and line the rest of the front with flowerbeds. What d’you think?’ The guy says he thinks it sounds alright and walks away, we get to work. 15 minutes later my mom comes out and says she had the HOA President on the line, dad tells her to tell the president to bug off. Next, they come over to tell him he has to have landscaping projects approved by the HOA. After a short argument, my dad reverts to his military personality and yells ‘GET OFF MY PROPERTY!’ At which point Mr. HOA chose not to press the issue.
We had lived there for about eight months and other things had happened but this was the first time they called the police. We were packing up to go hunting.
It was a Friday evening, and we put our weapons in the rack on the work truck and started moving back and forth from the house bringing all our gear and supplies. As we’re going over the checklist one last time just to make sure, a police car pulls up and tells my dad they got a call about armed men robbing a house. My dad explains the situation and the officer goes to get in his car and leave when this lady (who turns out to be the HOA Pres’s wife, they lived down the street a way) comes out and asks the officer why he isn’t doing anything. She insists that he can’t just let us carry weapons around. She gets more and more upset as the officer explains that the weapons are safely stored for transport, it’s our private residence so we actually can carry them, and my father is licensed to carry them anyways. At this point, she is starting to tick off my dad who tells her ‘Linda, you are trespassing right now and if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: stay the heck off my property.’ At which point the police officer told us all to calm down and sent Mrs. HOA back home and us on our way.
A few more months go by, we’ve been there about a year and we’re remodeling about half the house over the summer. They have called the police on us for nothing enough times that the police are actually on our side. We were working on a bathroom and pulled the toilet out and put it by the curb with the trash. The trash collectors came and took everything but the toilet. Fair is fair, it was definitely over the weight limit. We call the city and ask how to get rid of it and basically, we have to take it to the dump ourselves. We figure we’ll get it when we take the copper and tile and get back to work. About an hour later there’s a knock on the door. Dad opens it to none other than Mr. and Mrs. HOA. They tell us we can’t leave the toilet on the street. My dad tells them he understands, he’ll move it when we’re done working for the day. This is not good enough. They demand we move the toilet THIS INSTANT! ‘Okay’ my dad says, and then has me help him move the toilet…. and position it as the centerpiece of our yard. He told them the toilet would stay there as long as he liked. This time there was no yelling, not even a command to get off his property. Only my 6’4′ bearded, construction worker father, laughing his butt off at these two as they lost their dang minds. When they left, he made an ‘out of order’ sign for the toilet, took us for ice cream and we were done working for the day.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!! A few days later, I wake up to police sirens on the street. I get up and walk outside in my PJs to see what’s going on. And I saw a sight that brings a smile to my face to this day. The police arrested Mr. and Mrs. HOA for attempted theft of a toilet as my father, clad in dog tags, combat boots, boxers, and a bathrobe stolen from Motel 6 smokes a cig and laughs from atop his porcelain throne.”
These Folks Went Overboard
“The fake HOA in our neighborhood! Started off as a neighborly gesture. Cheap $75.00 a year. Cleared the roads, some Spring dumpsters, a Summer BBQ.
Then the bored housewife who had nothing better to do became President of the HOA. The ‘elections’, meetings, and of course raised the HOA fee 200%.
She talked about new street signs, new roads, sidewalks, and gates into the entrance of the neighborhood. Mind you our home was the original property back in the 1940s. I assume the owners sold off land for the homes around us. No common areas, neighborhood pool, park, trails, NOTHING. I refused to pay or be any part of the little HOA club.
She called as I was ‘past due’ on my HOA fees. I politely told her there is no HOA here which is why we bought this home. She asked if we use the roads and I said yes of course. Her response was well you need to pay to use my roads. I told her I do, it’s called Property Tax. I asked her to NEVER contact me again.
Funny some participate in the HOA. They just put in $15,000 worth of Stop signs. We have five intersections! She wants to resurface the over one-mile road now!! Good luck with that, I’ll gladly be the one they hate who hangs her laundry out to dry!! Do NOT buy in an HOA!”
Victory At Last!
“My dad bought his house in 2004. One of the large selling points was that it did not have an HOA. One of the very few neighborhoods in my town that didn’t. Well, in 2009 my grandma died and it gave my dad enough money to pay off his house. More on why that is important in a moment. It must have been 2011, maybe 2012 but we got a knock on the door asking my dad to sign a petition to form a homeowners association. First time I ever heard my dad curse was when he told that lady ‘Heck no!! I bought this house in 2004 largely because I don’t want a dang HOA, now get the heck off my porch.’ Well funny story, about three months later he got some mail informing him of the newly formed HOA. My dad was livid, so he went around asking neighbors what they had told this lady. Turns out that when an HOA is formed they don’t need to ask the resident or the legal owner if there is a lien on the property.
So since most everyone has a mortgage the mortgage company says yes, we would like to further protect our investment, please form an HOA as fast as you can. My dad continues to talk about the HOA, but they don’t really do much. One time he got a fine for a peach tree of his hanging too low over the fence, decided it was about two weeks until he could harvest most of the peaches, so he took the fine. That was about it until the summer of 2014. One day, out of the blue, my dad got a warning about our little camper in the backyard. Now we have had this 14′ camper for almost as long as I can remember it.
Every summer we’d take a trip or two to another state, weekends into the mountains, and in the winter we went elk hunting with this camper. Many of my fondest memories come from this thing that we’d had for years but just now are getting told to move. So my dad did, he moved it to his brother’s house for a while. Winter of 2016 came around and my uncle was selling his house. My dad decided it was enough time, many other neighbors have trailers in there backyard, and have for years who cares. We put it in the backyard and within a week had a warning. My father was livid once more.
The best course of action my father had decided was to report all the neighbors with trailers, then give it a couple of weeks and tell them about the upcoming board meeting. This came with great success. Almost a hundred people show up to this board meeting many of whom had purchased their house new with the fact that you could park things in the backyard and the lack of an HOA a huge selling point. Well, it went downhill fast, not a happy person was there. Within 20 minutes of this board meeting everyone on the board had resigned, only the property manager remained. The next day, at about 8 am my dad ran into my room with excitement. He had proclaimed to me that the property manager stepped down and that the HOA had been dissolved!”
She Only Lasted 14 Mos With That HOA
“A little late and on mobile, but it involves kids, cops, assault, an affair scandal, and the elderly.
The very first place in college that I didn’t rent was a townhouse condo. 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/past the front units every day to get to and from work and school.
Our HOA board president, Sonya, lived across the street from our HOA treasurer, Zelda. Sonya was in her 30s, ran an illegal daycare out of her home, and I hated driving by her house after 3 pm 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 5 mph through there and the little cretins kept doing it. I spoke with their mom about how unsafe jumping in front of cars was. I’m only going 5 mph because I’m TERRIFIED and they’re basically harassing me and our neighbors weekly. Sonya says her kids are being neighborhood monitors and I should be thankful for their diligence. What?
A week later at 7 pm, after most of the residents are home (mostly young families), I pull in after working my retail job after class. I notice a tow truck. Then two. Then three. Holy freaking cow, they’re towing everyone in the neighborhood. I park in my garage and run upstairs and tell my roommates to move their cars from the street parking. They run out and sure as heck everyone who parked on the street is getting towed. There are two of my neighbors fighting with the tow drivers that they’ve always parked there. It’s a parking area, it’s in our homeowner’s booklet.
We whip it out and the tow truck drivers say they’re just following orders of Sonya and they leave when the police show up. Sonya 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 that tomorrow this would be effective, but that the homemade signs Sonya made were not legal and there were no posted ‘no parking’ signs. Guys. That 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. Old lady and treasurer Zelda found out Sonya had paid her ‘side man’ who was also an arborist over $8,000 of HOA money to cut these trees down. Without any discussion or approval from the HOA board. Zelda flipped her lid and the next HOA meeting let everyone know what happened to the trees and how Sonya ticked our HOA money away (we were planning for a community co-op garden).
After the 6 o’clock meeting I guess someone else on the board called Sonya 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 8 pm I hear screaming. Like, blood-curdling screams from a woman, ‘HELP! CALL THE POLICE!’
She’s outside her condo fookin’ screaming. Sonya came over, punched the 70-year-old Zelda in the face, pulled her out of her own home, locked her out, and was now threatening to harm Zelda’s disabled and bedridden elderly husband who was upstairs! Zelda’s just hysterical. I’m on the phone with the police, about 5 neighbors are also outside on the phone with the police, Zelda’s screaming every curse word in the book through her own front door at our crazy ex-HOA president.
Sonya was arrested that night for some crazy stuff like assault and holding someone hostage. Since Sonya was a single parent, her kids were taken away by relatives about an hour after CPS showed up. Zelda had this gnarly black eye and huge scratches on her chest where I guess Sonya clawed her shirt and pulled her into the haymaker.
I only lived there for 14-months and moved due to the escalating issues with the HOA.”
Why Take It Out On The Dog?
“I bought a seven-week-old border collie and raised her at home in our condo for two years. She grew out to a standing height of 22 inches and weighed 37 pounds (she was a runt).
Two years of being greeted nicely daily by the onsite property manager and generally nice neighbors, and we received a notice in an unmarked envelope at our door one day that someone in our condo had filed a complaint and asked that our dog be officially weighed and measured to fit the condominium HOA regulations. The maximum was 20 inches standing height (from shoulder to the floor) or 30 pounds, it only had to fulfill one of the requirements.
We didn’t think much of it because she was so small. There were four or five other really large dogs in our condominium complex so we didn’t think it’d be a big deal. Then we received notice that we were to appear before the board with an official height and weight measured by a board-recommended vet. Failure to comply resulted in a $100 per day fine for 30 days after which legal action would be pursued.
So we took her to the vet, and she measured out at 22 / 37. We tried putting her on a diet but she was so small we were afraid of her losing more than 1/5th of total weight. We showed up at the board meeting and they gave us 30 days to get her off the property or they were going to pursue eviction.
We live in a predominantly WASPy community, and being Asian, our thoughts drifted to ethnic discrimination. Every other large dog owner in our condo was white, and they even let their dogs roam off-leash, which is strictly prohibited in our condo. No complaints about them. Also, aside from a few immediate neighbors in our community who were generally nice, we’ve always felt sort of estranged in our condo (greetings in elevator rides are ignored, dirty looks, people leaning away while passing in the hallway, petty stuff like that). I found out later that every large dog in our building was there because they were ‘service dogs’ (yeah right).
We filed an appeal, and they schedule a board hearing 15 days later for the appeal. We went in front of the 5 person panel (all white, with another white lady keeping minutes). We plead our case for about 20 minutes, arguing she was very very well behaved, never barked, very well socialized, extremely smart, and most importantly she was a part of our family since she was 7 weeks old. I kid you not, less than a minute after we were done pleading, they handed over a final decision that we had less than two weeks to get the dog off the premises.
I was livid. At that point I was absolutely convinced that it was racially motivated. I said something to that extent, and the next day we received a letter in our mailbox from the Condominium’s legal representation that if we even tried to pursue any course of action on baseless insinuations that this was a racial issue they would bring the full force of their legal arm against us to get us evicted, even though we owned the unit.
Our last ditch effort was to get our dog registered as a service animal, but this was a deeply ethical conflict for me. I know that abuse of service animal registration makes things harder for people who actually really are in need of service animals. That combined with the fact that the window to get it before the final date was so slim led me to decide against it.
Ultimately I had to look to re-home her, even though it killed me to do so. I thought that maybe there was a possibility I could give her to someone I trusted to care about her until we could find a way to sell our home and move elsewhere. But it was financially impossible, and I couldn’t find a single person to take her.
I ended up giving her to an ex-girlfriend, who I’ve since have lost communication with because it made my relationship with my girlfriend (now wife) very difficult because I’d had a long relationship with the ex prior. I see snippets of my dog on social media, and she’s doing well and living life, but it kills me every time I see a picture of her.
Anyway, sorry for the long story. I despise HOAs.”