Homeowner’s Associations get a bad rap, to the point that many potential homebuyers are leery about buying in a neighborhood that requires you to join. That said, they do have their benefits and often go hand-in-hand with great amenities, so the tradeoffs could be worth it.
For these 15 people, though, they so definitely weren’t.
#15. Very aggressive speed bumps.
“Rented a house in a HOA. It wasn’t too bad, just normal stuff, but every now and then some board members would tool around and hand out fines for dirty driveways and such.
Wouldn’t have cared if the President and a board member didn’t live on the same street as me, and their driveways were in massive disrepair. The board member’s son did some work on his truck and there was a massive oil spill, partly covered with a red towel that sat there for 8 months… while a few “rust colored” streaks on our concrete was worthy of a fine.
The funniest was when the HOA decided to install very aggressive speed bumps. The ones that were there previously were fine… graded to not be too jarring but required you slow down.
The only accident that occurred while we were there was the spouse of a HOA board member driving drunk and plowing into a tree, but there were always notices and mailings for people to slow down as “this is not a racetrack.”
I guess they felt adding in a couple of literal asphalt “curbs” in the middle of the street would “show people” who dared to drive over 10 mph on the main road.
The only way over these things without feeling like you were going to break something on your car was to ease up the first side. Come to a complete stop. Then slowly ease down the drop. Once for the front wheels, another for the rear.
Some people had just taken to driving on the grass around them, so they put up concrete barriers there.
After a few weeks, someone decided to pour diesel fuel on the speed bumps the day before the garbage trucks did their rounds. The Speed bumps got completely destroyed.
The HOA reinstalled the bumps, and somehow made them even more aggressive… and a week later, Captain Diesel struck again.
They yanked them out again, and just paved over the holes. It was beautiful.
They did end up installing speed bumps a few months later, but they went with the stock plastic ones that bolt to the street. Which was much more preferable to the man-made Cliffs of Dover that were there previously.”
#14. If you want to play dirty.
“Upscale beach neighborhood, Repeatedly refused my solar panel application, sighted the location of them as being an eye sore (top of the back side of the house….not visible from street) and fought me at four different meetings, delaying my installation, ultimately cited the state law and they immediately backed down and amended their covenants- ps, a clothes line is a “solar collection device” and they cannot deny you use of that either, so if you want to play dirty- hang a bunch of beach towels in your yard!”
#13. A justifiable use of funds.
“Lived in a high-rise in Chicago that had an HOA full of old people with too much money.
Fortunately, I was only renting, but I was curious to learn about the HOA and they were gracious enough to let me sit-in.
The condo had just built a brand new outdoor patio for grilling, etc. The powers-that-be didn’t like the shade of red of the cobblestone brick that they laid for the area, so they allocated $1M to redo the entire area with new brick.
There were a few attendees who were young professionals who protested, but they were heavily outvoted by the contingent of wealthy old people who felt this was a justifiable use of funds.
#12. 10-year-old trees.
“Was told to have 10 year old trees removed (which was apparently approved by the board we found out like all landscaping) because in the winter they turn brownish and lose the leaves. Also got a notice asking how long we’d have a Toyota Tundra truck in our driveway over Xmas. Cousin stayed with us 2 nights.”
#11. Up to standards.
“Broke into people’s houses to check if it was up to standards, one of them had to hospitalized after he got his legs mangel by a former guard dog and another one overdosed on medicine he found in the house.
The person that was tryin to break into my house stopped after he saw I had 4 dogs just looking at him.”
#10. Summarily denied.
“My at-the-time girlfriend (now wife) rented a townhouse with friends in a community that had an HOA. There was a parking reserved for guests of the tenants. Ironically, parking was always an issue for my wife and her roommates but always simple for me – I just popped on the visitor’s pass and was good to go in that lot.
I spent the night probably once or twice a week, and one day I awoke to find my car missing. After some ace detective work, I found out that my 10-year-old (at the time) 5-speed manual transition Honda had not been stolen, but just towed. When I reached out to the HOA, they told me that there was a provision in the bylaws that said a car could only be parked in a visitor’s spot for a maximum of 72 hours and that a board member submitted my car to a list of cars to be towed due to “abusing” a visitor’s pass.
They argued the language in the bylaws was such that the total amount of time that a car may be parked in the visitor’s lot was 72 hours, non-consecutively (i.e., if you park there once a week for 10 hours each week, on the 8th week we are in violation of the policy). This in opposition to the clear purpose of the provision, which is to prevent people from storing their cars in the lot. They summarily denied my request at the next HOA meeting to recover the $150 towing fee.
Long story short, I sued them in small claims court and got back the towing fee plus court costs (plus, they engaged a lawyer, so I feel good about wasting some of their retainer as well).”
#9. An attached picture for evidence.
“Hoa sent a letter threatening to fine my parents over uncut grass. It came with an attached picture for evidence, our house wasn’t even the same color.”
#8. She was convinced I was making it up.
“I lived in a neighborhood with a park in the center, located directly behind my back fence. The entire neighborhood was managed by the same HOA company, but the neighborhood was officially set up as two different HOA communities. Even though it was on the other side of my fence, the park was designated as part of the community I was not in.
On multiple occasions, the irrigation system in the park broke and completely flooded my backyard. Three or four times over a span of a few months, I woke up to literally a foot and a half of water. Over time, my brick fire pit literally sank into the ground an entire layer of brick, water came into my kitchen on two of the occasions, and every time my home’s foundation looked weaker and weaker after clean up.
I called to complain to the HOA each time. The flooding almost always happened on a weekend, and it wouldn’t be until Monday that they came out, leaving my home flooded for a minimum of two days each time.
After the third or fourth complaint, I finally reported them to the BBB and the Water Authority, and I sent a video to the local news. The next business day the head of the HOA company called me furious. Despite all the pictures and videos I’d sent, she said she was convinced I was making it all up. When I pressed her why she thought that, she specifically said it was because “The park can’t be flooding your house. It’s not even part of the same HOA community you live in!””
#7. Before the end of the month.
“Mother in law was fighting stage 4 ovarian cancer a few years ago. Had no desire to take down our Christmas lights. We were constantly visiting the hospital, was very touch and go. Had a child under 1. Was a very emotional time.
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 that Christmas has been over for 3 weeks and we need to have our lights down before the end of the month or he would fine us $25 a day for the first week, then $50 each day after that. We explained the situation, and the guy said well it’s not my problem take your lights down.
My wife exploded on the douchebag. Went to the next board meeting and let loose on the board and general manager. Turns out it wasn’t a HOA policy. The guy worked for the security company that was hired to work the main entrance guard shack, and would get a bonus if he would patrol and hand out fines for HOA violations.
This asshole would just drive around and make up his own rules and fines and by the next meeting was fired, and a new security company was hired when the contact was up in the summer.
Everything worked out in the end. Douche fired, MIL cancer free for over a year.”
#6. HOA thugs.
“Was moving to a different city and crashed at my dad’s townhouse for a few months to save money for the move. One day a guy showed up to install a satellite dish that my dad ordered.
My dad isn’t the type of guy to pay very close attention to HOA rules, and apparently missed a brand new (and HIGHLY contentious) rule that satellite dishes were “eyesores” and no longer allowed. So just as the installer guy is getting up to the roof, this couple (head of the HOA) comes SPRINTING from their townhouse across the street to shut it down, screaming bloody murder.
I had absolutely no issue with not getting a satellite dish, it wasn’t even my house, but these two HOA thugs were absolutely awful. The wife was just hurling insults at the installer guy and I, and the husband immediately started climbing the ladder up onto the roof to “kick the shit” out of the installer guy. None of this was provoked at all, it just went from 0-100mph in no time flat and this couple was out of control.
Well, the installer guy eventually had enough of having racist insults hurled at him and came down the ladder and started a full-on brawl with the husband in my dad’s driveway. The wife was screaming at the top of her lungs at me, a stoned couch-surfer whose only contribution to this whole fiasco was to answer a door and let a guy on the roof. I still vividly remember being absolutely dumbfounded watching these two grown men beat the hell out of each other while I tried to communicate to my dad on the phone over the shrill sounds of some strange woman absolutely berating me for “ruining the neighborhood”.
It was wild.”
#5. DNA testing for dogs.
“We live in a condo and began receiving $100 fines for not picking up dog poop. The area behind our building is a common area and lots of people walk their dogs around. I offered to submit DNA testing for my dogs and they ignored me and continued to send notices of fines.
I began taking my phone with me on every walk and took photos and videos of me picking up poop with timestamp evidence. I sent a folder full of photos to the HOA with photographic evidence that I was picking up after my dogs.
We continued to receive fines. I got a small trash can and kept on my patio and began saving my bags of dog poop for two weeks. I did tie the bags but they were still obviously smelly as poop bags are very thin plastic. I then mailed a box of poop to the HOA office along with copies of timestamped photos showing I had picked it up. I told them that I had better not ever receive another fine for dog poop because I had provided more than sufficient evidence that it wasn’t us. Miraculously, the fines stopped and we haven’t received any for over 2 years.”
#4. They would measure my grass.
“I would sit in my yard with my dog between 4 and 6 pm every Friday for 3 months.
Because the HOA would measure my grass every fucking Friday. My lawn guy was the best and I refused to switch. However, he could only come on Saturday. HOA let us choose which day we inspected. Everyone voted for Saturdays. They secretly vetoed it and came Fridays but CLAIMED it was Saturday they were coming. To prove this, I sat with my dog every Friday waiting for him. He would park, wait a while, then go to another street and measure there. My street was the only one who didn’t receive fines for breaking the agreement. It became a party when everyone figured out what I was doing.
People would cook out in the front and we would all go throw on coals and food as needed. I got reported for something or other after the 3 month marker, so I brought my supercut 3 months of time stamped videos and submitted them to the HOA distribution list before I went to meet with them. There were 40/50 people there because we had organized a day to go and air grievances. It was maybe the best time I ever spent with any HOA.”
#3. Every stereotype I ever had.
“We’ve only been part of an HOA for the last few months, and it’s already living up to every stereotype I ever had in my head.
They held our once-annual meeting with very little notice, and like 6 people showed up. They elected a new “association” and immediately decided to spend $700 on dog shit receptacles, even though like 4 people have dogs, and the whole neighborhood is one street.
This sparked an incredible amount of drama. One guy on the HOA decided he was going to get super defensive when people started questioning this decision, and it quickly devolved into him just taunting people on Facebook because he was on the board and they weren’t, and if they didn’t like his authority, they should change the by-laws. Then someone left a bunch of dog shit in his driveway. Then he resigned from the HOA. No word on the dog shit receptacles.
This has all happened in the past 3 days.”
#2. I was pissed.
“They charged me $500 for leaving a glass cup on the bbq.
Damn I was pissed. My blood boils just thinking about it. I have so many other horrible stories like my wall was flooded inside and they refused to fix it even though it was a HOA problem. I pay $617 monthly. F bastards”
#1. Stand up to the HOA and win.
“Other way around. I helped a customer stand up to their 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 immediately requested a supervisor, that he needed someone with more authority than a front-line service rep (even though my agent could have handled this).
So I take the call and the guy is frantic and asking me for help. He’d been going 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’s on a pole in his side yard instead of on the roof/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. Something about violation of the HOA covenant agreement or some such nonsense like that.
They had shown up this 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 inform the HOA rep that it is a violation of federal law to deny the homeowner the placement of their dish if that is the only place it could be installed to get a high quality signal.
The HOA rep instantly starts trying to tell me what’s what when I just rattled off “Over the Air Reception Devices Rule” of the Telecommunications Act 1996.
“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. “You have no idea how much of a hassle this has been, fighting with them over this for months!. The threats of fines, etc. Thank you so much!”
A victory for the little guy. Fuck HOAs and their power-tripping little sycophants.”
Pick your poison, I guess!