People Share 35 Ridiculous And Infuriating Experiences They Had With Homeowner Associations
A homeowner's association (abbreviated as HOA) is an organization in a subdivision, planned community, or condominium building that makes and enforces rules for the properties and residents.
Those who purchase property within its jurisdiction automatically become members and are required to pay dues—HOA fees. And while these associations can do a lot of good, some can be very restrictive.
To illustrate how ridiculous, strange, and downright infuriating their regulations can be, we at Bored Panda compiled some of the worst HOA stories we found online.
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'm walking a golf cart with actual lights and sirens pulls up in front of me. This huge old lady gets out and starts yelling before I can even get my headphones out of my ears. Turns out walking dogs isn'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 pissed her off. She started following me in her golf cart with the lights and siren going. This continued for about ten 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 anytime 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 anytime 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 kinda laughed the whole way back to my condo.
Longish story, but it makes me smile every time I think about it
My grandfather lives in a "senior friendly" HOA, he and my grandmother lived there for about 15 years, the entire time my grandma was an avid gardener, and her favorite plants were her hydrangea bushes. The HOA allowed her garden in the back of the house, and the bushes in the front for the entire time they have lived there. A year or two after she passed away the HOA board had a huge turnover and the HOA informed my grandpa that the bushes had to go, even threatening to 'forcibly remove' the bushes. Well, grandpa is a retired federal appellate judge, he has lots of free time and he LOVES to argue. He has told my uncle and I on multiple occasions that after grandma died he really found no joy in anything, but now he is only alive to spite the HOA and loves every minute of it. A year ago he spent about 6 months drafting response letters for every single violation in the HOA that they could try to fine him on and has them all ready to go.
My uncle has told me that my grandpa has quite literally set aside 10s of thousands of dollars per year, for 30 years, to pay for legal filings, research, and fines. He will never stop, he is the terminator of HOA fine notices.
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, and when he would fight them and ask for proof, they would retaliate by screwing with him even more...
The revenge: Being a pretty prestigious surgeon, and having a sh*tload 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... and he would put them in names of different businesses he owned as to not raise suspicion. The HOA didn’t even see it coming.
Then one day, he showed up to an HOA meeting... and 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.
My hoa in Oklahoma required that you hire a professional company and spend at least $500 to put up lights at Christmas time. They threatened to fine me when I refused, so since I'm Jewish, I got a company to put up a huge star of David in my front yard. They removed the requirement from the hoa rules the next year.
OH WEE!!!! My good friend had a story.
Her and the husband moved into this gated community. She loves having a birdbath in her backyard...and she gardens a lot, so the decoration makes sense. Turns out her HOA figured out that she had said birdbath in her backyard. Apparently birdbath=lawn ornament, which was forbidden. She told them she would remove it. A week later she gets another message saying that it hasn't been removed(it wasn't). Obviously her and the husband put it together that the HOA is snooping in her backyard.
For a week, she spends her time outside sunbathing in the nude setting her trap. Sure enough an HOA narc opens the gate to their backyard and sees her in the nude.
Instant call to the police for privacy violations. The HOA gave up and let her have a birdbath.
She is now on the board of the HOA and they leave her alone.
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.
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.
Confession bear time: I had to get up early for work (3am), 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.
Got a letter saying that I had weeds in my flower beds. My front yard doesn't have any flower beds, so I email them and ask which ones they are referring to. They of course come back and say it's the flower bed in my back yard.
My back yard has an 8 foot privacy fence around it that is impossible to see through. When asked how they knew about it they said a neighbor reported it. Not a single neighbor has been in my back yard in the 6 years I've owned the house. I replied back and called them on their bullsh*t and told them that any further trespassing is unacceptable.
I specifically didn't do anything about the weeds and put up a couple of my game cameras (kind used for hunting) watching the gate. Caught the f*cker three different times opening the gate and walking into my backyard. He did it every other Monday.
I took the next Monday off and sat in my backyard with a camera recording. Called the cops and had him arrested for trespassing. City police were very helpful and a lawyer buddy wrote up a nice fancy letter that said that any further contact from the HOA had to go through him.
A friend of mine lived in a pretty big neighborhood with a pretty strict HOA. He asked and was allowed to add a garage onto his house and did so, siding it with cedar planks. It looked great. His HOA disagreed and told him the by-laws state all exposed walls must be painted. He tried to appeal, but was shot down unanimously. So he checked the by-laws further and found that while it was stated that all exposed walls must be painted, there was absolutely no mention of any color restrictions.
By the time he was done, each plank was a different primary color, and there was nothing they could do about it. They were furious with him, and he laughed his butt off.
Coworker lived in a very expensive and very high monthly HOA neighborhood. They were born in the Netherlands and had a Dutch flag sticker on their front window, maybe three inches tall. They got a $75 fine in the mail. Her dad read the rules over extremely well, went out and photographed over 75 US flags, went to the head officer and said he wouldn't be writing a $75 check until the person writes up all 75 of the following addresses, as there's no exception for an American flag. They dismissed his fine
My HOA mailed us a letter stating the color red I painted my front door wasn't approved. They required me to submit the paint color name, brand and sample to the architectural committee for review and approval. I did. It was denied. I wrote a letter stating there was a neighbor 2 blocks over with a red door- who had been approved. HOA says "paint it the same color as your neighbors, and we'll approve it." I let 2 weeks pass. Wrote a follow up letter informing this very particular HOA that I had completed the repainting of my door from the red I originally chose (which was denied) to the exact same color as the neighbors. I get a letter which thanked me for repainting and (finally) approves my red door. Their letter even stated that my door was visited and inspected prior to approval. Jokes on them. I never repainted it and they couldn't tell the difference.
They sent us a series of nasty notices to remove the dead tree in our front yard. The tree had lost all of its leaves and it was unsightly, apparently.
The catch is that they sent us this notice in November. You know, like, FALL. When perfectly healthy trees lose their leaves.
We pretended we didn't understand which tree they were talking about until spring, when the tree magically came back to life.
Our neighborhood HOA tried to make us remove the ivy from our house. After combing through the by-laws, there was nothing stating we couldn’t have ivy.
I put my foot down hard and told them if they made me remove my beloved ivy, then I would put 50 pink flamingos in my yard because there was no rule about it.
They left us alone after that.
Had an HOA which regularly complained about petty things. I did fix them, but was super annoyed. I made a sign (very cheaply, white with black text) which said "Yard of the month" or something like that because it would annoy them greatly and wasn't technically against the rules. Later, they actually made a really nice and expensive official sign "HOA OFFICIAL yard of the month." (lol, really? I was joking) Nice graphics and nice metal frame. Really official looking. I noticed it on a walk at night when most people were already inside. I grabbed the sign and moved it to someone else's yard which was obviously crap with lots of weeds etc. Ya, that sign never showed up again. lol.
My family had a really nice but old Mercedes Benz parked in our lot. It didn’t run at the time, and we couldn’t afford to fix it up quite yet, so we never renewed the tags on it. Again, it was a really pretty silver car simply parked in our driveway. A neighbor called the police/HOA and basically anyone else who she could complain to about our car. The town then approached us and said we must cover the car, so we begrudgingly did. But not before painting a bunch of d*cks on the cover in bright neon colors. It was just about the most hideous thing that you could look at.
My son kept getting sh*t because he had a '50s pickup he was working on in his garage that he would move outside during the day and put away at night. The HOA president had the truck towed from his driveway. He got it back, as it was an illegal tow. A few weeks later, the truck was towed again, and the HOA had it crushed (she must have paid extra, they don't crush a truck in 45 minutes).
He called me and asked to borrow some cash... got ahold of 20 wrecks and had them put on the street all down his cul de sac. He took my torch and tanks and cut every tie down and hook point he could find just to make it cost more for the tow man. The cost of the tows almost bankrupt the HOA. He moved a few weeks later.
I walk my dog through a HOA neighborhood every night and I have had them follow me home in their car to personally drop off a letter saying I am to stay off the HOA sidewalks cause dogs are not allowed and I will be fined if I keep doing it.
Well it's been like 4 months and about half my bathroom wall is now wallpapered with stupid notices and "fines" that i'm never going to pay for using a public space to walk my dog!!
We are specifically limited to "one large animal". It fails to state what the animal can be. I'm thinking whale, or perhaps African elephant.
I've dealt with some weird HOA's in my time. Let's see if I can remember all the weird rules.
1.) Fined 500 dollars for being seen outside wearing camo. (I had to wear it to go to work.) HOA president was seriously anti-government, anti-war, and anti-military. He pressed the issue right to the point some guys from the DoD explained to him the folly of his ways.
2.) Fined 250 dollars for not joining in on the block party. (I was asleep and had duty the next day.)
3.) Fined 50 dollars for not watering my lawn regularly. In a drought. Where the city would fine you for watering your lawn.
4.) Fined 400 dollars for parking in front of my house. No matter that it wasn't my car, but was the neighbor's. I was fined just the same.
5.) Fined 100 dollars for an unwanted display in front of my house. That display was a plastic Jack-o-Lantern during Halloween.
6.) Fined 50 dollars for putting up blackout curtains.
7.) Fined 50 dollars for putting up an electric fence to keep kids from cutting across my lawn to get to the lake.
8.) Fined 100 dollars for calling the police on a neighbor for beating his wife. (there's some context there. I didn't see him doing it, but heard it, as well as the screams for him to stop. The HOA fined me because they claimed I had disrupted the peace.)
When my sister was hit by a drunk driver, the insurance took a few days to decide what to do with her car since it was a weekend. Neighbor called the police and said it was abandoned and had been there for months. Luckily, the police took our side. They pulled up an accident report showing that car across town 2 days ago, then told her to f*ck off.
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. They "elections", meetings, and of course raised the HOA fee 200%.
She talked about new street signs, new roads, sidewalls, 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 that 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 5 intersections!! She wants to resurface the over 1 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!!
I was threatened a fine for not having my landscaping done before the end of 2007. I moved in the house Feb 2014... I had to go to the committee meeting and present my case, then 5 or 6 of my neighbors needed to discuss my fate. It took them until the next day to agree that I should not be fined.
I'm moving as soon as I can.
When we moved in we got permission to build a fence. They said cedar treated pine was fine. Well a neighbor didn't like that and called HOA. We got an email shortly thereafter from HOA Pres that there were some concerns about our wood (ha) so he came by real quick to give it a good sniff to see if it was, in fact, not cedar.
He is now King Fence Sniffer.
My parents built a playhouse for my younger siblings, and our local HOA claimed it was a storage shed and that it was on our neighbor's property. My dad knew it wasn't because he had worked with the neighbor to make sure it wasn't on his property... The HOA's response was this: "It looks like a shed, so it needs to go away." So he went home and hatched a plan.
He convinced all the people on our block to build playhouses, or "sheds." Most people did. The HOA went batsh*t crazy.
Had a friend who moved into the suburbs and upon moving in received the thickest f*cking rule book I've ever seen from the HOA. The majority of it were allowed/banned lists; here are the flowers you are ALLOWED to grow and what colors of them you are allowed to grow and here are how many of them you are allowed to grow and what kind of pots you're allowed to plant them in and where in the yard you can plant them and how tall you are allowed to have them and so on, so forth, etc.
They had these lists for not only plants but things like statues you'd put in the yard (gnomes are allowed but they may not be more than three feet tall and may not depict any inappropriate material), the color you could have the house painted (it may be yellow but only THESE SPECIFIC SHADES OF YELLOW), what kind of wreath you could put on the door (wreaths may not be bigger than ___), when you could have BBQs or parties in your yard and what kind were allowed, how tall your grass could be, the kind of mulch you were allowed to use in your garden, and just so much.
You know how you sometimes step into a person's house and it's the kind where you feel like you can't sit down because you're afraid you'll ruin something? I felt like this as soon as I rolled into this neighborhood. Friend is still living there, I don't know how she does it.
I briefly rented a condo with some friends. The landlord told us that there was a 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 7pm the day before garbage day. Turns out that 8pm 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.
I got a notice in the mail in December that I need to plant more trees in my front yard. And I have one month to comply. In December. With snow on the ground.
I have a total of 7 trees on my property, and 3 of them are in the front yard. Well 1 of them in between the sidewalk and street, so apparently that tree does not count. The covenant says I need 3 trees in the front yard. This house is 7 years old and was this way when I moved in 1 year ago.
I wrote them back and said I would plant another tree in the Spring and they will need to wait for better weather. They said I should plant it in December anyway, and I just never responded.
I hate HOA.
Until a recent coup, our HOA was run by some of the pettiest people alive. Some of their hijinks over the years included:
--sending us a nasty letter telling us that we were in violation of their covenants due to bare places in our lawn. We were in the midst of totally replacing the sod in our yard as part of a landscaping plan the HOA approved.
--sending us a violation letter because the trash can had not been moved back inside until 10 minutes after the deadline (6 p.m. on trash pickup day, because no one has a commute or an emergency or works different hours than the HOA board members. This was sent with a timestamped photo of the trash can.
And my personal favorite:
--sending us a violation letter that we needed to replace our mailbox because it was damaged and we would be fined $25 a day until we did so. The mailbox was fairly new so I went out to look at it. It was absolutely covered with bird poop. Cleaned it off and noticed that there was no damage, shrugged and emailed the HOA that the problem was rectified. They came out to verify that it was and I got another letter. More bird poop. A few hours of observation revealed that a hawk was perching on the mailbox stalking a chipmunk that was living in the garden around our mailbox. So I went to the garden store and got a bottle of 'predator pee' stuff that scares away small animals and sprinkled it around the mailbox, causing the chipmunk to relocate. Problem solved. Sadly, I did not send the HOA an envelope full of the stuff.
My parents have a terrible HOA. They live in a neighborhood where some of the houses are along a golf course for a country club. The country club shut down two years ago and no one is maintaining the course.
Most of the HOA board live on the golf course and they are all complaining that their property values are going down. So they concocted a scheme where they were going to raise the dues by $2000 a year and use the money to buy the golf course and country club then reopen them.
I went to the meeting with my dad for entertainment and it was crazy. Someone asked if they would at least get a country club membership or access to the golf course because of the fee. They were told no, they would have to join the club. The base membership fee was going to be $30,000 and top out at $80,000.
It did not get done.
not me but my sister. her front door broke because some delivery people f*cked up and she had it replaced. apparently it was the wrong color according to the HOA and she would be fined $500 a week unless it's corrected or REMOVED, because it's totally fine to not have a front door in LA.
another is from a sweet old lady that invited me in for tea and cookies when i was house hunting. the HOA there was $285 a month (below average for socal) and she told me that while she didn't mind the committee so much, she wasn't happy when 2 of her potted plants were shattered by kids playing ball around her house and the HOA wanted to fine her $65 a day until she has them removed from her front yard.
i ended up buying a home without HOA.
My family moved to a new neighborhood when I was in kindergarten. My dad had built an amazing playhouse for me and my siblings. It had miniature windows, an miniature door, working lights, even AC. It was basically a tiny house before tiny houses were a thing. It was beautiful. He had built it on cinderblocks so that we could move it to our backyard of our new house once we moved. Perfect, right?
Nope. The homeowner's association refused to let us bring it, citing that the neighborhood doesn't allow "toolsheds" because apparently they are an eyesore. Backyard playgrounds are fine, but somehow our playhouse didn't qualify as a playground.
Me and my younger sisters were f*cking devastated. I remember crying and crying because I couldn't keep the playhouse that my dad worked so hard on. Hell, I'm 24 years old and I still tear up when I think about it. Why did anyone care so badly that they'd deny some kids their playhouse?
I still drive by our old house once a year or so. The new owners haven't taken care of it and it's fallen into disrepair.
I have other stories about our HOA-- such as how we were frozen out for having a "nontraditional" house color (gray. It was f*cking gray) and a woman who used to walk around the neighborhood with a clipboard to write people up for offenses that shouldn't matter.
I got fined for having a holloween pumpkin on my patio on Nov 1st.
Before I moved to my new house, without an HOA mind you, I tried to plant a Japanese Maple Tree in my front yard. In reviewing the HOA rules and addendum, I discovered I had to submit the new "design" of my front yard to the HOA. To do this, I had to hire a professional landscaping firm to prepare a design showing the proposed location of the tree and tender the design with a fee to the HOA.
The HOA then reviewed the design, made a comment that they thought the tree should be located slightly right to the proposed location, I had to resubmit a new design matching the HOA's recommendation, get approval, all before I could plant a mother f*cking japanese maple tree in my mother f*cking front yard.
When I was a kid I remember our family had just moved into a new neighborhood. The first person to come greet us from our neighborhood was there to hand us a fine because the moving people left a small tire mark on one of the curbs.
Fined multiple times and threatened with a lien by the HOA because we would not water our grass during a major, major drought season.
It was cheaper and easier to fight the HOA since the City AND State passed regulations banning constant watering and green grass. The City had Google like vans with cameras that’d be driving neighborhoods to catch violators and fine them.