Members of homeowners associations (HOAs) are a bit like landlords—either they’re fantastic and your life goes swimmingly or they’re some of the most illogical, power-tripping, and (dare we say) cartoonishly evil people you’re bound to meet. Some HOAs operate as though they’re allergic to common sense.

Case in point, they might wake up one morning and decide to set out a new policy about how you can only leave your trashcans on a specific day, during very specific hours. That’s exactly what happened to redditor u/Chiaseedmess. They and a few other neighbors got together to protest this new rule because it made no sense in a ton of ways. They revealed to the r/MaliciousCompliance online community exactly how they taught the HOA a lesson. Scroll down for their full story.

Homeowners associations have various bylaws to help govern the neighborhood. However, not all of them make sense

Image credits: Ivan Radic (not the actual photo)

A person shared how their HOA came up with a ridiculous rule that caused the neighbors to get together to protest it

Image credits: Joe+Jeanette Archie (not the actual photo)

Image credits: u/Chiaseedmess

HOAs are supposed to make the neighborhood’s life easier

The way that HOAs work is that they have a board that’s made up of the people living in the local neighborhood, co-op, or group of condos. Investopedia explains that the members are elected from the residents and help maintain the grounds, deal with insurance, community utilities, the finances of the community, and other important questions.

However, homeowners associations don’t work for free. The residents pay monthly fees to cover all of the maintenance costs or one–off assessments.

It makes sense to keep in mind that the people in your neighborhood might use more than one garbage pickup service that has different schedules. So if you tell everyone, say, that they can only ever put their garbage bins outside on Wednesdays, 6 AM to 6 PM, you’re causing a lot of unnecessary chaos for everyone else who might have their trash picked up outside that particular time gap.

Image credits: Jessica Bryant (not the actual photo)

However, some rules aren’t fair and cause outrage among the locals

There are two possible explanations here. Either the HOA was completely unaware of how the trash system operates in the neighborhood, in which case someone on the board is clearly very incompetent and shouldn’t be in a position to make these kinds of decisions. Or the HOA tried to subtly pressure everyone into using a single pickup service.

Whatever the case might be, some neighbors saw that the new rule was nonsensical. But instead of silently grumbling about it, they decided to take action. Redditor u/Chiaseedmess and a few others got together and followed the HOAs new policy to the letter.

They were as loud as possible taking out the garbage early in the morning and leaving the trashcans on the street. Not only that, they also left the lids open so that the pungent aroma could spread as widely as possible. Yum! Some might think this was a tad over-the-top, however, it finally got the HOA to reverse its silly restrictive rule. Not only that, the OP and others are planning on voting out one board member this summer because they know they were the problem here. After all, the rule was created only after consulting a lawyer, something that cost every single local resident.

If you happen to be completely new to homeowners associations, you might feel a bit lost as to why you’re suddenly bombarded with a hundred and one tiny little rules, regulating pretty much everything that you do. You might find that you’re told how tall your grass can grow, what height your fences have to be, where you can(not) park your car, and how you might want to consider repainting your entire house to help maintain the neighborhood’s aesthetic.

On the one hand, yes, it makes sense to have general guidelines. A set of rules can help neighbors navigate any arguments that they might have, say, over each other’s yards. It also helps rein in anyone who doesn’t care much about their neighbors’ wellbeing. On the other hand, rules are meant to help people, and too many of them can feel intrusive.

Try telling someone they can’t do something and watch them rebel. Broadly speaking, folks don’t like being told what they can and cannot do on their own property. So any HOA policies have to be rational and reasonable, otherwise, you’ll end up dealing with a suburban uprising.

If you know your rights, you can then air your grievances and look for compromises

It only makes sense that you take the time to study your local laws and regulations, as well as your HOAs set of rules. If you know your rights, you can then easily tell when someone’s overstepping your boundaries. Consider running for a position on the board if you’d like to be more involved in the future of your neighborhood.

Image credits: Ketut Subiyanto (not the actual photo)

According to Sarah Alban, writing for ‘How Stuff Works,’ tackling any problems that you have with your local HOA should start by trying to get in touch with them. Send the board an email or a letter. If that fails, contact the members by phone.

If you still don’t get a response, attend the next homeowners association meeting and address any concerns you might have in person. Your last recourse is seeking legal help if they continue to ignore you. (And if the media got wind of a power-tripping HOA… well, that can also help add a dash of pressure for them to start behaving properly in the future.)

Meanwhile, suggests that you can demand to be heard before the board with your complaint. Try to follow their bylaws and processes for filing complaints to show that you respect the HOA despite your grievances. It can also help if you’ve got some of the other neighbors on your side. Strength in numbers and all of that. If the HOA still refuses to listen to you, you can then consider taking them to court. Either that or maliciously comply with their own bylaws so they realize that they messed up big-time with that new trashcan rule.

The author of the post shared some more context in the comments

The story started a discussion about HOAs. Here’s what some people had to say