They are the most evil organizations in the world. They are the people who think your mailboxes aren't up to code, or that your grass is too long. They will go through countless red tape in order to fine you for keeping your Christmas lights up too long or for having a dumpster in your driveway.
These are the reviled Homeowner's Associations.
"There was a fake HOA in our neighborhood! It started off as a neighborly gesture. Cheap $75 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 had 'elections,' meetings, and of course, raised the HOA fee by 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 five intersections! She wants to resurface the road that's barely a mile long. Good luck with that. I'll gladly be the one they hate who hangs her laundry out to dry!"
"My friend and her 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 birdbaths are an equivalent to lawn ornaments, which were 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 she and the husband put it together so that the HOA would be 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."
"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 my fence in my lawn. This happened three times in a week, so after that, I got angry and thought someone was messing with me.
I went to the hardware store and got the largest chain and padlock I could find, and started chaining them to the post on my front porch. My neighbor was outside and I said, '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 terrible market and was moving them himself. Never talked to me, never got a notice from the HOA.
I chewed his butt out and told him he should know better than to repeatedly come on to my property and mess with my stuff without my knowledge. Trash cans or not, it's my stuff, property, land, fence, and lawn."
"When we were privately renting in a townhouse community, the dumpster had video surveillance so that the HOA could fine anyone breaking the rules as far as what we were allowed to dump. One day, both myself and my significant other get an angry call from our property manager alerting us that HOA has fined us $250 for illegal dumping, the property owner will have to pay it and we will have to reimburse him.
After racking our brains about what we could have possibly thrown out that wasn't allowed, we decided to call up the HOA to see if we could see the video. They would either transfer us to someone else that would hang up, or their hours would change to where no one would answer the phone, or they'd promise to get the video to us the next day, etc. This went on for about two weeks.
Finally, my significant other got to see the video while I was at work. I texted him to find out what was on it and he said the video was of a middle aged asian lady throwing out a bunch of furniture. It was the stupid property owner's wife."
"They sent a letter saying no Christmas decorations until December 1 and they all had to come down before January 3. They also sent a whole list of forbidden ornaments, including anything inflated or 'not in keeping with the spirit of the season,' so basically all the lighthearted funny ornaments. Look out the window kids, it's the Grinch's sad cave!
Anyway, we had beautiful weather on Black Friday, but had to wait until things got cold again before we could get out there and put up lights. Then, after New Year's Day, we had exactly one day to take down all our lights, and the wind chill was -25. Naturally we decided, 'Come on, there's no way they bill anybody for this,' and opted to just leave the lights unplugged.
We got a bill before 10 am on the January 3."
"I went away for a long weekend and left after work on Thursday. Late Friday afternoon, my water heater burst (in the attic of a three story home) and flooded my entire townhouse. When my neighbor got home from work, he saw gallons of water running from underneath my garage door. When he realized I wasn’t home, he tried to find my phone number and when he couldn’t, he called the HOA to notify me. The lady that answered said that since it was 'after business hours (it was 5:01 at this point), the matter would have to wait until Monday.' My wonderful neighbor ended up calling the non-emergent police line and they came and shut my water off from the street. When I got home Sunday morning, my entire house was damaged and I could see my attic from my basement. After a massive panic attack and a frantic call to my insurance company, we started the process of repairs.
The cherry on top was that I needed to have a dumpster placed in my driveway and a moving pod to remove what was left of my furniture while they began drying out the house and I got a visit from the HOA. They didn’t like how 'unsightly' my home had become and wanted these items removed from my driveway. I essentially told them that they could take their complaints and shove them somewhere. I got a little revenge too because I stopped paying their stupid fee since they couldn’t fine me before six months and I was moving in less than five months. I’ll never own another home with a HOA ever again."
"My mom lives inside this circular complex full of townhouses with a roundabout in the center that used to have a lot of trees and looked really nice, almost like a mini park. The HOA decided to cut down all of the trees without giving notice and my friend's mom was angry. She went to complain about it and they basically said, 'Sorry, too late.'
In protest of them doing that she decided to buy this big inflatable palm tree that she stuck on her balcony for all to see. One of the neighbors, who was in the HOA decided to file a complaint because it looked gaudy. She knew exactly who it was and it upset her more that this person did that instead of coming to talk to her after years of living near each other.
She was able to keep her tree and when Christmas came around she even decorated it. She decided she was going to wage this war against the HOA and this neighbor by having annoying inflatable decorations on her balcony. When it started warming up she bought a flamingo, which she likes to dress in Chicago Cubs or Blackhawks gear depending on the season.
I told my friend he should get her a six-foot wacky waving inflatable tube man to put on there next, which I think would be hilarious, but I don't know if she wants to take it that far."
"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."
"Didn't happen to me personally, but I guess I can tell you about my parent's experience with their HOA.
My dad retired and decided that he really wanted to buy a camper and travel. My mom was all about it and the two of them were very excited. So my dad ran off and traded his F-150 truck for a F-250 with a huge diesel V8, bought a gooseneck camper, and waited for spring. The camper was in the backyard and the truck was in the garage. No big deal, or so we thought.
Not long after he bought the camper, he got a visit from a lady who had a list of rules from the HOA (that was established long after my parents had built their house, something like 15 years later when the subdivision really took off) saying that my dad couldn't have the camper on his property because it was an 'eyesore.' Mind you this camper is in the backyard, behind a tall privacy fence. You could still see it, sure, but it's not like it was old and in disrepair either.
So here are my retired parents, living in a subdivision that has an HOA that was established long after they built their home, and the HOA is expecting them to abide by rules they didn't agree to.
He never moved the camper."
"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, a 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 HOA refused to let us bring it, citing that the neighborhood doesn't allow 'tool-sheds' because apparently they are an eyesore. Backyard playgrounds are fine, but somehow our playhouse didn't qualify as a playground.
My younger sisters and I were devastated. I remember crying and crying because I couldn't keep the playhouse that my dad worked so hard on. 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 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 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 I 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 annoyingly 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."
"When we moved in, someone stopped by to say hi but more like to tell us our boat can't be parked on our lot. My wife told her well we read all of the rules and it doesn't say that. She replied well I wrote the rules so I should know. My wife told her to go read them.
We didn't hear anything for months. When we get our annual dues packet there is a newsletter saying our lot is in violation and that we had plans to modify our garage to fit the boat in the spring (we never said that). They suggested setting a deadline for us and setting a vote to add boats to the list they already had (campers, fifth wheels, motor homes, and travel trailers).
We bought the house intending to build a detached garage but in order to comply with the design rules it would cost me $90k, so I'm waiting until I get an official anything in the mail then I'll get a storage unit.
My neighbor has been here six months longer than us and they have a boat in their driveway too!"
"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.' My 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. 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."
"When I was a kid, I lived in one of the two front rooms of the house, which were the hottest in the summer and the coldest in the winter. My dad didn't like to use the AC so we all just had fans. One summer it got so unbearably hot in my room that fans just weren't cutting it and I was miserable. My dad then put an AC unit in my window and it was awesome. But it was short lived because the HOA told us to take it down because it was an 'eyesore.' My parents told them it was for their child but they didn't care, so my parents had to take it down.
The kicker is that, just down the street, a guy who had the exact same model house as us had an AC unit installed in the same exact window as the one we had it in, and the HOA never said a word to him."
"I wanted to tear out a bunch of evergreen bushes that ran alongside my house. We tore them out and were debating on whether to burn them on site or put them in a burn pile that I knew about 10 miles or so away.
I opted to just burn them right there. I have an open area next to my house that is about a the size of a normal lot. We put the bushes in the open and ran a garden hose out to the area in case it spread. Then I decided that I should get a burn permit. So I printed one off and took it to my fire station to be signed. I came back and put the burn permit on my steps and set the fire.
The bushes were fairly green so they didn't want to burn aside from the initial flame up. I needed some accelerant. So I ran to the dollar store and grabbed some cheap lighter fluid. Came back and my buddy tells me that some HOA dude came by and told us that we couldn't burn things. He said that he didn't care and was calling the Fire Dept. About then, I hear the fire trucks getting closer. HOA dude pulls up to see what transpires between me and the fire department. The fire truck pulls up, sees us doing every thing right. They turn off the lights and sirens and waved at us. HOA dude peels out and leaves. We all laugh."
"My dad moved into a new townhouse in summer of 2013. It was a foreclosure property, as the previous tenants were kicked out for not paying their mortgage and for not paying their HOA dues.
They gave everyone in the HOA new patios and decks the summer prior, it was required, and you had to get a new deck/patio. But the tenants had to pay for them in monthly installments in the next three years along with their HOA dues.
As I said, the previous tenants foreclosed on their home. However, there was one rule placed when they got the decks, which was that you couldn't move out without paying off your deck first. He was told by the HOA that he would not have to pay off the deck because it was foreclosed and he was not responsible at all for paying it off. Sweet, free deck! He signed off on that.
He moved in, but then he started getting assessments from the HOA for the deck. But wait! He wasn't supposed to be paying for the deck?
He fought it with the board but they went against him even though he had a document saying he didn't have to pay for the deck. He ended up having to pay off the remaining balance on the deck. To this day, he refuses to speak about this topic. It's a trigger for him."