19 Honest People Share Their Worst Home Owner's Association Horror Story.
People on Reddit were asked: "What are your Home-Owners Association (HOA) horror stories?" These are some of the best answers.
1/19 My current HOA threatened to kick me out unless I got rid of 3 of my cats. Since I don't own a single cat, I sent them an official 2 page notarized letter denying their request as the number of cats I own must be expressed as a non-negative number.
2/19 We had this one strange guy in our neighborhood who liked to build strange things in his house. Well I guess one day he decided to take his hobby outside and build a tree house in his backyard. Our HOA president was a city councilman at the time, and he was not happy in the slightest. This literally turned into a two year dispute where the HOA would keep asking him to add safety measures to the structure in hopes that he would eventually give up, and dismantle the tree house.
Eventually, the HOA told him that he would have to have the plans signed and stamped by a qualified engineer saying that the structure was safe.
At the next meeting, he handed in the blueprints signed and stamped by no other than himself. That was a great meeting.
It turns out that he had a PhD in civil engineering, and there was only one guy in the room that didn't find it funny.
3/19 I got a notice that my fence was not within regulations because the peak of the arch was 4 inches too high. I went to a meeting to appeal and with a draft of my new "plans". My appeal was shot down so I revealed my new plans which included no fence and a ~40ft HAM radio tower. HAM radio towers cannot be regulated by HOA....my fence is apparently OK.
4/19 When I was younger, my dad started a limousine service. Before the company got big enough for its own office space and multiple limos, he'd bring his one limo to our home (detached condos with a HOA) to clean and stock and sometimes leave it overnight when it was needed for a job. It lived in a storage lot the rest of the time.
The presence of a limousine in the neighborhood was apparently distracting to the people on the board, so they passed a rule that you couldn't have a vehicle longer than X feet parked in front of your house overnight.
Then the main old guy on the HOA board got a huge RV that he would leave in front of his house for days at a time, so they got rid of the vehicle size rule and replaced it with a rule forbidding vehicles that advertised a business (the limo had a decal on the drivers side door with the name of my dad's limo company and the phone number).
Then someone else on the board started a landscaping company and had a pickup truck with the name of the landscaping company on the side, so they changed the rule to only allow such vehicles to be in your driveway, not parked on the street (since the pickup could fit in the owner's driveway, but a limo couldn't fit in ours).
Basically, rather than just make a "no limos" rule, they kept making rules that disallowed limos, and then kept changing it when it would accidentally apply to anything but a limo.
5/19 Went to a meeting where a guy wanted a four foot fence instead of the standard three because his dog kept getting out. After arguing for a bit he was not so politely told to appeal to the Architectural Review Committee. At the end of the meeting they asked for volunteers to sit on said ARC. I volunteered, approved his request and then quit. He has a 4 foot fence.
6/19 My daughter has severe asthma. We bought our condo because it was affordable, clean, and move-in ready. We were trying to move before our son was born for fear a mouldy house made our daughter sick and would do the same to our son. Our first summer in the condo the president's wife went psycho and cut down the tire swing that majority of the owners agreed to let us have for my daughter because she thought it was ugly. Or maybe because we told her teenage son to get off the toddler-sized tire swing. After threatening legal action the association agreed to let us have the swing so long as it's removable. We hang a bird house there when the tire is down and only put it up when the little kids are out to play. The whole ordeal took over a month to settle. I dread this summer when we petition for a swing set.
7/19 Got a trampoline for the kids. They loved it. HOA asked me to get insurance coverage for it, so I got insurance coverage for it and made a copy of the statement for them as proof. HOA then faxed every incident report involving trampolines in the neighborhood to my insurance company referencing my policy number and sent a letter of disapproval.
Now my kids don't have a trampoline, and neither do any kids in this entire neighborhood now. The saddest part is, on Google Earth it still shows the trampoline and my youngest daughter was sad when she looked up our address.
In the non-slummy parts of South Florida, the HOAs control everything. I can't even put up a fence either because I'm on a corner. The only benefit to having an HOA in my neighborhood is the free Comcast cable and the fact that they petitioned Comcast to get us 50mbit internet.
8/19 When I was working as a lifeguard, we almost called the cops on this guy because he was spying on the pool with binoculars from a ways away (some creepy perv we thought). We didn't because it turned out to be a HOA board member spying on the lifeguards/pool management to see if they were breaking any rules. They would also drive by really slowly and stare.
9/19 I lived in a middle-class development of about 900 houses in Northern California. Our neighborhood/part of the development was unusual because people spent a lot of time outside, kids playing, people gardening, chatting etc. (Which is why we moved in there.)
I got a basketball hoop for my 12yo daughter. She and lots of neighborhood kids would use it. They all knew to call "car" and get out of the way immediately if a car was coming (neighborhood street, into the cul-de-sac... no through traffic). Sometimes us grown-ups would play too. A great situation.
Apparently some retiree had a habit of walking around the development and called the HOA on us, because basketball hoops weren't allowed. I knew of several other ones but I didn't want to mention them because I didn't want to give them trouble too.
And the HOA said I could only have a hoop if it was put "away" in the side yard when not in use. The 200-pound hoop was a bit beyond my daughter's ability to take out and put back...
Instead, I surveyed the 65 houses in our neighborhood, putting a slip of paper in everyone's mailbox -- "yes", I should be able to keep the hoop, or "no", I shouldn't. I kept their responses anonymous, because I didn't want anyone to feel pressured. I got 22 "yes" responses...
I went to the HOA meeting armed with my data. One of the Board members said, "so 2/3 of your neighborhood is against it!" I explained, my anger rising, that no, I'd only received responses from 1/3, and no one could know what the other 2/3 thought.
Then they said I would need to change the CC&Rs (basically, the association by-laws) -- which could only be done by a 2/3 "active" vote of the entire association. "Active" meaning I would need to get 600 "yes"-es... not just 2/3 of the people who voted.
I told them you couldn't get 600 people to bother voting yes for oxygen.
And I put away my basketball hoop. And, as it happened, my daughter stopped playing sports.
10/19 My long time neighbors were the first to move into the neighborhood where we live some 30-40 years ago. Their home was the first finished and sold. They had 8 kids at the time. The husband was out putting up an old school cable antenna on the chimney. While on his roof a man (the developer) came up and said, "Hey! you can't put that up there, it's against the homeowners rules!" He looked down at him confused and said "Are there any other members of the homeowners association?" "Well no..." "Then I hereby disband the association. The vote passes unanimously. Now get off my lawn." Saved us all a lot of trouble.
11/19 We moved in when I was young, 3rd grade. The HOA was run like garbage, many things were falling apart, namely the boardwalk and dock behind 1/2 the townhomes which could have resulted in a lawsuit if someone hurt themselves.
Parents were receiving tickets for everything that would happen. Board members would commit acts against the rules but were untouchable.
So, my parents lead a coup. They hired a lawyer that would sit in on meetings, made a few neighborhood friends and my Mom's best friend moved into the neighborhood.
Coup was successful, so the HOA straightened up and fixed most everything. Once we moved out, it went back to hell.
12/19 Got a knock on the door one day from someone soliciting home repairs for my "damaged garage door frame". I politely told them no thanks and a few days later got a letter from the HOA. Out of curiosity I looked up the business and sure enough one of the board members owned the home repair business. I sent the HOA board a letter of my finding with a copy to my Attorney General. Apparently my garage door frame is also OK.
13/19 A woman on our Condo Board refers to herself as the 'parking nazi'. She makes homemade notices and has these huge red 'official warning' stamps she puts across them. Whenever my father pulls out the car and parks it next to the garage because he needs more space to work she puts a notice on his car. He is literally ten feet away. Then he hangs them up in the garage on display. She is the worst, everyone hates her. She is absolutely horrible to my dad because he can't speak English well so he just gets worked up.
My cat craps in her front yard though. What a team player.
14/19 There are people who walk around with notebooks, looking for minor violations. Not people whose job it is do do so, just pathetic busybodies. Oh, and those who are on the board, and their pals, never get cited for anything.
15/19 My old condo HOA was a pain in the ass. A bunch of crusty old farts. When I first moved in, the monthly fee was right around $250. During my first year of living there, they did a "special assessment" fee to fill the account back up. Everyone now owed another $1500. I spoke with the board and told them that I just moved in, and should not owe the money. I even went through the by-laws which clearly stated that in this circumstance the home owner would be exempt from special assessments within their first 6 months. I had been there around 5 months and 2 weeks. So what did they do? Apparently there were a handful of people, like myself who had moved in around the same time. What did they do? They voted to change that by-law to 90 days. Bam. "When can we expect your check sir?"
Another incident was when I wanted to install a security screen door. A "normal" security door is like $80 at Home Depot. I noticed that the other homes with security doors seemed to all look the same. I asked the HOA where I get one of those doors. Turns out, it was a special order door from Dixieline, and ran me over $400 for the door plus shipping. THEN they wouldn't let me install it myself. I had to call their "authorized" installer, who charged me $150 to put it up. God damn almost $600 for a stupid security door that should have cost me under $100.
16/19 Apparently when I was really young we lived in an HOA neighborhood. I don't know what they did or why we moved, all I know is that every few months my dad drives over to the president's house in the middle of the night and craps in their lawn.
17/19 Grandmother's house was in gated community, across the state from me. Grandmother passes away. Spend a few days at her home packing and clearing in prep of selling her home. Must be at work on Monday. Leave first thing Sunday morning to Goodwill with a bunch of donations inside rented UHaul so that when I return, I can load all the furniture and items we will keep in the truck to make long drive back home. Upon return from Goodwill, lady at gate will not let moving truck in the community because they are not allowed on Sunday. Refuses to budge. Had to move all the things from the house, using a small vehicle, to the Uhaul parked on the side of the road outside of the community. Screw HOA's. Screw gated communities. Screw stupid small minded people. You will never see solebluesoul pay anybody monthly for the pleasure of residing in their midst...
18/19 Mother-in-law got a fine for her house/yard not being well-kept. Apparently after a storm comes through that breaks tree branches and rips shingles from your house, you have ONE day to fix everything before being fined.
19/19 My mother's English isn't the best, and they made sure to take advantage of that. Each month, they fined us for some random thing that they couldn't even prove, and refused to speak to me whenever I tried to fight it on her behalf. The most ridiculous one I can think of was a $300 fine due to our garage being "untidy", which makes no sense seeing how no one knew what the inside of our garage looked like (we never opened the damn thing). It didn't help that the guy in charge was also twisted cop who was a known racist. Lucky for us, he eventually moved away after a bunch of minorities moved into our neighborhood.
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It's hard working in customer service, especially with irate customers. You need to be able to empathize and understand where your customers are coming from, show sympathy, and be willing to help them with their problem. However, if they come at you ranting and raving about an issue which clearly has nothing to do with you, well, then you're free to rant about them on the internet.