People Reveal Their Nightmare Homeowner Association Stories
Little Known Fun Fact: I used to co-own and operate a property preservation and management company. Our job was to take care of houses or condos when the bank had taken ownership of them (foreclosure, owner passed away, etc.) and they were sitting vacant. That meant dealing with a lot of HOA's, particularly since we operated out of a relatively affluent area of South Florida.
You may think you know petty - but trust me there is nothing more petty than a middle aged condo-commando with a golf cart and a clip board. I have literally stood outside in the rain to measure grass to within an eighth of an inch and been told my crew could not come on the property that day because someone's dog had sneezed and they just couldn't handle the stress of opening the gate for us. No, I'm not joking. The dog's name was Robert.
One Reddit user asked:
I've got a million stories. If you think Robert the sneezing dog was the worst of it, you clearly haven't spent much time in South Florida or dealing with HOA's. Let these brave soul's tales be a lesson to you all. Proceed with caution, the HOA's are watching... always watching...
Oh, and brace yourself. There's a lot of drama about dog poop here. Like a lot. One might say ... a sh*t ton? #NoRegrets #PunLife
Collecting Stinky EvidenceGiphy
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 to prove the poop wasn't theirs, 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.
More Grass Measuring
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 f*cking 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.
Cancer And Christmas Lights
Mother in law was fighting stage 4 ovarian cancer a few years ago. We had no desire to take down our Christmas lights. We were constantly visiting the hospital, she was very touch and go. We had a child under a year old and it was obviously a very emotional time.
The HOA compliance officer would constantly 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 responded "well it's not my problem, take your lights down."
My wife exploded on the d-bag. Then she went to the next board meeting and let loose on the board and general manager. It turns out the light issue wasn't actually HOA policy. The guy worked for the security company that was hired to work the main entrance guard shack, and he would get a bonus if he patrolled and handed out fines for HOA violations.
This assh*le would just drive around and make up his own rules and fines! 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.
I worked from home full time when I lived in a condo with a pain in the ass HOA. I caught an HOA member opening our patio door and looking inside our condo. I then later caught him on our patio "inspecting" 3 small plants we kept outside during the day and brought in at night.
Our patio had a 4ft high brick wall all the way around it, there was no entrance/exit. That guy climbed over the fence, then opened the screen door when I caught him. His bullsh*t excuse was he wanted to make sure we didn't leave the sliding door open with nobody home and that it was security risk.
I told him that their jurisdiction ended at the wall and if we wanted to leave for a week with all our windows and doors open it was our f-ing business. The second time I caught him I told him I was calling the cops and having him arrested for trespassing if I ever saw his ass again.
Of course 2 weeks later we got fined for the plants and later got fined for some other petty bullshit. I think that guy was seriously casing condos to tip people off to rob.
The Past 3 Days
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 sh*t receptacles, even though only 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 sh*t in his driveway. Then he resigned from the HOA. No word on the dog sh*t receptacles.
This has all happened in the past 3 days.
The Satellite Brawl
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. The husband immediately started climbing the ladder up onto the roof to "kick the sh*t" 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.
Um ... That's What Happens In NatureGiphy
Was told to have 10 year old trees removed because in the winter they turn brownish and lose the leaves. We later found out the board had been the one to approve the trees in the first place, like they do with all landscaping.
Consecutive Parking Hours
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 $150 towing fee.
Long story short, I sued them in small claims court and got back the towing fee plus court costs (plus, they engaged a lawyer, so I feel good about wasting some of their retainer as well).
There was a war between two of my neighbors.
You see, we had regulations as to what kind of trees you could have. Someone had planted these beautiful cherry blossom trees and lovingly cultivated them from saplings, but got told repeatedly that they were against HOA policy. The homeowner told the president to go f*ck himself (this is not an exaggeration, according to what I heard, the guy literally said "go f*ck yourself"), and left. The HOA president snuck over to the guy's house and cut down the trees at night.
So the homeowner, rather than filing a suit, decided to do the same thing. He went to the HOA president's house and cut down his trees. Again, rather than calling the cops, the HOA president decided to start hacking up his bushes in the middle of the day.
We moved before this somehow concluded itself, but man, upper middle class, middle aged white people are weird.
A Homeless Orphan
The city I grew up in was briefly in national news because the HOA was trying to force an elderly couple to give their only grandchild up for adoption after her parents were killed in a traffic accident. The little girl had no other living family and had watched her parents die but the HOA wanted her gone because it was a "retirement community" and told them to give her up or be homeless.
Condo board has proposed installation of hotel style smoke detectors for all condos, the cost for this will be at the expense of the co owners. This is being done since he is in a feud with his neighbor on the hall who smokes pot in his unit. The detectors are required to prove that the guy is smoking so that the condo board can fine him and if he is a renter expel him... So a 200$ disturbance fine and eviction will cost some residents 50k. I told them they will have to rob me to get the money and break into my unit to install one.
I used to live in a HOA. One of the members on the board lived across the street from my neighbor and I. He sent a letter to us saying that we all have to mow the lawn on the same day, at the same cut height, and in the SAME PATTERN to create uniformity in the neighborhood. My neighbor and I intentionally cut on different days and in opposite patterns just to annoy the guy.
Community Car Standards
I had a coworker who made a 6 figure income. He lived in an "upwardly mobile" neighborhood with an HOA that had very limited scope (maintaining the landscaping at the entrance sign). They sent him a letter saying that his car didn't reflect community standards. When he found out that they really didn't have any say in the matter, he went out and bought a 20 year old really beat up F250 to drive to work.
We moved into our condo about 2 and a half years ago, the condo included an HOA, which we were fine with, we knew they could be trouble, but you don't bother me, I won't bother you right? Well about a year into our time here, the condo changed to a different HOA, we google them and come to find out they have like a 1.5 star rating pretty much all across the board.
Well, over the last few months, we've been getting a fair amount of harassment from one member of the HOA board in particular. Granted I haven't met him, but he's been aggravating my wife whenever she goes to the dog out. Apparently the HOA now has a rule that dogs cannot exceed 20 lbs.
When we first purchased the condo, there were no weight restrictions, only breed restrictions. I assumed we were grandfathered into the old rules, but according to this guy, we aren't. On top of that, he's stated he's going to set up video cameras around the condo to see who has pets above 20 lbs and send out fines. I'm not sure if that's legal or not, but you do you, old timer.
Earlier today, he came and approached my wife about dog droppings outside our condo and that he's assuming the droppings belong to our dog even though my wife and I always clean up after our dog. My wife told him such, but he didn't care and said that he was going to bring us up with the association.
I don't even know which condo this clown lives in, only that all the other home owners here hate his guts. I got the next of the week off and now I get to spend my holiday time off finding out what we can do to avoid any fines.
The Memorial Is An "Eyesore"
A family's car in our community was hit by a semi. The mother lived but her son and 2 daughter's were all killed. Everyone hung up a blue and 2 pink bows in front of their house and all around to show solidarity. Lasted about 2 weeks before the letters asking fir removal came in as it was an eyesore apparently. Not my biggest nightmare story but to this day I still cant believe that. A few years later the family gave birth to triplets though so that much is incredible.
Standing Up For The Little Guy
Two years ago, my wife and I moved into a home in a large subdivision governed by an HOA. Turns out we bought the home from a guy who was attempting to leave an absolute firestorm of petty legal BS all centered around a huge power struggle garnished with heavy racist undertones that has nearly bankrupted the entire organization with legal fees.
The previous owner, who was on the board, was not very happy with an African American, former Marine who lived in the neighborhood standing up for some of the residents who were being continually harassed by the HOA over minor infractions related to yard maintenance etc. In the end a few people from his camp sued the neighbor/Marine standing up to the board. Instead of suing him individually, they sued him on behalf of the board - and lost.
To the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal and court fees that have basically wiped out any funds the HOA has.
It's a huge freaking mess. At the meetings there is a woman who just shouts and won't leave when asked. People are just at a loss about how they are on the hook for all this money when they did not agree to be part of a lawsuit. All of this started when the black Marine wanted to run for the board and stand up for the little guys being bothered by the HOA, but the powers that be weren't having it. My dad could probably tell the story in more detail, as he follows it like a sad legal drama. We're considering selling and moving as soon as we find something suitable.
My family owns an RV. HOA rules are that you cannot have an RV in your driveway for more than 24 hours. We usually brought it out of storage a few days prior to trips to help with packing, and the HOA got super picked every time.
Fun fact about where I live, the streets are owned by the city, and the HOA has no authority. City policy is that a vehicle can not remain parked in the same place for more than a week. That is plenty of time for our purposes, so we park it on the street, where it actually affects other people and not just is, for several days before each trip. WTF HOA? Who benefits from this?
Bonus: The HOA president lives across the street from us. He is responsible for enforcing HOA rules and sending out letters to people who violate them. We often park it in front of his house.
White On White
They allocated basically the entire budget to repainting the walls white, even though they were already white and it made no difference.
They also kicked my dad off the board because he was having heart surgery on the day of a meeting.
Years ago the president of the HOA was getting kick backs from a towing company. They would tow cars off homeowners driveways by jimmying the car open, putting it neutral and pushing it down the street so the home owner wouldn't hear it being taken. They claimed that one side of the driveway was a fire lane even though it wasn't marked. This went on for a few months before all board members were voted off and threatened, lol.
Who's The Real Rat?Giphy
HOA denied our cable guy's request to replace our condo's severed coax cable to get our internet working after a rat chewed through it. Had to wait over a month for the board review the new cable run. I was one sad Pablo during those several weeks -_-
There are some things that are pretty much universally irritating: self important people, someone cutting you off in traffic, or those scam robocalls, for example.
Sometimes things that seem like they are only mildly irritating or inconvenient for others drive us up the wall, though.