People Share The Most Ridiculous Experiences They've Had With HOAs

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
A bird perched on a birdbath.
Unsplash | Timothy Kindrachuk

HOAs, or Homeowner Associations, are essentially governing bodies of certain neighborhoods that dictate what people can and can't do, what their homes can and can't look like. It sounds a little silly if you ask me, but a lot of people still swear by them.

But like any group with power, they can get a little ridiculous sometimes. This list contains stories of peoples' ridiculous experiences with HOAs and what they did about it.

Changing of the seasons.

Fallen leaves around a tree.
Unsplash | Dmitriy Adamenko

"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."

First impressions.

A closeup of a tire.
Unsplash | Jaye Haych

"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."

Appearances over everything.

A cell tower against a clear sky.
Unsplash | Bence Balla-Schottner

"They vetoed a cell tower because it would be ugly and we still have garbage service at home because of it."

Selective patriotism.

A Dutch flag in the grass.
Unsplash | Denise Jans

"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."

Colorful additions.

A two car garage next to a house.
Unsplash | John Paulsen

"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. [...] So he checked the by-laws further and found that [...] 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."

Seven years too late.

A lush garden.
Unsplash | Sigmund

"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."

Just visiting.

Someone walking their dog down a street.
Unsplash | Tatiana Rodriguez

"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!!"

The lesser of two evils.

A young girl running through a sprinkler on a front lawn.
Unsplash | Elena Rabkina

"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."

Choice of a lifetime.

An elephant in a field.
Unsplash | Craig Stevenson

"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."

Not the intended audience.

Christmas lights strung up on a roof.
Unsplash | Bob Ricca

"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."

Peeping Toms.

A bird perched on a birdbath.
Unsplash | Timothy Kindrachuk

"[My friend] and the husband moved into this gated community. She loves having a 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."

Visited by royalty.

A closeup of a portion of wood fence.
Unsplash | Sergey Lapunin

"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."

Fashion police.

Someone wearing camo pants and brown boots sitting on a wall.
Unsplash | Anika Huizinga

"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."

They see a red door...

A bright red front door.
Unsplash | Will Esayenko

"My HOA mailed us a letter stating the color red I painted my front door wasn't approved. [...] 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 [...] to the exact same color as the neighbors. I get a letter which thanked me for repainting and (finally) approves my red door. [...] Jokes on them. I never repainted it and they couldn't tell the difference."

Climbing ivy.

Ivy climbing up the side of a house.
Unsplash | Nick Night

"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."

Filed Under: