Article Courtesy of Comic Sands
By Matthew Nicholson
Published June 9, 2019
Homeowners were asked: What are the most insane HOA rules you
have had to deal with?
You Need To ASK FIRST!
My parents' HOA has a rule that you are NOT allowed to cut down trees without a
"permit" from them, at ANY time, for ANY reason. The first winter they lived
there, there was an ice storm and a tree fell onto the neighbor's deck, taking
out his entire deck and the sliding glass door that went from his kitchen to his
deck. My dad went over with his chainsaw to help him cut down the tree that was
now in his kitchen, and, MID-STORM, someone from the association heard the
chainsaw and came over asking if they had a permit, to cut apart the tree in my
neighbor's kitchen. IIRC, he told them to get bent and they tried to give him a
$1,000 fine for "cutting down a tree without a permit."
I Pledge Allegiance...To Slippy Toad
We can only have 3 types of flags on a flag pole (that has
to be approved) out front. An American flag, a military
flag, or a South Carolina flag. One of our neighbors were
warned a couple times until they took their cutesy frog flag
Going Against The Grain
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.
"Classic" Is Just Another Word For "Old"
I had an HOA try to enforce that I had much to old of a car
to be in the driveway. Mind you, no rust, always clean,
never dusty/dirty. Went to court and the judge ordered a
full audit of the HOA. It was not enforceable at all, they
paid my legal fees and last I knew they have yet to police
I was once "warned" about storing my trash in view of the
street. I thought to myself, "That's funny, I'm pretty on
top of the trash", so I checked the date of the infraction.
Sure enough, it was trash day. They were upset at me about
putting my trash out on trash day.
Homeowner Associations, at their core, should be a
good thing. Nothing like an organized group of neighbors maintaining
a close eye on each other to help keep your home values up. Without
a doubt, no salacious or gossipy actions could derive from that,
right? Surely, this type of all-encompassing control would never go
to someone's head... right?
They Control The Horizontal And The Vertical
In order to sell or rent in my HOA, you must provide HOA docs to the new owner
or tenant. They must be bought from the HOA, otherwise the sale / rental is not
legal. $200 for a three-ring binder with 150 pages of poorly photocopied
documents. The first page: These documents have not been updated since July
2002. Please see the HOA website for updated documents.
Forced Payment For A Forced Change
My Townhome neighborhood has an HOA that covers the exterior of our homes (since
they all share the same exterior, being connected and whatnot). My front door
has developed a rotting spot on the edge, so I sent a claim in for the HOA to
replace it. They said the front door does not fall within their definition of
the exterior of the home. That's fine, whatever, I'll just buy a new one. But
wait! I have to fill out an EXTERIOR CHANGE REQUEST to get a new front door. The
door they said doesn't count as exterior needs an EXTERIOR change request sent
to approve any external changes made. They want to control what my door looks
like, but I have to pay for it.
How Dare You Think You Can Play On An Open Field?!
I lived in a fairly large 'family friendly' townhouse community. There was a
community baseball field, at least it was set up like a baseball field with the
fences and backstop, but essentially it was just a giant field, further down was
a playground and fenced in tennis court. It was meant to be used there were
dozens of kids playing baseball, football, soccer, or whatever on it all the
time. For really no reason they decided to shut it down. Overnight they put up
signs to not use it and keep out. If your kids dared to even walk across it
police would be called in minutes. We were playing tennis on the courts one day
and police were called, the next day it was locked up with a chain and
combination lock. We called the hoa and were told we would have to give them
proof we actually played tennis to be given the combination. My parents and a
lot of other parents got in long arguments on the phone and at the hoa meetings
about why they made these ridiculous new rules, they were essentially told
'because we can.' It became a war in the community against the old ladies that
ran the hoa and the younger families with kids.
Pool Duty Is Serious Business
I had a friend in college whose parents bought a house in a gated community,
then they moved back to China and left the house for him to live in. He had 6
friends over (maximum amount of guests allowed) one day. We hung out in the
house for a bit, and went into the pool while nobody else was in it. Pool max
was 6 people, so when a couple came to sit by the pool (didn't bring towels),
they kicked the whole group out because we were one person over the limit (even
though we were being respectful). This caused enough of a community outrage that
another neighbour came over at 10:00 pm (the weekend noise curfew was 11:00) and
told us we couldn't be up talking all night (we were at a respectful noise
level). I guess the host had already gotten in trouble because he previously
rented a room out to a classmate, not realizing the rules, and the whole
community was watching like every step of his ever since.
That's Right. Blame The Kids.
My house flooded 2 months after I bought it. HOA got involved and blamed my kids
putting toys down the toilet (they are too old for that). I spoke to neighbors,
found out 5 houses in a row had flooded. We all got together and demanded an
investigation by an independent plumber. Long story short, our HOA owns the
sewage and water lines under all the houses that connect to city water. They had
not been repaired for years or flushed out, and were made of a material that
eroded underground, it backflowed raw sewage into the 5 houses affected and
flooded the grassy areas with sewage also. All my neighbors are senior citizens.
The HOA admitted responsibility and held an emergency meeting to repair damage.
My house was done last and I agreed with that because the other ladies are 70+
and wheelchair bound or disabled, I'm under 40. By time my house was done, the
sewage had been wiped up from tile floor and treated with fungal chemicals, but
mold was growing in master shower and carpet was destroyed. They had to replace
brand new carpet in bedrooms, drywall, paint new drywall a color I chose, and
re-tile my whole shower. When old shower tile was torn out, plumbing wasn't to
code, so that was done too. They spent about $15k on my house alone. I also told
the HOA never to accuse my kids again.
Here's A List For Ya'
- any change to front or back yard has to be submitted on an application with
$25 fee for small changes, and $50 fee for large changes. fee doesn't guarantee
your application will be approved.
- house can only be painted from list of 7 paint colors from specific brand that
isn't available at normal hardware stores.
- you forget to submit application before doing any landscaping? spend the next
several months having to leave work early to go to HOA meetings to essentially
beg the board to give you permission to do something all your neighbors already
- threatened with a fine for having a section of the house (on the SIDE)
unpainted after having windows replaced because HOA doesn't understand that
painters have waiting lists.
- threatened with a fine for having a dumpster on the lawn despite this never
- threatened with a fine for having a thin tree branch sticking out over the
sidewalk (my mom's power move after this one was to have the tree cut down the
next day, then immediately call the HOA to tell them it was no longer a problem;
they were smart enough to let that one go).
- get told by a board member that none of the plants on your landscaping plan
for the backyard are "on the approved plant list" and start to feel like you're
in hell until someone in the audience at the meeting points out that there is no
"approved plant list", only a "suggested plant list"
- not a rule but related: get woken up at 1 am by the 19 year-old armed security
guard that patrols the neighborhood (aka the stupidest waste of HOA fees they've
conceived of yet) to inform you that he's "doing you a favor" because your car
is parked on the side of the road and he's gonna have to give you a citation and
he "knows how hard the sticky stuff is to get off" so he thought he'd just wake
everyone up to let you know instead of sticking it on the car. then call his
supervisor to complain, know she's about to ream his a--, then lie awake afraid
that the guy with a gun who knows where you live and who exactly it was that
just got him in trouble is going to come back very, very angry.
They had someone go around and check if the dogs are leashed, if not the they
call animal control to have them taken away. HOA has called animal control on
people who have their dogs leashed, their reason? The length of the leash was
either too long or too short. They tried to take away one guy's dogs for that
reason and that sparked a war between the HOA head and the homeowner who was a
former Marine (I think) and all around madman. HOA head did not stand a chance
against a retired crazy person who had a lot of time and money. Crazy guy built
a pool and let everyone used it for free, making the $20/month pool the HOA set
up useless. Crazy guy also held a giant all inclusive party that had menus for
everyone and any police that came to check on it left with to go bags. He also
had a Halloween party, as the HOA did not allow trick or treating. Crazy guy was
well loved and the head was ousted from the HOA after she tried to break into
crazy guy's house. The ban on trick or treating has been there way before the
former head took charge, the neighborhood had only white people living in it
until the 90s and it became diverse after that. I guess the ban was put so the
people that had it put didn't want to be disturbed, and it was enforced, their
reasoning was that it was to protect everyone. Bullsh-t. Crazy guy was seen as
crazy by these HOA cultists because he didn't follow their rules and more often
than not he was the most well liked guy in the neighborhood. The former head was
the trophy wife of this big shot doctor and her father owned most of the land in
the neighborhood. She wasn't crazy, just power tripping and stupid. The crazy
guy never ran for HOA, but he did start a restaurant, sponsor a drag
competition, and possibly took up karate.