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You could say Home Own Associations are sometimes run like the mob. Pay their fees and they'll take care of you, right? You can never tell how they're going to be operated. Maybe it'll be the friendly kind of mafia. That's can happen sometimes, right? Most often, and the HOA can go either way, they'll extort you and boss you around and make living where you live a nightmare.

Reddit user, [usernameremoved], wanted to hear the worst of the worst when they asked:

What's your Home Owners Association horror story?

Spring Brings Changes

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.


We're Short On Water

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.


Case Of Mistaken Identity

When we were privately renting in a townhome 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 SO get a b!tchy 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 2 weeks.

Finally my SO 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 freaking wife.


That's Literally The Day

Everyone in our neighborhood received fines for leaving garage cans at the road.

It was trash day.


Wrong Time Of Year

My HOA decided that my trim needed to be painted RIGHT NOW. Threatened a $100 a month fine if it wasn't. The trouble is that it was January, and I live near Chicago.

As I was buying the paint, the salesperson keeps telling me that the paint won't dry, it will just freeze, and fall off within 6 months. I was selling in the spring anyway, so I didn't care. Painted the trim in a temperature of 7 degrees F.



At The Worst Possible Time

2008 my parents lost our house because of financial struggle. We are forced to move into the cottage that my grandfather left my dad. We are scraping by and barely affording food. Home owners ASSociation decide our garage/shed is "an eyesore" and that we needed to reside the entire thing. We had to spend 400 dollars on siding when we didn't have grocery money.

They then made my dad park his truck in the woods behind the house because they didn't want people moving into the houses in the area to "get the wrong idea".

F-ck those absolute pompous d-ckheads.


Nature Moves In Its Own Ways

A friend of mine had gotten a new dog and there were three spots from where the dog peed that had killed the grass. My friend is literally outside with a rake, grass seed and the hose, pulling out the dead grass in preparation for the seed when the HOA lady walks up. She lectures her on taking care of her grass and hands her a letter with a fine and a complete by date. She's like "well I'm planting seed RIGHT NOW so when it grows it will be fixed."

HOA lady "you have three days" and damn if she didn't show back up three days later to find, SHOCKINGLY, NO GRASS! Drops off letter with a fine again. Very three days until the grass grew in.

They wrote a letter, fully explaining the science behind grass growing, with pictures that looked like they were from a 1960's era grade school science book. Their fees were dropped and they moved out shortly after.


Throwing It Back In Your Face

Preface: I had a house fire my sophomore year of high school. No injuries, but my family lost our home.

Last year, about two years later, it was Independence Day. The neighbourhood has a strict "No Fireworks" rule. My younger siblings were playing with sparklers in the front yard. The neighbourhood "manager" approaches and tells my mom, "You can't have those. You guys of all people should know how easily these houses can catch fire."

I was livid when I was told this a few days later.


Problems Of The Incredibly Wealthy

Here's a doozy. My Grandfather lives in a rich, gated golf course community. The golf course is literally the backyard of the houses. The HOA requires every golfer to write their name and address on every ball, and if any balls hit someone's window, car, or lands in someone's pool, that golfer is held liable for damages plus a $100 fee for hitting a ball out of bounds. If you are found in possession of an unmarked ball (no name) you get banned for a length of time and charged another fee. Some of the houses decks are actually located two steps away from a hole.


Taking The "Christ" Out Of Homeowner

My sister and BIL moved into a townhouse with HOA. One of their cars needed repairs so BIL's Mom lent them her car. It had multiple religious bumper stickers on it, so they nicknamed it "The Jesusmobile."

[Within] a couple days they received a notice stating that they had to remove the unsightly vehicle from their driveway.


Were They Koopas?


My parents used to have three large rock turtles in the front yard. The HOA told them they had to remove it, and we were perfectly fine with that, so we told them it'd be gone within the week.

2 days later, It still wasn't gone and we caught a member of HOA smashing [them] with a hammer. We reported it too the police but they never helped us because 'we were warned' or something like that.


An Impossible Loophole

Not mine, but my sister's: The external vent from their clothes dryer had shifted in the rafters and caused the steam to condense and the drips leaked through the ceiling and puddled inside the house. The HOA said it was an appliance issue so it wasn't their responsibility to fix. My sister said "Fine, we'll cut a hole in the dry wall and fix it ourselves."

The HOA said she would need their permission to cut a hole in the ceiling and they refused to grant it because it was an appliance problem, not a structural problem. She went back and forth with them for weeks, unable to use the dryer without furthering the water damage. It took lawyering up to get the HOA to finally fix the problem.


HOA Eyes Are Watching You

Not me but my dad. When he was young they used to rent an apartment and the HOA used to spy when they were turning off the TV in order to cut off the electricity.

One day they were watching the TV and my dad saw an eye on the peephole.

He quietly got up, disconnected the TV and opened the door, and then this got really crazy!!! He threw the TV on the HOA door and he told her a lot of things! Cursing and a lot of fun stuff!!! EPIC!!


Don't Get Mad At Them. They're Kind Of Dumb To Begin With.

Here's a good one from the other side: I worked as an property manager for HOA's. The board of directors for one HOA came to me one day insisting I fine "Jane Smith" $200 for littering outside her condo. They "watched as she littered and told her she'd be fined, so fine her."

I asked this board of director why $200 for a fine. She shrugged and said because. I then asked if she was aware if their community governing documents had a fining policy. She said she didn't care.

Well, to cover my ass I looked into their documents, as was my job. No fining policy whatsoever, putting $200 on their account would have been a lawsuit. Said board of directors wasn't too happy when I pointed this out.

So tl;dr: Don't get too upset when the HOA contacts you, they don't always know what the f-ck they're doing.


Wounds That Never Heal


I think I've posted this before, but I'm still fuming over it years later so here goes. 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 go f-ck themselves with them. 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. F-ckers.


Pro Equipment For Amateur Hour

Not mine but one of my good friends has a rather insane HOA. They actually used rented surveying equipment to determine that his clothesline was 1 inch taller than his fence and fined him several hundred dollars for some stupid "structure beyond the fence" rule they had.

Same HOA has someone walking around actually measuring the length of grass with a ruler and issuing warnings for mowing.



"Only plant oak trees" even after multiple arborists & botanists informed the board that doing so would give all of them various diseases and all would need to be cut down.

10 years later? All have been cut down because they have diseases and mites.


Quiet Hours From 12-12

When my brother first moved into his condo, quiet hours were 10pm - 6am Sunday-Thursday, never really enforced. A couple years later two board members sold, two new came onboard. One being a 60 y/o man. Quiet hours are now 8pm-6am Sunday-Thursday, 10-6 Friday-Saturday. The 60 y/o guy will knock on your door if he thinks you are too loud. It's a very young metro neighborhood, loft complex.

The old guy came to his door to complain a couple weeks ago bc he thought the pizza delivery guy was too loud.


But That's The Opposite Of What You Told Us!

HOA said there was a surplus of funds and sends out a survey to find out what people want the money spent on- swimming pool, basketball court, etc.

A few months later we get a notice that they're raising the dues because they need more money to afford all the new amenities we requested. The entire board was voted out the following year.


What's the worst thing your HOA has ever done? Share it with us!

Photo by UX Gun on Unsplash

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