Maybe it’s a power trip, maybe it’s the homeowner’s association. Actually, it’s both. These residents detail the insane rules and regulations their horrible HOA imposed on them. Get ready, because these stories will make you reconsider ever living in a neighborhood with an HOA! Content has been edited for clarity.
“My Ex-HOA Leader Was Truly Insane”
“My very first home in college was a townhouse condominium. It was the typical cookie cutter, three-storied, little cut out of suburbia for beginners. I lived near the back of the development, which meant I had to drive by the front units every day to and from school and work.
Our homeowner’s association leader, ‘Trisha,’ lived across the street from our elderly HOA treasurer, ‘Gabbie.’ Trisha was in her thirties and ran an illegal daycare out of her home. I hated driving by Trisha’s house after three in the afternoon or on weekends.
Trisha’s two elementary-aged children would hide behind parked cars and run out in front of your vehicle screaming, ‘Slow down!’
After this happened a few times, I got really scared. Going forward, I only drove five miles per house through the neighborhood so I didn’t risk hitting her kids with my car. I spoke to Trisha about how unsafe her kids were behaving, and she didn’t care.
Trisha replied, ‘My kids are neighborhood monitors. You should be thankful for their diligence.’
What? Her kids weren’t ‘neighborhood monitors’, they were just plain annoying.
A week later at around seven in the evening, I pulled in after working my retail job after class. I noticed one tow truck. Then two. Then three. Then I realized the HOA was towing everyone in the neighborhood!
I parked in my garage and ran upstairs to tell my roommates to remove their cars from the street parking. They ran outside, and as I thought, everyone who parked on the street was getting towed. Two of my neighbors were fighting with the tow truck drivers. It was pure chaos. Technically, everyone was allowed to park in the street, and it was marked as ‘allowed,’ in the HOA manual.
When I pointed this fact out to the tow truck drivers, they simply said, ‘Sorry, we’re just following Trisha’s orders.’
The tow truck drivers left, and shortly after the police arrived. Trisha put up home-printed ‘no parking’ signs and contacted the tow truck company in the middle of the day. All without informing any residents first.
The cops told the angry residents, ‘No street parking will be effective tomorrow. However, Trisha, your parking signs aren’t legal.’
This same night, Trisha was outside in the street with a red bucket of paint coloring the curb red. She had the tow company post their tow signs and parking signs the next afternoon. Everyone kissed street parking goodbye. Now, anyone who didn’t have a garage had to park over three blocks away.
Shortly after the parking situation, four evergreen trees were cut down from a communal park in the development. Gabbie, the HOA treasurer, had found out Trisha had paid her ‘side man’ who was also an arborist eight thousand bucks to cut the trees down.
Gabbie completely lost her mind. At the next HOA meeting, she let the residents know what happened to the trees and about how Trisha was wasting everyone’s money. We were planning to build a community garden, but the plan was foiled by Trisha.
After the HOA meeting, someone else on the board called Trisha and informed her she was being removed from the board leader seat due to the unapproved expenses. Trisha was livid.
Around eight in the evening the same night, I heard screaming. Like, blood-curdling screams coming from a woman.
The woman yelled, ‘Help me! Call the police!’
It was Gabbie. Trisha came over to Gabbie’s house and hit the poor old woman in the face. Trisha then proceeded to go into Gabbie’s home, lock her out, and was now threatening Gabbie’s bedridden husband.
Gabbie was hysterical. I was on the phone with the police, as were five other neighbors standing outside. Gabbie was screaming every curse word in the book through her front door at our crazy ex-HOA leader.
Trisha was arrested this night for assault and holding someone hostage. Since Trisha was a single parent, her kids were also taken away. Gabbie had a gnarly black eye from her and Trisha’s altercation.
I only lived there for fourteen months and moved due to the escalating issues with the HOA. I didn’t know someone could take their job as an HOA leader so seriously, to the point where they would risk getting arrested. My ex-HOA leader was truly insane.”
“Shaming People Doesn’t Always Work”
“One of my neighbors went through a terrible situation with their homeowner’s association.
They were husband and wife, and the couple was expecting their first child. Unfortunately, when the child was born, the wife suffered from serious complications which resulted in only the baby coming home.
The husband was understandably overwhelmed when all of this happened. The wife passed out and went unresponsive at home while an elderly relative was visiting. The baby was born at the hospital, and the wife’s condition rapidly deteriorated. I don’t think my poor neighbor left the hospital until his wife passed away a few days later.
My neighbor’s townhome only had two parking spots. Our HOA had recently changed the rules for our overflow parking. Residents were only allowed to park no more than four days a month in the overflow spaces. After more petty HOA parking drama, they shortened the time from four days to ninety minutes. This rule went into effect two days after my neighbor’s wife went to the hospital.
The wife’s car was in the overflow parking lot when the elderly relative was visiting. The wife’s mother was also now at the home to help take care of the baby and help with funeral arrangements. She flew in, took a taxi to their home, and got the extra car keys from the home to move her daughter’s car. When she walked to the overflow parking lot to move her daughter’s car, it was gone. It turned out the HOA had towed the vehicle.
Days later, the husband arrived home with the baby and noticed all of the mail which accumulated in his absence. In the mail, there were multiple fines from the HOA. The fines ranged from the towed car, trash cans being out too long, and grass being a smidge too tall. There was also a bill from the HOA leader who ‘impounded’ the trash cans and recycling bins with a thirty buck per day storage fee for them.
The entire situation wound up on the local news as one of those neighborhood exposé stories. The HOA leader lived on the same street as my neighbor and me, and he was aware an ambulance had come to the home and nobody was at the house.
The HOA leader told the news station, ‘I am not going to dismiss the fines. He could have come home from the hospital and attended to his house.’
Unfortunately, shaming people doesn’t always work.
One of my other neighbors realized there was nothing in the HOA rulebook about needing HOA approval for rummage sales. They organized a major neighborhood rummage sale to raise money for the fines. The look on the HOA leader’s face was priceless when he tried to shut the rummage sale down. Multiple people at the sale brought out their HOA by-laws books to show it was within the rules. The rummage sale was also publicized as an update on the news, so we were able to raise a few thousand bucks to help a neighbor out.
I moved away nine years ago, and I will never buy another property with an HOA. The HOA was too petty, and I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. My neighbor, the husband, also ended up moving back to his home state. Our neighborhood never looked at our HOA leader the same way again.”
“The HOA Is A Total Pain”
“When my partner and I rented, the homeowner’s association would report to our property manager, and then our property manager would report to us. We were reported for so many things, most of them ridiculous and had nothing to do with my partner or me.
One day, we got a call from our property manager.
He explained, ‘You guys cannot have a grill on your front porch.’
My partner and I were confused. We didn’t even own a grill! Another time, we were informed only one car was permitted to park on the street. Our other two cars needed to be parked in our garage. At this time, my partner and I only owned one car. We also got a call about neighbors complaining about our dog barking all night long. We didn’t even have dogs, plus, we didn’t even have a yard.
The weirdest call we got from our property manager was when he called and stated, ‘You need to move your doormat. It’s not allowed to be leaning against your house.’
My partner went outside, only to find a doormat leaning against our neighbor’s house. It would have been easier to knock on our neighbor’s door and inform them about it, but instead, the property manager chose to call wrongfully call us. For the entire three years my partner and I lived in this particular home, the neighbor across the street used their porch as storage.
As homeowners in a different neighborhood, my partner and I were written up for not taking our holiday lights down promptly. Admittedly, we didn’t take our lights down for a while after the holidays. However, most of the holiday season my partner and I had been out of town for my grandpa’s funeral. When we arrived back home, we took down the lights and got written up.
The HOA didn’t even bother to give us a warning about our lights, they just went straight to, ‘Here’s a write-up, you need to go before the board where they’ll decide if you have to pay a fine or not.’
Immediately after the lights were removed, I alerted the HOA to let them know.
They got back to me and said, ‘No, you need to remove all of your holiday decorations.’
I had a snowman on our front door which read, ‘Let it snow’ with snowflakes in our windows. All of the decorations were winter decorations, and they weren’t classified as holiday decorations. The HOA was super snotty about it until I pointed out they had broken their procedures by not giving me a warning first. After I confronted them, they dropped the situation.
The HOA is a total pain.”
“It Was My Last Straw”
“Not long ago, I moved into a new house. Not even a few months later, I received a letter from the homeowner’s association. They were threatening to fine me two hundred bucks because my mailbox wasn’t black. I thought surely the HOA had the wrong house, as my mailbox was black. I contacted my neighborhood’s HOA, and they gave me the run around arguing my mailbox wasn’t black.
I explained to the HOA leader, ‘Come over to my house and take a look. I promise, my mailbox is black.’
Then, I snapped a picture of my mailbox and emailed it to them. I didn’t hear anything back for over a month until I received another letter in the mail.
The letter stated, ‘You have one week to paint your mailbox black. If you don’t, you will be fined.’
I was livid at this point, so I contacted the HOA again.
I questioned, ‘What exactly seems to be the issue here?’
The HOA leader responded, ‘The neighbors feel your mailbox is rather worn. It would be in your best interest to paint or replace your mailbox.’
So basically, my mailbox wasn’t black enough for them. I angrily repainted my mailbox and attempted to move on with my life.
A few months later, I learned the HOA was supposed to replace my mailbox, for free. I called the HOA leader and asked why they threatened me with a fine when the standard was to replace my mailbox.
The leader responded, ‘We didn’t replace your mailbox because it was supposed to be your responsibility to tell us it needs to be replaced.’
This was my last straw with my HOA. I had a hard time imagining how they conceived rules this bizarre.”
“It Makes Our Neighborhood Look Trashy”
“My parents lived in a neighborhood with several local physicians. One of the doctors had around six kids, and the youngest kid loved riding his bike in the driveway. He would ride the bike in the driveway for hours, and it was his favorite thing to do. However, the parents were concerned about their child riding his bike into the road. To resolve the issue, the parents bought orange construction netting to block off the driveway. They would put it up when their child was outside, and they took it down immediately after the child went inside. I thought it was an excellent idea to keep him safe.
Several of the families in the neighborhood threw major fits about the netting. They thought the netting was an ‘eyesore,’ and the neighbors wanted it taken down immediately.
A meeting was called about the netting, and one neighbor said, ‘I hate the netting! Do you know how trashy it makes our neighborhood look?’
Needless to say, nobody offered other options or resolutions for the parents. They simply complained about the netting and attacked the parents for how they treated their children.
The family was irate, so they packed up and moved out within a month. I didn’t blame them. Our neighborhood’s homeowner’s association was ridiculous.
They live somewhere out of the country now, and apparently, the son is doing very well in their new home. Plus, he still rides his bike for hours on end. Except now, he can do it with zero complaints.”
“I Could Hardly Believe It”
“When I first moved into my new house, I asked my neighbor across the street, ‘Is the homeowner’s association pretty serious here?’
He replied, ‘Yeah, man. They’re pretty bad.’
He proceeded to tell me about a time when the HOA gave him a notice with a photo of his recycling bin attached. My neighbor had left the recycling bin on the street for too long. When he looked at the photo, it was an image of him walking his recycling bin back to his garage. I could hardly believe it!
Another time, I had to have the HOA come out to my house to ‘approve’ a fence I was going to install. The woman at the HOA office was very nice, and she informed me my plans for a fence were within the neighborhood by-laws. We just needed an inspector to check my plans out himself and sign off on them.
When the inspector came to my house, he said, ‘I don’t understand these plans or what you are wanting to do.’
I patiently replied, ‘Well, I want to install a fence.’
He explained, ‘The type of fence you are wanting to install isn’t allowed in this neighborhood.’
I walked him outside, pointed to the residence two houses away from me, and exclaimed, ‘This house right here has the same fence I want to install!’
The inspector walked down to the house, and sure enough, the fence was the same as I described it.
He scoffed and said, ‘Well we don’t like to have a bunch of different types of fences in the neighborhood.’
I angrily replied, ‘I don’t care what you prefer! The by-laws say I can have this fence, and I am going to install this fence! I don’t care what you say.’
The inspector didn’t have much to say at this point.
I received a letter in the mail the next week which read, ‘Approved for a fence install.’
It served the inspector right.”
“You’re Ruining The Chances Of Selling My Home”
“I previously lived in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association. My neighbor who lived right next door to me was trying to sell his house. I kept my trash cans next to my garage and noticed when I’d come home from work, they would be gone. My trash cans were not ratty or stinky, so I didn’t understand why somebody would feel the need to move them.
After looking around, I found them behind the fence on my lawn. This happened three times in one week. After the third time, I became extremely angry. I thought someone was messing with me.
I went to the hardware store, found the biggest chain and padlock I could, and started chaining my trash cans to the post on my front porch.
As I was chaining my cans to my porch, I spotted my neighbor outside.
I asked him, ‘Hey, you wouldn’t happen to know who keeps moving my trash cans, right?’
My neighbor replied, ‘I scoured the HOA rule book, and I discovered you aren’t allowed to have your trash cans out. The only time they are allowed to be visible is on trash day. Your ugly trash cans are ruining the chances of selling my home!’
I wasn’t sabotaging my neighbor’s chances of selling his home. His insanely overpriced house in a terrible housing market was sabotaging his chances. He never once consulted me before moving my trashcans, and he never spoke to the HOA, either.
I chewed him out and said, ‘You are acting like a child! You should know better than to repeatedly come on to my property and touch my belongings without my knowledge.’
Trash cans or not, it’s my stuff, property, land, fence, and lawn. After our conversation, he never moved my trash cans again.”
“You Can Take Your Complaints Elsewhere”
“One time, I went away for a long weekend. I left after work on a Thursday. Late Friday afternoon, the water heater in my home burst, and it flooded my entire townhouse.
When my neighbor arrived home from work, he noticed gallons of water running out from underneath my garage door. He realized I wasn’t home, and attempted to contact the homeowner’s association so they could notify me. Unfortunately, he didn’t have my phone number so he couldn’t call me himself.
When he called the HOA, a woman picked up the phone and said, ‘Sir, this is after business hours. The matter will have to wait until Monday.’
Keep in mind, that my neighbor called the HOA office one minute after they closed. The HOA certainly could have handled the situation.
My wonderful neighbor ended up contacting the non-emergent police line. The police came to my home and shut my water off from the street. When I arrived home Sunday morning, my entire house was damaged. Due to the water damage, I could see my attic from my basement. After a massive panic attack and a frantic call to my insurance company, I started the process of home repairs.
Afterward, I had to have a dumpster placed in my driveway and a moving truck to store my furniture. Unfortunately, the HOA didn’t enjoy the sight of the dumpster and truck in my driveway.
The HOA leader contacted me and explained, ‘We aren’t liking how unsightly your home has become. We need you to remove the dumpster and truck from your driveway as soon as possible.’
I responded, ‘You can take your complaints elsewhere. The reason why my home is in disarray is because of you!’
I got a little revenge on the HOA, too. I stopped paying their stupid dues, and they couldn’t give me a bill because I planned on moving out soon.
I will never own a home in a neighborhood with an HOA again.”
HOA Dues And Don’ts
“This didn’t happen to me, but it happened to my dad.
A couple of summers ago, my dad moved into a new townhouse. It was a foreclosure property, and the previous tenants were kicked out for not paying their mortgage or homeowner’s association dues.
The townhouse property owners gave everyone who was an HOA leader new patios and decks the summer prior for free. Those who weren’t HOA leaders had to pay for the new patio themselves. Normal tenants were required to pay for the patios in monthly installments for the next three years, along with their HOA dues.
As I mentioned previously, the tenants who had the townhouse before my dad foreclosed on their home. However, there was one rule placed when the new patios were built. The HOA stated you couldn’t move out of the townhouse without paying off your patio first.
The HOA told my dad he would not have to pay off the patio since the townhouse was foreclosed on before he moved in. Sweet, he was getting a free deck! Naturally, he signed off on the deal.
My dad moved into the townhouse, but then he started getting assessments from the HOA for the patio. But wait, wasn’t he supposed to be getting the patio for free?
He fought about the cost of the patio against the entire HOA board. Even with the signed paperwork stating my dad didn’t have to pay for the patio, the board went against him.
My dad ended up having to pay off the remaining balance on the patio. To this day, he refused to speak about the entire incident. It was a trigger for him.”
The Petty Property Owner
“When my partner and I were renting in a townhome community, the dumpster had video surveillance. The homeowner’s association figured if they had video surveillance, they could fine anyone breaking the rules as far as what we were allowed to dump.
One day, both myself and my partner got a rude call from our property manager alerting us about how the HOA had fined us two hundred and fifty bucks for illegal dumping. Our property manager would have to pay the fine, and we would have to reimburse him.
My partner and I racked our brains about what we could have possibly thrown out that wasn’t allowed. We couldn’t figure out what we did wrong, so we called the HOA to see if we could view the video. Each time we called the HOA, they would transfer us to someone else who would hang up. Alternatively, the HOA’s hours would magically change to where nobody would answer the phone, or they would promise to get back to us the next day. This went on for about two weeks.
Finally, my partner got to see the video while I was at work. I texted him to find out what was on the video, and he said the video was of a middle-aged woman throwing out a bunch of furniture.
We found out it was our property owner’s wife.”