Those who live within a neighborhood with a Homeowner's Association know that it can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the association keeps the community in check and in order, and in the long-run helps add value to peoples homes. However, some people join the HOA just to have power over their neighbors, and sometimes enact some ridiculous rules. Here are a few times when homeowners got sweet revenge on their unruly HOAs.
Content edited for clarity.
Being In The HOA Doesn’t Make You A Cop
“I go into work early some days to get at least some of my work done before the idiots show up. Usually before work I go on about a five-mile walk with my dog. I live in a condo, so I walk about a quarter mile up the road and walk around in a neighborhood.
About eight months ago while I’m walking, a golf cart with actual lights and sirens pulls up in front of me. This huge old lady gets out and starts yelling before I can even get my headphones out of my ears. Turns out walking dogs isn’t allowed before 7 am according to the HOA. I informed her that first of all I don’t live there and second of all the streets were all public, so she couldn’t really do much. She responded by threatening to call the cops and have me arrested. I just told her to do whatever she felt she had too and walked away.
This really ticked her off. She started following me in her golf cart with the lights and siren going. This continued for about ten minutes until the cops arrived on the scene. I stopped and talked with them for a bit and explained my side of things. Took maybe 20 minutes before they came back over to explain what was going to happen.
In the end I had every right to walk my dog at anytime of day or night as long as I had a light when it was dark and had reflective clothing (I had both), as for her though they tested the siren which exceeded noise levels for anytime before 8 am. Then to top it off she didn’t have it registered for use on public roads, and the tail lights didn’t work. As I looped back around the golf cart was getting loaded onto a tow truck and I just kinda laughed the whole way back to my condo.”
A Neon Dye Job
“My family and I used to live in a fairly upper-middle class neighborhood that had an HOA. The HOA seemed pretty mellow and dedicated to their original purpose and intent: maintaining property values.
As these things usually happen, a few new people got voted in, things started getting a bit more OCD and militant. Here are a few examples:
We had to throw away our basketball hoop because the backboard was opaque and the new requirement was glass backboards only.
We got a ticket because my dad forgot Monday was Memorial Day and put the trash out. Of course, trash collection had been pushed back to Tuesday, so we got a fine for having the trash can out overnight.
We went on vacation for a week and the grass got a bit longer than usual, but nothing unreasonable. Got threatening letters and a fine.
We weren’t allowed to have cars parked on the street, for any reason.
My biggest pet peeve was that anyone under 18 had to be accompanied to the pool by their parent. I wasn’t too fond of having to get my mom to come bake in the sun any time I wanted to go for a swim. Nor was she.
I was on a Navy JROTC field trip to a Naval base and stumbled upon what I still regard to be one of my greatest ideas. I was in the Navy Exchange (basically Wal-Mart for Navy personnel) looking at some of their surplus stuff when I came across an ejection seat dye marker. These are those very powerful dye markers that are attached to ejection seats so that in the event of a water landing after ejection, the pilot can be found easily, floating in the middle of a huge patch of green-dyed water.
So I bought it for $8 (a bargain at any price) and took it home. One night, after the HOA instituted (unenforceable) 10 pm curfew for adolescents under 18, I took a little stroll over to the pool and tossed that bad boy on in. Much to my delight (and nervous horror) it worked exactly as designed. The whole pool was neon green in a matter of a minute or two. Of course, I got out of dodge.
The next day, as I drove past on my way home from school, I noticed that the pool was empty, but still looked super green. In the ensuing weeks, I came to find out that the pool had to be drained (660,000 gallons of water) and a professional power-washing company had to be brought in to clean the pool basin concrete, which had absorbed the die. Then the pool had to be refilled and re-treated with all the relevant chemicals. All told, I think it cost the HOA $10,000.
Two years later, the HOA president was busted by the IRS and arrested for embezzling $70k worth of HOA funds. He went to the big house for a couple of years.
And before anyone tears into me for wasting water, this was in the south, not California. We have more water than we want down here.”
Get Off My Lawn!
“I was once made to resod my front lawn. In the middle of summer with average daily temperatures over 100 degrees. During one of the worst droughts on record all while the whole city was under watering restrictions. Per the contract homeowners sign when they buy their house, the fine for not resodding the lawn by a particular date was $100 per day until it was done.
The new lawn (which I had spent several hundred dollars on) promptly died, and they tried to make me replace it again, but apparently enough people had complained by that point that before I did they agreed not to make us replace our lawns until the water restrictions were lifted.
Confession bear time: I had to get up early for work (3am), so as I drove through the neighborhood I looked for people watering their lawns in the middle of the night on violation of restrictions. Most people were just trying to avoid being hassled by the HOA, I know, so I left them alone. But when I saw members of the HOA board doing it, I reported them to the city.”
May The Best Sign Win
“I once had an HOA which regularly complained about petty things. I did fix them, but was super annoyed. I made a sign (very cheaply, white with black text) which read, ‘Yard of the month’ or something like that because it would annoy them greatly and wasn’t technically against the rules. Later, they actually made a really nice and expensive official sign ‘HOA OFFICIAL yard of the month.’ Nice graphics and nice metal frame. Really official looking. I noticed it on a walk at night when most people were already inside. I grabbed the sign and moved it to someone else’s yard which was obviously poop with lots of weeds. That sign never showed up again.”
The Loophole Of All Loopholes
“This occurred in Georgia. Family friend, a family friend got married to a guy who worked at the power company. He ended up inventing some kind of new device which saved his company a bunch of money. He patented it and became very successful.
Now this guy (lets call him John) is a simple man. He likes to hunt, fish, and enjoy the great outdoors. John is also very much a ‘do it yourself’ kind of guy.
Well, John and his wife decide to use their new-found wealth to move into a nice neighborhood who just so happens to have a HOA.
The first hunting season comes around, John puts in a pole to hand his freshly killed deer from, so he can butcher it and John goes out and bags himself a deer.
John proceeded to butcher the deer in his backyard which the neighbor wasn’t too happy with and John got reported to the HOA. He ended up having to pay some fines and removed the stand. John was no idiot, he was quite smart. So John poured over the HOA association. There were no rules against butchering deer on your property. However, you couldn’t put in an artificial pole in the ground.
So John worked with the HOA to plant a brand-new tree in his front yard. He said it would increase property value and HOA was very happy to oblige.
So John planted his tree. And come the next hunting season, John tied up his catch to the tree and butchered the deer on a lovely Sunday afternoon for all to see.”
Not Your Trampoline, Not Your Concern
“I put a trampoline in my backyard in early 2017. I have three young boys, and we all have enjoyed it immensely. My neighbor, the HOA president at the time, wanted to sell his house in spring of 2018 and his realtor said the trampoline in my backyard might be a detriment to getting top dollar for his home. So he convinced the neighbor on the other side of my house to complain as well. Out of the blue, I received a message from the HOA property manager that the neighbors complained and I would need to submit a form to get it approved.
I filled out the form and sent it in. The Architectural Review Committee denied it a month later. I appealed the decision and met with the board in August. They sent me a letter and said it was in violation. I asked which rules I violated. They never sent me a letter, so I asked again a week ago.
The property manager was adamant she had sent the letter, but I asked for proof. She forwarded an email, where she put my name in the ‘To:’ field after-the-fact just to cover her own tracks.
I was very suspicious. I asked the other people in the ‘To:’ field if they received a copy of the email with my name in the address field. The only honest member of the board replied he hadn’t, the rest remained silent because they didn’t want to look like they and the property manager dropped the ball.
The year-end meeting was scheduled for yesterday, and four board positions were up for election. I got three of my friends on the street to run with me. I went door to door every day for a week and spoke with the majority of homeowners about their discontent with the street. I got a third of the community to sign proxy forms stating that I would vote on their behalf. I went to the meeting last night and put these fools on BLAST. I listed calmly all the ways the current board was failing the community and my plan to right their wrongs. The vote was a landslide, in favor of myself and my friends getting elected.
One awful board member remains but he is the minority. We fired the property manager who was uncommunicative and flat-out dishonest. The trampoline endures!
The only bummer is now I have to manage a street which includes some legit crazy people. But this whole episode has convinced my wife that we will never live in an HOA again, which I count as a huge victory in addition to the trampoline remaining where it is today.
My neighbors have raised kids to adulthood, one of them with two very active boys. When I pointed this out to the property manager, the words that actually came out of her mouth were ‘I know it’s challenging raising boys, but we’re at different stages of our lives.’ As if that justified her trying to treat me like they did.
The people who ended up buying his home are a great family with two kids, who don’t care about toys in other people’s backyards.
The guy who sold his home smoked like a chimney; I don’t think my trampoline should’ve been his top concern.
These are five-bedroom homes — clearly people with kids are going to move in, and they are going to be noisy in their backyard with or without play equipment. I’m just glad that we’ll all be able to live a little more peacefully.”
“I have owned one home (other than my tiny home, where I live now). I spent years saving up for the down payment. It was a new neighborhood (my house was old, but the rest of the neighborhood was built around it) and the HOA had just been established and the first president was a retired doctor.
I have two flag holders on the two posts in front of my porch. I flew the Tennessee state flag and another flag (I normally flew a variety of flags that I switch up every month or so).
One month, I decided to fly the Culpeper flag. The HOA president came knocking at my door demanding I take it down because his wife was British, and she was offended. I told him in nice words that he can suck it, and he tried to fine me. I contested it with the board and got the fine overturned. Later on, he’d try to bust me for other things. I told him I do not want him on my property at any time and if I catch him on my plot (a good couple hundred feet from the sidewalk and surrounded by trees on the other three sides, I will call the cops. I left him a notice on his door and let the HOA board know about the notice.
I came home a week later to a fine ticket on how the lettering on my door was not in standard. It included a picture up close and a signed confirmation from the president. I walked over to the HOA presidents house and got into a verbal argument with him. I called the cops and eventually took him to court which resulted in a restraining order.
It got so messy after that, the HOA dissolved and my neighbors threw a huge party.”
Christmas In Paradise
“My friend lives in an HOA neighborhood, and they have a very strict rule on lawn ornaments and decorating. They have banned pink flamingos on their own, this is important later, and for Christmas they require the house to have a theme.
My friend was looking for a way to mess with them and I found it for him in the Bahamas. The theme he chose was Christmas in Paradise. He sold it to the association by saying it would be bright colors to off-set the dreary winter we were having. They enthusiastically approved it, they had no idea. He found some plastic palm trees, borrowed nine of a friend’s pink flamingos and built a sled for Santa. The flamingos had reindeer antlers and the one in front had a red nose stuck on. The reins for his flamingos were lights and not bells. He also had lights on the house, fake palms, and a sign that said Christmas in Paradise.
The HOA couldn’t do anything because I had found a painting in the Bahamas that inspired the whole set up and bought it for the friend with the flamingo collection and it fit in with his theme. The HOA enforcement officer was livid when he realized he couldn’t do anything because 1) my friend was able to show him the picture I purchased for our flamingo collector friend, and 2) the rules said you could add anything that was plausible with your theme.
Christmas in Paradise equals pink flamingos.”
The Meddling HOA President Ended Up Playing Himself
“I’m in my late 20s. The software company I had been at went public and I cashed out and moved back home to Florida. With nothing to do, I started investing in rental properties with a good friend of mine.
This started about a year ago with the president of an HOA where I purchased two condos. This is a man in his late 60s, thinks he is the second coming of Jesus. From the get go, he made comments about being young and buying houses, why my parents weren’t co-signing. Or must be nice to have a trust fund.
Both properties had existing tenants. One is still there, the other one left. My business model has been to completely remodel every property between tenants to get the maximum rental income.
Construction was a nightmare, literally everything was a problem. Dumpster smelled, contractors leaving at 5:05pm. Being accused of not pulling permits. You name it, the HOA president tried to meddle his way in. I submitted six rental applications all got denied. I was never given a reason but the board was happy to cash my application fees.
My company’s attorney got involved. It took six months and many wasted days in a courtroom, but we finally got the books. I had a family friend go through them and found some inconsistencies. He found that this idiot and his two cronies had been stealing thousands of dollars from the bank account. He was writing fake invoices to his own company. My magician attorney was able to get text logs of them discussing blocking my apps; mainly they wanted me to dump the property, so they could buy it.
Now to the justice; we won a sizable judgement against him personally. The HOA’s E&O insurance went after him. Today he put his house up for sale. The house he had been living in for 30 years.
To throw salt on his wound, I did put in an offer for 65% of what is asking though, but I doubt I’ll get a response.
The best part? We offered to settle for a fraction months ago, we even were willing to include a non-disclosure. The idiot told us to pound sand at every turn.”
Help From Jefferey The Giraffe
“I bought my first home and was super excited to finally have a piece of the real estate pie. This was a townhouse governed by an HOA. My realtor went on and on about how great this HOA was — the pool was immaculate, the landscaping was done promptly every Wednesday and Sunday without a hitch, snow removal was immediate and even included my door step. Figured for the price I would have my own little Nirvana two blocks from the beach.
Wrong. The HOA president was a total prick. He and his cronies would pick a fight with me over stupid things. I’d leave my mail in the mailbox overnight (I’d get home late from a second job and would always grab it in the AM) which they considered to be a violation as there were store fliers peaking out of the box and it violated their neatness standards. I purchased a small trash can for my back porch to place my recycling in order to not clutter my kitchen counter with bottles and cans and was told I was ‘accumulating hazardous waste’ outside my unit. I emptied this can daily as I would exit my back door daily to walk my dog on the property line which is where the dumpsters were located. If I sneezed too loud, he’d find a way to make it an issue.
I finally had enough and put the unit on the market. My realtor placed a ‘for sale’ in my window that weekend when I was out of town and the HOA president lost his mind. I came home to 15 messages from all hours of the day threatening legal action of it’s not removed and why am I not returning his calls. Apparently calling the number on the sign and asking the realtor to remove it was too much of an inconvenience for him. I took it down, called my realtor who apologized profusely for the oversight as she thought signs were prohibited outside the unit only.
I was done at this point. This guy was being a prick to the highest standards. My day job coworker and I were talking about these events, and she and I came up with a plan to result in me being a spiteful ninny. She worked at Toys R Us for her second job as the person who did a majority of their displays. They would toss the old cardboard set-ups, so she got the OK from the store manager to take the old Jeffrey’s home. These were the tall mascot giraffes that stood on the floor with a base. One by one, we set them up in front of each of my windows. The HOA president, as expected, lost his mind again and demanded that I remove these signs at once. I explained that they were not signs in the window, they were freestanding cardboard cut-outs and there isn’t anything in the bylaws prohibiting such. He threatened legal action and had the HOA’s treasurer fine me for my ‘violation’ to the tune of $100 per giraffe. I disputed the fine and provided pictures of the freestanding cardboard cut-outs and never heard another word on the matter. The next HOA statement showed only my monthly fee.
I moved out a few months later and sold the unit right after. Never knew what happened in conversation with the HOA president and the treasurer but I kept those Jeffrey’s in front of my window until I left with no issue.”
“It Looks Like A Shed”
“My parents built a playhouse for my younger siblings and our local HOA claimed it was a storage shed and that it was on our neighbor’s property.
My dad knew it wasn’t because he had worked with the neighbor (Let’s call him Rick) to make sure it wasn’t on his property.
Long story short, my dad and Rick went to an HOA meeting. They pulled all the stops for this, taking measurements and pictures, outlining the yards from aerial photos, they even got a surveyor to take a look. The HOA’s response was this:
‘It looks like a shed, so it needs to go away.’ My dad was EXTREMELY livid and nearly cussed out the board members.
So he went home and hatched a plan.
He convinced all the people on our block to build playhouses, or ‘sheds.’ Most people did. The HOA went absolutely crazy. But they lost because the block showed pictures of the ‘sheds’ and also managed to vote off some members a little while later.”