9 Examples Why You May Want To Avoid Homeowners Associations Like The Plague

We watch a lot of real estate shows here at Consumerist HQ, especially the many variations on the “show three places and pretend to pick the one that you’re already in escrow on.” And while home buyers always remember to ask, “Are there HOA fees?”, they don’t ask the more important questions, like “Why in the world am I buying a place with an HOA?”

This is because homeowners associations, while often well-intentioned, can tend to be directed by a small group of homeowners with an obsessive need for uniformity and a dislike for dissent.

Sadly, those homeowners who don’t throw a fit when their neighbors paint their shutters robin’s egg blue instead of cornflower are also likely to be the last ones to vie for control of an HOA.

Thus, you end up with the following examples/reasons of why you may want to think twice, and probably thrice, before buying a home within the dominion of an HOA:

9. They think it’s fine to tell a disabled war veteran he needs to add 700 square-feet to his specially designed home.

8. They will waste hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to rid the neighborhood of a pick-up truck.

7. They will create new forms of math to make sure no one dares put up the wrong Christmas lights.

6. They think your wee flower garden is an act of treason worthy of $6,000 in fines.

5. They will try to foreclose on your house over $267.58.

4. They will call private security guards to forcibly remove tenants who are legally occupying a home.

3. They will threaten to sue you if you use the neighborhood’s name on a Facebook page.

2. They want your dog’s DNA — and they want you to pay for the test.

1. They tried to mess with Steven Seagal.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Marlin says:
    • MrEvil says:

      Some of those horror stories would end with me building a Killdozer and leveling the entire HOA.

  2. mcs328 says:

    And in some states you can’t afford a home that doesn’t have an HOA unless you rent or can spend over half a million dollars for a single family home that you can’t afford anyways.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      I find this very hard to believe.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Why? What evidence do you have which contradicts it?

        • Doubting thomas says:

          Well for one thing the entire purpose of an HOA is to positively affect home prices. So saying that without the HOA’s the home prices would be even higher means that those HOA’s are actively working against themselves.

          • dangermike says:

            It can depend. Prices are often dictated by local wages. Unless there’s a differential in earnings that outweighs the HOA fees, the effect is that whatever is owed to the HOA each month is money that can’t be allocated to paying off a mortgage. Playing around with a mortgage calculator, it looks like $300/month would service about $50,000 of debt.

          • BurtReynolds says:

            Well in my area, the non-HOA communities tend to have larger lots, which pushes up the price. So it is not a question of an apple to apple comparison with or without an HOA.

            If you want no HOA, you basically have two choices: buy in an old neighborhood or buy a newer house that is probably close to $1M because of the size of the lot.

    • sponica says:

      yeah, a good chunk of my town is HOAs or Condos and if those weren’t there, the prices for standalone homes would be much higher than their already high deflated values…

    • moonjest says:

      In my experience the single family homes in neighborhoods without an HOA are actually cheaper because the communities with an HOA are more desirable due to their community feel and recreational amenities (pool, trails, open space areas, etc.).

      I live in an area with a voluntary ($35/yr) HOA. Most of my HOA covenants simply strive to provide a set of building standards for the neighborhood, which were particularly relevant 30-some years ago when the homes were built (not all by the same developer). Today they would prevent someone from expanding their home, splitting their lot, or building anew in a way that is out of character for the neighborhood.

  3. donjumpsuit says:

    Example #10.

    $400 a month to cut the grass, keep chlorine in the pool, and take out the garbage.

    • TravelWithDignity says:

      if there is a pool, the nguarenteed that there is a hefty liability insurance policy attached to that HOA dues. Probably very very hefty premium

      • Rachacha says:

        people in our old neighborhood were pushing for the HOA to build a community pool until we told them that their $30/month HOA fees would jump to over $500 and we would need to give a special assessment to cover the installation.

  4. George4478 says:

    Every time I drive through the neighborhood where I bought my first house (there was no HOA), I am reminded of why I’m glad I live in an HOA neighborhood now.

    • Marlin says:

      You mean all the homes are not the same color/shape and someone parked a truck in plain site… THE HORROR!!!!

    • Portlandia says:

      I have to agree. I lived in a townhouse, governed by an HOA, a woman planted a hideous garden in front of her house. It was a MESS, little statue shit, ugly planters hanging, literally it looked like a trailer park garden, only missing the pink flamingos. People complained and made her take it all down. She was allowed to plant flowers in the bed but all the ticky tacky crap had to go.

      I read all the HOA documents before I bought that townhouse, and my current house and understood what was expected of me before buying. Decry HOAs all you want but they can be good.

      • Marlin says:


      • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

        That is sad that you ruined her garden.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        Wow, so you are proud that you and your neighbors are uptight assholes who refused to let a little old lady enjoy her own home and yard in her own way. She was harming no-one and probably got a great deal of joy and satisfaction from all her “ticky tacky crap”.

      • MMD says:

        It’s a good thing that taste is not subjective and can be codified in your HOA’s handbook!

      • runswithscissors says:

        *You* can give up personal freedoms pertaining to home ownership in exchange for protection from “ugly gardens”, but I prefer to keep mine.

      • quail says:

        Sadly, I must agree. Some years back a friend was looking for town homes in Central New York. One property was older, no HOA (which I wonder how that ever happened), and the place was a mess. A good 1/3 of the homes had holes kicked into the garage doors and junk in the yards. She moved into a town house in another section, had an HOA that simply took care of the common roof, and it was much better.

        In the end, HOA for stand alone houses is something I’ll avoid at all costs but would entertain when it comes to condos & town homes.

      • shepd says:

        This is exactly why I would rent if there were no HOA/condo association free areas in my city. That way I can move the hell away from you.

    • Herman X says:

      Every time I pull up in my driveway on a lovely, quiet, non-hoa controlled street, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have made the decision to buy here. All the neighbors keep their grass cut, noise is at a minimum, there is an occasional party where cars park on both sides of the street and some are even trucks! Once a dog barked excessively after 9pm and the owner actually apologized (unprompted by the police, mayor, aliens or anyone else) saying she would take steps to prevent that from happening in the future.

      Neighbors talk to each other, we have a block party every year and announce by putting flyers on the telephone polls (they are often multi-colored, and in crazy fonts – not edited or approved by anyone!)

      Christmas, Hanukkah, even Festivus decorations adorn our houses and yards. This year there was a giant 9 plus foot snow globe with Santa in it for all the world to see. Not a single complaint by the muslims or jews living on either side of the house.

      One person has a pink door with purple trim! Yikes! A little over the top but interesting to see!

      Once we had a blizzard that knocked out power for several days, neighbors tromped through the snow to some of the more elderly residents and checked in on them, others helped with driveways, firewood and blankets.

      I can think of many other reasons and incidents why I would never live under the rule of a silly hoa. Not in a million years. Life does seem to go on just fine without them here.

      • George4478 says:

        My HOA has a specific rule that, during a blizzard, you are not allowed to check on your elderly neighbors. It’s in the ‘screw everyone else, I’ve got mine’ section of the rulebook. /sarc/

        With the exception of your pink/purple example, every one of those things is true in my HOA neighborhood. Well, and the part about signs on the telephone pole. We have underground utilities, so we have no poles to put signs on.

        In spite of the way it’s portrayed here, living in an HOA does not automatically mean you’re living under the thumb of some lawn-care Gestapo.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          One of my best neighbors ever was a guy that liked to work on cars. This fact did not devalue the property or cause it to be on the market longer. If anything, that house was from a resale perspective much superior to my current HOA property in every respect.

          When it comes to “property values”, location is much more important than a battalion of busybodies intent on depriving you of your property rights.

        • Costner says:

          We have underground utilities, so we have no poles to put signs on.

          You don’t have any lightpoles? They hold signs just as well as telephone/utility poles.

      • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

        Ummm, my wife and I will be house shopping sometime in the next year. How do I ask where you live without sounding creepy? Your neighborhood sounds amazing!

        • Herman X says:

          We are in an older neighborhood in Bethesda, MD. Beware, there are many hoa’s here but ask a realtor they can find for you. Since we’re only 2 minutes from NIH and about five from several military contractors (including Lockheed HQ), we are plagued with traffic.

          However, the area is TRULY multicultural. If you can’t handle it – its best to look elsewhere.

          My little block has embassy folks from 13 countries (most have their flag out, side-by-side with ol’ glory). The DC border is about 3 miles away. Unfortunately, It is VERY expensive to buy here but if you can, you will find a very nice, educated, (over-taxed), community.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        I am glad for your good fortune. And I won’t be defending HOAs here and agree that they make people miserable frequently. But your good experience is based more on socio-economic and cultural conditions than anything else.

        To a large extent, HOAs were created not to give OCDs and bullies a hobby, but to raise and maintain property values in areas where it is not guaranteed that high incomes and good breeding can accomplish the same ends.

        I have a friend here in Phoenix living in a condo with an HOA. Many of the owners lost their places through foreclosure. Phoenix is also very transient, and many of his neighboring owners are now renting out their units to people who are bad tenants.

        His HOA actually has rules allowing them to evict tenants for certain infractions of the rules, including crimes, domestic violence, noise complaints, and HOA violations.

        Another friend lives in a high income area without a HOA. They maintain their high standards because they have high property values and high standards.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I’ve always been under the impression that HOAs came into existence in unincorporated areas that wanted certain benefits of city life (ie, zoning, ordinances, etc.) but not the taxes.

          • ChuckECheese says:

            HOAs are very popular in Phoenix, and this is a vast and pretty much fully incorporated area. But your question is interesting. Turns out Wikipedia’s article on HOAs has some of the answers, some of which I suspected – HOAs were primarily developer-driven to sell houses.

      • Bakkster says:

        And in general it goes on along fine with them, too. It’s personal preference.

        The issue is the ‘HOAs are always bad no matter what’ mentality. Shitty neighbors will be shitty whether it’s an HOA or not, and if you have good neighbors it doesn’t matter either.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        A neighborhood like yours doesn’t need an HOA. I wish I could find this. If I could, there would not have been this across the street:


        New people in there now; they cleaned up the aftermath but altogether make more noise than the druggies. Pocket bikes and no concept of a normal tone of voice. Sigh.

        I actually sent that pic to Lovely Listing and they published it with a joke about Chair hanging out with the wrong crowd, LOL.

      • BurtReynolds says:

        My parent’s neighborhood is the same way. The development was built about 25 years ago. Yes, some homes could use some fresh paint and some nicer landscaping, but none are anywhere near “eyesore”. Some people go overboard with Christmas decorations, but they are always taken down within a reasonable amount of time. Grass is mowed. No pink houses with purple shutters. I wish I could find a copy of the neighborhood where I live now so I could buy there.

    • who? says:

      To each his own, then. Personally, I’m mighty glad to not be paying my old HOA to mismanage my money. And I prefer living someplace where, if my neighbor comes home drunk one night, he won’t try to get into my place, thinking it’s his, because every damn house looks the same as every other one. (Yes, that really happened, only it was my husband trying to get into my neighbor’s house. Both the husband and the house are thankfully gone now.)

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I’ve never lived in a HOA neighborhood but have always lived in cities with ordinances and zoning. I don’t think I could ever live in an unincorporated area with neither. I know too many people who have had their property values (and quality of life) trashed when their neighbors decided to turn their yards into junk yards, hog farms, or dumps.

      As it is, I wish my city would more actively enforce ordinances on the books.

      • sponica says:

        in my neck of the woods, HOAs ARE in the town. they’re just neighborhoods usually built in the past 30 years when the town decided not to build/plow more roads, expand sewers, etc. owners of homes in HOAs and Condos pay property taxes to the town on the valuation of the building and then a share of the land property tax (depending on the setup). the HOA/Condo assn plows, does trash pickup, and pays for water (depending on the condo assn…some are submetered, some aren’t).

        if condos and HOAs weren’t in my town, the average middle class person wouldn’t be able to afford living here. there aren’t enough old-stock homes

      • pamelad says:

        My only and hopefully last experience with a HOA was when I moved to AZ. I moved into a patio home with only minimal furnishings. No problems so far. And then the husband arrived a month later with a truckload of stuff. The president of the HOA greeted him and said he must move the truck, even though it was to be only parked overnight until the mover guys got there the next morning. Plenty of room for everyone else to park, plenty of room for a firetruck in the unlikely case of need, etc. We had to move the truck with all our belongings to a nearby 7-11 parking lot overnight.

        I joined the HOA board for the neighborhood. Bunch of mindless control freaks who couldn’t make reasonable decisions in circumstances such as a new neighbor moving into their new home.

        I understand the need for HOAs in some areas, but thank goodness there’s not a HOA in our current neighborhood. Made a point of avoiding when we bought this house because of the previous experience.

        The deed is covered by CC&Rs (Covenants, Codes & Restrictions). Good enough for us. I don’t think you can paint your house purple here, and 24-hours-a-day barking dogs are not allowed by the police, but I sure don’t need a HOA.

  5. j2.718ff says:

    So this post is about… reading old posts?

    • scoosdad says:

      Oddly refreshing for Consumerist to have an article like this, actually. Kind of like a ‘best of’ episode. Some of the articles I had missed the first time around.

  6. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I can see why HOA’s were created, because it seems like every neighborhood has someone like the Clampet’s move in and try to raise pigs in the front yard.

    But geez – some of these people need to get a life. My neighborhood is zoned agricultural/residential. We have no ordinances about mowing, how high the grass is, what trees to plant, etc. On my road, there’s one old guy who didn’t mow or keep anything cleaned up, and he died a few weeks ago. The rest of us mow when the guy next door mows, and keep things picked up all by ourselves without a bunch of HOA idiots breathing down our necks. If someone up the street plants tomatoes in the front yard, so what?

    • Coleoptera Girl says:

      Yep. And in my non-HOA neighborhood, the only issue I’ve encountered on a regular basis is people parking up both sides of the road, nearly always only at night.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      Pigs are already adequately covered by zoning.

      So are things that fall under basic health and safety consideration.

      The added level of interference with the disposition of my own property really adds nothing of value that isn’t already covered by basic municipal law.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        In many states, unless you live in an incorporated area, it’s pretty much a free for all in terms of those types of things.

    • malraux says:

      That’s not why HOAs were “invented”. They were invited by real estate developers who create subdivisions to be sure that the home builders have some coherency in their designs (i.e., all brick houses, or no town houses, etc) and to manage common elements of the development like roads and sidewalks. The fact that later owners can use the contract to go crazy on others isn’t the intended use of HOAs by the people who actually created the entity.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      the only reason i could potentially ever welcome an HOA is if they made my next door neighbor mow LESS.
      i was off work last week. he mowed his lawn 4 times that i know about.
      when i had a yard sale a few weekends ago he mowed the strip next to my yard/driveway every single time i had a customer so people kept leaving quickly

  7. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    To be fair, I’d mess with Steven Seagal, too. What a phoney.

  8. NeverLetMeDown says:

    HOAs are trivial. Come live in New York, and deal with co-op boards. Imagine a HOA that also gets to approve or reject purchases and sales, with essentially no recourse.

    • Marlin says:

      Most HOA’s also have to approve a sell. Most just rubber stamp it once the new buyer signs off on agreeing with the HOA rules but some have been harder than others.

      • history_theatrestudent says:

        Sounds like that be the way to get the foot in the door. Find someone who can wait, to purchase a home (in an HOA with a litigious record or one that doesn’t rubber stamp it) and then when they demand you agree to the HOA, refuse. Once they turn you down, sue under the fair housing act citing discrimination on the grounds of political ideology.

        That political ideology being that you view HOAs as de facto governments who lack proper oversight over constitutional law. This lack of oversight coming from their operating under contract law when they should be forced to seek a city/town charter from what ever recourse is required by their state and thus then be subject to the standard rules of constitutional law including civil liberties.

        • TravelWithDignity says:

          the problem is, an HOA is created by the developer of a set of houses. All the first home buyers agree to the HOA. Everyone form then on is in the HOA.

          You don’t have to buy a house there if there is a HOA. The HOA is a voluntary agreement that is entered into UNANIMOUSLY by all the buys of property there.

          Don’t agree? Don’t buy there. Find a developer that won’t be using a HOA. But if you do find a developer not using an HOA, that is a guarentee that there is no signs or common property (waterfalls, walking paths, parks), etc etc.

      • wagnerism says:

        I have seen HOAs put out maintenance punchlists that must be completed before approving the sale. It had nitpicky stuff on it like replacing an exterior wall-mounted lamp because it was “weathered” and pointing up the grout in the brick on the front.

        One can try to get all “fair housing act” on them, but they’re the mosquito that can derail a home purchase with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line – and they know it. A mosquito always shows up on every home purchase whether it be a contested item on a credit report that must be paid, an old “unpaid” (was paid years ago and you don’t have the receipt) water bill that was completely unknown until closing, some HOA dork getting BS stuff done with newfound leverage, the list goes on.

  9. mrvw says:

    my fairly new development had a handful of people who wanted to start a HOA. The woman who headed the whole thing was pretty highstrung and nutty. She didn’t want any fence in the neighborhood less than a wooden privacy fence. And no, nothing would be grandfathered in.
    No vehicles parked in the street, no vehicles parked in your driveway for more than 36 hours (too bad for me my truck doesn’t fit in my garage).
    The list just went on and on with very petty stuff.
    Thankfully 80 of the 104 homes voted against the HOA and this family moved.

    • Kate says:

      I’m not sure why you would be legally required to join an HOA even if your neighbors all wanted to.

      • mrvw says:

        We were given the option to not to join, but the mentality was to nip it in the bud before it got started.

        • arcticJKL says:

          Man, I would love that. A whole street of HOA and I’m not a member!

          • sjgarg says:

            That would totally rock!

            You’d have the only unique house in the area, you can paint your home whatever color and put whatever you wanted on the lawn, and do it just to spite the HOA. Rainbow house with a lawn of hundreds of pink flamingos, have a dozen satellite dishes sticking out of your house, extreme trolling basically.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        in my state you are NOT obligated to join

  10. kobresia says:

    One of the more notorious HOA communities around here has had fights with residents over such things as:

    –Parking cars anywhere but in the garage
    –Hanging rugs over the patio railing for a few hours while cleaning house
    –Painting the front door, or any other part of the house, in a non-approved color.
    –All the usual complaints about residents having substandard landscaping
    –Basketball hoops
    –Oil stains on the driveway
    –new mailboxes. See, when the community was developed oh, 15-20 years ago, all the mailboxes were the same. They all had to be the same. But some of them fell apart as mailboxes tend to do. They’re showing their age and looking ratty. Some homeowners attempted to replace their mailboxes, but couldn’t get those original ones anymore, since the manufacturer is out of business or just doesn’t make that style anymore. So the HOA went after them.

    • who? says:

      When I was in an HOA, I moved the entire contents of my house out onto the patio for two days while I was having the place painted and carpets replaced. I got a letter from the HOA because the association rules didn’t allow bicycles to be stored on the patio, and there was a bicycle in amongst the rest of my living room furniture. They apparently weren’t worried about the queen size bed or the couches, just the bike.

      • webweazel says:

        We lived in a rental house in an HOA community a few years ago. Since it was a rental, the yard was never looked after, all overgrown and straggly. We knew the “big” pickup of trash set at the street was scheduled to be coming in a week or so, so we went out and busted our asses cleaning it all up. Trimmed trees and bushes, cleaned out leaves and dead plants, and just beautified it as best as we could. Looked great! We placed the cut tree trimmings and branches in a neat pile out front, off to the side, for the trash pickup in a few days along with a few bags. Some jackass complained about the pile and we got a letter sent to us from the association THE NEXT DAY. They wanted the pile gone in 2 days. Trash pickup was in 4 days. Okay, dipshit. We got a burn permit from the local fire department, tossed on some gas and torched the pile. Plastic bags and all. Burned all day and all night. Since some of it was green, it also smoldered and stunk. Left a nice black pile of ash blowing around the neighborhood and a few nice deep burn marks on the ground. Whatever was left, black and charred which didn’t finish burning, we just left it there for this idiot to look at every single goddamn time he drove by. Fuck him. He could have talked to us instead, or at least appreciated the hard work and effort we put in to beautify his precious neighborhood and give us a freaking break. Pile out there for more than two weeks? Fine, complain. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

        • smartypants503 says:

          Wow…that was completely unnecessary, mean spirited, boderline insane and awesome all at once. I am curious about what they could have done to you since you were in a rental. Even if they couldn’t do anything, a bonfire with wet grass clippings is what they deserved.

          • webweazel says:

            Thank you for the compliment….
            We wish we could have found out who exactly complained, because believe me, I had a nice little letter of my own to this person running through my brain as I threw the match.

  11. TuxthePenguin says:

    I’m on the board of my HOA and also the chair of the ACC committee – so I can speak directly to #5. Some of those others are more for a condo-owner association, not sure how much that difference changes things. Condos are quite a different beast.

    If a member of an HOA decides not to pay, there is literally nothing else you can do to get them to pay. You can send them to collections, sue them, etc. But even if you get that judgment, most HOAs have no other power than to either place a lien on the property or foreclose. We recently came across this with our “Adams Family House” – its a custom home being built that has been unfinished for nearly 3 years. No HOA dues payments – heck, they didn’t even pay their taxes. We slapped the lien on hoping the city/county would foreclose, but now they’ve caught that up, so we’re stuck.

    The only reason we don’t take action is if the homeowner contacts us and gives a reason for not paying – we have one family that did not pay this year because the wife (the breadwinner) lost her job. Now, maybe its because the board is made up of decent people, but we’re fine. They just know they’ll eventually need to pay it (or pay us when they sell, they might do that).

    Also, the reason I got involved with our HOA – if I’m in the position, one of these busybodies isn’t. ACC, which I chair, is also the committee that fines for most things… and yet I’m there to block and tackle, to keep our HOA from devolving into that. Get involved and take these people out of power. It is democratic… but too often we don’t have people vote. We had 20% participation for last year’s elections…

    • gttim says:

      My board found a very effective method of getting deadbeats to pay their fees, but this might work only at condos. If an owner is behind in dues, they are no longer allowed to use community property. This includes pool, dumpster, tennis courts, and…. get this…. the parking lot. If you are behind in your fees and park on the property, we will tow your car. The no parking became the best method of getting dues caught up. If the unit is being rented, the tenants cannot park there- but we have never actually towed a tenant. The only time this has not worked is empty units.

    • FatLynn says:

      I am on my board, and can’t leave because nobody else will take the position.

      In any case, we are the same way. One woman stopped paying for about six months, didn’t respond to any phone calls/letters/e-mails, and then a brand new Audi showed up in her garage spot. We took her to court, and she paid up.

      Another woman stopped paying for about three months, and told us she had an unexpected emergency, and you know what? We didn’t do a thing. She got back on track as soon as she was able to do so.

      I know that this site likes to remind everyone how awful HOA’s are all of the time, but if you have common areas, someone has to manage them.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        I get that if you have common areas an HOA is sometimes needed to help manage them. I don’t, however, consider my front yard, my house, or anything within my property line, to be a common area. Trust me to act like an adult, and I’ll keep things within reason. Start to try to micromanage my own property like you think you have a right because you think I don’t have sense enough to mow my own grass, and I’ll start doing shit just out of spite.

    • TravelWithDignity says:


      Get involved. HOAs have terrible terrible participation rates. you know who we get to participate? Retirees that don’t have anything else to do. THAT is the squeaky wheel. I’m also on the ACC for exactly the reasons you state, to put a nice check & balance on the authority.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Standard part of any modern HOA is that when you fail to pay, the HOA takes your house.

      • Kuri says:

        Then I had better be paying rental price on the house. You may as well if they can take YOUR house for not living up to THEIR standards.

    • shepd says:

      If you get a judgement against them from collections, you can follow that up by getting a court to assign you their property–it doesn’t have to be their house. It could be their car, or, in the case of $267.58, everything in their shed.

  12. gttim says:

    Everybody screams about how bad HOA’s are. Then don’t buy in a place covered by one. They are there for a reason. I like the HOA at my condo. I read the rules, I follow them and expect them to be enforced on those that do not. According to the bylaws, it takes quite a bit to change them, so it is almost impossible. If the board tries to enforce something that is not in writing, you can tell them to jump in the lake. You may have to battle, but if it is not specified, you will win.

    We have people who try to park commercial trucks, non-running vehicles, or too many vehicles, and they are stopped. People try to dump large stuff in front of the dumpster, and they pay a $500 fine- video cameras catch all. Try to put up tacky decorations all over the place, you get to take them down or pay a fine. Try to use a charcoal grill, against fire code as well, you get fined. Try to modify the inside of your condo without getting approval and get fined- we had a ceiling/floor drop 8 inches because some idiot removed a weight bearing wall thinking nobody would notice. Let your dog crap all over the place and get fined. If you kids decide to vandalize the pool, you will pay a serious fine and damages. Decide to move 8 extra people into your condo and the HOA gets them removed. The HOA handles crap like this so I do not have to. I like them!

    • Lyn Torden says:

      My issue with many HOAs is not about enforcement of the rules … it’s that so many of the rules are so stupid in the first place.

      • gttim says:

        Then don’t buy where there is a HOA. Your problem is solved!

        • Kuri says:

          Or stop one from forming in the first place.

          My dad drives a commcercial truck of a living and if me and my family lived in a certain HOA, he’d never get to come home.

    • who? says:

      If all the rules were sensible, and most HOA’s weren’t run as petty dictatorships, I’d be with you. But then there’s my brother, who bought a brand new Toyota pickup truck, and was told by the HOA that he couldn’t park a pickup truck in front of his place overnight. So he made an arrangement to park his truck at a friend’s business, and bought a 20 year old Chevy Celebrity that looked like it had been rolled, and used that car to commute between the house and where his truck was parked.

      • gttim says:

        We forbid trucks over a certain size. With recent trends in vehicle size and recent court rulings, Ford 150s and GM/Dodge 1500s are allowed. 250s, 350s, 2500s, 3500s, dualies and such are not allowed. No commercial vehicles, no ladder racks or equipment- has to be for personal use. I lived in an apartment complex that allowed commercial vehicles, and everybody else’s cars got beaten up. In a condo complex the reasoning is to make sure it retains its residential appeal/look. We had people buy without reading the covenants. That was their fault. We also had a guy trying to park his landscaping truck with trailer at the pool. We ended that. I had a truck when I moved in but made sure it was within guidelines. I have no problems with rules about trucks.

  13. CrankyOwl says:

    I’ve always owned condos, never a house, and those always have HOAs. I’ve never encountered any HOAs from hell but their fees usually go up every year regardless of whether the condos have any expensive amenities or not.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      That’s why I would never live in a condo. There aren’t any w/o HOAs (or is that COAs).

    • TravelWithDignity says:

      Liability insurance is ALWAYS going up for common property (which includes any shared buildings the units occupy)

  14. DemosCat says:

    When we last moved, we made sure there was no HOA. It’s a nice neighborhood, and no, there are no cars parked on the street, etc.

    A friend of mine did move to an HOA neighborhood, and really regrets the “Stepford Wives” mentality. Once you’re on an HOA’s shit list — and it doesn’t take much — you get written up for things you can clearly see other people are in violation of, but hey, they’re “popular” and don’t get written up ever. There is no pretense of being even-handed.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I very much disliked the high school atmosphere of the HOA my mother had with her townhouse. You are right on the nose with the popularity contest BS.

  15. bwohlgemuth says:

    I am El Presidente of my HOA. Why? To avoid these exact problems.

    #1. $50/year HOA dues. Handles mowing/treatment of pond. That’s about it.
    #2. “Special Projects”? Have to get through an official meeting/approval/general consensus…surprisingly, none have survived the process.
    #3. Complaints? Rule #1…have you spoken to your neighbor about it? No? I suggest going that route first.
    #4. Document how your neighbors behavior has negatively impacted your property’s value. Don’t be surprised if I double check your math.
    #5. Be nice. That whole “Golden Rule” thing? Yeah….try that first.

    • Pinklette says:

      #3 and 4: I love my HOA for this. My neighbor constantly waters our common wall to the point that there’s visible damage in less than three years. After having her refuse to believe that the damage was coming from her yard (she tried to claim that it must have been something I did. I don’t even have a yard to water. Dirt field till we can afford a pool!) I contacted the HOA for assistance. They haven’t gotten her to change her watering habits, and now the damage is starting to become structural. But because I contacted the HOA and got them involved they’ll be on my side when the fence needs to be replaced and bill her the whole amount.

      Too long; Didn’t read: Not all HOA’s are from the devil.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      Out of curiosity, what exactly do you mean by “Special Projects?”

  16. sir_eccles says:

    A thought struck me the other day. I live in a non-HOA area of town. It has been around for 50-60 years and over that time the three or four models of house have had additions, been painted several times, their gardens have grown etc etc. Each house has evolved to the point where each is an individual, there is a story contained in each one. It looks natural.

    Then I look at the newer HOA areas with their monochrome look, identical houses and cookie cutter lawns. Should they still be standing in 50-60 years (doubtful given the spit and sawdust used to build them, compared to the older concrete blocks) they will look pretty much the same. Pretty boring if you ask me. I don’t see the advantage.

    • GOInsanity says:

      Yeah, but that monochrome look isn’t exactly due to HOA’s. Its builders that put in whole neighborhoods at a time with fewer options to make it cheaper. I live in a neighborhood with an HOA and all the houses are very individual. And I’m glad we have an HOA because that means the empty lot beside me can’t be turned into a trailer park (no offense to trailer parks, but I don’t want to live next to one).

      • sir_eccles says:

        You’re missing my point. I’m saying my 50-60 year old neighborhood used to look uniform and monochrome back when it was built but was allowed to evolve without restrictive covenants and looks great.

  17. Bakkster says:

    It seems, HOA or not, if you have awful neighbors you will get screwed. Either they run the HOA and go vigilante on everyone, or there is no HOA and you have no recourse against anything they do unless blatently illegal.

    I live within a well managed city-wide HOA. They’re quite lenient (bought the house with 10 items found in violation, 4 were present when the previous owners left, nobody has raised an eyebrow) and in general the community is better because of it. I really haven’t heard of any issues, despite nearly all of my friends living there as well. But since it’s such a large association, it means both that it’s more difficult to get onto the board if you’re a nutcase, and there are enough people belonging to the HOA that only flagrant offenders get any attention. My unapproved front door color continues to be ignored by them.

  18. BennieHannah says:

    I get really tired of anti- HOA rants. Well, I mean, I like reading the terrible HOA stories because they are fun to read, but those stories are in the news only because they are egregious and pretty rare. I have always lived in neighborhoods that have an HOA, without any issue whatsoever. Our current one meets once a year at our neighborhood park for a potluck kegger where we vote on who gets the landscaping contract for the common properties — although it’s been the same old guy and his son for the past ten years.

    These days, unless you live in a rural area, you’re unlikely to find a community, neighborhood, condo or apartment building without one because in most places an HOA is required if you’re going to provide insurance/liability and maintenance for common properties. Which makes advice like — AVOID HOAs! — pretty ridiculous.

    The advice should be to research a community’s HOA before you buy a property. Read the documents carefully. I wouldn’t, for example, buy into a community where the HOA had a record of punitive behavior, liens or lawsuits against members. (Who wants shitty neighbors like that? Although, they’d probably be shitty neighbors without an HOA.) I wouldn’t buy into community where the HOA documents are a hundred pages long specify the height of my grass, the type of cars I can park in my driveway, and the color of my front door (unless I was buying into an historic district where house colors are commonly regulated.)

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      I would have had to move outside of the city where I live to buy into a neighborhood with an HOA. Since I prefer older houses and personal choice, buying inside the city was not a difficult decision.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        even outside the city you’d still be stuck with some similar problems. but hey, you know that old story already. at least i’ve been judged to be “in compliance” …. for now…..

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      This exactly. Bad neighbors will be bad neighbors regardless of the presence of an HOA. HOAs are not bad by nature. The people inside an HOA can make or break it.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        An HOA gives a bad neighbor more power than they would have otherwise.

        Without an HOA, a bad neighbor is merely an individual. With an HOA, a bad neighbor is much more like a local petty dictator powered by collective size of the association coupled with the fact that most people neither care nor participate in it.

        So a lot of collective power is concentrated in the few people that have any positive interest in the thing.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      The consumer herd mentality makes it more and more difficult to avoid HOAs unless you want some old run down place or some farm in Hooterville.

      They are an unwanted additional part of the purchase for the vast majority of homeowners and typically only ever become relevant when they become a nussaince. This allows the few overly motivated members of the neighborhood to have far more influence than they would otherwise.

      They are annoying but not so much that they trigger a mass consumer revolt.

  19. Dagny Taggart says:

    Aren’t several of the items mentioned above basically the HOA trying to address clear violations of covenants? In those cases, the real jerks are the homowners who refuse to comply with rules that had already agreed to they bought the property.

  20. bosozoku says:

    I’m happy with my HOA. The neighborhood is well taken care of, including the parks.
    My only beef was when I complained that too many people were parking their cars in the street, they said they couldn’t do anything about it since the roads are ‘public’. (The HOA guide states street parking is only OK temporarily and cars should be in the garages & driveways)
    My $300 a year covers the water for my yard (irrigation access) – and landscaping around da ‘hood. So IMHO, it’s well worth it – with as much as I overwater my yard and wash my patio/driveway, I’m sure I’d be paying $200+ a year for that and it’s not ‘drinking water’, so I feel good about that as well.

    • RandomHookup says:

      What’s with the “parking in the streets” complaint? This is the 3rd or 4th complaint about that. I’ll admit in my urban neighborhood street parking is precious, but do folks really get upset that their neighbors park on the street?

      • exit322 says:

        Apparently, yes.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        Most things that HOAs interfere with don’t have any public safety implications. Parking is something that can be a serious safety or navigation hazard. It’s one of the more meaningful things governed by your typical HOA but the least likely thing to be enforced.

        You’re more likely to see action taken against Pink Flamingos than a real safety issue.

        • RandomHookup says:

          People park in the street in all kinds of places and it’s perfectly legal. Still not understanding the complaint.

  21. newfenoix says:

    I hate yard gnomes. I truly despise the damn things. I actually buy fiberglass ones to use as targets on the pistol range! BUT, what I despise more is some self-appointed petty dictator telling some old lady that she can’t put the hideous things on her yard because it is “against the rules.” We stopped the formation of an HOA in my old neighbor hood in the DFW metroplex in 2008. They had 30 signatures on their petition, we had over 100 on the letter that our attorney sent them.

  22. Extended-Warranty says:

    I pay $55 a month for my HOA. They mulch, remove trash, cut the grass, and snow plow. Everything stays neat and tidy, and I don’t have to do any work. I have a puppy. This month, I am putting a deck in my backyard, which my HOA approved. I’m not following how this is so bad?

    • Charmander says:

      I can’t imagine asking someone else for approval to build a deck in my own backyard.

  23. dawgone says:

    Well I followed all the helpful advice. I was one of the first homes in our subdivision. The document I signed was 3 pages long. Some ass moved in and made some deal with the developer. The next thing I know, my covenants are 40+ pages of crap. My dues went from $100 year to $900. They didn’t even follow the rules to amend them – they just did it. I’ve had so many run ins over the years. I will never move into any HOA again. I’ve made my children swear a blood oath to do the same.

  24. verymegan says:

    My HOA helped me get my next-door neighbors to move the tour-bus-sized RV that had been parked five feet in front of my one-story townhouse for weeks.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      If it is a valid parking spot in front, why did you buy there?

      • failurate says:

        I am guessing he wasn’t expecting his neighbors to park a house in front of his house. He probably wouldn’t complain so much about a car.
        The HOA probably acted as a mediator to get the RV moved. It would have been nice if his neighbor was considerate enough to see that blocking someone’s house up with a huge object isn’t a nice thing to do.

        Legal parking or not, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something.

      • BooCackles says:

        I saw something very similar here. Some one had a huge RV and they had graveled over their side yard to make a parking place for it. The next door neighbors had a huge amount of their view taken away by the RV. (The street curved and the view should have been mostly of the side yard and some of the street, instead of that ugly butt RV.) The RV owner was having a garage sale and couldn’t understand why her neighbors didn’t want her RV sitting there. I think the neighbors were screwed because there wasn’t any HOA and not much they could do.

      • mokie says:

        The laws for parking RVs aren’t the same as those for parking cars and other vehicles–there’s often a 72-hour limit, with the stipulation that the RV can’t be inhabited at the time.

        HOA-less folks should check their local ordinances to see if their municipality’s already ruled against folks parking Big Bertha in their backyard.

  25. CalicoGal says:

    A lot of the issues mentioned in these comments that HOAs govern are handled by the county zoning office where I live Balt/DC suburbs).
    Things like unregistered/nonfunctional vehicles parked in the street or driveway, unmowed grass, junk/debris piles out in the yard, property not maintained, etc…. on the county Web site, one can download the form, fill it in, and file a complaint. The inspector will come out, and tell the person what the issue is. If they do not take care of it, the county orders them to a hearing and fines or possibly sues them.
    Why any HOAs are needed around here, I do not understand.

    • Marlin says:

      Same thing in NoVA as well. All the major stuff the Pro-HOA people bring up I am already covered by and I don’t have an HOA.

    • who? says:

      Exactly. Most cities already have laws covering most of the more sensible things that people bring up when they’re defending HOA’s. City laws don’t, however, cover the batsh*t crazy stuff that some of these HOA’s do. Maybe people prefer batsh*t crazy.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Agree. I live in a town in Northern VA. I am lucky enough live next to renters (despite the fact it wasn’t “allowed” by the HOA for the first couple years…we didn’t realize they were renters until I checked the property records) who decided they wouldn’t mow their grass for about 2 months a couple years back. I called the town government because they have an ordinance against overgrown lawns and they sent someone out with a warning that same day. He said if they didn’t mow, the town would mow and then send them a bill. If they didn’t pay the bill they could put a lien on the house.

      Luckily I haven’t had to do it again and now their house just looks kind of dumpy (they chop the grass down to nothing now) rather than completely unkempt. If it happened again, I wouldn’t bother with the HOA and just call the town again. Hopefully we will move before too long, if we can find a gap in the foreclosures large enough so they don’t kill our price.

  26. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    There is no valid reason why HOAs should be legal. They serve no purpose whatsoever except to give the smallest-minded people in this world wildly overblown powers to f%ck with other people.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with you if you support the existence of HOAs.

  27. eezy-peezy says:

    Thank God I live out in the country where people generally mind their own business. My nearest neighbor was a wacko who had as many as 27 lawn ornaments around her property at once – lighthouses, deer, donkey-cart planters, windmills, etc. but GUESS WHAT – it was HER property.

    Came in handy when we needed to give directions to our house, as everyone knew her house.

    Alas, she has passed on and the house and all its accoutrements are also gone.

    • KnightCrusader says:

      Amen. I love living in the country too and my nearest neighbor is at least a mile away.

      If I want to build a new deck on My house? I do it.
      If I want to park my car in MY driveway to work on it, I do it.
      Time to put another bay on the garage? No problem, get some lumber and I’m good to go.

      Whats missing there? Oh yeah, asking my neighbors if they are okay with it. My property, my business. Their property, their business. No problems from anyone. I’ll never deal with HOA’s.

      And yes, we have electric, running water, cable, cell phone reception, and broadband internet… and no, my house doesn’t have wheels nor has it ever had them either. :-D

  28. donjumpsuit says:

    I am having fun reading everyone’s comments about HOA’s but we must all remember it is a case by case basis and also, you choose where you live, and know about the HOA before you buy a home.

    That being said, California is a HOA nanny state. To hear some stories of HOA’s being $50 a month, with irrigation, plowing, mowing, and general area’s kept nice sounds like a dream. It even sounds pleasant to hear there is quite flexibility when it comes to some housing modifications without much complaint just as long as it’s done with some tact.

    Here in California, if you live in a 1br, 1bath Condo, you can expect to pay $400 in HOA (not including electric BTW). Then all those stories above about no basketball hoops, oil stains, paint colors, or parking are magnified. You throw a Superbowl party once a year for 3 hours and someone is knocking on your door giving you a ticket for a parking violation.

    I live in California, and would avoid HOA neighborhoods like the plague. Over priced, and underserved. For those who have a pleasant experience, thank your lucky stars you don’t live in CA.

  29. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    I wish my neighborhood had a HOA that required pickup trucks and commercial vans to be garaged and kept out of sight. I hate pickup trucks that are status symbols and aren’t actually used for hauling things, which is about 90% of them.

    • Marlin says:

      I wish you were in a HOA as well so I can tell you that your car sucks and should be parked in a garage (no reason I just don;t like it) and also the color of your house is wrong. Repaint it and also pay some fines.

      All’s fair right?

      • Major Tom Coming Home says:

        Spoken like a stereotypical pickup truck owner. “BWAHAHAHAHA get outta the way I got Hemi!”

        • Marlin says:

          Drive a 73 Corvette and also a Mercedes E350.

          Agian you ok with someone telling you “insert your car” is not allowed right?

          • Major Tom Coming Home says:

            If it’s a pickup truck or commercial van, yes, I would like to live in a place where the HOA restricts them from being visible. People can leave it parked at the construction site, company parking lot, or garage it. Setting restrictions of types of vehicles allowed is not the same as “no old cars”.

            • Marlin says:

              No, YOUR car. Some people got together in your HOA and don’t like “insert you car” so leave it at work/site but you can;t have it in your driveway anymore.

    • Kuri says:

      Makes me glad I don’t otherwise my dad would get to come home even less. He drives a rig for a living.

  30. maxamus2 says:

    Number one needs to be the “flagpole”:

    That article shows it has cost the couple over $42,000 in a fight over a flagpole, but the updated number is closer to $60,000.

    And mind you, this isn’t because they put up a flagpole the development did not want, they just put it in a slightly different location. Instead of next to their driveway they decided to put it in the center of the yard.

  31. TravelWithDignity says:

    Disclaimer: I am an HOA board member.

    The HOAs that get the really nasty reputation are also the ones in really expensive ritz neighborhoods.

    Our dues are less than the cost of 1 fancy coffee chop coffee every other week for a year. $75 / yr. That is one of the lowest dues in the nation (we also have spare common property to maintain).

    The best way to change your HOA…. is from the top. Run for the board, campaign with all those other disaffected neighbors.

    We NEVER have a quorum to conduct business by vote since most members can’t be bothered to show up. Per almost all HOA charters nationwide, the HOA board gets to decide all issues if no quorum is present. So the HOA board is where the power is.

    So serve on the board! Our HOA has to beg and plead to get even 12 owners to show up (out of 140 properties) to the twice yearly meetings. Clearly the squeaky wheels will get greased. So start squeaking.

  32. quieterhue says:

    I think you just need to do your due diligence when you buy your home and make sure the HOA is putting owner fees to good use and isn’t strangling people with ridiculous rules. I pay HOA fees on my condo, and overall I think our HOA does a good job. There are definite rules we have to follow, but they aren’t intrusive. That said, when we were looking at condos we saw some places that had ridiculously high fees and very few amenities. If looks like a rip off, it probably is–so buyer beware.

  33. momtimestwo says:

    All I have to do is look across the street to see why I’m happy in an HOA.

  34. wheeitsme says:

    And that’s why I read the HOA contract before purchase.

    I can’t have a port-o-potty in my front yard.
    I can’t have anyone permanently living (visiting is fine) in a temporary structure (motorhome/tent) on my property.
    I can only have 3 domesticated pets.
    I have to get approval for any major structure changes (nothing that I wouldn’t have to get city approval for anyway).
    They have to keep up the roads and the public areas.

    That is pretty much it the whole contract boiled down. I read it over a couple times, because I kept expecting something more. Nope. No pet hoarders, parked port-o-potties, permanent campers, and check in if you’re going to do any major structural changes. That’s it.

    If I want to paint neon pink polka dots on my front door, I can. I can plant anything that is not illegal on my property. If I want to not water and just have a brown lawn – not a problem. Replace the lawn with rocks – it’s cool. Park 4 cars and a pick-up in my driveway, as long as they are not all rotting and dripping contaminants in the storm drains, it’s okay.

    I was pleasantly surprised. And after a year, there have been nothing to make me question my decision.

  35. reddy says:

    I live in one of the largest HOAs in California. It’s in an area that’s 1/2 full time residents and 1/2 part timers who come up mostly during ski season. The $1000/year that I pay goes for a full time fire inspector, maintainance of the amenities (ski areas, hiking trails, pools, tennis courts, etc), keeping the common areas clean and a security service. Yes, they’re pretty picky about the colors of things and house setbacks and stuff like that. But I think it’s well worth it and I’m happy to have them there to keep everything in such good shape. It’s also a nice to have the C&Cs there for noise enforcement when the weekenders have their loud parties until 2am. Having fines in place cuts down on the number of idiots who leave their garbage out for the bears to scatter, too.

  36. tungstencoil says:

    This is why I got involved with my HOA… keep the crazy down. It works, too.

  37. Momi says:

    When we bought our home here, we looked very carefully at HOAs. We found some that were so restrictive they were laughable (every time we drive by the gates of the community, I have this urge to hum “Pleasant Valley Sunday”), but ultimately we built at a place that had an HOA based on common sense. What was weird was that, according to the rules, once the developer had sold over 90% of the lots, the HOA was to go from developer control to homeowner control, but no one notified us when that happened, and our HOA lapsed. No one was interested in re-forming it, except one lady who kept going to everyone’s houses to complain about one of her neighbors. We are now HOA-free, the city we live in takes care of any complaints we can’t resolve ourselves, and we are all happy!

  38. NumberSix says:

    HOAs are for commies.

  39. MarkFL says:

    It defies me how you could only come up with nine reasons. Even nine million seems a bit light.

    My mother and stepfather live in a condo community, but they aren’t on the association because they actually rent the place. They have a neighbor who is one of the condo commandos, and she apparently thinks my parents actually own the place. One day when Mom was walking the dog, this woman started talking to her and mentioned how great it is that the association is working on a rule prohibiting dogs from the community. In case you missed it, I said that this conversation took place while Mom was walking the dog, who apparently was too tactful to pee on the lady’s leg.

    This lady also was a big backer of a particular person to manage the condo association’s finances. One day, nobody in the community had water. It turned out that the water bill for the community hadn’t been paid. Why not? Because the man Ms. Condo Commando had backed so firmly had skipped the country with the association’s money.

  40. hockeycat58 says:

    I used to think growing up across from a guy with a car on blocks sucked. Now that I live in area with an HOA, I’d rather have my old redneck neighbors. He put up a fence, so I didn’t have to see it. I see these d-bags looking for stuff all the time. They suck.

  41. chemmy says:

    My friend’s HOA just told her she needs to tear out her flowers and plant ones that match her (tan) house. The flowers were pink and white.

  42. Levk says:

    If i was rich i would mess with em just to mess with em

  43. energynotsaved says:

    I’m in the process of selling a home in a neighborhood with an HOA that has a management company. The closing requires that I provide a “HOA Letter”. While I have no idea what it is, I do know that the letter took me an hour to order on their horrid website AND cost me $75 + $5.25 convenience fee. If I wanted said letter in 3-5 days, it would cost an ADDITIONAL $25.

    I’m buying a house about 2000 miles and a different universe away. No HOA here. But, I may need to mow the neighbor’s lawn. The weeds are about a foot tall. It is going to drive me crazy. At times like these, I do miss the HOA!

  44. Libertas says:

    I’m of the mind that I should just probably avoid this sort of situation altogether. It would be nothing but trouble. I just want to be left alone, and don’t appreciate people bringing trouble into my life. I don’t care what anybody else does, and it’s nobody’s business what I do.

    At the end of the day, I’m a single middle aged man with no family. I don’t really care what happens to me, if I die, it will be no loss to anybody.

    Does a person with family, assets, and a livelihood really want to screw with someone that just doesn’t give a shit what happens to them?

    • energynotsaved says:

      Honey, I think you are under selling. You do have value. Go be a crazy cat person. Or help the trees. Be of value, and see that you really count. After all, I read what you said. I care if you post or don’t. Life is short. Don’t cut it shorter. Besides, it is so fun to make fun of the oddities of life!

    • energynotsaved says:

      You sound like I did during the worst part of the divorce. You okay? Sometimes, life just sucks. Time makes things better.

      Now, hoas, well, they ALWAYS suck.

  45. balderdashed says:

    I suppose one could put together a laundry list of grievances, backed by a series of anecdotes, for “why you may want to avoid…” a relationship with any company or organization. So what. And though I’m a strong advocate for disability rights, I’m particularly tired of people playing the emotional “disabled veteran” card — the basis of the first anecdote in this article. The fact is, there are strong protections under federal and state laws for disabled individuals, particularly in the area of housing, and that’s a good thing. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to get out a handkerchief or take the side of a disabled person, vet or not, in any particular situation. So yes, “I think it’s fine” for a homeowners association to tell a disabled person exactly what they’d tell any other tenant (provided that everybody follows the law with respect to the requirement for reasonable accommodation). Obviously, the benefits vs. the tradeoffs in buying a property linked to a homeowners association are a good fit for some buyers, not for others.

    • Bonster says:

      Did you read it? The HOA signed off on the home, everything was hunky-dory, the organization which was building the home to give to the veteran carefully went through and met all of the HOA’s demands. Then four days before the construction began, the HOA suddenly changed their minds and sent a cease and desist with new demands, even though they had already approved the previous plans.

      Basically, it was “I know we said everything was great, but we changed our minds.” Plus they were requiring a second story for a resident who required a wheelchair.

  46. webweazel says:

    Our last house had an HOA. A friend still lives there and lets us know their crazy doings. One of the last was that we found out the treasurer was embezzling about $1500 a month from the association. (Dues were $20/month) We don’t have solid facts, although a bunch of paperwork boxes moved out in the middle of the night probably to a shredding company and hidden bank accounts. The board didn’t want to pursue the facts because they didn’t want to “ruffle feathers” or create “hard feelings”.

    The last was a goodie. A board member who WAS the “architectural committee” needed a new roof. She brought it up at the meeting and was told “You ARE the arch. committee, whatever you approve is fine with us.” Good. She got a metal roof. The board had a collective gourd. After it was completed, about a month and a half later, the board tried to sue her over it. What the board forgot is their own bylaws. If there was something wrong with a project, the board had the power to temporarily stop completion of the project if there was an issue and/or sue WITHIN 30 days. Well, they didn’t complain about the project until after it was completed, then waited over 30 days to sue. Yeah, the board lost miserably, but still had to pay out all that money for the lawyer and the lawsuit. Money totally wasted.

    And the notorious shit house on our old street still has a broken falling down fence, mold stains all over the exterior, untrimmed trees blocking and breaking the sidewalks, 3 foot high grass with poisonous snakes breeding in their backyard, trash on the lawn, driveway, and street, and a ripe pungent smell coming from the place. The board doesn’t bother with that one at all. All I can ask is- “Why?”

  47. Grandpa_O says:

    How about $300/month to keep HOA financial records secret, hiring the HOA president’s son as the maintenance man, not paying HOA bills, allegedly buying/placing surveillance cameras in the parking lot but not releasing video of vandalized properties/cars, lying to state investigators, senior citizen harassment, and HOA president petitioning for & receiving endless continuances to avoid prosecution? Oh and don’t forget about the HOA president buying up neighboring condo’s that he let fall into dillapidated conditions @ 10 cents on the dollar because the land is now worth more than the structures and he is waiting to buy out the rest of the remaining few tenants. I think those would be reasons not to join an HOA.

  48. shepd says:

    I used to hate HOAs.

    Then I realized that all the stuck up people who would try to enforce every little city ordinance (Did you know that if you remove the dipstick from your car to check your oil, chances are you are violating a city ordinance? Most cities require all cars to be in running condition and pass inspection at all times, period). Where I am, nobody cares that I fix my cars in the driveway. In return, I don’t care that they built three sheds without permits surrounding my yard. Everybody wins.

  49. Calgal says:

    Read “The Big Orange Splot” by Daniel Pinkwater. Nuff said.

  50. RayanneGraff says:

    My parents live in an upper middle class HOA neighborhood & while they haven’t told me any real “horror stories” as of yet, I’ve heard about some pretty ridiculous(IMO) rules. Regulation house colors(read: beige, beige, more beige, and occasionally light tan is allowed), lawn care rules, garage-parking rules, etc… and I was disappointed in my parents when, a couple years ago, they filed multiple complaints on their neighbors for leaving their garbage cans out in sight. They weren’t leaving them down by the curb, mind you, they were just leaving them on the side of the house where my parents could merely see them. I called my 60 year old mother a Nazi that day, and I stand by that remark. HOAs do terrible, terrible things to people. One day you’re a sweet old lady handing out homemade halloween treats to the neighbor kids, the next you’re a snarling beast hungry for blood because your neighbor put up a clothesline.

    I live in an old-school non-HOA neighborhood, and despite having a houseful of inconsiderate rat-dicks for neighbors, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with some neighborhood gestapo telling me what color I can paint my door or citing me for working on my car in my own driveway. Everything my asshole neighbors do that pisses me off(parking on the lawn, blasting music, littering) is covered by city ordinances anyway.

    I think the main thing I can’t stand about HOAs is the damn conformity. All the houses look the same & it’s so soul-crushingly boring. I could never be happy in a neighborhood full of lookalike cookie-cutter houses. I LOVE my little mushroom lawn ornaments, my crumbling patio enclosure, & my grody old birdbath. I LOVE the little old lady down the street’s pink flamingoes. I LOVE the murder house(seriously, a dude got stabbed in the kitchen about 20 years ago) down the block that has a *gasp* non-regulation ELEVATOR installed. Variety is the spice of life, so suck it, HOAs.

  51. BradenR says:

    It’s almost impossible to avoid these associations if you live in Grand Traverse County, MI. Close to 90 percent of property listing are in these controlled subs. No you can’t build a handicapped house here, no you can’t have a house smaller than 1500 sq ft, etc. etc. etc. I might get desperate and broke trying to win the lottery to buy a farm with no restrictions.

  52. Mad Monk says:

    Give me my slavery please I wantz to live in a socialist HOAS. Me likes the test tube antiseptic lifestyle. BORING!

  53. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I bought a condo for my in-laws and it has a HOA with large fees. Last September a branch went through the roof. The holes on the inside were the size of a pencil. It took 6 weeks of daily nagging to get them to initiate a repair. They finally find the absolute lowest priced roofer they could, It rained in the meantime. New roof, but the walls are full of water, molding, sweaty walls. Couple months ago they finally got someone to drain and repair the walls. So now, there are giant holes in various rooms. They won’t spend a penny they don’t absolutely have to, okay……. but now, they have painted a big red X on every tree in the neighborhood. These huge trees are what make the place look nice. Property values will drop once they spend the tens of thousands to remove all the trees. Once all the holes are patched, I want to sell the place, hopefully before they can find someone cheap enough to cut down these massive trees.

  54. B2BigAl says:

    I was a vegetarian for about 3 years, until I realized how irrational it was one day. If you have to take vitamins and supplements in addition to your diet, you’re doing something wrong. Humans have been eating large amounts of animal fats and protein for tens of thousands of years, it’s what you’re body needs. It wasn’t until the last few decades that the people who think they know better than millions of years of evolution started telling everyone to start eating like rabbits. It’s not good for you folks. Also, if you think cholesterol is going to kill you, look into the “lipid theory” that all this is based on, and the idiots and corruption behind it. Your body needs cholesterol for so many things, its not some kind of poison. (and yes, I understand some people have legitimate reasons they can’t eat meat, I’m not talking to them)

  55. Snip says:

    Meh. You can argue orderliness all you want, but HOA’s essentially exist as a crutch for some people to avoid learning to tolerate other people who are very different from them in various respects. And you can argue “just don’t live there then,” but as some of these posts demonstrate, sometimes these fuckers pop up like damn scary ass jack-in-the-boxes in neighborhoods where a lot of people are already living and were doing just fine without them.

  56. seishino says:

    I love living in a place where my freedoms are curtailed for sake of my neighbor’s property values (AKA market popularity) by a non-government organization with no oversight.

    Really, if these things continue to exist at all, they should be governmental with proper restrictions and oversight. If not, they should be neighbors talking to each other like real human beings. That you can be fined by a group of private citizens for having pink flamingos on your lawn is a travesty. And I assure you: Crack houses happen with or without HOA’s. What we’re talking about here is the pink flamingos.