14 Nightmare Homeowner's Association Stories

If you needed any further evidence to never buy a home managed by a homeowner's association, these stories should put you off very quickly.

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Jan. 29 2019, Updated 4:54 a.m. ET

hoa nightmares
Source: istock

Owning a home is a royal pain in the butt. Between property taxes, regular maintenance, getting financing, and homeowner's insurance, it's no walk in the park.

To top it all off, tons of homes and condos are managed by homeowner's associations who, on top of collecting hefty fees, impose all sorts of regulations. If you don't play by the rules, they often levy fines and, in some instances as you'll see below, steal your property from you—legally. At their best, HOAs are annoying. At their worst, they're the devil. 

In this reddit thread, people shared their worst experiences with homeowner's associations and man, are they terrible.

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Being fined for dog poop that doesn't belong to your pet.

This condo owner was tired of receiving $100 fines from their housing association, so they decided to finally do something about it.

"I began taking my phone with me on every walk and took photos and videos of me picking up poop with timestamp evidence. I sent a folder full of photos to the HOA with photographic evidence that I was picking up after my dogs.

We continued to receive fines. I got a small trash can and kept it on my patio and began saving my bags of dog poop for two weeks. I did tie the bags but they were still obviously smelly as poop bags are very thin plastic. I then mailed a box of poop to the HOA office along with copies of timestamped photos showing I had picked it up. I told them that I had better not ever receive another fine for dog poop because I had provided more than sufficient evidence that it wasn't us. Miraculously, the fines stopped and we haven't received any for over two years."


Petty car tow.

navy seals car tow
Source: Orion pictures

Finding your your car's been towed is bad enough, but it's even worse when you did nothing wrong to warrant your car being towed in the first place. One guy had a visitor's pass and kept his car parked in a designated visitor's spot. The rules stated you couldn't have a car there for 72 hours, but the HOA tried arguing that it was a cumulative 72 hours. Since no one ever does that, he sued them in small claims court for the towing fee, and won:

"Long story short, I sued them in small claims court and got back the towing fee plus court costs (plus, they engaged a lawyer, so I feel good about wasting some of their retainer as well)."

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Hypocrites and speed bumps.

speed bump
Source: imgur

This local HOA handed out fines to people who had dirty lawns and driveways... but what irked this redditor is how a board member of the HOA and the president had garbage-looking homes but never fined themselves.

The craziest story is when a spouse of a board member got drunk and crashed their car into a tree. So they replaced the normal speed bumps they had in the HOA with aggressive, big ones that were basically curbs that would ruin your car if you didn't angle your vehicle over them just right.

So then people started just driving on the grass to avoid them completely. The HOA responded by installing concrete barriers to force people to drive over the speed bumps. Then someone poured diesel fuel over the bumps, which softened them up and broke them down. Once the garbage trucks did their rounds, the bumps were ruined.

The HOA installed even more aggressive bumps, but the diesel bandit struck again.

After that, they just installed the regular plastic ones and all was right with the world again.

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New house, who dis?

children playing on garden swing and scooter outside house picture id
Source: istock

This redditor's parents received a fine for uncut grass with photographic evidence of their naughty non-lawn-keeping ways. Problem was, it was the wrong house — it "wasn't even the same color."

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This HOA head who doesn't understand how water works.

park flood
Source: getty

After a park flooded behind this person's house, they called their HOA to help repair the damage to their home and backyard, which was pretty extensive. After basically being ignored, they went to the local news and took photos and videos of everything for documentation. What happened next was crazy:

"After the third or fourth complaint, I finally reported them to the BBB and the Water Authority, and I sent a video to the local news. The next business day the head of the HOA company called me furious. Despite all the pictures and videos I'd sent, she said she was convinced I was making it all up. When I pressed her why she thought that, she specifically said it was because "The park can't be flooding your house. It's not even part of the same HOA community you live in!"

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Grass measure schedule on lock.

man cutting the measured grass with scissor picture id
Source: istock

This person sat on their lawn every Friday between 4-6 p.m. for three months after discovering their HOA was measuring lawns on that specific day, despite everyone voting for Saturday to be the day lawns were measured. They ended up turning the stakeout into a party and it was incredible:

"They secretly vetoed it and came Fridays but CLAIMED it was Saturday they were coming. To prove this, I sat with my dog every Friday waiting for him. He would park, wait a while, then go to another street and measure there. My street was the only one who didn’t receive fines for breaking the agreement. It became a party when everyone figured out what I was doing.

People would cook out in the front and we would all go throw on coals and food as needed. I got reported for something or other after the three-month marker, so I brought my supercut three months of time-stamped videos and submitted them to the HOA distribution list before I went to meet with them. There were 40-50 people there because we had organized a day to go and air grievances. It was maybe the best time I ever spent with any HOA."

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Solar panels = eye sore.

solar panels on roof of home picture id
Source: istock

The HOA in this person's beach neighborhood repeatedly turned down their application to install solar panels on their roof, despite the panels not being visible from the street. They finally played nice after the redditor "cited state law" and they quickly amended their rules. Nerds.

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$700 dog poop bins.

pet owner using dog waste bags picture id
Source: istock

This one is such a good read that it defies summary:

"We've only been part of an HOA for the last few months, and it's already living up to every stereotype I ever had in my head.

They held our once-annual meeting with very little notice, and like six people showed up. They elected a new "association" and immediately decided to spend $700 on dog s--t receptacles, even though like four people have dogs, and the whole neighborhood is one street.

This sparked an incredible amount of drama. One guy on the HOA decided he was going to get super defensive when people started questioning this decision, and it quickly devolved into him just taunting people on Facebook because he was on the board and they weren't, and if they didn't like his authority, they should change the bylaws. Then someone left a bunch of dog s--t in his driveway. Then he resigned from the HOA. No word on the dog s--t receptacles.

This has all happened in the past three days."

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The rich vs the poor.

dress shoes standing next to rich and poor picture id
Source: istock

Imagine you own a place run by an HOA and everyone who's on the board is older and way wealthier than you. One day, they wake up and decide they don't like the shade of brick that was used on the driveway so they allocate $1 million to redo the whole thing. And you have to help pay for it.

"There were a few attendees who were young professionals who protested, but they were heavily outvoted by the contingent of wealthy old people who felt this was a justifiable use of funds. Outrageous."

Outrageous is right.

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Security guy who got kickbacks.

security guard holding walkietalkie picture id
Source: istock

This HOA was giving a security guy kickbacks for handing out fines for HOA violations. He took his side-hustle a little too seriously when this homeowner's mother-in-law was being treated for Stage-4 ovarian cancer. They weren't able to take down their Christmas decorations in a timely fashion, as they tried explaining to the security guard. That's when things got vicious:

"My wife exploded on the douchebag. Went to the next board meeting and let loose on the board and general manager. Turns out it wasn’t a HOA policy. The guy worked for the security company that was hired to work the main entrance guard shack, and would get a bonus if he would patrol and hand out fines for HOA violations.

This asshole would just drive around and make up his own rules and fines and by the next meeting was fired, and a new security company was hired when the contract was up in the summer.

Everything worked out in the end. Douche fired, MIL cancer free for over a year."

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$500 glass on BBQ fine.

cleaning outdoor gas grill picture id
Source: istock

This sounds like the worst HOA of them all: they had the nerve to fine someone $500 for leaving a glass cup on their BBQ grill. A wall flooded on the inside of their home and the HOA refused to fix it, despite the fact this redditor was shelling out $617 monthly to their association in addition to exorbitant fines for dumb infractions. Disgusting.

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This HOA doesn't understand how fall works.

scenic autumn road in the quabbin reservoir park area of picture id
Source: istock

This homeowner was asked to uproot 10-year-old trees from their property because they turned "brownish" in the winter and lose their leaves. They also got a notice asking how long a pickup truck that was in their driveway would be there. It was their cousin visiting for two measly nights.


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The Satellite Dish Brawl

man installing satellite dish picture id
Source: istock

Oh. My. God:

 "Was moving to a different city and crashed at my dad's townhouse for a few months to save money for the move. One day a guy showed up to install a satellite dish that my dad ordered.

My dad isn't the type of guy to pay very close attention to HOA rules, and apparently missed a brand new (and HIGHLY contentious) rule that satellite dishes were "eyesores" and no longer allowed. So just as the installer guy is getting up to the roof, this couple (head of the HOA) comes SPRINTING from their townhouse across the street to shut it down, screaming bloody murder.

I had absolutely no issue with not getting a satellite dish, it wasn't even my house, but these two HOA thugs were absolutely awful. The wife was just hurling insults at the installer guy and I, and the husband immediately started climbing the ladder up onto the roof to "kick the s--t" out of the installer guy. None of this was provoked at all, it just went from 0-100 mph in no time flat and this couple was out of control.

Well, the installer guy eventually had enough of having racist insults hurled at him and came down the ladder and started a full-on brawl with the husband in my dad's driveway. The wife was screaming at the top of her lungs at me, a stoned couch-surfer whose only contribution to this whole fiasco was to answer a door and let a guy on the roof. I still vividly remember being absolutely dumbfounded watching these two grown men beat the hell out of each other while I tried to communicate to my dad on the phone over the shrill sounds of some strange woman absolutely berating me for "ruining the neighborhood".

It was wild.

The wife eventually pulled her husband away from the installer guy, who angrily took his ladder down and launched it into his van and sped off. The couple had a few more choice words for me and then went back across the street. I just stood there flabbergasted. I couldn't believe anybody would react to a situation like they did, instead of just explaining to me like adults why I couldn't have the dish installed.

Told my dad the whole story that night about how his failure to comply to HOA rules got me in the middle of a street brawl and he had a good long laugh about it."

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Break-in inspections.

burglar using special tools to break in a house picture id
Source: istock

One HOA's members literally broke into people's homes to see if they were up to standards, but there's some nice karma. One got "mangled" by a former guard dog and the other stole someone's medicine and ODed on it. All's well that ends well.

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