Home Owner’s Association Horror Stories

Alli - July 31, 2021

Home Owner’s Associations (HOA) are meant to beautify and regulate neighborhoods. You’ll typically find them in higher income areas of a city or town. But what happens when your local Home Owner’s Association gets a little power hungry? It seems as though many members of an HOA can easily take the organization’s original goals for a neighborhood and pervert them a bit. Many times, this is to further personal agendas and vendettas against other people in their neighborhood. And as these stories will prove, the HOA can get ugly.

The Mystery of the Black Mail Box (Part 1)

“I had just moved into my house a few months prior, when I got a letter threatening to be fined $200 stating that my mailbox wasn’t black. I thought surely they had the wrong house, because my mailbox was in fact black. So I contacted them and they gave a run around arguing that it wasn’t.

This HOA cares a lot about a black mail box. Shutterstock.

“I told them to come look and of course they said it was on me to prove to them it was black. So I snapped a photo and emailed it to them. I hear nothing back for well over a month, then get another letter giving me a “courtesy” week extension before I’m fined.” – HOA story by miggitiemac

The Mystery of the Black Mail Box (Part 2)

“I’m livid at this point, so contact the HOA again asking for an explanation as to what exactly the problem is. I’m finally told that “neighbors” felt my mailbox was rather worn and needed to be painted or replaced. So basically it wasn’t black enough for them. So I f**king painted it.

This HOA should really get a grip. Shutterstock.

“Now for the part that set me over the edge…After a few months or so I learned that the f**king HOA will replace a mailbox, as it’s covered under our terms. So I called them asking about why they threatened to fine me when they were the ones that should replace it if not to standard. They stated it was because they had no open work orders for my mailbox and that it was my responsibility to notify them if it needed maintenance, not theirs…” – HOA story by miggitiemac

Apparently Protecting Your Child in this Neighborhood is an “Eyesore”

“My parents live in a neighborhood with several of the local physicians. One has like 6 kids, and the youngest has profound autism and is non-verbal. Well, he’s about 5 or 6, and he loves riding his little tricycle in their driveway, which is pretty large. He would do it for hours. His mom stayed home with him for the most part, and she and her husband became concerned that in a moment, he’d drive into the road if they happened to look away. So, they got some orange construction netting that they would just put across the end of the driveway while he was out there, and would take it down when they went back inside.

This family was just trying to protect their child. Shutterstock.

“I always thought that it was a good idea to keep him safe. Anyway, several of the families in the neighborhood were not pleased with this, and said it was an “eyesore,” so a meeting was called. It turned into attacks on how they were taking care of their son, and how it made the neighborhood look “ignorant” to have that netting up. Needless to say, no one offered any other options, and this family was so irate that they packed up and moved within a month. This was about 3-4 years ago, and that house still hasn’t sold. They live out in the country somewhere, and last time I talked to the dad, the son is doing very well in his new home. And he still rides his bike for hours on end.” – HOA story by lpb004

This HOA Peeper

“OH WEE!!!! My good friend had a story. Her and the husband moved into this gated community. She loves having a birdbath in her backyard…and she gardens a lot, so the decoration makes sense. Turns out her HOA figured out that she had said birdbath in her backyard. Apparently birdbath=lawn ornament, which was forbidden. She told them she would remove it. A week later she gets another message saying that it hasn’t been removed(it wasn’t). Obviously her and the husband put it together that the HOA is snooping in her backyard.

This HOA backyard peeper got more than he was bargaining for. Shutterstock.

“For a week, she spends her time outside sunbathing in the nude setting her trap. Sure enough an HOA narc opens the gate to their backyard and sees her in the nude. Instant call to the police for privacy violations. The HOA gave up and let her have a birdbath. She is now on the board of the HOA and they leave her alone.” – HOA story by Flynn_lives

This HOA that Just Really Hates Cars?

“My HOA horror stories all revolve around dealing with them as a dispatcher. The fact that a HOA doesn’t want cars parked on their street has nothing to do with whether or not it’s legal to do so, and there really is no argument. The police can’t legally tow a car that isn’t parked in violation of any law, regardless of what you like or don’t like, but they will argue and want to talk to the chief of police.

Towing people because they don’t like cars… sheesh. Shutterstock.

“Sigh… edit. I’m referring to cars parked on public streets within the neighborhood, as indicated by the statement ‘isn’t parked in violation of any law.’ Since parking a car on someone’s private property without that person’s permission doesn’t apply to that statement, it’s obviously not what I meant.” – HOA story by [deleted user]

This HOA pulled a fast one… all over a deck

“Not my story, but my dads. He moved into a new townhouse in summer of 2013. It was a foreclosure property, as the previous tenants were kicked out for not paying their mortgage and for not paying their HOA dues. They gave everyone in the HOA new patios and decks the summer prior — it was required, and you had to get a new deck/patio. Buuuuuuuut… the tenants had to pay for ’em in monthly installments in the next three years along with their HOA dues. As I said, the previous tenants foreclosed on their home. However, there was one rule placed when they got the decks, which was that you couldn’t move out without paying off your deck first.

All of this over a deck… Shutterstock.

“He was told by HOA that he would not have to pay off the deck because it was foreclosed and he was not responsible at all for paying it off. Sweet, free deck! He signed off on that. He moved in, but then he started getting assessments from the HOA for the deck. But — wait — he wasn’t supposed to be paying for the deck? He fought it with the board. Even with the signed thing saying we didn’t have to pay for the deck…the board went against him. He ended up having to pay off the remaining balance on the deck. To this day, he refuses to speak about this topic. It’s a trigger for him.” – HOA story by sheepsheadslayer

Make sure you get permission… because they’re confusing

“We bought a foreclosure with a dead tree, which came with fines for said dead tree. We hired a company to remove the dead tree. Then we got fined for removing the dead tree – unapproved landscape changes. They literally cut down the tree, ground down the stump and some roots, and then we put sod down in that spot. Nothing changed, except the tree.

Dead trees seem to be a bone of contention for HOAs. Shutterstock.

Turns out the correct procedure was to submit plans for the tree removal and get it approved. So… Ask permission to remove the thing they told you to remove. Uh, noted.” – HOA story by iamasecretthrowaway This makes you want to make sure you don’t get a house with an HOA. It sounds like some of these people stay up at night trying to figure out how to make things more difficult for their neighbors.

Why let a child be comfortable when you could give them a heat stroke instead?

“When I was a kid I lived in one of the two front rooms of the house, which were the hottest in the summer and the coldest in the winter. My dad didn’t like to use the AC so we all just had fans. One summer it got so unbearably hot in my room that fans just weren’t cutting it and I was miserable. My dad then put an AC unit in my window and it was awesome. But it was short lived because the HOA told us to take it down because it was an ‘eyesore.’ My parents told them it was for their child but they didn’t care, so my parents had to take it down.

Window unit. Shutterstock.

“The kicker is that, just down the street, a guy who had the exact same model house as us had an AC unit installed in the same exact window as the one we had it in, and the HOA never said a word to him.” – HOA story by ZenMacros. Some masked vigilante should stop these HOA people. I mean, do they really not think about the wellbeing or comfort of the people in these houses? When you’re worrying about the looks of a place over the comfort of the people inside, you need to re-evaluate your priorities.

Where is the humanity in these HOAs?

“My mother died in September of 2016. My disabled father went into the hospital and then long term rehab until the present. The house was in my mom’s name and their neighbor across the street is the treasurer of the HOA. He knew my mom died of cancer within a year of her diagnosis and that my dad was in the hospital.

Should HOAs even be allowed after these stories? Shutterstock.

“He billed my dead mother for a year and when the bills were unpaid, he took it to court to begin foreclosure proceedings. At this point, I received a certified letter and contacted a lawyer to help. It was originally $1700, but increased to $4200 with late fees and attorney fees. Our lawyer is confident we can settle for far less than $4200.” – HOA story by BrownsFanJCU

This HOA rep who needs a life

“Dad retired and decided that he really wanted to buy a camper and travel. Mom was all about it, both of them very excited. So dad runs off and trades his F-150 truck for a F-250 with a bigass diesel V8, buys a gooseneck camper, and waits for spring. Camper in the back yard, truck in the garage, no big deal. Not long after he gets a visit from a lady. She’s got a list of rules from the HOA (that was established long after my parents had built their house, something like 15 years later when the subdivision really took off) saying that dad couldn’t have the camper on his property because it was an ‘eyesore.’

Are people not allowed to live their lives? Shutterstock.

“Mind you this camper is in the backyard, behind a 6′ privacy fence. You could still see it, sure, but it’s not like it was old and in disrepair either. So here’s my retired parents, living in a subdivision that has an HOA that was established long after they built their home, and the HOA is expecting them to abide by rules they didn’t agree to. He never moved the camper.” – HOA story by tired040

A concerned neighbor and a useless HOA

“I went away for a long weekend and left after work on Thursday. Late Friday afternoon, my water heater burst (in the attic of a three story home) and flooded my entire townhouse. When my neighbor got home from work he saw gallons of water running from underneath my garage door. When he realized I wasn’t home, he tried to find my phone number and when he couldn’t, he called the HOA to notify me. The lady that answered said that since it was ‘after business hours (it was 5:01 at this point), the matter would have to wait until Monday.’ My wonderful neighbor ended up calling the non-emergent police line and they came and shut my water off from the street. When I got home Sunday morning, my entire house was damaged and I could see my attic from my basement. After a massive panic attack and a frantic call to my insurance company, we started the process of repairs.

If the HOA had stepped in sooner, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Shutterstock.

“The cherry on top was that I needed to have a dumpster placed in my driveway and a moving pod to remove what was left of my furniture while they began drying out the house and I got a visit from the HOA. They didn’t like how ‘unsightly’ my home had become and wanted these items removed from my driveway. I essentially told them that they could take their complaints and go f**k themselves with them. I got a little revenge too because I stopped paying their stupid fee since they couldn’t fine me before six months and I was moving in less than five months. I’ll never own another home with a HOA ever again.” – HOA story by Dr_Bogart

Taking the power back from a crooked HOA

This is what more people need to do about their corrupt HOAs from the sound of it. “Our HOA hired a management company to run the day to day business. What that meant was a guy would ride around taking pictures of petty bulls**t and mailing violations to homeowners. I had so many quarrels over nothing.

This guy decided to run the crooked reps out of HOA office. Shutterstock.

“Well it turns out the HOA didn’t have any teeth behind the violations since the bylaws didn’t allow fines. Somebody came up with the bright idea to start imposing fines to ensure compliance. That is when I ran for and won the vice presidency of the board. Another gentleman who was fed up with this crap ran and won as well. We didn’t have the power to dissolve the HOA, but we decided the next best thing was to paralyze it. Without us in attendance, the board could never reach quorum to conduct business. And they never did.” – HOA story by Top_Chef

This HOA who didn’t care for a coroner coming for a deceased neighbor

“I used to work for a major paint company and on one particular delivery the painter told me that his grandmother had passed away unexpectedly in the house so he was repainting to get rid of the lingering smell. He showed me an itemized bill where the HOA charged the family $100 an hour for the time the coroner spent parked in the driveway.

This is where authorities should step in. Shutterstock.

Obviously he refused to pay it and he ended up selling the house (they tried to charge him $200 for having the ‘wrong’ light fixture next to the front door) but HOA’s are just petty old people with nothing better to do.” – HOA story by Deus-ExMachinist Surely, something like this should be an actual legal violation of people’s rights. Which would mean more than a petty fine from an HOA.

The Power Mad HOA Queen (Part 1)

“The fake HOA in our neighborhood! Started off as a neighborly gesture. Cheap 75.00 a year. Cleared the roads, some Spring dumpsters, a Summer BBQ. Then the bored housewife who had nothing better to do became President of the HOA. They had ‘elections’, meetings, and of course raised the HOA fee 200%.

This woman became hungry with the power of the HOA presidency. Shutterstock.

“She talked about new street signs, new roads, sidewalls, and gates into the entrance of the neighborhood. Mind you our home was the original property back in the 1940s. I assume the owners sold off land for the homes around us. No common areas, neighborhood pool, park, trails, NOTHING. I refused to pay or be any part of the little HOA club.” – HOA story by conniedew

The Power Mad HOA Queen (Part 2)

“She called as I was ‘past due’ on my HOA fees. I politely told her there is no HOA here that is why we bought this home. She asked if we use the roads and I said yes of course. Her response was well you need to pay to use my roads. I told her I do, it’s called Property Tax. I asked her to NEVER contact me again.

That woman really said HER roads? Shutterstock.

Funny some participate in the HOA. They just put in $15,000 worth of Stop signs. We have 5 intersections!! She wants to resurface the over 1 mile road now!! Good luck with that, I’ll gladly be the one they hate who hangs her laundry out to dry!! Do NOT buy in an HOA!!” – HOA story by conniedew

A “Damaged” Mailbox and a Neighborhood Predator… oh and a hawk

“HOA sent us a violation letter that we needed to replace our mailbox because it was damaged and we would be fined $25 a day until we did so. The mailbox was fairly new so I went out to look at it. It was absolutely covered with bird poop. Cleaned it off and noticed that there was no damage, shrugged and emailed the HOA that the problem was rectified.

This hawk was the root of the problem. Shutterstock.

“They came out to verify that it was and I got another letter. More bird poop. A few hours of observation revealed that a hawk was perching on the mailbox stalking a chipmunk that was living in the garden around our mailbox. So I went to the garden store and got a bottle of ‘predator pee’ stuff that scares away small animals and sprinkled it around the mailbox, causing the chipmunk to relocate. Problem solved. Sadly, I did not send the HOA an envelope full of the stuff.” – HOA story by cronelogic

An Unstable Condo and a Shady HOA

“October 2016, my condo started to collapse. We were forced to leave, and officially homeless for a year, with a card from the Red Cross and everything! The HOA did NOTHING. No one would admit to anything, explain anything, or contact us at all. For a year we waited. When we were finally told the building was structurally sound again, we moved back in, only to be told a week ago that we have to get out and get everything we own out for a month while they do repairs, sometime this spring.

This condo’s HOA is robbing these people blind. Shuttterstock.

“Worst of all, we were required to keep paying our HOA fees through the entire thing. The only way owners were offered nonpayment was if we signed a document promising not to sue anyone. NEVER AGAIN with a condo, NEVER AGAIN with an HOA, and NEVER AGAIN with River Towers in Alexandria, VA.” – HOA story by skaqua

UPS can’t even win against these vengeful HOA reps

“The president of our HOA was the typical retired military guy who loved to order people around. He would walk the neighborhood with a video camera and harass people who would be too scared of the video to defend themselves. Every possible violation no matter how small was a huge personal affront to him. They actually took UPS to court over the trucks being over the line of the designated parking space for guest vehicles. Well yeah, genius, the delivery trucks are larger than the Honda Fit-sized parking spots. And the HOA f**king WON!

“Our condo had a ridiculously small driveway. I’m talking like 3 feet. The rules said you could not wash your car in the street. If I angled my small car just right, I could have some of it outside to keep the water off the stuff in the garage. Well apparently the bumper was like 1/2″ over the curb. The lady across the street ratted me out to the president who promptly showed up, camera in hand, to chide me for this egregious act and ordered me to pull my car further into the garage.”- HOA story by ToBlayyyyve

A Missing Cat is Already Hard Enough, HOA just Makes it Harder

“My stomach is in knots just thinking about this, but here I go. When I was about 20 and still living at home, I had this cat that was a crazy-smart, goofball Maine Coon (or part Maine Coon) that I rescued as a teeny kitten. He was the only pet I’d ever had that was solely my responsibility, and I connected with him more than any other animal, prior to or since. We were buds, truly. So when he went missing I quickly made posters and taped them to a few stop signs in my (vast) neighborhood. HOA called the number, asked ‘Are you the one with the missing cat?’ (my heart leaps!) and then tells me that they’re taking the posters down because they were violating certain rules. I’m told to view their website for proper procedure.

Posting missing cat signs is totally normal. Shutterstock.

“The site tells me my posters must be on a stake, a certain amount of feet from the stop sign, and that I may put up no more than FOUR of them in this sprawling wooded neighborhood, only at 4-way stops, and only for a few days. I follow their rules. A day later I get another call that they’re taking my posters down again, and I am almost in tears with the woman at this point, explaining that I did everything that was asked and I just want to find my cat. Her response: ‘I think he (the man taking my posters down) just finds that posters are ugly and make the neighborhood look bad.’ I still plastered them on notice boards by the pool and corner store, and went door to door, but I never did find my cat. Neighbors said they’d seen coyotes in the area, so maybe the posters wouldn’t have helped anyway. But how awful to know that their procedures— which they didn’t even honor—were more important to them than the grief of their neighbor or the well-being of a lost beloved pet.” – HOA story by [deleted user]

This HOA drama truly ended in the most tragic way

“Not our HOA, but my wife was having a study group meeting at our church and the HOA for the neighborhood across the street from the church was meeting in the room next to them. Apparently someone brought a gun to the HOA meeting and shot the HOA president and treasurer over a dispute about a driveway.

Home disputes should never end in any sort of violence. Shutterstock.

“Of course my wife and her friends ran to a more secluded room and called the police. It was extremely scary getting a panicked call from her saying someone was shooting in the church. She was even more scared of course. Luckily one of the other attendees of the HOA meeting was a retired cop, and quickly disarmed and detained the shooter until the cops arrived.” – HOA story by MagnetsAreFun

What do they have against the elderly?

“Not mine, but my parents. They moved into an over 55 neighborhood (even though they’re not 55 yet) with an HOA. The board, as you can imagine, was full of older people with not a lot to do. It was them and my 80 year old grandma living in the house. My parents decided to add a railing to the front steps to help my grandma get up them easier. It was metal, white bars on the top and bottom and black bars up and down holding it up.

Some seniors will fall without a handle to hold onto. Shutterstock.

“The HOA claimed they didn’t specify this in the planned proposal and insisted they take it down or they would be fined. My parents moved to repaint it all one color, since my grandma needed the support going up the stairs. They denied it, stating that the material wasn’t correct and they had to remove it to avoid the fine.” – HOA story by crosmyheart

These people really get bent out of shape over weeds

“My dad briefly lived in an area with an HOA and he was miserable to the point he left (was renting) as soon as the terms allowed. One that drove him insane was that he was constantly getting cited for weeds in the front lawn. However, a gardener was part of the rental agreement and no matter how many times he talked to the gardener and notified the landlord, she would still point to the clause that said he had to pay HOA penalties.

Dandelions are weeds.. but they’re so pretty! Shutterstock.

“He also got cited for an oil stain on the driveway that was there before he even moved in. I’m not sure if he paid for any of them. He ended talking about it with some neighbors (I guess) because he said that other residents in the neighborhood who were in law enforcement were getting cited a lot. He suspected someone had a grudge against police and were abusing the HOA system.” – HOA story by wreckitstitch

Even a burst appendix won’t stop the HOA

“When I was a kid my dad’s appendix ruptured and he was in the hospital for almost a month. My mom was with him most of the time and my siblings and I bounced around between grandparents and friends’ houses. About a week and a half into his hospital stay we got a notice from the HOA that our lawn was overgrown and that we would be fined if it wasn’t mowed ASAP.

HOAs get really freaked out at some long grass. Shutterstock.

“My mom called the president to explain the situation and her response was ‘There are plenty of lawn care companies in the area that you can hire if you are unable to make time to take care of it yourself.’ ” – HOA story by K8eCastle What is with these people? Do they find them in a special level of hell?

This HOA was trying to pull a fast one

“They sent me a letter telling me I’m required to mow a section of lawn behind my house on the other side of my property line, which is over twice the size of both my front and back yard combined. I lived here 3yrs before ever being told this. Mowers used to come mow this but have stopped for over a year.

They tried saying $6000 went to mowers that never showed up… Shutterstock.

“The next summer, they sent the yearly HOA budget rundown, and showed over $6000 going to the mowing company. No one had mowed the entire year and I told them I think they are lying about the budget and it’s bulls**t they are asking me to mow property that isn’t mine, and claim a huge mowing budget for mowing that isn’t happening. A month later, the mowers have been mowing that section every few weeks.” – HOA story by username2256

Apparently you can’t leave a water hose out in your own driveway

“Started washing my truck In the driveway at 8:30am. Got a call from a friend who needed a ride back from town (Starter took a shit) Got back to my house at about noon and found a written warning taped to my garage door. Apparently they thought I left my water hose out overnight next to the spigot.

Water hoses are apparently a big no-no. Shutterstock.

“We both laughed it off and had some beers while I finished washing my truck. At about 3pm the Property manager stopped by my house to lecture me about the hose. I said ‘Okay. Yep. Saw the note you left me’ but she kept on going. So I shot her with the water hose through her drivers side window till she sped off screaming. Police came about 20 mins later… We shared a good laugh and they left.” – HOA story by HawaiiHooligan

The HOA that’s just plain stupid

“My parents’ HOA decided that – even though they had been fine without one for decades – it was time to hire a full time maintenance man and that they had to raise dues to pay for him, of course. I went home to visit and the neighborhood is hideous. It turns out the reason they never had a full time maintenance man is that there isn’t much for him to do so he just gets lots of stupid jobs to keep him busy.

We’re really not sure what the point of this maintenance man was. Shutterstock.

“Two of my favorites: Paint all the crosswalks solid. Turns out this is illegal because they’re government-owned roads and have to be striped. Cue shitty half-finished paint/unpaint jobs on every street. Also, spray paint all the trash cans lids green. Oh, spray paint doesn’t affix well to plastic and has already peeled into a nice Silent Hill aesthetic? Well just put some brown spray paint over top of some of them.” – HOA story by loobot3000