I hate HOA's - What is your worst HOA expereicne?

5 Replies

I HATE HOA's

I know they have value in many communities.  They maintain the pool common area and keep people from doing redicuilos things like painting a house green with orange trim.

However, there are sometimes people on the board who are just power hungry and want to feel important. I had a problem with an HOA president, not the HOA itself. She lived across the street from a flip I was doing and was nothing but trouble through the whole process. She, the HOA, sent me a violation letter every week or so. As her final effort she would not allow the HOA to issue a free to close letter (estoppel). Her issue was the garage door was not compliant. I walked the neighborhood and about 20 % of the houses had the same Home Depot door, including 2 that closed since she was elected. Further, the VP did not have a complaint door either. The management company made her agree to allow the house to close, since she and the HOA would be liable for any losses resulting from their selective enforcement of the rules.

Does anyone else have an HOA horror story?

    

Lesley Resnick, Real Estate Agent in FL (#sl3322996)
(904) 316-4306

We've had this thread many times and there are plenty of horror stories. The problems arise from two groups of people: the ignorant and the petty.

The ignorant are the ones that buy into an HOA without reading or understanding what it entails, then they flip out when someone fines them for leaving Christmas lights up all year or not keeping their dog on the leash. I think this group creates the majority of problems because it ramps up Group #2.

Group #2 are the people that live in the community and often are retired. They want everyone to live the way they live, period. Because they have a lot of time on their hands, they're the first ones to spot problems with Group #1. As they attempt to correct obvious, blatant violations in the HOA, they start getting ramped up and take it too far. Again, because they have so much time on their hands, they relish reading the rules and regs and looking for ways to keep their community "perfect" which actually makes their community less desirable.

I find that the HOA managers can be bullies, but having sat on those boards and managed associations, I understand their position. If you aren't tough on the landowners, they will walk all over you. However, it's OK to be firm, but not OK to be a jerk about it. And they tend to forget that the landowners are their customers.

Have there ever been actual bonafide studies proving HOAs increase property values? It seems to me that the reasons people cite to justify their existence are grossly overblown. i.e. with the green walls / orange trim example I understand it's ugly but I hardly find it a reason for me to tell another what to do with their stuff. (For the record I live in an HOA and a few lots down the street is a red brick house with this awful orange trim. I'm 100% confident it has no impact on my homes value whatsoever)

At any rate HOAs always come with fees that eat away at any supposed value they create, and more and more I see people citing the lack of an HOA as a benefit of a property. People are finding that these busybodies regulating the shade of eggshell white allowed for a mailbox are more trouble than they're worth. They're an unnecessary additional layer of government.

About 7 years ago my HOA really started abusing their power toward families with children. When our building was made in the late 60's no children were allowed to live there. The laws changed and they were no longer allowed to discriminate against families with children. However, a contingent of original owners continued to do so for many years.

They harassed kids at 1pm on a Saturday of a three day 4th of July weekend for making too much noise at the pool. Not playing Marco Polo or anything horrible like that.  Just for waking up some old person during her nap. For a while they kept enforcing every violation imaginable against any kid without a parent present. Kids could not play ball, ride anything with wheels, play tag, etc. Basically, every time they saw a kid outside without a parent they issued a warning or a fine. And they frequently screamed at the kids. One old lady in particular was unhinged. She would swear a stream of profanities at the kids and threaten to beat them. 

The HOA president warned the rest of the HOA to stop. He said they were begging for a lawsuit but the contingent of old hags wouldn't stop. The HOA's attorney told them the same thing. Finally, all the parents got together and ousted enough of them in the election. All the fines they issued were repealed. Since then a few of the worst of them died sad bitter and alone in their condos or were shipped off to nursing homes.

Anytime the discussion of HOA regimes pops up I think of an episode of the X-Files from the 90s called "Arcadia". Mulder and Scully go undercover as a married couple in an otherwise perfect community of SFRs where people have mysteriously died.

The theory goes that "something" is killing residents who do not conform and Mulder does not conform. He uses a portable basketball hoop, messes with his mailbox (I think he paints it the wrong shade of eggshell), and thinking that there are bodies buried in the yard he uses a bulldozer to excavate a huge hole. When told it's against the rules to install a swimming pool, he says he's building a reflecting pool and that the HOA rules do not regulate reflecting pools.

It was one of the funniest episodes of that show but, sadly, X-Files is not on Netflix so I wasn't able to pull it up once this thread put it in my head.

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