HOA out of control

8 Replies

I own a condo in a complex of 20 units that's currently tenant occupied. In the past, I've received some pretty outrageous notices from my HOA; things like "children no longer allowed in the common areas", and telling me what sidewalk I have to use to get my mail, because the route I was taking took me by an HOA member's house, and made her dog bark. Ridiculous stuff. Today I received a notice that I have to remove my perfectly fine, white wood slat mini blinds, and replace them with plantation shutters. I've owned this unit for eight years, and am now getting this notice. Can they do that? I would understand if I had heliotrope colored sheets, duct taped to the glass, but replace white mini blinds?

What's in your CC&R's? If it specifies what kind of window treatments you can have that are visible to the outside, then the answer is yes they can do that. I'd have been more inclined to fight the "which sidewalk" to use or "children in the common area" than to have fought this one. 

Also just because it was ok for the last 8 years, if they recently voted and that was part of the vote...well you had your chance at that point, whether you exercised it or not is irrelevant. 

I hope your HOA has fair housing insurance with regards to the no children in the common area letter. I am the HOA president of a 28 unit tenant occupied community. I would make some calls to the president or a board member and do some probing. Sounds like someone in command of the HOA could have a Barney Fife complex ;-)

My personal home is an HOA. They aren't aggressive, but I do have two examples. Once, they said my shed was not in compliance because it blocked the neighbors view of the lake. Fair enough, except I reminded them that it was built by the previous homeowner and the HOA approved of everything when I purchasd my home. That issue died. On another issue, trash cans can't be visible from the street. 10 years after purchasing they sent a letter. I went to the president and she got the same letter. Basically, the management company hired a new inspector who was actually looking a things that they should have been looking at all along. So, I built a screen for the trash cans as did the president.

Wish I could help but wanted to add quick funny story. A previous HOA told us they wanted DNA from our dogs to test "poo"to find out who was not picking up their dogs doodoo. DNA testing, for dog crap.....yep, thats an HOA!

As @Matt Devincenzo  said, check your docs, most importantly your bylaws and rules & regs.  It varies by state but if they recently changed it, it's probably not something the membership would vote on, unless it's an amendment to the bylaws.  If it's simply a resolution/amendment to the rules & regs, that generally doesn't require a membership vote though it may in your state.

Sounds like your board has gotten a little power happy.  I would personally show up to a board meeting with all documentation in hand if it's not spelled out in the governing docs.  Sometimes boards need to be brought back to reality.  

We actually use DNA testing for dogs at our properties.   We have over 200 dogs in 2 communities that accept them and you would be amazed at how bad some owners can be about picking up messes.   We call them poopatraitors :-).   

Was one of the best/silly effective things we did to get people to do the right thing.    Now most communities in our area are using the same program.   It really works and the fines pay for the expense quickly and amazingly the problem disappears.   If you stepped in your neighbors mess...as a resident the value is there as well.  

@Sean T.  

Never heard that before. As a condo investor, I always fear what an HOA may come up with. If you would, could you please PM me the association, so I can avoid in the future? Thanks

@Lisa Jessup great lesson on why to never buy a condo in a complex less than 100 or so units.
Yes, they can dictate what the blinds looks like - typically in the CC&R's. They are just looking for them to be same color and uniform, and, if they chose ugly ones - guess that's the way it will be.
Good luck to you.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here