When most people purchase a home, they are thrilled to have a safe, comfortable space to return to every evening. A humble abode that they can do whatever they like with. Tear down a wall separating the kitchen and living room to make one large space? Sure! Install wood floors in the dining room and a pool in the backyard? Whatever floats your boat! Your home is yours, and it should be the coziest, most welcoming place in the world for you.
Sometimes, however, homeowners don’t get to have the full say in how they decorate and run their homes, because HOAs might insert their input as well… An HOA, or Homeowner’s Association, is an evil group of people designed to make residents’ lives challenging– Oh, excuse me. I meant it’s “an organization in a subdivision, planned community, or condominium building that makes and enforces rules for the properties and residents”, according to Investopedia. But in reality, HOAs are notorious for implementing and enforcing outlandish rules and regulations and responding swiftly with hefty fines any time a resident refuses to comply.
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Down below, we’ve gathered some of the most annoying examples of HOAs exercising their power over residents that homeowners have shared on the Mildly Infuriating subreddit, so you can either relate to their pain or count your blessings if you live in a non-HOA area. Keep reading to also find an interview with the hosts of The HOA Show podcast to hear their thoughts on the topic.
Be sure to upvote the photos that make you want to file a complaint against these HOAs, and let us know in the comments if you’ve ever personally felt victimized by a frustrating HOA. And then if you’re interested in checking out even more HOA horror stories we’ve featured on Bored Panda before, we’ve got you covered with this article right here.
#1 Celebrating Pride Despite Our HOA Not Allowing Pride Flags. They Don’t Regulate Yard Lights Though, So… There’s Always A Loophole
Image credits: memon17
To gain some insight from the experts on HOAs, we reached out to the hosts of The HOA Show podcast. First, we wanted to know what inspired them to create their show. “Since its inception, this podcast has been an endeavor underwritten by Cline Agency Insurance Brokers,” they told Bored Panda. “Education has always been of upmost importance for the Agency, and because we found ourselves being frequently asked the same questions by different clients, we wondered if there was a way for us to compile the information into one, easy to understand place, so that we could readily pass it along to Board Members and Community Managers. It quickly became apparent that podcasting would offer that perfect marriage of accessibility and reliability for sharing valuable information.”
We also wanted to hear about some of the worst HOA stories they had ever heard. “Sadly, there are too many to list,” the hosts shared. “In terms of severity, the stories are never sadder or more severe than when the actions or inactions of a Board of Directors lead to serious injury or the loss of life. We’d recommend that folks tune in to our spin-off podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbor‘, essentially a True Crime Mini-Series on Community Associations. We have four episodes already out that detail some of the worst moments of a Community Association’s life. Warning, they can get pretty dark.”
#2 The Hoa In My Friend’s Neighborhood Recently Threatened Her Neighbors With A Fine If They Didn’t Hide Their Trash Cans. They’ve Been In The Same Spot For Over A Decade
Image credits: kalinkabeek
We also asked the hosts if they think HOAs are overall a negative or positive thing. “Community Associations have the opportunity to be one of the most positive experiences that people can be a part of,” they told Bored Panda. “Human beings are communal by nature. We seek and crave strong communities. And when you have a group of wonderful people, all volunteering their time on behalf of the community, with the main intention of making their community stronger and better, then you have a winning recipe for a positive experience. But those volunteers must be putting the needs of the community above their own. We call this Fiduciary Duty.”
“When you have Board Members, Volunteers, or just members of a community that place their own needs above those of the community, that’s when you’re most likely to have a negative experience,” the hosts explained. “When personal agendas and vendettas are the motivating factors behind people’s involvement and decisions, you’ll inevitably foster a feeling of hostility and resentment from those folks who are harmed or simply left out by the clearly selfish choices of those few individuals.”
#3 Head Of Hoa Lives Across From This Guy And Was Giving Him A Hard Time About The Appearance Of His House. So He Painted His House Pepto Pink Out Of Spite
Image credits: Sdonof53
Lastly, the podcast hosts shared, “Over the course of producing this podcast, one of the things we’ve been so grateful for are all the guest experts who have participated in these podcast conversations. Without exception, all the experts who have donated their time are considered by the industry to be exceptionally qualified and experienced in their respective fields. Their guidance and expertise have undoubtedly helped thousands of communities.”
If you’d like to hear more HOA stories, be sure to check out The HOA Show right here.
#4 HOA Violates Your Property Rights
Image credits: itsdansheehan
#5 Kids Are Having Fun With Friends So A Neighbor Reported To Hoa That They Must Be Running A Childcare
Image credits: JustJJ92
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If you’re not familiar with the concept of HOAs, count your blessings. They are not inherently bad, but particularly in the United States, they have gained a reputation for implementing ridiculous regulations and charging their residents outlandish fees for simple things. There’s currently a drought happening, so your grass is dying? We don’t care, here’s a $50 fine because your lawn is unsightly. You painted your garage door light blue? That’s not an approved color. Here’s a $200 fine, and you have one month to repaint it before you are met with another fee.
In theory, HOAs ensure that a neighborhood is neat and tidy and that residents have somewhere to go to voice their complaints, but in practice, they tend to cause more issues than they solve. It’s great to have an organization in place to decorate the neighborhood with lights during the holidays and host community parties at the neighborhood pool. But is it worth the enormous fees and having to comply with strict rules? Many homeowners would say, “Absolutely not.”
#6 Neighbor’s Response To Hoa’s Email About Taking Down Halloween Decorations. Now It’s A Christmas Decoration
Image credits: keto_and_me
The crazy thing about HOAs is that although many residents don’t even support their presence, they are still required to financially support them. Just how expensive HOA fees are depends greatly on the neighborhood, city and state a homeowner lives in. But at the state level, HOAs in New York and Hawaii charge the heftiest fees, averaging between $520-570 per month. And when it comes to the state that charges the lowest HOA fees, that would be Wyoming, with an average cost of $100 per month.
It’s absurd to think that these homeowners are all essentially paying the cost of renting another apartment, or at least a bedroom in one, just to keep the people in charge of their neighborhood satisfied. In 2019, the average monthly HOA fee in the United States came out to $290, which was $40 more than the average monthly cost of utilities for Americans. But instead of paying for heating, water, gas and electricity, these residents were paying for someone to keep a close eye on them all and hand out fines every time a trash can was visible or an ‘unsightly’ car was parked on the street.
#7 My Neighbor Received A Letter From Hoa Saying His Tree Needed To Be Cut Down. This Is What He Did With The Trunk
Image credits: Runeax
#8 Thank You All For Your Prayers. The Hoa Sprayed Toxic Chemicals In The Backyard Causing Severe Tremoring, Hypersalivation, And Neurological Problems
Image credits: jamthibs
#9 When The Hoa Needs To Place A Notice About Farting In The Elevator
Image credits: cigar_dude
While HOAs tend to be classified as a uniquely American issue, there are actually various organizations around the globe that monitor homeowners and residents in annoyingly similar ways. In Japan, for example, there are “management associations” in place that have presidents, just like HOAs, and serve to keep an eye on condo buildings and their residents. The president and board of these management associations are responsible for setting and collecting fees from residents including a management fee, which is intended to pay for maintenance in the building, and a repair fee, which will go to major repairs in the future. And while these fees may sound like no big deal in theory, as all residents want their buildings operating smoothly, they often become problematic.
#10 A Friend Of Mine Got A Complaint From Her Hoa About A Dying Shrub On Her Property
Image credits: Idontlikejokes
#11 A Local HOA Karen Forced A Father To Tear Down His Kids’ Recently Built Tree House
Image credits: iSaidYEA
#12 An Hoa Fined Woman $100 For Moving Her Car After A Snow Dusting Leaving Behind This Lovely Flurry Phallus
A few weeks ago we got a pitiful little snow that was barely really a frost. Just enough to cause a little trouble of the roads (cause any sort of weather causes troubles on the roads here), but nothing severe. So my husband and I go out, get in our cars, and leave for the work day.
Awhile later (I don’t remember if it was five days or a week), we get an email from the HOA saying we are being fined for something. They aren’t very specific at first, but they are saying it’s about the snow and our cars. We are very confused. There is not enough snow to shovel, as you will soon see.
Finally, after a few back-and-forth emails, they simply send us a picture “describing the problem”. The imprint our car left in this and somehow that’s our fault.
I died laughing y’all. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of being fined for, and we flat-out told them we weren’t paying. Eventually, they realized we were serious about not paying, and since there were no by-laws on the books about something like this, they dropped it.
Image credits: ReservoirKat
If condo residents in Japan find a management association’s fees to be too high, they won’t want to live there in the first place. But if the fees are too low, there won’t be enough funds available to keep the building in tip-top shape. For example, the life expectancy of a condo in Japan is typically about 40 years. After that, it becomes necessary to make major updates, particularly to the plumbing. But there are currently hundreds of thousands of condos in Japan that have been around longer than 40 years and are in need of serious maintenance. Because of this, condo owners are often suddenly met with huge fees and fines, because the building has not raised enough money to cover the repairs and the jobs have become more intense after being put off.
#13 $50 Fine From Hoa For Having A Dead Lawn (It’s Rock) And/Or Excessive Weeds (None)
Image credits: socialpronk
#14 Hoa Requires Elaborate Christmas Decorations In This Neighborhood. This Resident Complied
Image credits: Porcupineemu
#15 Homeowners Association Requires That This Should Be A Lawn
Image credits: vareenoo
Another inherent problem with these management associations in Japan is that it can be hard to find anyone who is interested in running them. Most residents have no interest, which often means that the only people who do want to be in charge become a bit too power-hungry. This means that the associations are often rampant with fraud and mismanagement because there aren’t enough residents playing active roles in the organization and keeping the president and board members in check. This sounds quite familiar. I’m sure many of the photos featured on this list would have never happened had these HOA presidents and board members sought outside opinions on the matters. But they seem to have become too wrapped up in their power, and all sense of logic has flown out the window.
#16 The Only Thing Worse Than A Florida Hurricane Is A Florida Home Owner’s Association
Image credits: orangeslash
#17 Hoa Landscapers Threw In A Free Internet Trim
Image credits: artemis2k
#18 Our Hoa Illegally Gutted The Courtyard Behind Our Townhome That Contained Very Large Privacy Bushes And Protected Cypress Trees
Image credits: worm30478
So if HOAs are charging exorbitant fees to millions of people around the world, you might be wondering where all of this money is going. Well, according to Quicken Loans, HOA fees cover a variety of things including amenities like neighborhood pools and community clubhouses, municipal services like trash removal and neighborhood security, maintenance and repairs, and a reserve fund kept for any unexpected emergencies. For example, the reserve fund should cover the cost if a natural disaster like a hurricane knocks over a huge tree and leaves it blocking the road in the entrance of the neighborhood. What is interesting, though, is that not all HOA communities have amenities. I can understand some of these costs, but if your neighborhood does not have a pool, a security guard, or any grass and trees that aren’t on private property, I sure hope you are not paying HOA fees.
#19 I’m Parked On My Property And I Get A Violation. F*ck The Hoa
Image credits: Yaser_Sharifeh
#20 A Friend’s Hoa Sent Letter Requesting Kids Only Play In Park, Not In Yards
Image credits: Simple_Silver_6394
#21 The Neighbors Hate Us And Went To The Hoa Because We Had Something “Poisonous” Growing In Our Backyard. Here’s Our Harvest
Image credits: nierdo
Another problem with HOAs in the United States is that they have become almost impossible to avoid. About 75 million Americans currently live in HOA communities, and that number has only been rising over the years. So moving into an area without an aggressive HOA might be easier said than done. If you are trying to avoid the tyranny of an HOA, Deborah Goonan of Independent American Communities provides some tips. First and foremost, they recommend renting rather than buying. While owning a home is a dream of many individuals, it can actually be smarter to rent for a variety of reasons.
“The combination of a mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, home maintenance, and HOA fees can stretch your household budget to the brink. And if — or when — your homeowners, condo, or co-op association raises its regular fees or imposes a special assessment, the additional cost can break your budget,” Deborah explains. “Rather than pinching every penny to afford homeownership, rent a few years longer, pay down debts, and save more money for a down payment, retirement, or both.”
#22 My Hoa Put Up Fences So We Can’t Drive From Section To Section
Image credits: spacebeatles
#23 Hoa: Done
Image credits: thatonedinobot-theon
#24 Texas Couple Being Sued By Their Hoa For Feeding Ducks
Image credits: R.A. Schuetz
Deborah also recommends seeking out an older home if you’re trying to avoid joining an HOA. She notes that as of 2018, the United States had at least 346,000 HOA-governed communities. But in 1970, there were only a mere 10,000 of them nationwide. Because of this, many older homes will not be part of a mandatory homeowner’s association area. And even if they are, Deborah says that older versions of HOAs tend to be much less strict than their younger counterparts. “Pre-1970 HOAs are more likely to be voluntary-membership associations,” she explains. “That means you don’t have to join the association and pay annual dues, unless you want to. In contrast to mandatory HOAs, voluntary membership associations don’t have the power to impose monetary fines, and they cannot file a lien on your home and foreclose to collect unpaid fees.”
#25 Hoa Refuses To Remove Dog Waste After Months Of Payment. They Ignored Calls And Dealt With The Smell Complaint By Turning Each Doggie Station Into An Overflow
Image credits: reddit.com
#26 My Parents Hoa Passed A Rule This Year That All Houses In The Neighborhood Must Be 35′ From The Road. These Neighbors May Have To Tear Their House (Which Has Been There For 12+ Years) If They Are Not Approved For A Variance Permit
Image credits: WiseSay
#27 Our Lovely Homeowner’s Association Dog Park. No Shade, No Turf, Just Gravel, And Rocks
Image credits: click2189
I hope these photos are not making your blood boil and that you don’t have to tiptoe around your current neighborhood for fear of an HOA fine showing up on your doorstep. Be sure to keep upvoting the photos that you find most ridiculous, and then feel free to share any personal experiences with power-hungry HOAs in the comments below. While HOAs seem to be flourishing around the world, particularly in the United States, hopefully calling them out online will eventually lead to them become a bit more relaxed. Only time will tell… But in the meantime, if you’d like to hear even more HOA horror stories, don’t forget to check out this Bored Panda article next.
#28 Hoa: You Broke The Bylaws By Lettings Your Kids Play On The Side Of The Street
Image credits: Sean_Tuff
#29 Hoa Decides To Ruin Our Sideyard By Putting A Sidewalk Through It, Then Bursts The Water Pipes Coming To Our House
Image credits: TeakKey7
#30 Our Hoa Installed Some Sprinklers By The Lake Last Year. Here Is One Of The Heads A Year Later That Waters The Lake Twice A Day
Image credits: buckeyespud
#31 Hoa Cut Our Privacy Bushes In Half Without Asking
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#32 Hoa Recently Replaced Our House Numbers
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#33 The Hoa Is Ridiculous. You Can Clearly See A Net On That Goal In The Picture They Took
Image credits: Houst-owned
#34 You All Enjoyed My “Handwriting” And Pink Boots Last Time. I’m Back Today After Receiving A Note From The HOA Reminding Me To Actually Finish Power Washing My Driveway
Image credits: ssimpso5
#35 Hoa Wanting Free Labor For Cleaning Up Construction Trash Home Builders Left In Our Neighborhood
Image credits: Fresh_Assistance
#36 The Hoa Mounted This Sign Slanted
Image credits: PixelPacker
#37 Hoa’s Need To Chill Out, I’m Not 100% Sure, But I Think The Hoa Blocked A Walkway To Another Neighborhood. Very Annoying
Image credits: Technical_Wall1726
#38 Hoa Decided Behind This Bush Was A Good Place For Our House Number To Be Placed
Image credits: captaincoude99
#39 Our Hoa Made Us Each Pay About $30 Each To Set Up Lights Around Our Neighborhood Sign (Sorry For Bad Lighting)
Image credits: Nat20SneakAttack
#40 My Hoa Put Up A Fence The Week Before I Stained Mine
Image credits: ImberxP