In some neighborhoods, homeowners' associations are pretty chill and get things done for the residents. But unfortunately, other HOAs sometimes spiral out of control, with members flexing their power to fine, harass, and even sue homeowners over tiny infractions.
So when u/glam_spacetime asked Reddit for HOA horror stories, the comments came flooding in. Here are some of the most upvoted tales of HOAs gone wild:
1. "The HOA attempted to hold a 'secret' community meeting, where they'd vote on turning the large field and walking path everyone used for recreation into an RV park. It was 'secret' because they basically told no one and put up the required notice in a place where no one would see. As you can probably guess, most of the board owned RVs. Thankfully, a few neighbors took notice and started knocking on doors. A crowd showed up and the proposal was starkly shot down."
2. "They wouldn’t let me add an acre of land onto my property. My neighbor owned 100 acres of land and was letting me buy an acre from him to add to the four acres I already had. Since you can not build anything on one acre, the HOA was refusing the purchase. However, when some lawyer said it was okay, they let me buy the acre. I think they just wanted to waste our time."
3. "I slipped in my driveway and fell and broke my femur near my hip and couldn't get up. I was laying in my driveway calling for help for about 30 minutes and I could hear people walking past but nobody stopped for quite a while. I eventually asked someone to call an ambulance and got taken care of. Spent a few days in the hospital, and when I got home, I had a letter from my HOA saying I was in violation for sleeping in my driveway in the middle of the day. So the people who walked by and definitely heard me call for help and didn't stop were from the HOA or reported me to them."
4. "Our HOA sued us for leaving our garbage bin out a day past garbage day a total of five times in the three years we’ve lived here."
5. "The condo association wanted to renovate the pool and pitched the cost they were moving forward with. There were a lot of developers in the building and they noticed that it was about four times the cost it should have been. Association says tough cookies, things get fun. People writing notices of what's going on with the association, the association writing emails about it, lots of sniping back and forth."
"Then one day I'm in the lobby waiting for someone to show up and the head of the association and one of the people calling them out ran into each other and they had to immediately get separated by security because they were about to start throwing punches."
6. "I moved into a new construction neighborhood after picking out all the bells and whistles for the dream house. About two years after I moved in, the garbage truck managed to destroy the garbage can somehow. The sanitation company replaced it, but in the time between the trash account being set up and the mishap the sanitation company changed the color and style of cans they provided. My HOA told me that my garbage can was unauthorized and could not be left on the street on trash day because it was visually detracting."
"I went to the city sanitation and explained what was going on, and they told me that they didn't maintain the old stock of cans and they had switched over to the new ones when the old ones ran out.
So I had to take a letter from them back to the HOA, who would not budge and told me that I needed to have the same kind of can as everybody else. Everybody had their can in the same place on the same side of each house when it wasn't trash day.
So I ended up having to put the new can in the backyard and wheel it around the house at the exact moment that the trash truck showed up, and immediately wheel it back to the backyard. I had to make special arrangements with work to be able to do this every Monday."
7. "One of my coworkers got a warning from his HOA saying that he had too many boxes inside his garage. They claimed that he couldn't use his garage for storage."
8. "My neighbor's lawnmower stopped running, so he hired somebody to come in and do his lawn until he was able to get it fixed or get a new one. He hired somebody, who parked their truck on the street while they were doing the lawn. The HOA shows up and demands the lawn mowing service not park on the street, but instead park OUTSIDE THE COMMUNITY because his work truck and trailer 'detracted from the classy and elegant stature of the community.' They called the police when he refused."
9. "The HOA of my neighborhood tried to tell me that my house needed to be added onto because houses need to be at least 1,800 square feet in the neighborhood. My house is 1,750 square feet. HOA was started in 2004. My house was built in 1989. My family took the HOA to court. To make a long story short, HOA had to back down, 'cuz their rules didn’t exist until AFTER the house was built. So, the HOA rules do not apply to my house."
10. "We built a new fence around our property and they told us to take it down since the other fences looked old."
11. "Everyone had to drag their trash bins down a hill to a curb where the garbage truck would pick it up. People would be slow to get their bins back after pick up. So the HOA went and dragged all the bins to the other side of the neighborhood and threw them in a pile in a random patch of public grass. So we pay these people to be childishly petty and antagonize us? And their 'punishment' only created more of an eyesore than bins uniformly lined up on a curb."
12. "My wife and I bought our condo almost six years ago and the guy we bought it from had owned it for less than a year. When we closed, he said he had never got a key to the neighborhood pool when he bought the place from the previous owner but he was old so didn’t care and was never gonna use it. We said no big deal, we will just ask for a new one."
"Well, the HoA wants us to pay $300 for a 'new' key because we had 'lost' our old one and it’s some fraud prevention measure to stop people from selling their pool keys or something.
We had told them immediately after moving in we never got a key, and after six years, they refuse to get us a new one. We just pick the lock and go anyway but if it was an issue I’d be furious at the ridiculousness of making us pay into the HoA to maintain this pool when we never got access to it even though it wasn’t our fault and probably not even the fault of the guy before us."
13. "Drones were used to make sure no one was growing vegetables in their backyards. It was about the time they brought out the drones that we'd had enough and moved 1,700 miles away. Friends say the drones had to be stopped though because of privacy and safety, so that's good at least."
14. "Our HOA president and vice-president kept one-upping a new resident, some rich dude who was renovating and adding on to a house he bought. Later, I found out the duo was caught stealing fees and payments to pay for their project."
"The new resident then built a five-story tower with a bar on the top floor. The duo couldn't beat that and tried to do everything they can to fuck over the new resident, some of which involved sabotaging the supplies and materials.
The duo was arrested for something else not related to their dick contest. The HOA lost a lot of power and trust so they just collected fees and cleaned up the place."
15. "We live in a historic district so the HOA is super strict about the exterior of our homes. Our patio door was warped so we spent forever trying to find the exact same style/color antique door to replace it. As soon as we did, they got pissed we didn’t get it approved first. The only way you would even know we swapped it was if you were watching it happen."
16. "I got a $375 fine for a flowerpot."
17. "I got six separate notices for a parked RV in front of someone else's garage. It wasn't my RV. It wasn't my garage. It was parked in front of the owner's house for about two hours while he loaded it up prior to a camping trip. The best part is that they photographed the violation and it's clearly someone else's stuff in front of someone else's house."
18. "We had a snowstorm that dumped about six feet of snow on us overnight. It was garbage day that morning, so our full dumpster was sitting at the road waiting to be picked up, completely covered in snow and no one could get to their garbage cans. The snowstorm turned into an ice storm which took everything outside hostage — six inches of solid ice on everything, cementing the dumpster in place."
"The next day, the ice and snow melted just enough to see the lids, but they were still buried. Trash pickup was delayed because they couldn’t get the trucks through the snow because the HOA didn’t include plowing our community’s streets.
The next morning, we got a notice emailed to us about how our garbage had been sitting out for three days and that it needed to be moved immediately or we would pay a fine. They literally did nothing positive at all, ever. Total thievery."