Some people just have too much time on their hands. This sentiment is most apparent when it comes to homeowners associations. Some HOAs make it their mission to make the lives of their members as truly miserable as possible.
Let's take a look at some of the pettiest complaints people have received from their HOA.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
"Back when I rented a house, I had the HOA complain because I had a welcome flag out next to my door. The reason was that people coming from the main entrance of the subdivision would see the welcome message backward, as they only made one-sided flags that long ago. It was positioned so it could be read walking up the front walk to my place.
To avoid that two hundred dollar fine, I took the flag down, and put it back on the pole in the opposite direction. They still tried to charge me for the attorney fees.
However, the attorney was the brother of the HOA president and lived in the neighborhood. I cited conflicts of interest for a volunteer position with so much power, and moved within months. I refused to tell them where I was going.
Garbage and recycling cans weren't allowed on the curb until eight o'clock the night before pickup. I normally worked until after midnight, so dragging the cans down could possibly wake my neighbors up if I did it upon my arrival home. So, on my break, around seven-thirty, I would run home to take them down.
The HOA complained about that half-hour, but neighbors complained about the noise of me moving them at one o'clock in the morning when I got home from work. Yet, nobody was willing to bring them down for me. I couldn't win. The nasty notices from the HOA went directly to the recycling bin, unopened after a bit.
There were so many petty rules. Some examples were the way cars faced on the street and in driveways, how many guest cars could be present at one time, the height of absolutely anything present in the yard, and how close dogs were allowed to property borders. I will never live with an HOA again."
"We lived in our neighborhood for a couple of years with absolutely no issues. We didn’t even realize there was a homeowners association except that the lawn and grounds were maintained. We later learned that for board elections we either had to go to the annual meeting and vote in person or submit a proxy. For convenience and because no one noticed anything they usually had us fill out a proxy when we came in to pick up new parking stickers for our car.
One day, a woman came to our door. She had a list of grievances about how the current board was running things. It was a two-page list with some pretty extreme ethical violations, potentially even criminal ones about how the current president embezzled fifty thousand dollars to redo her bathroom but refused to give money for other people’s problems.
The list was appalling. Since we didn’t have much of a feel for how things worked it was kind of shocking that all of that was going on right under our noses. We kind of overlooked several red flags like how bad the grammar and spelling were on her ninety-nine things.
We went to one of the meetings after that just to see what happened. The president looked flustered the whole meeting. She didn’t let anyone talk except for her friends, it appeared. She lost control of the crowd, which was pretty big. People were yelling and things got pretty out of control.
The lady brought a petition to sign and proxy ballots so we could sign our vote over to her. We figured that we should get the incompetence and corruption off the board and signed it. Stupidly.
Fast forward a few months and we hadn’t heard much about anything.
One day, the lady came back to our door and told us she was the new president. The old one had gotten voted out but she needed help. My wife had told her she would be willing to help before, so she was wondering if she would run for office. Apparently, several board members had resigned. My wife accepted the offer but told me she would keep to her own ethics and not simply vote for anything the lady presented.
My wife went to the election meeting and presented her case. She was a contracts administrator and had a degree in political science, but the other candidates were surprisingly, real heavy hitters. One guy was on several other homeowners associations and was the original president of our homeowners association when it first started and was dismayed about what it had become.
Because of a loophole in the voting rules, my wife won by a landslide along with the former president. Since the election only picked the members, the members then decide amongst themselves who filled the President and Vice President roles.
The lady and the original president ran for the president position. The original president laid out his experience and how he planned to run things. The lady went on a rant about how mistreated she was and how everyone was out to get her. The vote was split coming to the last vote, my wife.
My wife voted for the original president.
The lady was furious. She was stammering to herself for about twenty minutes while my wife got elected Vice President.
The lady confronted my wife in the parking lot and called her an ungrateful traitor, a turncoat, a demon, and she hoped my children would burn along with her, and that she would swallow our building in a sinkhole.
Then the rest of the story came out slowly over the next few weeks."
"The old president wasn’t a strong leader, but a strong leader wasn’t really necessary for this board until the crazy lady came along. The old president’s condo flooded due to a problem with the infrastructure and she got an approved payout from the condo association in accordance with the rules and laws.
The crazy lady saw that and got greedy. She lived in a top-floor condo that had skylights. The homeowners association had the buildings power washed yearly. That year, the powerwashers damaged the skylight and caused flooding into her condo damaging a small spot of carpet.
She also claimed the power washing broke her dryer. We had to get the dryer vents cleaned yearly and present receipts, she didn’t do that and had a bird’s nest in there. She requested reimbursement for about sixty thousand dollars.
The rest of the board said nope.
She somehow overthrew the rest of the board through a grassroots campaign to get her request approved. She did it in a very shady way, in a private session, that was against board regulations. The management company withheld the payment from her as a result, stalling for months.
The first order of business my wife took was to find a rule that let her redo that vote in public. They revised down the reimbursement to a few hundred dollars. According to the by-laws, damage to flooring was paid out based on the original value of the contractor-grade carpet installed in the units adjusted for inflation. The damage was small, so not much payout.
The lady slowly stopped coming to meetings and showed up just enough that she wouldn’t get removed from office by default.
However, she made it her mission to run things into the ground for the remainder of her time on the board. She ensured that regular maintenance was not performed properly and normal procedures were grounded to a halt. Literal sinkholes were developing under some of the buildings cracking the foundations. She ignored them for almost a year costing the community hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There were constant shouting matches at the meetings and the police had to be called on a regular basis because she instigated with community members. The lawyers from the management company had to be present at all times to make sure she didn’t mess things up and she hired a videographer to film the meetings, all of which ended up costing the community about ten thousand dollars in fees.
The county was expanding the roads and took an easement on the community’s land. Other land bays got together and negotiated a settlement on the land, lead by the original president. The crazy lady scoffed at that idea and negotiated for her building's land bay herself. She got less than a tenth of the value for twice as much land.
After that happened, our kids were with a babysitter playing outside. The crazy lady saw them and made a bee-line to the babysitter. Fortunately, one of our other neighbors was there and started screaming at the crazy lady. We have no idea what the crazy lady’s intentions were, but we were eternally grateful for the neighbor’s intervention.
The crazy lady also made the news once over dog poop.
One of our neighbors had a fluffy white dog. She worked and another neighbor who lived in the same building as the crazy lady walked her dog. One day, the dog walker was getting into her building and she accidentally spilled coffee in the common area, maintained by the community. She tried to clean it, but it left a barely noticeable stain. The crazy lady saw and furiously insisted the lady replace the carpet.
The lady, rightly, said no.
So the crazy lady and her sister started stalking the dog walker. The dog walker would notice them glaring from the windows, even hiding behind bushes.
One day, the dog owner got a summons for court.
The crazy sisters pressed charges on the dog walker for not picking up the dog’s poop, and the dog owner was held responsible.
Eventually, the dog was cleared because the evidence the crazy sisters had was a massive pile of dog poop that the little dog couldn’t have produced. The dog owner offered to bring in evidence of that, but the judge refused to allow poop in the courtroom.
Once the crazy lady's tenure on the board ended, everything settled down.
People stopped coming to meetings again because everything was running like clockwork. Everything was clicking with the new board and not only was normal maintenance being performed but improvements were also made and money was saved.
It’s amazing how drama drew such a crowd to the meetings."
"We couldn't have a garage sale more than twice a year, and they had to be six months apart. Some neighbors actually kept track and reported us in. We received a citation on our front door. Luckily it was a warning, but the citation did list the two exact dates that the garage sales happened.
We couldn't paint houses in dark colors or have wooden colors in the front facing the street. Apparently, residents were just supposed to re-paint their whole house after they got a ticket.
No overnight parking was allowed on the streets. That one negatively affected guests we had stay overnight at our house. Every house has a garage and two cars that could be on the driveway due to a city ordinance that made sure every house was built that way. No cars were allowed to be parked on the street after eleven o'clock at night. The ticket cop usually patrolled my area around three or four in the morning. However, one of my guests got a ticket as he was walking out around eleven-thirty at night. It was way earlier than the ticket cop usually patrolled so someone had to have snitched.
Christmas trees couldn't be visible through the front window two days after Christmas.
Not even Christmas lights, it only applied to the trees. We either had to put away the Christmas tree or move it to another area where people couldn't see it when they passed by our place. We just closed our curtains until we could remove the tree. Apparently, it was very popular for neighbors to report. Two days after Christmas, neighbors were literally walking around the neighborhood reporting each other. People were walking around all day waiting for our curtains to be open.
It was that petty."
"We had some minor run-ins with the HOA. We had opted not to have an oak tree in our yard, near the street. It was offered to us for free by the builder and all we had to do was take care of it. That started a very early rift with the HOA from the day we built the house. We didn’t have any rolling elevation to the front yard. The builder opted to put the driveway on the wrong side of the corner, rather than make a tough climb for the driveway. Although the city approved everything and technically nothing violated the HOA, the HOA cited continuity as an issue with our house. We didn't fit in.
Our house was the subject of more than one HOA meeting. We never attended so we would only get the letter with a fine. So I finally started going. I decided to see what the big hubbub was about.
Someone filed a complaint that we were not properly picking up after our dogs in the corner lot that everyone had to walk past. No one knew I was there. So I raised my hand like a schoolboy.
I identified myself as the owner of the lot on the corner and said we had no pets other than turtles and they occupied an aquarium. I mentioned that I hadn’t trained them for the leash yet and no one laughed.
Without identifying anyone, though I looked at them in turn while glancing about at others present, I said, 'Other homeowners like to walk their dogs past our property and allow their dogs to use our property as a make-shift restroom. They never pick up after them. I do pick up the poop left by other homeowners’ pets on our property as often as I can. However, the difficulty of picking up after multiple homeowners’ pets should not be discounted. Especially since some people allowed the long leashes so that their dogs could use any part of our yard they choose. Perhaps a discussion on picking up after pets leaving leftovers in other people’s yards would be more beneficial to the time and efforts of the HOA."
That, of course, upset the HOA. They started filing complaints outside of meetings so that I couldn’t reply to them. The final one did in the HOA, and it pretty much started tearing apart the HOA.
The HOA filed a complaint that my air conditioner on the roof was visible from the road. The HOA agreement specifically stated that no roof-based equipment should be visible from the ground. I took that to the HOA meeting to be addressed. After all, the builder had put in the air-conditioner at the time of construction and it was not a modification we had applied. It was not visible from in front of the house or the sides. I was curious where they were looking from since the house was two stories high.
The head of the HOA said that if you drove up the street that you could see the air-conditioner plain as day. That is a direct violation of the HOA agreement and we should immediately move on to fines because it was settled business.
I responded, 'Whoa, driving up the street? You can see all the homes except for those at the highest point of the area, including your house. Therefore you are in violation as well. So are all of your neighbors. So if fines are settled business, we're voting to fine nearly everyone present.'
Instead, the HOA voted to eject me from the meeting and the HOA for being a troublemaker. They said they would contact the builder as to what to do with a property owner outside of the HOA.
I told them the builder went out of business the previous year, so good luck with that. After that everyone else wondered why they were part of an HOA anymore as well. It took less than nine months for the HOA to fall apart."
"The pettiest complaint a friend informed me of was when his HOA told him he was in violation of their guidelines for leaving his garage door open too long when he was in the process of parking or pulling his car out of the garage.
He is disabled and had a tough time keeping his balance so that was why it took a while to accomplish some things he needed to do.
I studied California Law for a few years and one of the things I have kept abreast of are laws concerned with the rights of the disabled so I sat down with him and his wife to advise them of what the law said he had a right to do and what was required to see that his needs were addressed and respected.
The HOA clearly knew of his situation since its president lived a few houses away from his and had seen the difficulty he had just getting to and from his mailbox.
I enlisted the help of another acquaintance who was very knowledgeable of those situations and at the next HOA meeting, we politely ripped them a new one, to the approval of most of the people who attended. There was hardly a week that went by without the HOA stepping on somebody's toes for one petty reason or another.
When we submitted a letter of intent to file a civil suit for harassment of a disabled person, they immediately changed their tune and said they would submit our requests to the HOA’s attorney.
At that point, I told them they were not requests but demands based on legal, federal criteria and if they were not aware of the laws before, then they would be shortly.
They stopped bothering him and as a matter of fact, there were times when he would leave the garage door open for a couple of hours as he did one chore after another without so much as a peep from anyone."
"I bought a townhouse in an HOA when I was nineteen. I had issues with the HOA from the get-go.
Moving day came and like most college-aged people, I had a bunch of friends with pickup trucks help me move. We were polite and waited until after nine o'clock in the morning on a weekday to start moving. At about eleven o'clock, my sister and I had stayed behind while our friends went to get the last load so that we could start organizing the disaster of boxes and do some cleaning before the big furniture arrived. She is a year younger and we both are still 20 years later mistaken for much younger than we are. We had the stereo playing not excessively loud but enough that we could hear it throughout the two-story empty townhouse.
All of a sudden, there was frantic pounding on the front door. I thought it was one of the guys helping us move or something so I rushed to open the door only to find a creepy old man in slacks and a tank top with his belly hanging out, standing on my front steps. I asked him if there was a problem or if I could help him with something. He demanded to talk to my parents. As I mentioned before I bought the townhouse by myself. My parents had nothing to do with it. I had a great job and a small trust fund and a townhouse seemed like a great investment.
My sister happened to come down the stairs with her phone in her hand. Our dad had called to ask if he could bring us lunch and see the new place. The creepy guy, who I later found out was the HOA president, demanded again loudly to speak to our parents. My sister handed him the phone.
He proceeded to berate my father for us being loud and disrespectful so early in the morning, playing loud music, and having a 'teenage' party at 'my father’s' house when we should be in school. My dad has a very big laugh and after he stopped laughing he suggested the gentleman ask to see the mortgage agreement as the house was mine and any issues he had would best be directed to me the homeowner. Needless to say, the HOA president was furious."
"The condo I bought had been sitting empty for almost eighteen months and the HOA president's son was trying to purchase it. I was either quicker when I made the offer or had a better credit score or something. He voiced his complaints to me.
I responded politely that we had not started moving until after nine o'clock and that any music we had on was no louder than it was at that very moment. I had read through the HOA handbook to make sure there weren’t so-called quiet hours and ensured we were well outside of them. He was not happy and spent the better part of the next year attempting to make my life miserable.
He tried to fine me for a broken window that was broken by his grandson throwing a tennis ball against it. I was upstairs and watched him do it from an upstairs window. My neighbors on either side had also witnessed it. My homeowner's insurance was going to cover it but because it happened around five o'clock on the Saturday of a three-day weekend, it was Tuesday before they could get it replaced. The fine was issued at nine o'clock on Tuesday morning. The window was fixed before noon.
I was harassed because I was remodeling the townhouse on the inside. I made sure nothing I was doing needed HOA approval according to their handbook and according to the nosy neighbor across the courtyard, I must be doing something illegal to pay for it. I also had more male visitors than she thought was proper. I have four older brothers and my boyfriend at the time was in the military and would sometimes bring friends home with him on leave.
The HOA president went as far as to call the police and tell them that I was running a 'house of ill repute' out of my home. Imagine the officer's surprise when they came to the door to find me, my twin sister, three brothers, my boyfriend, and three or four of his Marine friends having dinner and playing Trivial Pursuit.
When I bought the townhouse, I was the youngest homeowner, but within about nine months of me moving in several others were purchased by young families. We 'younger folks' eventually filed suit against the HOA and forced them to allow it to be run by a management company instead of the good old boys club.
After the changes, it was a great little community to live in and I made a fantastic profit when I sold the house. With one exception, however, I have refused to live in an HOA of any sort since."
"I lived in a master-planned community of a thousand homes in South West Florida.
A few days after a hurricane, I had a knock on the door with two older gentlemen that told me that they were from the HOA.
They said, 'You have four cracked shingles. You need to replace those right away.'
I told them that I had not seen the cracked tiles and I asked for them to show them to me, as I would have them fixed.
The HOA members proceeded to retrieve a twenty-foot ladder, went between my house and my neighbor’s, and climbed to the top.
They said, 'The four tiles are right up here. Would you like to climb up here and see?
I responded, 'No thank you, and I will not be having them fixed. They are not in the view of anyone. Also, if I catch you putting up a ladder on my house again I will call the police and file a complaint against you. Why do you have a ladder out here anyway? Are you peeping on my neighbor?'
My neighbor was an attractive single woman.
The HOA members retorted, 'We will be talking to the attorney and filing against you.'
My wife and I actually had a very good attorney who told them they could not fine me for something that no one could see and that they were not allowed to put ladders on other people’s houses. It ruined their day."
"I got in trouble for having an abandoned car that was not abandoned. They expected our cars to move from the spot in the car-port every three days.
I worked nights so I left for work at ten o'clock at night and would get home around seven o'clock in the morning and go to bed. The roving parking lot patrol would go around and mark my car not moved every day around noon. I would get a letter that my car had not moved for three days and was considered disabled or abandoned.
The same parking lot patrol would come around one o'clock at night and do a spot check. My car was obviously never in my carport at that time.
The HOA told me to just park it someplace else during the daytime as it made the area look unsightly and seemed as if it was abandoned. All spots were issued and I was charged a parking fee. Residents weren't allowed to park in the guest spots, which was also a way to earn a parking ticket and a fine.
Eventually, they gave up but still tried to ticket my car as non-moving even though I drove it to work every night."