HOA horror story

This involves a local HOA that makes ridiculous demands, levies ridiculous fines and fixed the game so that it is near impossible to vote them out. There is a video with an accompanying article: Residents of Beaverton HOA call out alleged harassment, fines | kgw.com
The day before the residents were going to vote the President out the rules were changed so that it took 50% of the residents to call a meeting, and 90% of the residents to establish a forum! They cited one man for running a woodwork business because he puttered around in his garage, and a family for letting an elderly family member live with them, claiming that doing so made it a two family house.

It’s what happens when tyrants are in power. Has happened to many countries, too.

Correction: “forum” is supposed to be “quorum”"…

My parents neighborhood had an HOA when they first moved in. It was a brand new development, most of the houses were still empty lots or just wood frames when we moved in. Everything was fine until a few years later and the HOA tried to flex its tiny fiefdom muscles. Some neighbors objected, hired a lawyer to look over the HOA agreement, and it turned out the agreement was not legally enforceable due to language errors in the contract, and that was the last we ever heard of that.

Shockingly, the neighborhood didn’t immediately descend into a Back to the Future II alternate timeline Lyon Estates hellhole, nor did it ever. Still a lovely place to live, and my dad’s house is worth 10x what they paid in 1984.

While HOAs aren’t inherently bad, when an intolerant asshole becomes president of an HOA, as in my case, they can make your life miserable. Fortunately, I found a loophole you could drive a bus through.

For some reason, I wasn’t required to sign the HOA’s CC&Rs at closing, which meant I purchased my house without becoming a member of the HOA. I was more than willing to pay the equivalent of the quarterly HOA dues to cover common area expenses, like snow plowing, but when they told me to remove something I built in my backyard because it hadn’t been approved by the Architectural Review Committee, I just laughed.

The moral of the story is do your due diligence before agreeing to join an HOA, since once you are in, it’s almost impossible to get out of it without selling your property.

What can they really do to a homeowner?
If the rules are just someone’s arbitrary “thoughts” on how things oughta be are just what “they” want.
You own your property. Right?
They can’t force you out. They can’t rub you out.

I guess a lawsuit maybe. Aren’t these things frowned upon in a court of law?

Boy, I’d test that to the limit. Without harming anyone, of course.
It would really grind my jaw to be told my yard or BBQ grill or blinds are just not “right”.
That’s just crap.

They can fine you repeatedly and put a lien on your property. Depending on how long the situation drags out the fines can become so large that the only option is to sell to cover the debt.

We recently decided to buy a summer house in a small town. Inventory is very low, and it was hard to find a place that was affordable and met our needs. We finally found a cute house with nice views around eight miles out of town. We signed a contract, and then found out about the HOA. Because we have a small dog, we wanted to put up a little baby fence outside the front door. The HOA said that it required their approval, and couldn’t tell us when they were meeting again. Since the house needed plumbing repairs, we used that as an excuse to bail on the contract, but the HOA was the real reason.
We ended up raising our budget and finding another place, in a much better location, with no HOA. The house isn’t as nice, but- c’est la vie.

Your neighborhood may have some sort of voluntary HOA….those do exist, but most HOA covenants are attached to the property deed and the owner doesn’t have to agree to them or sign off on anything. If you own the property, you’re in the HOA and bound by the CCRs.

I own a home in an HOA community and I never signed anything….because I inherited the property and never went to any sort of closing. But I’m still a member of the HOA and I have to play by their rules.

I meant, how is it legal to do that?

This smacks of “let’s keep the undesirables out”.

Shouldn’t be possible.

(Restricted Community)

You really should read some of the many previous SDMB threads on it, or google horror HOA’s and read up on it.

Yeah. I’ve read some. My sister had an HOA problem. Heard her gripe for months about it. Til she sold her house.
It just seems so wrong.

I don’t think I could live like that.

(My sister lived in an area in Austin, Tx. There’s a daffodil festival there every year. They have these bus rides to go see the area the daffodils are blooming. Of course my sister planted a million daffodils. The HOA didn’t want daffodils in the division to discourage the bus rides taking over. She had to dig them up. They’re in my yard now. It was all just stupid rules some little Napoleon decided was bad, in “our” community.)

Without even researching it, I am absolutely sure (and it will take some far stronger arguments than “nu-uh” to convince me otherwise) that HOAs are rooted in redlining and racism. Obviously communal associations to cover common matters are needed, but the strict rules and ability to foreclose on people has got to be tied to racism. It always is.

Here’s what happened. There was a large HOA that was split up into five smaller HOAs, and each of the smaller HOAs now had to get all of their members to sign the new CC&Rs. Once they had 100% sign-ups, the HOA was permanent and you couldn’t opt-out or not join if you purchased or inherited one of those properties.

In our case we purchased our property before they they had 100% sign-ups so there was no mandatory HOA at that time. We had the option to join or not. To this day, four property owners have refused to sign the CC&Rs because of the current asshole HOA president.

We’re in the process of selling our house, so the people that are buying it, like us, can choose to sign the CC&Rs or not. I guess that makes it a voluntary HOA.

It seems to me that HOAs are just a terrible idea, and I don’t see how home buyers sign them willingly and why homeowners hold still for them dictating things like what color they can paint their own houses, how high their fences are allowed or not allowed to be, how they can improve their own property, and when they have to waste time on mowing their lawns. It seems like a perfect setup for the local tyrant-wannabes to start running things, and to empower those who love conformity for its own sake to compel compliance with their will on the neighbors. In the persecuted homeowner’s place, I’d have to ask the
HOA representative"Are you gonna pay my house payment for me? No? Then get OFF MY PROPERTY with your lame demands and your bossy attitude and your conformist aesthetics."

If someone does, knowingly and without duress, sign a repressive HOA and it comes back to bite them on the ass when they plant the wrong roses or something, well, I sympathize, but they should’ve known better than to sign something like that in the first place.

It will stop when people refuse to buy houses in those developments and the houses stand empty.

Buyer beware.

There are a LOT of people who freak out at the idea that someone would park their work pickup in their driveway, paint their house an “odd color” or have a garden beyond tight-assed foundation shrubs. They’re scared that property values will suffer or just get highly irritated by nonconformists. Or they have somewhat more realistic objections to, say, the woman who decides to run a daycare operation out of her home and want a readymade way to clamp down on that.

Such folks willingly buy homes where there are restrictive HOAs and tolerate the little dictators who run them, or enjoy becoming little dictators themselves.

Sometimes when you purchase a property you might still see convenants restricting you from selling to “Negroes” or others. They’re not legally enforceable these days, but they’re still attached to some of the paperwork. Having lived right across the street from terrible neighbors, I understand why HOAs exist. Having heard the many horror stories, I still wouldn’t want to live with an HOA unless they had very, very limited powers.

When I’ve been house shopping, an HOA of any kind takes the house off my list. If I want to paint my house polka doted or have a display of toilets in my yard, I’m gonna do it.

Me too.
It’s why I live rurally. No neighbors.

The neighborhood we lived in before we built here was just horrific. Not because of an HOA. But one bad household.
The woman was a terror. Screamed if you looked her direction.
The man was probably a pervert. He rode around on a riding lawnmower harassing kids and young people.
Pet? You better have a Basenji. Because a dog barking at a butterfly and the cops were called. They knew the score tho’.
I’m afraid if they’d have had a real emergency the cops would’ve laughed it off.

We got outta there as soon as we could.