MoneyConsumerDon't Waste Your Money


HOA horror stories that can ruin your condo dream

What you can be fined or sued for
Posted at 11:20 AM, Jun 14, 2019

Many people these days are moving to condo complexes, or housing communities where everything is taken care of for you.

It makes life so much easier. But make sure you know the pros and cons of that little thing called a homeowners association.

Nordelle Wainz is among the thousands of condo owners who have run into a brick wall with their HOA. In her case, after the association refused to help her fix her collapsing deck.

"I was told if I didn't like it here, that I should sell my condo," she told us last year.

A report in calls HOA's "paradise at a price."

What you can be fined for

It found hundreds of reports of homeowners being fined or sued for having:

  • A pink playhouse for a little girl (due to no outside structure rules, as well as color guidelines).
  • A kid's lemonade stand (due to no outdoor selling rules).
  • Sidewalk chalking (due to defacing of property rules).
  • Pickup trucks on driveways, even when they are too big for the garage (due to no trucks overnight rules).
  • Eco-friendly clotheslines (due to no hanging laundry rules).
  • Support Our Troops signs (due to no signs rules).

Violation that sparked national protests

And from the doesn't that stink file, when an HOA gets so restrictive, its rules spark national outrage.

A few years ago, a northern Ohio Vietnam vet put up an American flag on a 15-foot flagpole.

But the HOA said “take it down,” and threatened a lawsuit.

Doesn't that stink? The condo rules were in violation of federal laws allowing the flying of the stars and stripes, according to the homeowner's attorney.

But before he put his condo up for sale, veterans across the country made a stink, the HOA dropped its challenge, and the flag and the veteran stayed.

There is nothing wrong with most HOA's: They can keep your neighbor from parking a junk hauling dump truck outside your front door.

But know the downsides, so you don’t waste your money


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