Old School Americana & Nostalgia


These Are The Worst HOA Laws Imaginable

These Are The Worst HOA Laws Imaginable

Flickr / carywaynepeterson

Open or closed garages?

Which rule sounds better: you have to keep your garage door closed at all times unless you are entering or exiting your garage OR you have to keep your garage open at all times from 8 AM-4 PM? To me, they both sound unnecessarily strict. Unfortunately, these are both real rules. Diana L. shared on The Houston Chronicle that she would be fined if she got caught with her garage door open when she wasn’t strictly entering or exiting it. What’s the point? Why does it matter?

As for the other rule, an HOA in Auburn, California discovered that one of the residents was letting someone live in their garage. In response to this heinous crime, they implemented a new rule that stated that everyone had to leave their garage doors open from 8 AM-4 PM every day (yes you still had to keep it open while you were gone at work) so they could check that there weren’t any “squatters”.

Shutterstock / tostphoto

No sitting in your own car, in your own driveway.

A classic case of an HOA board having too much time on their hands and letting the power get to their head. This man, tired from work one night, had to deal with an HOA member telling him he was suspicious of sitting in his car in his driveway. But the guy had a pretty good reason for being in his car:

“About four to five months later, we gave birth to our first child, and about a month after that, I was driving home one night (I was working a second job in retail at the time) and my buddy in the military called me. He had been deployed when my daughter was born and was calling to congratulate me; when I got home, I didn’t want to risk waking up my sleeping newborn daughter so I just sat in my car with the engine running as it was a little chilly outside. I sat there for about half an hour when I heard the police siren, and saw the yellow lights. Now keep in mind, police sirens aren’t quiet and this was right in front of my house; his stupid yellow light was flashing everywhere including into my daughter’s bedroom. I got out of the car, and rather rudely told him to turn off the light as to not wake my daughter. He explained that I ‘looked suspicious’ sitting in my car with it running outside of my house, I explained the situation and he told me I had to go inside and that my ‘history of being a trouble maker wouldn’t grant me any leniency. I basically told him where I thought he could go and proceeded to sit on the hood of my car. He sat there for another 15 minutes telling me I needed to go in and at one point touched my shoulder, I explained to him that if he touched me again I would take it as a sign of aggression and defend myself, to which he responded by getting in his car and leaving. He circled the block about four times the next 30 minutes which was when I got too cold to stay out and finally went inside.”

No weekend home improvements

Another reader of the Houston Chronicle revealed that their HOA forbade anyone from doing any kind of home improvement tasks on the weekends. Ya know, the days when people typically have the most free time and are able to devote time to maintaining their home? Looks like you’ll have to take some days off work if you want to keep your home up to the HOA standards.

Flickr / derrickcollins

Of course, you can park here! Just kidding, your car has been towed.

Another question for you. Would you rather have a strict HOA or a dumb one? You might think dumb is the safer bet, but you might change your mind after reading what this guy had to go through:

“Our HOA was doing some useless stuff like replacing asphalt with bricks, which was loud and took weeks and probably will cost a lot to repair, so they told us we could move our cars to the small plaza next to our homes. They assured us we had permission.

Every car parked in the designated plaza got towed, and the HOA had no choice but to pay roughly $300 for every car towed. After that, my mom joined the HOA using this against them, and they didn’t bother us again.

The stores on the plaza were alright, they even gave us parking permits for the week.

HOA lost a ton of money for this mess up. The plaza loses customer parking space for a week or so. I lose a day worth of convenience. The only winners are the towing company. All for a few bricks instead of asphalt.”

You can have horses. But you can’t have a trailer.

It’s not an uncommon for HOA to have rules against parking trailers on their property. Trailers can clog up the streets and, if left unattended for too long, can become an eyesore. This HOA was no different with their “no trailers” rule. However, this HOA was different in that they allowed horses. How exactly are people supposed to transport their horses without using a trailer? Seems to be a very frustrating contradiction.

Shutterstock / Anna Kraynova


Like I mentioned with the trailers, ensuring that the roads remained clear to allow for easy traffic flow is an understandable rule for the HOA to have. But of course, some people take it too far or they try to take advantage of people with their strict rules. Take this story for example about a guy who was trying to follow the rules while visiting his girlfriend but got screwed over anyway:

“My at-the-time girlfriend (now wife) rented a townhouse with friends in a community that had an HOA. There were parking spots reserved for guests of the tenants. Ironically, parking was always an issue for my wife and her roommates but always simple for me – I just popped on the visitor’s pass and was good to go in that lot.

I spent the night probably once or twice a week, and one day I awoke to find my car missing. After some ace detective work, I found out that my 10-year-old (at the time), 5-speed manual transition Honda had not been stolen, but just towed. When I reached out to the HOA, they told me that there was a provision in the bylaws that said a car could only be parked in a visitor’s spot for a maximum of 72 hours and that a board member submitted my car to a list of cars to be towed due to ‘abusing’ a visitor’s pass.

They argued the language in the bylaws was such that the total amount of time that a car may be parked in the visitor’s lot was 72 hours, non-consecutively (i.e., if you park there once a week for 10 hours each week, on the 8th week we are in violation of the policy). This in opposition to the clear purpose of the provision, which is to prevent people from storing their cars in the lot. They summarily denied my request at the next HOA meeting to recover the $150 towing fee.

Long story short, I sued them in small claims court and got back the towing fee plus court costs (plus, they engaged a lawyer, so I feel good about wasting some of their retainers as well).”