“My experience supports the notion
that many boards are led by people who seem to be searching for the
power they have never had in their lives, but who thirst for it. They
get elected easily for these HOA positions because few qualified
residents want to do it."
Living in a condo that does not enforce the declaration, by-laws and
rules can be very demoralizing and is definitely not acceptable. Yet
extreme enforcement is equally oppressive.
In a few condos, the directors are far too vigilant in enforcing petty
A director may regularly patrol the building or the grounds
looking for chicken-shit issues. She may order the security guard to
give someone a warning for leaving their car parked in the front
driveway for five minutes while they take their groceries upstairs.
Another resident keeps a small shopping cart at the back of their
parking spot so he gets a threatening letter from the manager. A family
puts up a small reef up on their door for a couple of weeks at
Christmas and is ordered to take it down.
An old lady may own a cat in a no-pet building. Her cat is an
"invisible pet" that never leaves her apartment and makes absolutely no
noise, bothers no one, yet a mean-spirited board may demand that the woman get rid of
her sole companion.
Children can only play in the small condo playground. No ball hockey, rollerskating, or basketball on the other common elements.
The manager or a director may sit for hours in the management office
video cameras to spy on the residents and their guests. In the
evenings, a director may park themselves in the lobby to watch the
residents when they enter or leave the
A small number of townhouse directors patrol the property, at all hours, peering
into the resident's windows and their open garages. They check what's placed on the
exclusive-use patios. What are they doing? Mainly using their position on
the board to justify being nosy.
Many residents don't notice this or don't care. Others find this
type of surveillance creepy; making them feel like they're living in
The sting is far worst when the directors pick on the residents they dislike
while ignoring violations committed by their friends and supporters. A
director may park in the Visitor's Parking Lot every day and never get
a parking ticket while the ordinary residents are regularly ticketed.
These zealots can do the most harm in the common element corporations (like American HOAs) where
the owner has to follow the condo rules and regulations and has to pay
for the exterior maintenance of their units.
Am I exaggerating?
Here is a report on HOA horror stories from the US.
10 Homeowners' Association Stories That'll Make You Furious
Including the time someone got a $400 fine for not cleaning up debris from a hurricane within 24 hours.
My favourite is the credit card scam. That takes nerve.
"My cousin is pretty well off and bought a nice house in a brand-new
neighborhood under the control of a HOA. Over the last 15 years, many
shenanigans have occurred, but the absolute worst happened in November
The HOA illegally applied for (and received) credit cards for most of
the homeowners in the neighborhood. They then used these cards to hire
contractors for fixing "outstanding issues" in the neighborhood, like
mending slightly damaged fences, washing windows, cleaning chalk off of
sidewalks, and replacing "weathered spigots"... all without the
homeowners' knowledge or consent. They actually would verify that the
homeowner was away from home before the contractors would show up.
Then people started getting credit card statements for cards they had
no knowledge of. The lawyers are still putting together their cases."
Finally there is:
HOAs from hell: Home associations that once protected residents now torment them
This is an interesting article from The News & Observer. Here is an excerpt.
And according to a lawsuit settled this
spring, a former administrative law judge in Wichita repeatedly hit a
neighbor with a crowbar during one of many disputes involving their
A Chicago real estate broker said she saw HOA terror firsthand when she
bought a condo and grew concerned about the HOA’s budget. When Sara
Benson contacted other homeowners, she quickly found that they were
afraid of risking the wrath of the board.
“I had to call a psychologist to come in and meet with these owners,”
said Benson, president of Chicago-based Benson Stanley Realty and
co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” a book warning about HOA problems.
“One was a public school teacher; another was a principal of a public
school. And they were so scared of the bully board that it was
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