Little Pyongyang
“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."
—Ed Burrow

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 rules.

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 using the 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 building.

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 Pyongyang.

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 last year.

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 homes association.

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 unbelievable.”

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