Many Condo and Townhome Communities, and some Single Family neighborhoods, have a HOA (Homeowner’s Association) and these HOA’s are typically governed by By-Laws, or CCR’S (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions). The purpose of these By-laws are to protect the integrity and sometimes, values of any given neighborhood . There are rules and guidelines, which should be carefully reviewed by any potential Buyer before committing to purchase in said community.
Not all By-Laws are the same, and every HOA is unique in their own way. The term “Buyer Beware” is very relevant when purchasing a home with any HOA guidelines. I remember when I bought my first home (Condo) back in 2001. Shortly after I closed, I discovered that the HOA did not allow a Homeowner or Resident to own/park a pick up truck in the neighborhood. Pick up trucks were simply not allowed. Thankfully, I did not own a pick up truck, but I remember thinking a) what a random By-Law and b) what if I did own a pick up truck? What would be my penalty? Though I have long since moved out of the condo, I still own it. It has been a great Rental property for me, and I still use the swimming pool and tennis courts on occasion. (And the HOA has since revised their Guidelines to permit HomeOwners owning pick up trucks)
When walking the doggies yesterday, I ran into a gentleman with the most beautiful German Shepard I have seen in a long time, maybe ever. The story on how he inherited such a beautiful dog was interesting. A young man moved into a Condo. At the time he did not have a dog, but soon after moving in, he bought direct from a breeder for a whopping $1,500. Two short days after bringing Fido (made up name to protect the identity of the dog 🙂 home, he was notified that there are no such breeds allowed in the neighborhood (breed being German Shepard) The notice was to the point: either you vacate or the dog vacates. The gentleman I guess really wanted to stay there, as he gave up Fido to a German Shepard Rescue group. The gentleman I met yesterday, who now is proud owner of Fido, adopted the lucky pooch for $200, vaccinated, neutered and all. Just goes to show you that it is imperative to read and pay attention to all HOA guidelines before purchasing.
The two above examples are mild in compared to other HOA guidelines I am sure of it. I remember a story a few weeks back where a Vietnam Vet was fined by his HOA for sticking an American Flag in his yard for 4th of July?? I believe he fought it in court and won, but just goes to show you how over the top some HOA By-Laws can be. After doing a little digging, I have come up with some other notable HOA rules worthy of mention. The source for the below examples is from Brittny Dye, of Cafe Mom’s blog, The Stir:
Here are 10 examples of HOA rules that got a little out of hand.
1. No Hurricane Shutters: My friend’s parents live in Florida, and even though this state probably sees more hurricanes than any other part of the country, they’re not allowed to leave up hurricane shutters because it’s an “eyesore.” They must install them right before the storm (because, you know, you have plenty of time to do that while Mother Nature is hurtling at your doorstep), and take them down afterward.
2. Must Be Cool: Being an artist, living in the coolest, hippest (and most expensive) neighborhood in NYC sounds awesome, right? Well, in a particular building, the tenants must be considered “on-the-verge artists” and have their craft approved by the board. Does the board not understand what “on-the-verge” implies? Hello, those crafters aren’t making money yet!
Also (same building, mind you) you can’t wear high heels in the house because of the noise. How can you be hip without heels?
3. No Structures Allowed: Neighbors are paranoid that POD in your backyard might be a meth lab. Hey, it could happen.
4. Laundry On The Line: So what if laundry dried on a clothesline is one of the best smells in the world (and saves energy)? No one wants to see granny’s panties flapping in the wind.
5. Neutral Only: You’re going to have to find other ways to spruce up your exterior because in some neighborhoods, you can only have neutral colors for your doors and trim.
6. No Weinermobiles Allowed: In a lot of neighborhoods, you better have a garage if you drive a commercial vehicle.
7. No Smoking … In Your Own Home: Sure, smoking’s bad for you, but when you can’t do it in your own home, where can you light one up?
8. Fence & Hedge Nazis: Must be this color, must be this height, must be this material. Yikes! I bet those neighborhoods look like they’re straight out of “Pleasantville.”
9. Shingles Must Be the Same, Even If You’re Home Has Been Hit By a Plane: A man in Florida went through a devastating event in which a plane crashed into his home, killing his wife and infant son. But the HOA had no sympathy for him and slapped him with a fine while he was rebuilding his home because the shingles didn’t match.
10. Kids, Pack Up That Lemonade Stand: Sorry kiddos, your adorable attempt at making money this summer has been banned from the mean ol’ HOA.
Do you have to abide by Homeowners’ Association Rules? What are some of the most ridiculous ones you’ve heard of?