A big legal fight could be brewing in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri over a family’s desire to keep a garden and some pet chickens in their back yard. The family lives on a 1/5 acre lot in a subdivision of about 500 homes. They say they’re being ordered by the HOA to get rid of their chickens because of complaints by another homeowner.
The HOA refuses to tell the family who’s complaining and why. They’ve just ordered the birds be removed. The family, one of whom blogs under the name “Garden Gal,” could potentially be facing a lawsuit that could eventually cost them their home.
Many Homeowners Associations don’t take kindly to pets and homeowners regularly lose battles to keep pets as insignificant as aquarium fish (Chicago).
But pay close attention to this point: Suing a homeowner over something as trivial as a pet can be expensive and can cost all members of the HOA significant assessments. What an HOA really wants to do is force a beleagured homeowner to file a countersuit, because only then does the HOA’s insurance policy kick in! So an HOA will use some of the most outrageous behavior possible to encourage a lawsuit. Then the homeowner who sues ends up paying the legal fees for both sides…and still loses the case.
In any event, stay in touch with Garden Gal’s link below. And watch for developments
Ward Lucas, author of Neighbors At War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association (to be published in October)