How to be a Renegade in your HOA

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

In the festive spirit of the season, I thought it was time for a little HOA Humor. Here’s my list of how to have a little fun, stir up a bit of conflict, and make yourself infamous in the eyes of your HOA Board. Warning: could be hazardous to your health and your bank account. In the comments section, feel free to add suggestions of your own!

Paint your front door purple, without getting approval from the architectural control committee.

Leave your garbage can out on the curb more than 24 hours after trash pick up.

Swap out your thirsty landscape for a xeriscape. Or plant herbs or vegetables.

Fly the American flag, upside down, on a pole that is 6” too tall.

Display the wrong kind of plants or “unauthorized objects” in your flowerpot on your porch or patio.

Hang window coverings that are any color other than pure white on the side facing outside.

Allow children to play in the yard, and leave some toys on the front lawn.

Refuse to submit a DNA sample of your pet pooch.

Ask to see financial documents.

Insist that the Board get at least three competitive bids for contracts, instead of going with the same contractor, year after year, despite poor service.

And, finally, display the holiday décor of your choice, even religious symbols, inflatable snowmen, and blinking lights!

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About

Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

5 thoughts on “How to be a Renegade in your HOA

  1. Cynthia

    Oh, my gosh, where to begin?
    Ask a question, any question of an HOA board and especially, if the question is about a charge not owed, due, nor something they don’t have the right to demand monies for, maintain, or other. When the HOA board keeps changing their reason for what they are doing and, clearly there is no reason, finally you are told by one of their board members they want you to do something that was recently voted, and you were told you could not do. Wanting to do the right thing, call the HOA attorney who has been there for years, at the meetings, interpreting by laws and procedures and ask them how to handle this. Be prepared though, for the retaliation, nasty phone call from an HOA board member for calling the HOA attorney, threats, etc., and slap lawsuit where in many places like Monroe County, Pennsylvania, you will loose your home for asking this question and upholding your responsibility, fiduciary duty and the law.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Research your hoa mgmt co, and if you find they have some kind of lawsuit; an example – for false pay requests, and then another lawsuit where they are suing the employee they fired – go into their office and mention how surprised you are that the owner of the mgmt co is suing one of the old employees.

    Reply
  3. Jill Schweitzer

    Point our at a meeting when they are breaking open meeting laws, get told to shut up, and then receive a letter from the hoa attorney that you are disruptive.

    Make underground meeting minutes that actually show what really happened at the board meeting.

    Tape the meeting.

    Reply
  4. Jill Schweitzer

    I’ve got more ideas:

    Make a BBB complaint.

    Make a Bar complaint.

    Make an Attorney General complaint.

    File a lawsuit.

    Point out the overspending of funds, unapproved transfers of money out of reserves, lack of multiple bids, failing to follow the reserves, how a contractor uses more than one name, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, not treating everyone the same, situations where the board is exposing the HOA to legal issues, when the HOA mgmt co is trying to charge for things that are to be included at no cost…there are so many golden opportunities to become a target. Oh yeah, call the City to help get something fixed, or fixed correctly.

    Reply
  5. Alice

    Make a comment but stupidly using your actual name. Wait for the citation letter namimg items not in compliance that you don’t actually have and insisting they can see your hose from the street, must use binoculars.

    Reply

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