By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Blog
Ah, another Unreasonable HOA Rule story! It seems there’s an epidemic of expensive legal suits over HOA rules and restrictions this year:
The American Flag is OK, but not the flag pole.
The swing set in your back yard is purple.
Your vegetable garden is still slightly visible by people who pass by.
…and now, this gem: A pair of homeowners who dared to hang up some decorative ironwork on their front porch.
East Lake resident’s porch decoration leads to lawsuit
In all of these cases, of course, there will be no harm done to anyone if your house and yard does not look 100% vanilla, cookie-cutter, ready-to-show-to-buyers at a moment’s notice. These are what I like to call KUA (Keeping Uniform Appearances) Rules. On the surface, these are rules about how your property looks. But when and how the rules are enforced is usually more a matter of whether the people in power happen to like you.
It seems that many homeowners associations have at least one owner – usually a Board member – that’s obsessed with the rules. Then there are certain Board members that abuse their power by selectively enforcing rules and restrictions. Or a Board member might keep tweaking the rules in a deliberate effort to retaliate against one of their neighbors. Sometimes the management company gets overzealous about issuing violation notices, especially if the manager gets to keep a portion of fines collected. When the attorney gets involved, it starts to get expensive for all homeowners.
Is it worth all of this conflict and stress over really minor HOA “crimes?”
People have different preferences, different lifestyle choices, and a diversity of tastes. Get over it.