MORE Outrageous HOAs in the News


Residents of a North Carolina community are being told by their Homeowners Association that they must have:

  • Healthy grass free of brown patches and weeds.
  • Living trees with mulch.
  • Planter beds with living shrubs and flowers.

No matter that there are water restrictions in effect due to severe drought conditions.

"While the Board is aware of the inconvenience presented by the heat
and water restrictions, we believe that having neatly landscaped lawns
of grass is of the utmost importance to our community," said a letter
sent to the homeowners in August. Here’s the story.

And here’s another one, a story from Georgia about a battle over silk flowers, which apparently offend the sensibilities of the community association.

And worst of all, a poor schlump in California lost his home because he planted too many roses.

The good news?  These stories are coming fast and furious because they’re being covered by local media. There’s a nice compilation of these and other stories on the top political blog DailyKos, and thanks to Craig at Ellis Hollow for the tip.


  1. I agree with above; HOA’s should be outlawed. They have far too much legally enforceable power and use it in arbitrary ways (not just related to landscapes). Their leadership is populated by people who have no power at their day jobs, apparently.
    My rant over, keep up the great coverage! The green movement may be finally winning, praise the lord!

  2. “One man’s restrictions is another mans protections”.
    That was the saying when I worked for The Sea Ranch in Sonoma county, known as the strictest HOA in the United States.

    Buying a house ? “Read the fine print people ! ”

    I read the fine print when I bought my house in Marin County CA 7 years ago. … Hey after working on The Sea Ranch for 7 years I knew better !

    The house was built in 1947 and came with a hand typed ‘neighborhood rules’ page which was written by the developer who built all 16 houses on my small residential street.
    Evidently I cannot have more than 2 chickens and one goat.
    If I am to , [quote] ’employ negro servants, they must leave the neighborhood before sundown and are not, under any condition to spend the night.’
    Based on these rules, my neighbor of African American heritage has been in violation for the last 25 years or so.
    But it is comfortanting to know that I can have at least 2 chickens and one goat.

  3. I have a relative who lives in a development with a HOA. Tired of the petty dictators, she ran for HOA president and won on a platform of reasonableness. If you think those people ‘who have no power at their day jobs’ are a pain in power, just watch them when they are out of office.

  4. Question…. if these areas are under mandatory water restrictions, could one not inform the local Water Dept that said HOA’s are activly encouraging homeowners to ignore said ban? That would put the ball in the Local Authorities court, and may put an end to this insanity!!!
    Go on, snitch!!!
    From very sunny Wenham, no sprinklers since May, no rain since June, and a New Engalnd Fall temp of 91 F , so I’m going to the beach!!

  5. Hold your horses ( or hoses)!!! I just googled Wake Forest water dept, and look what i found
    I think we can stop crying for these guys now!!! Severe drought conditions?? Don’t make me larf! Oh, poor babies, can only use their sprinklers once a week for 10 hours, can only wash their cars at the weekend! AAAAARGH! The humanity!
    So, to recap – the residents of wake Forest, NC, can use sprinklers,fill pools, wash cars on a weekly basis.And that was only since August 28th 2007. The people of Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich ans many other communities in New England – NO Sprinklers, hand water ing only early morning and late evening, no pool filling ( for those of us with pools, this can get expensive if plaster/vinyl is air and sun exposed in the heat of summer), no car washing, ever, no hosing down of decks, siding etc. SINCE MAY !! We have learnt to resist the urge to have a short lawn, accept the brown crispy bits, plant native drought tolerant plants that can also handle the floods we get every spring!!!

  6. Remember that there’s a difference between how severe a drought is and how strictly a municipal utility decides to enforce water conservation. In Northern CA, we had next-to-no snowcap this last season. Nothing to melt into water. Yet the local water utility here did nothing but ask people to conserve. No actual restrictions. Unfortunately, people are inclined to be selfish…to do what’s convenient for them. If they aren’t forced into conserving water, they don’t. I still think it’s a good idea to notify the pertinent authorities if an HOA has a policy that encourages water waste during a drought.

    Back to the subject, though, HOAs stink. Those people need to be forced to live in my ghetto neighborhood so they can learn what *real* unneighborly behavior is.

  7. After reading about the restrictions enforced by fascist HOAs, I promise never, ever to fuss about the rules in my little historic district again.

  8. People fight zoning and building codes proposed by their local government but will buy a house in a subdivision with HOA over-the-top rules. They have more success with challanging government regulations than they do HOA’s. I don’t get it.

  9. I live in one of those lovely “Deed Restricted” communities. We too are under water restrictions here in Florida. Yet here they are giving out citations left and right. On my street alone at least every other house has received a citation. We have fifteen days to “resod”, which is the only permissable option.
    I recently posted a letter to the editor about this. I have received “hate mail” from anonymous “angry neighbors”. Expressing their disgust at people like me who flaunt the rules. I have three burnt spots approximately a foot wide on the side of my driveway. For this I am expected to sod my entire lawn. I have already told them that is not on my agenda. I am still awaiting their response. What a bunch of Nazis! And strangely the same people are always elected. Sounds very fishy to me.

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