7 Silliest Homeowners Association Battles in Suburban History

Homeowners associations are boards that execute power over the neighborhoods in which they reside, dictating how their residents can decorate their yards, where they can and can’t park their cars, and what activities can take place within the community. Their policing can often take extremes, causing friction between the people who live there, as they feel stripped of their rights. Some homeowners associations take measures so far as to produce expensive lawsuits. However, in most cases, they should really reevaluate which battles need to be fought for the betterment of the community and which battles they should simply drop. When infringing upon basic human rights, the homeowners association often winds up climbing an uphill battle.

  1. The Clothesline Lamentation

    In Bend, Oregon, a homeowners association made the decree that residents could not hang their clothes to dry on a clothesline. When 55-year-old Susan Taylor challenged this rule, a lawsuit was brought upon her. The homeowners association was strong in its decision even though using clotheslines over driers saves a great amount of electricity and reduces carbon dioxide emissions into the environment. According to the homeowners association, hanging clothing to dry is associated with poverty; it speaks lengths as to not being able to afford a dryer. This deduction couldn’t be more ridiculous. Aside from the obvious green initiative that comes with line-drying your clothing, it also can keep clothing intact for longer without the wear and tear that comes with using the dryer. It costs each household an estimated $80 per year to run a standard dryer.

  2. Kangaroo Rights

    Nick and Jeni Dreis from Spring, Texas got their mentally disabled daughter Kala a “therapy” kangaroo, against which the homeowners association immediately lashed out. The 6-month-old red kangaroo was to be a vocational training animal and lived in their home with them. After the homeowners association sent the family a letter asking for immediate removal of the kangaroo, the public and press protested on behalf of the Dreis family, causing the homeowners association to back out of its initial claim. The homeowners association was embarrassed, publicly stating that they had no idea the kangaroo was intended for therapeutic means. This is just a classic example of the homeowners association inserting its foot into its mouth. Had it  taken the time to gather all the details before executing its tirade upon the family, it would not have received such tremendous backlash.

  3. The Flag Flyer

    Fred Quigley, a retired army veteran, came under fire from his local homeowners association in Macedonia, Ohio for raising an American flag in his front yard. The flag is a standard three-foot by five-foot flag on a pole, as seen on school grounds across America. The homeowners association offered a couple of weak concessions, such as moving the flag to the development’s entrance or attaching a much smaller flag to the home itself. Quigley fought in the Vietnam War and is adamant on fighting for his right to express his patriotism. The homeowners association has also said it will not back down, and will be filing a lawsuit. Although it would be one thing for Quigley to have a 10-foot purple dinosaur statue in his yard, a flag is in no way damaging the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood. The homeowners association has proven to be power-hungry for the sake of being power-hungry.

  4. Driveway Dilemma

    A.J. Vizzi of Odessa, Florida spent $200,000 in a legal battle with his local homeowners association over his right to park his truck in his own driveway. When Vizzi moved into the home, he specifically asked the homeowners association if parking in his driveway was allowed, as his large truck would not fit in his garage. At the time, it consented. However, years later, the homeowners association has changed its stance on the topic and ended up taking Vizzi to court. Ultimately, Vizzi won his case, as well as a surplus of $187,000 in legal fees. The fact that Vizzi even had to take this case to court was ridiculous. The homeowners association should have been focusing its efforts on much less frivolous things within the community.

  5. Kids In Play Problem

    Residents in Volusia County, Florida have been told by their local homeowners association that it will be passing a law that bans their children from playing outdoors in the confines of their own yards. The edict specifically states that children can’t play outside without constant adult supervision, and they are also prohibited to engage in skateboarding, tag or other running games, or using loud toys. Basically, the homeowners association has made it such that children can’t be children in Volusia County. If the law comes to fruition, there will be a $100 fine for breaking it. As expected, parents within the community have decided to fight it out. The board of this homeowners association must not have children of their own; otherwise, they would understand the consequences of depriving children of a safe place to play. As if obesity rates in children in America weren’t high enough, forcing them to stay inside and watch TV is not an alternative to expending their energy outside.

  6. Christmas Light Fight

    In Doylestown, Philadelphia, the local homeowners association has ruled that only white Christmas lights can be used to decorate for the holidays. The fight over colored Christmas lights is a common dispute among homeowners associations, but it has the potential to become extremely heated, which is why it would be doing everyone a favor to just let it go. One of the residents, Marie Buonnano, put up multi-colored lights regardless, and was fined $400. If she chooses not to pay, it will be a lien on her home. In spite of a petition signed by 62 residents in the neighborhood, the homeowners association stands by its grip on the resident’s rights to decorate for religious holidays as they please.

  7. Handicap Spot

    In Lakewood, Colorado, a disabled veteran is battling his local homeowners association over his right to a handicap parking spot in the condominiums where he lives. According to the veteran, Marcus Cook, a handicap parking curb once existed, but the homeowners association painted over it when it resealed the lot. The homeowners association has taken it upon itself to decide exactly how handicapped the man is, claiming he hasn’t demonstrated a need for a spot even though Cook uses a wheelchair and has a wheelchair-accessible van. Cook suffers from neuropathy and has all but lost feeling in his feet, which is why the wheelchair is absolutely necessary. The homeowners association, in this circumstance, is kidding itself if it doesn’t realize that what it is doing to Cook is blatant discrimination. It even told him, if his handicap-accessible van didn’t fit in his regular spot, to simply “get a smaller van,” as though the problem could be rectified therein.

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