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Homeowner reduced to tears after doomed fight to reform 'authoritarian' HOA: 'The system is rigged'

"The only escape clause in our state laws."

Homeowner fight with authoritarian HOA

Photo Credit: iStock

One exhausted Redditor says they're "in tears" after finding out that two years of work to make their HOA more eco-friendly has backfired.

When homeowners try to make money-saving and environmentally friendly changes, like adding solar panels, it's common for the local HOA to object. Many homeowners complain that their HOA's actions are ignorant, deceptive, or even illegal

However, these organizations have the power to fine residents for not complying and sometimes even foreclose on homes. In many cases, the only way to get around an HOA decision is through a legal battle or changes to the law. But some homeowners have had success changing the HOA itself.

That's what this Redditor claims they've been trying to do. In a post on a subreddit dedicated to complaining about HOAs, they write, "I've been working on updating the standards in my HOA for 2 years … I am now part of the Architectural review board, and you'd think that's progress."

The poster says they've brought many issues to the HOA's attention, including illegal restrictions on solar panels, clotheslines, and drought-friendly landscaping. But instead of changing its approach, the HOA has doubled down and is using a legal loophole to make the rules permanent.

"It turns out all the stuff I brought to the board's attention … they have been working to codify in our Declaration," the poster writes, adding that this is "the only escape clause in our state laws." 

If successful, the change will allow the HOA to ban solar panels on the front of houses and require lawns, costing residents money and harming the environment.

"I feel like I have actually made the problem worse," the poster says. "I'm actually in the process of trying to change our state laws because of this nonsense, but if the state does what they have done in the past … I will have accomplished worse than nothing."

One commenter offered a scathing opinion on those who choose to live in an HOA. "Authoritarianism appeals to many," they say.

Another user said, "This is why I laugh anytime someone comments under a horrific story 'get on the board and change it.' The system is rigged in favor of draconian HOAs … I encourage everyone to vote with your money and refuse to live in a HOA … I genuinely think this is the only way things will change."

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