One Redditor took to the platform to lament about how their wife built a community garden with their HOA’s approval — only for the HOA president to tear it out again and demand she repay the cost.
People growing plants in their own yards have been known to run into HOA rules that restrict or even forbid their actions. In some cases, however, homeowners can work around these limitations. In others, it can take a legal challenge to change the rules.
One common piece of advice is to get elected to the HOA board and change the rules from within the association. But that doesn’t always work, as this Redditor found out.
“My wife joined the HOA board a little over a year ago at the request of the HOA president,” wrote the original poster. The president, who the user calls “Steve,” liked the user’s wife at first, they claim. “But when she started questioning some of his decisions and gave pushback on some votes, he started to dislike her.”
One of their main disagreements was over a deteriorating deck in the HOA’s common area, the Redditor shares.
“The deck has been an eyesore ever since we moved in 5 years ago.” So, with the approval of the HOA board, including Steve, the Redditor claims their wife organized some of the residents and tore down the deck.
She then spent $500 to buy planters, soil, and seeds, for which she was reimbursed, said the Redditor. The result was a modest community garden with several types of vegetables, a fire pit, and a “take one, leave one” shelf for snacks and books. “Now, I’ll admit, it’s not the greatest thing out there, but it still is pretty nice,” said the original poster.
But it seemed Steve disagreed.
“He apparently went around telling people that it looks like a homeless camp,” said the Redditor, whose wife eventually stepped down from the HOA board due to stress. “We found out today that Steve has decided to tear down the community garden, and my wife needs to pay the HOA back the funds that she was given.”
While gardening is great for saving money and enjoying the freshest produce, studies have shown that community gardening can also benefit your mental health.
A 2020 study out of Singapore found that those who participated in community gardening reported significantly higher levels of subjective well-being, beating both non-gardeners and solitary at-home gardeners alike.
Needless to say, most Redditors did not support this HOA’s decision.
“I wouldn’t give them a dime,” said one commenter.
Another user agreed, adding, “They can’t decide after the fact that they don’t want the garden. By paying you back they have given consent.”
However, a third user cautioned, “This might just be the start of your problems now she is leaving the HOA.”
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