In most parts of the U.S., HOAs have broad authority to control the appearance of yards and home exteriors. Many have rules about keeping up on maintenance and lawn care, and some forbid common money-saving and eco-friendly features like xeriscaping and solar panels.
This time, though, the homeowner claimed their HOA’s board members were bending the rules to get what they wanted.
“My next door neighbors are HOA board members, and I assume they don’t appreciate my small garden of fruit trees, bushes, and greens in pots,” the Redditor said. “They have talked to me about the garden before, but never anything negative about it.”
According to the Redditor, they had been working on the garden for months before they received an email out of the blue. “The HOA [said] I need to move my garden because it is ‘unsightly’ and a ‘nuisance,’” they said. “They claimed that potted plants are not a problem to have, only mine in particular.”
The Redditor claimed that there were no HOA laws against what they were doing, which they believe is the reason that the board fell back on a vague “nuisance” claim. Even then, it seems like a stretch. “My cars in the driveway block the plants from street view 80% of the time; I even work from home,” the Redditor said. “I would deem ‘unsightly’ needs to be seen.”
This approach annoyed the homeowner. “I would have been happy to comply originally, but now I am too angry to,” they said. “My neighbors recently built a fence, and attached to my fence without my permission. I never said anything about it, but now I am eager to give them a written letter telling them they need to disconnect from my fence and build their own.”
Commenters agreed that the HOA was overstepping. “I, too, get riled up by crap like this,” said one user. “This sort of interaction is where a service like Legal Shield can be of big help. Have them draft up a response.”
Even without a lawyer’s help, the original poster has options. Working with the HOA board and following the established appeals procedure can sometimes help homeowners in similar circumstances.
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