A renter on Reddit complained they were unfairly blamed by their HOAs for the fallout from a neighbor’s spilled gasoline.
The post appeared in late July on an anti-HOA subreddit. While some people support HOAs in their efforts to keep communities looking pleasant and uniform, others have been frustrated by the resulting lack of control over their own property — and, in some cases, the HOA’s total disregard for safety.
For this Redditor, addressing a neighbor’s clear safety hazard seemed like common sense. “I kept smelling automobile grade gasoline and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from,” they said in their post. “I saw that our neighbors who recently purchased two condo units had used a pressure washer and placed it in the hallway/common area.”
On closer investigation, the Redditor found a major spill outside what they thought was an empty apartment. “The pressure washer and an adjacent can of gasoline appeared to implode and someone had covered the mess with two mattresses,” they said.
Worried about the fumes and the potential for a fire, the user said they called the city’s nonemergency hotline. “I called 311 to ask how to safely clean up the gasoline,” they said.
After hearing about the situation, the dispatcher sent the fire department to take care of the hazard. “It turns out the neighbors were home,” they said. “The husband shoved me (a 5’5″, 125 lb female) and called me a ‘stupid idiot/b****’ and demanded the fire department leave.”
According to the Redditor, they later received a call from the HOA president blaming them for a possible hike in insurance prices because of the fire marshal’s visit. Despite explaining that they didn’t ask the fire department to come, they said they were also receiving harassment from their neighbors.
Apparently, the gas spill wasn’t the only fire hazard in the building, either. “When I checked the community fire extinguishers, they had expired in 2016,” said the Redditor.
Commenters sided with the original poster. “HOA should be blaming the idiot who drove up their insurance rates and endangered everyone,” said one user. “Honestly, can you sell and move? Apart from the neighbor drama, this place sounds legitimately unsafe.”
The original poster could also try to address the issue through the HOA’s established channels using this simple guide. But when faced with this much hostility, selling might be the best option.
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